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Preparing to do my first bacon

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Ive been reading alot on here about making your own bacon. So im about to give it a try this weekend. I was able to find some morton tender quick at a local store. I will be going friday to the local meat market to pick up some pork bellys. The plan is to do a maple bourbon and the wife wants just a plain bacon. Ive read lots of diffrent ways everyone has done the bourbon bacon and i guess i should just choose one and go with it. But any other suggestions would be welcome! But i am kinda confused on smoking it. Does everyone smoke it to IT 150 or is there a cold smoke and fry later thing? Or i guess which way is best overall? Thanks in advance on any help
Edited by xcountryx - 5/11/16 at 5:16pm
post #2 of 56

I'm up for watching this, someone that knows about

this will stop by shortly.

I'm sure.



post #3 of 56

I have never done bourbon bacon.


As far as smoking, I have warm smoked and cold smoked.   I prefer cold smoking over warm smoking.  The meat is more tender when I cold smoke.

post #4 of 56
Thread Starter 
Does one last longer on the shelf then the other? Which one would be best i guess is what im getting at. Also anyone have a basic plain bacon brine recipe or dry cure recipe?
post #5 of 56
Thread Starter 
As far as the bourbon recipe i read one guy actually marinated the belly in his favorite drink for a few days and then cured it. Im thinking of doing this and also using bourbon when i cure it. Along with pure maple and maybe some brown sugar. Im looking for a nice sweet bacon flavor.
post #6 of 56

Pops brine is a easy wet cure and Bearcarver has a good Tender Quick cure with a great step by step.

post #7 of 56
Thread Starter 
Both are a basic bacon recipe? Again the wifes wanting just a plain regular bacon flavor smoked of course tho.
post #8 of 56

Yup, just cure salt and sugar.

post #9 of 56
Thread Starter 
Im looking for that recipe of bearcarvers now. Thanks
post #10 of 56
Here's a huge list of his cooks.

post #11 of 56
Thread Starter 
Oh thats so much easier lol thanks!
post #12 of 56
Thread Starter 
Well i just got home from work and sat down to read over bearcarvers index but unfortunately its unreadable. Its just posted in a straight line. Kinda weird
post #13 of 56
No problems here viewing it.I prefer the long cold smoke also,seems to be a much better end product than" cooking "the bacon at a low heat while smoking.Still half raw pulled from the smoker.......then cooked in the frying pan:)Not sure about tenderquick?if it has the goods in it for protection at low temps,cure#1 is ur friend:)Hope it works out for ya!
post #14 of 56
Question number one, do you own a scale? Does it show weight in grams and does it do 1/10, or 1/100 readings?

If not then you need to stick to a recipe like pop's:


If you own a scale then you can do what's mentioned above you can do a dry rub cure successfully.

I prefer to use cure #1. It is readily available online at many places including Amazon.

I really prefer the dry cure method, and cold smoking over several days. I also like to age the bacon after curing prior to smoking and after smoking prior to packing.

A good point you made is your wife wants plain bacon. I would do just as you plan. Try one plain season the other. Keep a log of all the exact ingredients. Then adjust the next batch as needed.

Since your are using TQ, make sure and do a fry test after the curing time. TQ can be overly salty and you may need to soak the bacon in cold water to remove the salt. Fry a small piece and taste. If too salty soak in ice cold water. Change water every 30min-1hour. A halved potato in the water will help remove salt faster. At each water change fry another chunk until it's to your liking.

For seasoning, I prefer to dry rub after the cure, but before firming the pellicle. My current favorite is a light dusting of white pepper and garlic. Simple is sometimes the best.

Choose your wood wisely. A good mild wood is a great place to start. Cherry, peach, pecan, Apple, cob are all good woods to start with.

As mentioned I cold smoke. I do 6-8 hours a day. Rest in fridge overnight and repeat until I like the color. Usually this occurs in 18-24 hours. Keep in mind this is thin blue smoke.

Also I mentioned aging. Currently I cure for 7-14 days. Rinse the meat after curing. Then air dry in the fridge uncovered for 5 days. Then smoke. Then age for another 5 days in fridge uncovered. Then I cut into rashers and pack for freezing.

Hoe this helps it's my process and what works best for me. Once you have cold smoked bacon you'll never hot smoke a batch again.
post #15 of 56
Oops forgot to include the cure calculator I use, and many others here do too.

post #16 of 56
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great advice. I do not have a scale but could get one if needed. I ended up grabbing the tender quick just because it was available locally. I make sure to do extra research on it to get the best end product. You mentioned you season uours after the cure, i wondered if that was possible since most people rinse the belly after they cure it i would think it would wash most flavor off.

I will be buying the pork belly tomorrow but i think im still a week away from trying. I feel like i need to read up some more
post #17 of 56
Thread Starter 
I just found a post by Mr. T that explains how he uses TQ. I will be using this method
post #18 of 56
Absolutely,more research never hurts:)rinsing the belly after the cure just cleans off the surfaces of heavy deposits...the flavour will still be the same throughout the meat.First time i wouldnt make it complicated with anything other than a plain dry rub and cure depending on ur smoking temps,get that one under ur belt and explore with post cure rubs and such later...u will be surprised its very easy to make:)
post #19 of 56
I'm in the minority but I use Pops brine and hot smoke. Never had a bad batch and its easier than the dry cure method. I tried Ruhlmans dry cure method and for me it was way too salty. Switched to Pops brine method and never looked back. Got a 15# belly going into the brine this weekend.
post #20 of 56

I have used both dry & wet cure and for your first try at making bacon I would use Pop's brine.


It is the easiest to use.


Just mix it up & put the belly in it & forget it for 2 weeks.



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