First take away is, how did I ever live without homemade bacon?! The amazing smell of real smoked bacon just fills the air when it's fried up! I need to start another batch in a week or so or I'll be out!
As far as technique goes for smoking it, I will need to drain the cooling pipe every 6 to 10 hours to prevent the condensate from pooling up in the tube. It didn't effect anything except add some tar to bbq smoke generator approaching 18 hours of cold smoke.
Next batch I'll make a bigger batch!!!
I'll try one sweeter, and one of similar sweetness. I used that new York times recipe as a start for flavoring. It might be a little more savory, than sweet breakfast bacon. But was still utterly amazing!
I used the cure calculator to figure out the actual 156ppm and salt content, and checked the figures by hand.
The rough recipe I followed for seasoning:
¼ cup maple syrup,
2+ tablespoons apple cider
6-8 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted
1 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted
Next batch I'll also smoke one sample for less time, and another for the full 18 hours to see if there is a level of smoke preferred.
6 days seemed just about right for cutting, they firmed up and dried to a consistency we really enjoyed.
Folding, making a couple butcher ties and freezing worked fairly well to get full length slices out of only an 8.75" blade. Next time I'll leave the other pieces in the freezer till the piece before it are sliced. Towards the end of the slicing the second one, it smeared some fat that got stuck to the blade, vs slicing right through.
Other than that, I'm stoked to start an even larger batch since I wasn't even at a third capacity in the smoker! If anyone in the Seattle area has a good deal on a freezer/fridge combo, let me know, I need another one in the garage a.s.a.p.!