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24 pounds of dry cured belly bacon (pic heavy)

Discussion in 'Hot Smoked Bacon' started by navigator, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. navigator

    navigator Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I have finally refined my recipe and process with much help from many of the folks here including alblancher, Martin, Dave, Bearcarver etc. I have the texture, salt content, taste that I like and I am able to repeat it every time now.

    I did 2 whole bellies this time around.

    I'm sure there are typos and mistakes but I was getting cross eyed, I will proof read and correct any errors tomorrow.

    12 lb - 7.5 oz

    11 lb - 9.1 oz lb pork bellies. I buy them with the skin already removed:

    Ingredients, kosher salt, sugar and cure #1
    I just found Martin's (2nd of the two calculators below) and its much simpler and cleaner than the first one plus it has a conversion calculator as well.

    Dry Cure Bacon Calculator

    Better Dry Cure Bacon Calculator

    I have found that for me 2.5% salt and 1.5% sugar is about perfect.

    I also stay in the 156-160 PPM Sodium Nitrite for dry cured skin off bacon. 


    Combine the ingredients and mix well.  A large canning jar with tight fitting lid works well.  Shake the ingredients until the pink color of the Cure 1 is evenly distributed throughout the cure mix.

    Measured and mixed cures, I marked it with a sharpie to divide the cure into thirds and marked the slab weight so I could keep them with the proper slabs:

    Rub about 1/3 of the mix evenly/predominantly on the meat side(s) of the bellies. 

    Loosely wrap in plastic wrap and lay flat in a carboy tray or other plastic tray with the meat side up and refrigerate at 38º to 40º: 

    Wait 3 - 4 days and repeat applying the 2nd 1/3 of the cure to the meat side only.  Do not dry the bacon at this point just drain any liquid trapped in the plastic wrap and on the bottom of the lug.

    Let the curing bacon sit another 3 - 4 more days and repeat adding the balance of the cure mix to the meat side.  You may also add any extra salt, sugar or spices at this stage.  3-4 days later rinse the bacon with fresh water and pat dry with a clean towel.

    At this point you may want to do a taste test for salt by frying a small piece. If too salty, soak in fresh water for an hour and repeat taste test.  You can repeat the process until the salt in the bacon is where you want it but this recipe and procedure seldom produces bacon most would consider too salty. I don't bother to do the fry test anymore at these percentages.

    Now you just need to determine when you have access and time to do your cold smoking.  I have left the bacon in the refrigerator mellowing out for up to 3 additional days after rinsing, but the bacon is now fully cured and ready for the smoker.

    Make sure the bacon is dry by hanging in front of a fan or in the smoker with a low heat but no smoke.  There are Bacon Hangers commercially available or you can just put them on the racks but I find I get a more evenly smpked product and no marks by hanging the slabs.

    You want to develop a pellicle that will hold the smoke on the bacon. The bacon should be dry but slightly tacky to the touch when properly dried.

    After pellicle was formed, I brushed one with maple syrup and the other was coated with dark muscovado sugar:

    Ready for cold smoking: (2 pork loins for Canadian bacon on the right)

    Cold Smoking:  I have gone as little as 8 hours and as long as 36 hours with cold smoking. I usually burn 3 or 4 AMNPS full of pellets (I like a blend of Hickory & Apple).

    I like to keep my chamber temperature between 35º and 80º

    It was 0º the morning I put this these in the smoker, I lit two AMNPS just to keep my chamber temp above freezing.

    3 AMNPS and 20 hours later:

    I let the newly smoked bacon rest in the fridge for several days to mellow out and let the smoke distribute itself evenly and the flavors develop. 

    Slicing day:

    A few slices didn't make the vacuum sealer :)

    baconologist and waywardswede like this.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice Bacon and some pretty cool toys too...JJ
  3. Looks great! 
  4. kathrynn

    kathrynn Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Gorgeous bacon!  OMG!  Wonderful!  [​IMG] AND...congrats....your thread is on SMF's Facebook page today!

    Been meaning to ask....the hangers for the bacon....where do you get them?

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Great looking bacon! Great tutorial too! One question, I see a probe stuck in a slab. When I cold smoke i'm not worried about IT*, only smoke chamber temp. What's the purpose of probing the meat?
  6. ddt79

    ddt79 Fire Starter

    Where does he get those wonderful toys?!?

    Bacon Looks wonderful!
  7. ddt79

    ddt79 Fire Starter

    The Sausage Maker, Inc has them.  Here's a link http://www.sausagemaker.com/search.aspx?find=bacon+hangers
  8. bigfish98

    bigfish98 Smoking Fanatic


    I got mine off ebay. 

  9. I can almost smell it! Looks great.
  10. Excellent!

  11. navigator

    navigator Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

  12. FANTASTIC! :drool:
  13. navigator

    navigator Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I Use the stoker to monitor the pit temps and for the high and low alarms. I had to hot smoke the Canadian bacon after the cold smoking so I just stuck probes in the belly bacon for kicks.
  14. sound1

    sound1 Smoking Fanatic

    Nice looking bacon..

    How is that Vacmaster working for ya??
  15. Navigator - Is there any reason a rib rack wouldn't work for vertical positioning of the bacon during smoking? I'm vertcally challenged in my Big Green Egg.
  16. navigator

    navigator Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    That should work, just cut the belly into manageable sized pieces.
  17. SFLsmkr1

    SFLsmkr1 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thats AWESOME

  18. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    EXCELLENT tutorial Navigator! This is perfect for a newbie who is a little intimidated by "makin bacon". The calculator is awesome too. Thanks.

    One question, when you hold it in the fridge after curing but before smoking, do you cover it at all?
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  19. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Perfect looking bacon and very nice thread!

  20. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks awesome!   Mine has been curing now for  5 days.