I have been really wanting to try my hand at making bacon but was concerned about messing up an expensive pork belly so I decided to try back bacon first since pork loin is cheap. Sorry I did not have any images of the dry cure process, I always seem to get a little ahead of myself. But I will explain what I did for the dry cure process.
I used the iSmokeHog's Cure Calculator with its standard bacon defaults set to lbs. with 2.0% salt, 1.0% sugar and 156ppm Sodium Nitrite.
Starting with a loin that weighed just under 12 pounds and cut into five pieces weighing just over two pounds a piece so that they would be manageable and fit into a gallon size ziploc during the curing process.
Total curing time was two weeks. Each piece was washed and dried overnight in my outdoor fridge on wire racks to develop the pellicle, then into the smoker for an hour without smoke to dry further.
First hour without smoke.
Four hours later, beginning to really take the smoke.
Six hours in and it has really developed a beautiful deep red mahogany color and reached my desired 140 degree temperature.
Finished product and back on the rack to cool prior to putting it in the fridge to rest.
Sample of sliced back bacon. Sorry that I did not have an image of some pan fried, wife and my three kids were eating it as fast as I could cook it and was more worried about self preservation than taking pictures at that point It did taste fantastic though, very bacony and hammy if that makes sense, maybe a touch to much smoke, may cut it back to four hours smoke next time or exercise more patience to let it rest longer than 24 hours.
Whole piece of the back bacon on the slicer waiting patiently to be sliced.
All vacuum packed and ready for the freezer. Overall I would say this was a pretty successful first attempt at bacon seeing as the wife and kids totally devoured all that I cooked for breakfast, salt and sugar balance was just right for our liking. Time to move on to a pork belly.