Love Bacon-Can't MakeIt.

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by kendec65, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. kendec65

    kendec65 Fire Starter

    Good Morning

    I'm new to this forum and have only been smoking for about a month now.

    My family and I love bacon and I have tried a few different recipes out there

    on the internet now and every time I  make it no matter how thin or thick I 

    slice it it gets chewy. If I cook it longer it just burns. Would anyone have an idea

    what I might be doing wrong and a good recipe to start with? Thanks, Ken
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    First thought is are you slicing it across the grain?

    How about a little more info. Belly or Butt bacon? Recipe? wet or dry cure? etc.

  3. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    A lot of recipes on the internet for smoking bacon have you cook them until they are fully cooked maybe 145-160 internal temperature.  They also have you cook them at higher cooking temps (maybe 225).  Therefore when you recook them whether in a frying pan or the oven, there isn't all that much fat to render out which might explain the chewy or dry texture.  Think about grilling a chicken breast to 165 IT and then trying to reheat it in a frying pan or the oven.  You are almost always going to get a chewier or dryer piece of meat.  If you cold or warm smoke your bacon, you will basically be left with a "raw" product with most of the fat intact.  When you go to fry or bake it, it can then have the fat render and be the crispy goodness you are looking for.
  4. kendec65

    kendec65 Fire Starter

    It is pork belly. I have tried both wet and dry cures. I smoke it the at 180 degrees

    till it hits 150 internally. 
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Write a step by step of what you are doing including ingredients and quantities...   Then we can help you adjust your method....

  6. kendec65

    kendec65 Fire Starter

    As of now I have a Rec-Tec without the cold smoker attachment however

    I do have 2 A-MAZE-N (sp) 12" cold smoking tubes. Can I cold smoke with

    these, and would anyone recommend a good cure and cold smoking recipe?

    Thank you so much for helping.

  7. kendec65

    kendec65 Fire Starter


    This last batch I made was wet cured using the following:

    4 quarts of water

    2 quarts apple cider

    1 1/4 cups pickling salt

    1 cup brown sugar

    1/2 cup regular sugar

    6 tsp. curing salt 6.25% sodium nitrite

    I placed the skinned belly in the brine for 7 days, pulled it, patted it dry, set it

    on a rack uncovered in fridge for a day.

    Smoked it at a temp of 180 till internally reached 150. Pulled, let cool and

    then placed in zip lock bag and put in fridge for a day. Sliced some off, had good

    flavor but fat was chewy and meat stringy. 

    I do not know if it was cut against or with the grain as someone else cut it for me and

    I honestly would not know how to tell. I just know I wasted 25 dollars on a piece of meat.

  8. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I am by no means a bacon expert but in my limited experience, I think that 180 is a little high of a cooking temp and taking it to 150 is basically making it a fully cooked product.  So you are cooking it again and possibly drying it out.
    You could definitely use the A-MAZE-N  tubes to cold smoke right in the coking chamber of your Rec Tec.  Just make sure the meat is properly cured because a complete cold smoke could last a very long time depending on how smokey you want your bacon. 

    I recommend you check out these three posts:

    Hope this helps!

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
    kendec65 likes this.
  9. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Depending on outside temps you can definitely cold smoke with your amnts in your pellet grill. I do it all the time. Outside temps can't be below freezing though. Frozen meats won't take the smoke.

    Edit: worktogthr types fast than me...
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  10. kendec65

    kendec65 Fire Starter

    So as long as it is above freezing I should be good?
  11. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  12. kendec65

    kendec65 Fire Starter

  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ken, morning.....   Start out by trying a basic very good mix for bacon....

    I gallon of water add:

    1 cup sea salt or Kosher salt

    1 cup granulated white sugar

    1 Tbs.(heaping) cure no. 1 pink salt

    Let it sit in the refer for 14 days....   

    Remove and rinse and dry and sit on wire rack in refer for 1 week to "bloom and homogenize"....

    Form a pellicle on the bacon slab in front of a fan on a wire rack for approx. 1-2 hours...   A pellicle is soluble proteins that "coagulate" to form a sticky "crust"...  that allows for great smoke penetration..

    Smoke at 70 deg. F until a nice color has developed...   If you don't have the ability to cold smoke, smoke as cold as you can then up the heat to 150-160 until the bacon is 138 deg. F....

    Place back in the refer for 7 more days on a wire rack for full flavor development...   

    Slice across grain and cook or wrap and freeze for future eats...    we cook our bacon in the oven at 350 on a wire rack that's on a sheet pan until crisp...

    This is the basic recipe I use and Bride says it's the best bacon she has ever eaten...   I've made bacon many, many ways and this is the best I've found..

    The long soak time in the cure is necessary due to sugar penetrating up to 10 times slower than salt....   The rest times in the refer are for aging and flavor development...

    Temperature Time Temperature Time
    °F (°C) (Minutes) °F (°C) (Seconds)

    130 (54.4) 112 min... 146 (63.3) 169 sec
    131 (55.0) 89 min.... 147 (63.9) 134 sec
    132 (55.6) 71 min.... 148 (64.4) 107 sec
    133 (56.1) 56 min.... 149 (65.0) 85 sec
    134 (56.7) 45 min.... 150 (65.6) 67 sec
    135 (57.2) 36 min.... 151 (66.1) 54 sec
    136 (57.8) 28 min.... 152 (66.7) 43 sec
    137 (58.4) 23 min.... 153 (67.2) 34 sec
    138 (58.9) 18 min.... 154 (67.8) 27 sec
    139 (59.5) 15 min.... 155 (68.3) 22 sec
    140 (60.0) 12 min.... 156 (68.9) 17 sec
    141 (60.6) 9 min...... 157 (69.4) 14 sec
    142 (61.1) 8 min...... 158 (70.0) 0 sec
    143 (61.7) 6 min.......
    144 (62.2) 5 min.......
    145 (62.8) 4 min.......

    Table C.1: Pasteurization times for beef, corned beef, lamb, pork and cured pork (FDA, 2009, 3-401.11.B.2).
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  14. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I can say that yes you can cold smoke with your AmazeN tubes. That's what I do. Heck you could use the tubes and a cardboard box if you wanted too. I prefer to cold smoke bacon as I do not like the texture of bacon that is hot smoked and then cooked again to reheat. If you have a good scale I would recommend using a dry rub cure. If not then going with Pop's brine works too.  My last batch was my best ever and I attribute it to the longer rest I gave the meat after smoking.
  15. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Ken. You may find this helpful
    Once cured the bacon will last for several weeks in the fridge, longer if frozen. The length of time to smoke is really down to personal taste. I usually smoke mine over hickory for 48 hours, which gives a nice smoke flavour without it being overpowering. I usually use the AMNPS (rather than the AMNTS) as they last longer between filling and I can give a full 48 hours smoke around my day job. Alternatively you can do shorter smoke times with the tubes to suit your schedule (building up to your total smoke time), placing it back in the fridge between smokes.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  16. kendec65

    kendec65 Fire Starter

    Thank you all for this great information!

    I do not want to start an argument, but is there a benefit

    between a wet or dry cure?

  17. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    They are both different methods. Some prefer to immersion cure (wet) and others to dry cure. I have tried both and I prefer the dry cure however people like Dave and Pops seem to prefer to immersion cure. The end result is similar - you are trying to remove moisture from the pork and get the correct amount of salt and Nitrite inside. The reason I prefer the dry cure is that I find the end result is less salty - but it really is down to personal taste. I also like it because the bacon as it cures is in sealed plastic bags and can be stacked in the fridge. If you have plenty of space for the brine buckets then that is good too.

    The only way to really check your preference is to try a batch of each and then taste them both.[​IMG]  
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  18. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The textures are different. I prefer the dry rub cure better than the wet brine. Once again this is a personal preference.

    One benefit of dry curing is you don't have a large bucket taking up most of a fridge.
  19. kendec65

    kendec65 Fire Starter

    I have a fresh 12 pound belly in the fridge now. I will try both cures 

    and cold smoking. I can't thank you all enough for helping!

  20. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Don't forget to let us know how you get on - We do like photos on here [​IMG]

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