Another bacon first timer question..

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Chasdev

Master of the Pit
Original poster
Jan 18, 2020
1,026
831
My pork belly has been in brine for 14 days and I'm going to rinse it and let it dry in the fridge for one day but THEN I have to smoke it in a cheap offset smoker at as low a temp as I can manage.
To date, I've spent all my time and energy wrangling temps that ran too high and I predict (did I mention I'm a bit of a pessimist) that running under 200 is going to be pretty difficult.
Question then is, how hot can I smoke this belly and still end up with proper "bacon" ?
 
Build a small fire... Yes, you will have to "manage" the fire almost continuously, but it is doable.
 
Almost done smoking, internal temp is at 135.
There is one thing I forgot to investigate, how to cool this thing off?
Should I just let it air cool on the countertop and then stick in the fridge or is wrapping and/or holding called for?
 
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I'd go unwrapped and immediately in the fridge for cool down. Your fridge will either smell fantastic for days or you'll be in the dog house depending on point of view.
 
If the outside temps are cool enough , I just shut the smoker down and let it hang .
Otherwise I let it cool down on the counter , then into the fridge unwrapped .
 
That reminds me, when you hang bacon overnight to cool in the smoker there's usually some shrinkage/moisture loss.

The wife has declared (and her word IS law) that no hot food goes directly into the fridge, it must be cooled down first.
Bacon in jumbo zipper lock baggie then into sink full of ice water, THEN in fridge.
This AM, into the freezer for a solidify session, then slicing cooking and eating.
I'll post some pics later...
 
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Here's some pics..
My slicer won't handle the whole slab so half cuts are required.
I always cut my store bought bacon slices in half to reduce curling so this size is normal for me.
Cooked up a few random size pieces left over from setting up the slicer for the taste test.
First impression is a little too salty but by the second bite, it tastes like bacon!
If fact the more crispy I cooked it the better it tasted.
Even the wife likes it and that's not a low bar to clear.
I can't wait to grab another belly, this time carefully selected for meat to fat ratio.
 

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