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Aging Bacon after cold smoking - how long?

angryengineer

Newbie
24
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Joined Nov 20, 2015
Looking for thoughts on how long to age/dry bacon after cold smoking. Typically I cold smoke for 10-20 hours, very light smoke, smoker temperature @60-70 degrees, then I let the bacon rest in the smoker for several days to a week. After that I let the bacon dry on racks in my beer fridge for 1 or 2 weeks, then slice, vac pac, and freeze. (LOVE that smoky bacon smell when I grab a cold one...is there anything better on earth than bacon, smoke, and beer?).

I now have a curing chamber where I can control the temp and humidity which is currently running at 50deg and 75% humidity, any thoughts on hanging the bacon in there for 4-6 weeks or longer???
 

Magic Meat

Newbie
20
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Joined Jun 25, 2020
My thoughts and experience on the long dry cure aging of bacon is that for a bacon to be safely cured longer then 30 days total from the start of your cure. IMHO I would have used cure #2 which is nitrate and nitrite. #1 cure is technically designed for the cured product to be cooked, and used or frozen within 30 days or so from start. #2 cure is for long term aging which slowly converts nitrate into nitrite, thus greatly extending a dry age cure safely past 30 days to years allowing the bacon to reach that full old school hang from your ceiling in the kitchen bacon like it was 1790.
If you really want to go old school this is the basic cure used for hundreds of years.
1/10th the weight of belly in bay salt (course sea salt)
1/50th the weight of bay salt in saltpeter (potassium nitrate)
1/20th the weight of bay salt in brown sugar. I use a wire whisk and scramble it really good to distribute the potassium really well throughout the salt and brown sugar. Give old porky a good rubdown, use all of the cure in one shot and salt box it at 38-40 deg max for 10-20 days until it stops weeping juice, i do it in the fridge ..but uncovered trying to remove water. Drain a couple times a day to keep the belly from sitting directly in the brine for extended periods but rotate it frequently so a different side is always on the bottom sprinkling more plain sea salt onto any areas that salt is not visable on the surface of the belly. Do Not Add More Saltpeter. After she firms up good and juice no longer runneth from the belly. It usually takes about 14 days for me. Keep in mind that the saltpeter has not kicked in yet because low temperatures have not allowed microbes to start converting it to nitrite at full swing, this is where the long smoke and aging comes into the picture, after smoke I would let it age for at least a few weeks if not a month at room temp to allow the nitrate to nitrite conversion to make the bacon happy.
Give it a healthy soak in cold water for a couple three hours, (it's still gonna be salty) pat dry, hang a few hours to form pellicle and cold smoke under 80deg. (apple wood) for 20+ hours.
Now you can age it however you feel safely
You can also use Prague #2 if you feel more comfortable instead of the saltpeter but at it's own labeled amount for the belly weight used, straight saltpeter Is no joke if measured improperly, a possible fatal dose for an adult varies from 10 -40 grams.
 
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