Hi all, Been following SMF for a long time and love it. Got a lot of good info and ideas. Have cured and smoked various items. The last bacon I smoked 2 years ago was with Hickory and a couple pieces smoked with Apple. It turned out to salty for one thing. I didn't really care for the Hickory because it was somewhat overwhelming. But I did like the Apple and my wife preferred it also. I might have smoked it to long with the Hickory. I believe the Apple is milder so it was pretty good.
Anyway, just put another batch in the smoker. This is not pork belly but a whole 10# tenderloin I cut about 1" thick about 10" long. I am not sure what to call it, side meat, BBB or CB, or maybe just be called plain old "cured ham".
I cured this for 8 days in the fridge with MTQ and brown sugar. I followed a suggestion I read somewhere to wash it then soak it in water for 2 hours in the fridge, changing the water and doing again, for a total of 8 hours soaking. I then taste tested it. I can taste the salt and sugar both, but not overwhelming at all. Dried it out in the fridge for 24 hours and am smoking it today. I am cold smoking with Apple in my MES. I have a Smoke Generator with a 2' joint of pipe between it and the smoker. According to the MES the temp inside was 42 degrees when I started. It is now 45 degrees inside. I have applied no heat other than what the generator is providing.
I think I will smoke it about 4 hours then shut it down and let it sit for the night. Taste test it in the morning. And if I think it needs more smoke, do it again. I just want to be able to taste the hint of smoke flavor at the end.
Then I am going to add the meat thermometer and bring the internal temp up to where I want it. This is where I would like a sanity check. The bottom 1" pieces has the fat on it that is on the backside of the tenderloin. Those pieces I will slice for bacon. Those pieces I will bring to 140 degrees, right? The other pieces, since they are all lean meat, I am thinking about slicing deli thin for cold cut sandwiches. Is 160 degrees ok for that, or should I go to 165 for safety?
By the way, I am in West Virginia, so the temperature will stay 42 degrees or below tonight. Though they are calling for 70+ degrees Christmas day.
Thanks - D