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making bacon questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

not sure if this is the right place to post this . if not let me know i am very new here.

ok was going to smoke my bacon today but seems my memory of the holiday season is some what blurred. i cant remember if i began the bacon cure before the new year or just after. the slabs i have are 1 1/2 inches thick and have firmed up nicely (i think). at that thickness from what i have read it should cure for 3 days for the thickness plus 2 days. that would put me at the right time frame even if it was after the new year. is there any way of telling if it has cured long enough by looking? what happens if it isnt cured long enough? why is it so important to have it cure long enough if you are going to cook it any way? you can take a piece of meat out of the fridge and slow cook it in a smoker and that isnt a problem, why would it be any differant with bacon? i know these questions are probably going to have some rolling their eyes but its things i dont know and havent really seen concrete answers for in my searches. i am sure there will be more questions and i thank you ahead of time for your help and especcially your patience. thanks

post #2 of 9

Cure these days is mostly for color and flavor. Worst case the cure is not to the center. When cooked, the edges will be pink with a strip of plain gray meat in the center. No safety issue there is just less quality. Your recipe and amounts would be helpful. I like to go 7 days per inch with a Dry or Brine application of cure. Probably more than needed but I get great results...JJ

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

thanks for the reply. i have very little patience some times and am going to try smoking a three pound piece today and let the other six pounds sit for another few days. i rinsed the piece and fried a hunk off of it and it was good but too salty. i am now going to soak it for an hour or so before smoking. i used the baconboard cure and it seems it doesnt have enough sweetness for me. can i take the remainng pieces out of the fridge and rub them with some brown suger or some pure maple syrup at this time or is that a waiste and needs to be done at the begining of the curing process? thanks again for the help. i am learning but admittedly i am not a very fast learner sometimes.blame it on genetics!

post #4 of 9

If it was salty, soak in a couple of changes of cold water, then add the sweetener. I have not had major flavor changes with Maple Syrup. Adding additional Brown sugar, at this point, will increase the sweetness. I have made 2 step Bacon where the Salt/Cure was on for several days, rinsed, then a Brown sugar and Spice blend applied and allowed to work 4 more days. The two step was not necessary but it was a different recipe I wanted to try. I now just mix all together and let the belly go 7 days per inch...JJ

post #5 of 9
If you are going to hot smoke the bacon and bring the IT up to 140 degrees. Then slice it and fry/bake it, if it is under cured, then it is no big deal.

If you are going to warm or cold smoke it where the temperature stays between 40 and 140 for more than 4 hours then you risk a toxic amount of botulism forming. I cold smoke mine for 12-24 hours, and the hottest I have smoked bacon at was 90f. If I were to have a partially cured bacon it could be hazardous to my family or I.

Also sugar penetrates the meat at a rate of .4 inch per week. While cure/salt penetrate/equalize at a rate of 1 inch per week. So with skin off, it will take sugar 13 days from the start of the recipe to reach the centre of your belly. I am trying the two stage like Chef Jimmy has right now but following the 1inch per week rule, then pulling it from the cure and giving it only sugar for the balance of time (giving it an extra week on sugar and spices only).
post #6 of 9

Just an FYI, This...


Quote: If you are going to warm or cold smoke it where the temperature stays between 40 and 140 for more than 4 hours then you risk a toxic amount of botulism forming. I cold smoke mine for 12-24 hours, and the hottest I have smoked bacon at was 90f. If I were to have a partially cured bacon it could be hazardous to my family or I.

 

" Only " applies to Ground Meat or anything that has been Injected, Boned-Rolled and Tied or had the surface broken to punch in Garlic, Herbs and such. A Intact piece of meat, smoked at 225+ and especially ANY meat that has had Cure contact at least the surface, is exempt from the 4-140 in 4 rule and represents no hazard...

 

If I was to put cure #1 and salt on a Belly for 10 minutes, smoked it at 90°F for 12-24 hours, then sliced and fried some with Eggs...There would be absolutely no risk whatsoever. Cure Instantaneously kills Clostridium Botulinum, Listeria and a few others, The Salt inhibits growth of all active pathogens on the surface. The pan frying would kill any Trichinae, extremely rare in commercial Pork, that might be present in the meat. So under cured meat present no Safety issue. Hope this helps settle any worries...JJ

post #7 of 9
That is true. As long as the meat is in tact. I keep forgetting meat is only exposed to bacteria when it is exposed to air, be it through grinding, or slicing. If you were to slice the belly after curing into smaller chunks to fit it into your smoker and it isn't fully cured the 40-140 in 4hrs would apply.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by gibsorz View Post

That is true. As long as the meat is in tact. I keep forgetting meat is only exposed to bacteria when it is exposed to air, be it through grinding, or slicing. If you were to slice the belly after curing into smaller chunks to fit it into your smoker and it isn't fully cured the 40-140 in 4hrs would apply.

 

Cutting can expose uncured surfaces... But the hazard would still be extremely small in this situation. Salt is very effective at killing bacteria, the cell membranes are broken and the water within the cell is sucked out killing the bacteria. The only remaining issue would be Bacterial Spores, if any, that are protected from the salt. The Cure #1 would eliminate these. Any bacteria that could have possibly survived the Salt and Cure would be susceptible to the Antiseptic properties of the Smoke. Beyond all of this, Cooking the Sliced Belly, as would be common with cool smoked Bacon, would kill anything that ran the above gauntlet on the few cut surfaces. There is just nothing to worry about...JJ

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

so i finished the bacon smoke. every thing went relativally well. held the temp with in five degrees plus or minus thanks to the great advice you guys gave about putting on a needle valve. found i need to fine tume the way i do smoke. it was ok but a little erratic. definitally managable but something i need to work on. ended up smoking the piece for just over three hours which is what i was anticipating so that was good. the bacon came out goooood, not to die for but goooooood. i will fine tune the recipee to get a little more spice and a little more sweetness to it but not dissapointed at all. basically just wanted to thank every one for all the info. i learned more on here in two days than i did in two weeks of searching on the web. i will be doing another bacon smoke around the middle of next week and i will send a post on how it goes. once again thanx to all. gonna try and put a pic with this to show the final result. not sure it will work but will try

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