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Bacon Bonanza!

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by 73saint, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. 73saint

    73saint Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Back in late April, early May, I finally got the nerve up to try making my own bacon. I did a fair amount of research, and started off with a Costco belly, using Pops brine (https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/1st-go-at-bacon-w-pops-brine.275437/)

    The results were a success, but I wanted to see what dry curing was like to compare the two. So, I started the process, did my research and ordered a good scale from amazon. I settled on Smokin Als Berkshire bacon recipe (https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/berkshire-hog-belly-bacon.271069/). It seemed pretty straightforward and I trust Al's recipes! Now all I needed was some pork belly.

    I first went to restaurant depot, but all they had was skin on, and it was frozen. I was still in experiment mode, so I figured why not.
    It was 39 lbs, and frozen solid. It was May 31, and I was leaving town Friday for the weekend. I really wanted to get it in the cure before I left but how was I to thaw 40lbs of meat in less than 24 hours?
    Into the bathtub, wrapped in an Un scented garbage bag. Could not sink it for anything so I just flipped it over every few hours or so. Once they all thawed I was able to see what I had. Not very good. Very skinny and my attempt to take the skin off proved inefficient. I picked the best pieces, cut them up into manageable sizes, and into the cure they went! The recipe calls for you to use the bacon calculator (http://diggingdogfarm.com/page2.html), and once cures are measured based on weight of each slab, you simply add two tablespoons each (or 1/8 cup) of CBP, granulated garlic, and granulated onion. Into the bags with even amounts on each side and sealed up for two weeks rest in the fridge. I diligently flipped, rotated and massaged the bellies daily.
    This is a pic from another belly but shows my method of adding cure, salt, sugar and seasoning.

    As the next week progressed, I kept thinking about how thin the belly’s were, and with the skin on I was in for a real challenge. So, I decided to run to Costco and see if they had any nice thick belly. They had one, so on June 9, another two slabs entered the cure!
    Now I had something to work with. If the RD belly’s didn’t come out well, at least I have the back up Costco belly!

    Then, on June 14, a surprise arrived at my door. I received a tender belly from my better half, for Father’s Day. She has heard me mention wanting to try one, and didn’t realize how much I already had working. Well, it’s a good problem to have so why not? I followed the same method, only this time I used my vacuum bags because the fridge was starting to smell like funions (the onion and garlic powder is where I imagine that comes from).



    At this point my fridge was full and I started to worry about what on earth I would do with all this bacon. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it!

    Now my focus began to shift back to the RD belly, and what I would use to smoke it with. I decided on cherry, and since last time I smoked my bacon for 12 hours, this time I would try a full 24. My plan was to simply smoke at night, with no heat, for 12 hrs at a time over two days. With rest in the fridge in between.

    RD belly’s after a two hour soak. This wasn’t really necessary and going forward with this mix I will no longer soak.
    On the old Lang 36 patio!

    After two rounds of smoke. My house smells so good, and now I’m really beginning to get excited. Back to the fridge for two or three days rest...

    Some hand sliced pics. Very hard removing the skin.
    Time for the first creole tomato BLTs of the year!!
    Some of the best bacon I’ve ever tried. Dry cure is definitely the way to go for me!!!

    Now my focus shifted to the Costco belly, and I decided to do that with corn cob, since I heard so much about it here.

    That Costco belly was good and thick!

    Into the smoker with corn cob burning. Boy is it a pretty color!!

    Into the fridge for 3 days...smells so good!


    28D9DD3F-E693-4A0A-B9AA-AC315B71C68A.jpeg 408BD8C7-EC96-44ED-9322-176509D00C83.jpeg E997B79A-855C-437F-A10A-B3BFBA3ED78B.jpeg B923B715-FC8D-41A6-8F80-BF929FE43B5A.jpeg

    Talk about a pile of bacon! That’s almost 35lbs, and I still have a tenderbelly in the fridge. What to do!? Well, after much debate, I decided to make a small public advertisement to friends and family asking anyone interested to reach out to me, as this bacon was for sale. No kidding, it was gone in three hours. I made a nice little profit and folks asked for more. But now I didn’t have any bacon for myself...yet!

    So, now I have a second fridge and currently have 7 bellies in various stages of cure, all presold. But that’s for another thread down the road. My focus now was to finish the tender belly, as it would be my personal “stash”.

    I know this thread has been very long and pic heavy, so I will try and wrap it up. I decided to do each of the three TBs in a different smoke. One hickory, one apple and one pecan. All 24 hrs each. We have since tried the apple and the hickory, and both are delicious. The quality of the tenderbelly is unmatched. As good as the RD and Costco belly’s were, the TB is on an entirely different level! It literally melts in your mouth. And, I will certainly buy from them again. I’ll leave you with pics from the TB smoke slice and store. It was a fun project, thanks for looking!!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  2. 73saint

    73saint Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Also, I totally goofed on this thread. I didn’t mean to post so soon and apparently the last pics only came thru as attachments. I hope y’all can see them. It was the hickory, pecan and apple slabs...all sliced up.

    EE7BAB3C-853F-4E76-B82F-B008424A26F3.jpeg D36AE419-394C-4F72-9FE0-EF8F8CA56763.jpeg A488FF4A-E46F-4346-81D5-41CAB4A5E60F.jpeg

    Sorry for the jacked up post. I hope y’all still enjoy!!
    SmokinAl, ab canuck, gmc2003 and 2 others like this.
  3. motocrash

    motocrash Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great thread! Great looking bacon!
    73saint likes this.
  4. oldsmokerdude

    oldsmokerdude Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Great details and analysis. I'm marking this post for future reference when my wonderful wife lets me have the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for curing. Never made bacon myself but I can't wait to try. Thanks for sharing the information and pictures.
    73saint likes this.
  5. SmokinVOLfan

    SmokinVOLfan Smoking Fanatic

    This looks awesome man. Points for sure. That bacon looks so good. Its on my list of things to do. Went to Costco a couple weeks ago and they didn't have bellies but still looking!

    Do you have a meat slicer or do you hand slice all of that?
    73saint likes this.
  6. 73saint

    73saint Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks moto!

    Thanks for the compliment. Once she tried your bacon she shouldn’t have any problem with you making more!!

    Thanks SmokinVolFan! Here is a pic of my slicer, slightly modified as the shelf is too small for bacon. Don’t make fun....
  7. Ishi

    Ishi Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I’ll read this later tonight!! It’s going to be fun. The more ways to make bacon the better...... and I’ll most likely have questions :D:D
    73saint likes this.
  8. 73saint

    73saint Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Fire when Ready!
  9. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Aint no goin back to store bought now! Like!
    73saint likes this.
  10. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Fantastic looking bacon 73, and thanks for the details of you journey into bacon nirvana.

    Point for sure.

    73saint likes this.
  11. 73saint

    73saint Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks and yep, you are right!

    Thanks Chris! I tried to be more streamlined with my post but inadvertently posted before finishing/proofreading.
  12. dcecil

    dcecil Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    WOW, this is the type of thread why I joined this site. Cant wait to try this. Outstanding job.
    73saint likes this.
  13. 73saint

    73saint Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thank you sir! Very nice of you, I really didn’t mean to publish it so quickly. I’m glad it was so helpful. I had a ball with it. Although admittedly it was a lot to keep up with all the pics!
  14. dcecil

    dcecil Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Honestly it was a great post. Hell I’ve already gone on the tender belly site and starting pricing the slabs. That alone was worth the read lol
    73saint likes this.
  15. 73saint

    73saint Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks. I’m ready to order another one too!
  16. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You are the bacon man for sure! Great looking stuff, and a side gig to help pay for your smoking hobby too.
    73saint likes this.
  17. disco

    disco Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Beautiful bacon, Bro! Big like!
    73saint likes this.
  18. ab canuck

    ab canuck Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    LIKE..... Wow that is some GREAT looking Bacon!!!! Definite like on that. I am slowly making some bacon myself, I am hoping it all turns out as well s that, My first attempt was good but more practice is always a good thing. Great Job
    73saint likes this.
  19. 73saint

    73saint Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks dward!

    Thanks disco!
  20. 73saint

    73saint Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks ab, yeah, I find you learn something new every time. Bacon practice is fun. I like the way it makes my hands smell lol!!