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A 'Sweet Cure' Bacon

Smokehowze

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Joined Oct 28, 2017
A ‘Sweet Cure Bacon’

1-Sweet Cure Bacon Off Smoker.jpg 2-Sweet Cure Bacon Slicedl.jpg

For this bacon, I wanted to push up the sugar percentage in the equilibrium immersion cure more toward what some might refer to as a ‘Sweet Cure’ bacon at 6% sugars. Just to give me and the family a taste comparison to belly bacon using lower sugar concentrations in prior bacon batches. I also slightly increased my typical salt percentage to 2.5%.

The bacon flavor after the final fridge rest has become quite uniform and well balanced throughout the meat. Quite good to eat freshly sliced, but outstanding when carefully fried off at low to medium heat due to the higher sugar. It cooks and crisps nicely with the outer edges developing a nice caramelization. It has a much sweeter finish on the palate when eating a slice. Quite rich. Quite filling.

3-Frys Nicely.jpg 4-Happy Breakfast.jpg
Here is that ~ 10 lb batch. This was an equilibrium immersion cure approach at the higher sugar level. Cure #1, salt, brown and white sugar and some fine ground black pepper in the brine. Basically a variation of "Pop's Wet Curing Brine" for 14 days. Fridge rest uncovered on wire racks for a day before smoking to dry and develop a pellicle. Lightly dusted with more fine ground pepper before smoking with hickory.

SWEET PICKLE BRINE RECAP (rounded numbers)

Meat Weight 4355 grams 9.6 lbs

Equiv Water in Meat 2830 grams
Water for Brine 9464 grams 10 quarts
Total Water Weight 12294 grams
(below are based on total water weight)

Salt (pickling) 307 grams 2.5 percent
Sugar (brown) 393 grams 3.2 percent
Sugar (white) 344 grams 2.8 percent
Black Pepper (fine ground) 1.25 tsp
Cure #1 27 grams 138 ppm​

5-Getting Started.jpg 6-Into the Brine.jpg


Smoked in my converted electric kitchen oven smoker using a graduated time/temperature profile.
  • 130 degrees for 60 minutes, no smoke, to dry any condensation as I had taken the meat right from fridge.
  • An extended 145 degree regime for 4.5 hours with smoke
  • A finishing phase at 165-170 degrees for about 6 hours with smoke until internal temperature across the three pieces was between 147 and 150 for a fully cooked product.
So a total cook time of 11.5 hours with 10.5 hours on the hickory smoke using pellets in my smoking maze.

7-Lets Smoke.jpg 8-Done with Smoking.jpg

9-Oh My.jpg

After removal from the smoker and letting it cool to room temperature, each whole piece (well … one piece had to have a number of “quality control” slices removed) was wrapped in uncoated peach butcher paper for it’s 3 day fridge rest.
10-Fridge Rest Time.jpg
Of course, after a full day at rest additional quality control sampling just had to be done.

Yield after smoking was about 80% by weight from the initial meat weigh-in.

The now firmed up and equalized bacon was well chilled and sliced on the Berkel 827A where the 12 inch blade size meant almost no length trimming was needed to fit on the cutting tray. Sliced at a 3.5 on the dial giving a thickness of 1/8 inch.

11-Slicing.jpg 12-Slices Well.jpg 13-Neatly Organized.jpg

Finally the bacon was chamber vacuum sealed in a mix of 1/2 and 1 pound packages. Ready for future good eats and holiday gift bags for friends.

14-Packaged for Freezer.jpg 15-Future Fun With Bacon.jpg
Gotta love a slicer and sealer when making larger amounts of bacon as this cook cycle had a companion 10 lb batch of a pepper bacon.

The Smokehowze family gives this bacon batch two thumbs up.
 

Smokehowze

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Joined Oct 28, 2017
Apologies. Did not realize this was the Cold Smoking forum for bacon. Can a moderator move my post to the Smoking Bacon forum. Thanks.
 

motocrash

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Smokehowze,I would like to know more about your converted oven.I have toyed with the idea....
BTW The bacon looks great !

Bill
 

SmokinAl

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Your bacon looks fantastic!
Nice job!
I moved it for you.
Al
 

HalfSmoked

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Looks great. I made the mistake on my last Canadian bacon and measured the sugar wrong instead of tsp I did tbs and we liked the added sugar flavor. Enjoy

Warren
 

daveomak

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I'm interested in how you calculated the additions......

SWEET PICKLE BRINE RECAP (rounded numbers)

Meat Weight 4355 grams 9.6 lbs

Equiv Water in Meat 2830 grams
Water for Brine 9464 grams 10 quarts
Total Water Weight 12294 grams
(below are based on total water weight)

Salt (pickling) 307 grams 2.5 percent
Sugar (brown) 393 grams 3.2 percent
Sugar (white) 344 grams 2.8 percent
Black Pepper (fine ground) 1.25 tsp
Cure #1 27 grams 138 ppm

4355+9464+307+393+344= 14,863 grams... 27 grams cure#1... = 114 Ppm nitrite... Which is perfect for commercial bacon curing... I just don't understand the "Equivalent water in meat" thing.... and why ???
 

Bearcarver

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Very Nice Looking Bacon!!:)

Nice Job!!

Bear
 

Smokehowze

Newbie
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Joined Oct 28, 2017
I'm interested in how you calculated the additions......

SWEET PICKLE BRINE RECAP (rounded numbers)

Meat Weight 4355 grams 9.6 lbs

Equiv Water in Meat 2830 grams
Water for Brine 9464 grams 10 quarts
Total Water Weight 12294 grams
(below are based on total water weight)

Salt (pickling) 307 grams 2.5 percent
Sugar (brown) 393 grams 3.2 percent
Sugar (white) 344 grams 2.8 percent
Black Pepper (fine ground) 1.25 tsp
Cure #1 27 grams 138 ppm

4355+9464+307+393+344= 14,863 grams... 27 grams cure#1... = 114 Ppm nitrite... Which is perfect for commercial bacon curing... I just don't understand the "Equivalent water in meat" thing.... and why ???
Thank you for asking for the clarification. I see how I might have caused confusion with the equivalent water weight in meat approach and how it compares to, for example, USDA. Did not mean to inadvertently take anybody off on a wrong tangent. I probably should have also noted the USDA method and its numbers for comparison.

To your question..

I have built spreadsheets using the formulas related to immersion equilibrium cure. This particular calculation approach is based on total water weight (exclusive of other non-liquid additives) of the cover solution plus the anticipated at least 65% water content being present in meat (with lean meat even going up to 75%) by weight less any bone weight.


Then the Cure #1 is based on this equivalent liquid only weight. I choose the 138 PPM for my set point using this method even though this is a belly bacon and USDA commercial processing limit is 120 PPM for immersion (also see below). The 138 PPM is also what I often use in my smoked sausage making so it keeps my math more uniform in my mind on how much PPM is safe.


In this way, I can understand in the equilibrium that if I have X amount of water and Y amount of meat I can mix the initial solution less the Cure and then safely play with adjusting my flavoring/tasting from my calculated salt and sugars, etc without having it change the solution PPM of the sodium nitrite if I add more or other solid dissolvables into the mixture. If I add more liquid based ingredients for boosting flavor from my initial calculations (such as doubling up on a maple syrup) I can easily re-figure my Cure #1 to hit the desired PPM. Then I add the Cure as the last step in my check list. BTW.. I do all my caculations in weight even if I use a volume measurement.


If using the USDA equilibrium curing calculations in FSIS 7620-3 (which I think you were taking note of), indeed the formula uses the green weight of the meat (less bone) plus the total weight of the cover brine solution for calculating the Cure #1. Using that formulation in this instance results in a total weight of 14863 grams (meat+brine+salt+sugar) and with 27.15 grams of Cure results in your stated ppm of 114.

I generally calculate it multiple ways in my spreadsheets and also use the Digging Dog Farms calculator as a further cross check. I like to be a careful puppy when it comes to Cure usages and in staying below the nitrite limits.
 

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