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Newbie curing and smoking belly bacon

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm looking to get my bacon on. I have four 1-pound pieces of belly waiting to be cured and smoked. I have cure #1 and some maple sugar and syrup, plus other kitchen items, But I am looking for advice and successful cure recipes. I think I'd like to test a maple, a pepper a standard, and one other with my four little bellies.
Wet or dry? Ziplock or vacuseal? Time line for cure and smoke?
post #2 of 4

Wet cure with Pops Brine is easy but is not practical for 4 different flavors. Dry Cure is good as well and will suit your situation better. Use this Cure  calculator to figure the ingredients...  But substitute the Maple Sugar in one and add a coat of Black Pepper to one during the cure and so on. Figure 7 days per inch thickness in a ziplock with the air pushed out. Flip and massage daily. Give the bellies a rinse, pat dry. Leave one plain and apply more Pepper, maple sugar and whatever you chose to the forth then rest uncovered on a rack in the refer overnight or place in front of a Fan for an hour or so to form a Pellicle. This is a covering of tacky dried protein that let's the smoke adhere better and develop a nice surface color. I like 12 hours of Cold smoke, 50 to 100°F, depending on time of year. Some guys go much longer, 3-4 or more, eight hour smoke sessions over a few days. Then there are the Warm/Hot smoke fans which you can investigate. Check ... 

Good luck...JJ

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Many Thanks JJ. I'll be starting them bellies today. I had seen this calculator somewhere before but neglected to save/bookmark its location and couldn't find it again.
The upper end of the cold smoke temps may be all I can get here in southwest Florida. I'm using a Masterbuilt electric and I do have a cold smoke attachment. No danger of food born illness in that 80-100 degree range because of the cure process, correct?
With or without water/liquid in the smoker pan?
post #4 of 4

No safety issues. The cure takes care of the major bacteria. Have fun and good luck. Feel free to post or PM questions...JJ

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