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:) My First Bacon

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hey all

I have been pestering everyone I could to find some recipes and the knowledge how to safely to this. (you all know who you are so thank you) I scored a sweet deal from my local butcher and got 15lbs of real nice pork belly for 75 cents/lbs.

Sorry the pics aren't great have to use my phone. But that is fat side and meat side (skin removed not my choice but the price was right).

How nice does this look

I used a cure I got from my local butcher which contains way less sodium nitrate then say instacure. Instacure contains 6.25% and mine only contains 0.982%. I have done the math (with butchers help for safety reasons) and come up with my recipe which is....

1/4 cup cure
2 tbs fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Honey (to be used just before smoking as per butchers advice)

I mixed the cure and pepper and gave the belly a good rub coating it entirely. I let this sit for around ten minutes to get the juices flowwing and then rubbed on the brown sugar.

Here it is rubbed and brown sugar coating. I had to cut in half to fit into ziploc bags.

Bagged and into the fridge for the 5-6 day cure. One is fat up the other meat up.

You can see in the pics how much moisture is being pulled out here. Now for all you baconneers out there is this normal? I mean this is within 20 minutes I am getting a little puddle of water in the corner of the bag.

Thanks for looking. And thanks for any suggestions or just opinions.

:) To be continued...... smoking first thing on Saturday
post #2 of 21
You can't beat that! Not to mention the bellies look great.
Good luck, and don't forget to take your butcher in some bacon when it's done.
post #3 of 21
Definitely looks good, thanks for sharing some of the pics!
post #4 of 21
That does look good, well done
post #5 of 21
Now I heard you made a deal with your butcher but I didn't know it was that good of a deal. DANG IT...... Then the bellies look good and thick too. But the cure looks good so far and how are you going to smoke it when you finish with the cure.??? I bet that it will taste really good when it's all said and done.
post #6 of 21
Don't worry about the moisture mine did the same thing. Just make sure you mix it up and turn them each day.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
I just finished a test run using a hot plate in my new ECB it topped out at 220 on high. I turned it down and burned up some birch chunks in a cast iron pan managed to maintain 150 all afternoon :) . I plan to use 2/3 hickory and 1/3 maple chips.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Cure day 2

Just thought I would post a couple of pics of the moisture being pulled out of the bellies. They are firming up nicely.

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Day three liquid seems to be staying the same may be a little bit more. Turned again this morning. I normally have a lot of patience but the 5 day wait for the bacon to cure is driving me nuts lol.
post #10 of 21
Looking good so far! The wait is the hardest part. lol
post #11 of 21
I don't know exactly what you're doing, but 5 days curing seems pretty short for curing 15 lbs. of belly.
My calculations would say it was only about 1 1/2" thick at the thickest point ?icon_question.gif

Don't get mad, just checking for your safety,
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
LOL not mad and thank you for your concern. I decided to give the first go a try with a belly that was 4.5 lbs. I froze the other 2 for later (don't want to screw them all up. And yes the belly is roughly 1.5" at the thickest part should I go 7 days? longer

Again thank you for your concern would certainly hate to make my family sick
post #13 of 21
The shorter curing time won't be a health concern unless you are cold smoking.
If you are hot smoking or cooking the bacon to a safe edible internal temperature, the shorter cure is no problem. The bacon will just not be cured to the center.
post #14 of 21
I would say if it was only 1 1/2 " thick, and you used the right amount of cure, 5 days would be long enough, but if you're not pressed for time, it wouldn't hurt to go to 7 days.

1 1/2" thick
Divided by 2 = 3/4"
3/4 has 3 "quarters" in it
3 plus we always add 2 to that final number = 5 Days

I would do 7, but that's me.
You can't cure too long, but you can cure too short.

post #15 of 21
4.5 lbs should be enought to last you the five to seven days to do some more biggrin.gif Looking great
post #16 of 21
I agree with Cowgirl about hot smoking, but even people who hot smoke (me included) don't usually hot smoke bacon to 140˚ in less than 4 hours. It should be cured to the center, when doing bacon.

post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
It was my intention to cold smoke so I will take it to the 7 days. Great!!!! LMAO I was getting impatient with the 5 days now am tacking on 2 more AAAHHHHHHH BACON!!!! icon_mad.gifPDT_Armataz_01_12.gif
post #18 of 21
LOL---Waiting for curing is a beach!
I often cure mine for 10 to 12 days (usually thicker than yours is, even without the rind). Then I throw a few extra days on. We all hate that wait.

I smoked some cheese a week & a half ago. I was planning on leaving it in the fridge for two weeks to mellow out, but a buddy of mine who only comes to my area a couple times a year is going to be here tomorrow, so I'm going to pull it out a couple days early for a cheese tasting party.

I too can't wait to see your bacon sliced. You're gonna love it,
post #19 of 21
I can not for the life of me remember where I got this from but here is the guide I use for curing bacon and it has worked very well for me

Weigh each piece that goes into each individual bag, and use the right amount for that bag.

Put in fridge for the right amount of time, depending on the thickness of the pieces:
Find the thickest part of the meat. Divide that thickness in half. Count how many (1/4") there are in that "half-thickness". Add two days.

Belly thickest part-------3"
Half of that is 1 1/2"
There are 6 (1/4"s ) in 1 1/2"
That would be 6 days curing PLUS 2 days
Total-----Cure for 8 days
Could be longer, but no shorter to play it safe

post #20 of 21
I'm betting others have written that before me, but I have written that exact thing many times----It works perfectly!

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