1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Any way to tag bellies?

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by alblancher, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I picked up 5 bellies from the butcher the other day and intend to do a communal smoke with some friends.   I'll have to weigh them before I put them to cure and want to know if anyone has any ideas about keeping them identified through the cold smoke process.

    I'm just going to ask my friends to pay for the cost of the greenbacon so I would like to be able to tag them with the precooked weight.

    Any ideas?    Would sharpie marksalot on a piece of plastic cup with a tiewrap work?  I've seen soft metal tags that when you write on them with a hard sharp object it leaves an indentation but they would have to be stainless to handle the cure.

    Thanks for your help

  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Is the skin still on? If so carve a letter or number in the skin.
  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hadn't thought about that.  Sounds like a great idea.  Do you think that carved number will still be there after 12 days of dry cure and 14 hrs in a smokehouse?  Should be.



    I hang bacon in the smoker with stailess steel wire so I leave the skin on, its also easier to remove after smoking.
  4. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    You could always cure them in separate containers and mark the container. Then when you are smoking use 1 -5 paperclips in the skin to identify them
  5. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    You just tell me the weight and i'll pay you for it.

     I like sweet bacon but i think that can be accomplished during the smoke instead of the cure?

  6. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Bacon? Did I hear Bacon????

    Don't worry about marking them!

    They're all mine!--mine!!--mine!!!!!!

    Ahahahaha, mine mine!!

    Hey what's this!!!----who are you?? Leave me [email protected]#$%^&*

    Sorry, Bear finally lost it---They just took him away.

    Mrs Bear
  7. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would scribe it after the rinse. The skin is coming off so I might just dry it off and use the sharpie on the skin.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  8. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Al I would just cut o hole with a knife the you can buy some different color zip-ties and that way everyone will know who's is who's.
  9. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    Get with me about what you want to do to add the sweetness.   I was planning on weighing and  starting them in the cure Monday,  Wed re-stack and do a little massage, Friday rub in the remaining cure, add a bit more salt, some sugar and re-stack.   That makes the following Tuesday a heavy sugar day.  Friday before I go to the farm I'll rinse off the cure, do a taste test for salt, soak if needed and do another heavy sugar dust.   That way we have a good day for the bellies to rest before going in the smokehouse. Do you want to do a final sugar rub Saturday before they go in the smokehouse or how about  a jar of honey to rub in before the smoke?  I have about 65lbs of belly and they will have to be cut so I can fit them in the containers and fridge.  That's why I need to weigh and mark them.   I believe I paid $ 1.89 lb for them. 


    It's cold in Pennsylvania, come on down the weather is fine and we got room for you!

    I bet I could buy a cheap soldering iron and burn a number into the rind of each piece.  Does that sound workable?
  10. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

     You guys are creative,  different color zip ties.  Hadn't thought about that.  I'll have about 10 pieces I need to keep track of.  Interested in finding what kind of weight change we have. 
  11. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The soldering iron idea is interesting, Let us know if it works if you try it. I also like marks idea for the color coded zip ties, just log the color tie and the weight, and if you run out of colors just start another batch with 2 ties ....That Mark is one smart feller
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  12. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    Your talk of Bacon was too much for the Bear. 

    The men in white coats took him away.

    It was just a matter of time.

    Sorry,  [​IMG]

    Mrs Bear
  13. You can always do what we do on fishing boats make cuts in the fish (bacon) 

    1cut on the head is yours.

    1 cut in the tail is yours

    1 in the head 1 in the tail

    2 in ... well you get the idea

    I have seen boats with 20+ people and we all knew who's was who's and when we caught a fish the 1st mate would ask you your cut ,worked great.Bill
  14. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

     I decided on the tie wrap method to identify the cut bellies. I tried branding them with a solder iron but I was able to dampen the mark and rub most of it off with my thumb.  Didn't want to depend on the brand mark for a long cure time.




    Tucked in and ready for a nice long nap in the spare fridge.

    Put away 65 lbs 1 oz of green bacon  Ended up with 5 bellies and cut them in half to make them more manageable and so they would fit in the fridge.   I'll rub in the remaining cure, flip them, add a little extra salt on Thursday.

  15. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks like a good way to identify them Al.

    Wouldn't just the colored ones be enough?

    You must have a reason for using both---just wondering what it is.

    Curious Bear [​IMG]
  16. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    10 bellies 4 colors plus neutral  need to double up on them somehow and I have a bunch of neutral to use as base tag.  Five single tags, neutral, orange, yellow, blue, green and 5 double tags,  neutral+red, neutral+blue, neutral+green, neutral+yellow and neutral+neutral

    You wife let you out of the time out lounge?  Last I heard you where running around the house screaming  BACON,  BACON, need more BACON!
  17. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'm OK now. They took the jacket that buttons in the back off of me, fed me a pound of Smoked Bacon, and sent me home. I think they were full up, and didn't have a spare padded room. All I needed was a Bacon Fix! I'm fine now.

    You gotta get more colors. [​IMG]

    I got so many different things in my freezer, I put them all in their own plastic shopping bag.

    Then I take different colors of electrical tape, and put big strips of it on both sides of each bag.

    Then I have a Master list beside the freezer, with what each color has in it.

    I have about a dozen different colors of tape. I get them free.

    Every tower or cell phone site my son builds needs colored tape to color code the sectors, cables, & antennas.

    The cell phone companies furnish all of the materials, and they always give him at least 4 times as much tape as is needed.

    He always takes care of old Dad!


    On Edit:  Some of my tape supplies:

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  18. Looks like you have a lot of hobbies there Bear. Nice storage area.
  19. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    I built that set-up for my son's shop, including a good sized pipe rack at the one end. I got twice as much storage room by the "in & out" method in the picture, and it provides plenty of support for his big loft above.

    When he was a kid, I let him play with most of my tools. Now he lets me play with most of his, and he has more & bigger tools, like skid steers & fork lifts.

    I think I made out in the deal !  [​IMG]

  20. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    How about making a small branding iron out of wire and branding the skin...