Bacon experiment 1

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by cookfarms, Sep 29, 2016.

  1. Well, here goes nothing... Trimmed and squared up a 10+lb pork from Costco. Wrapped the pound of trimmings to freeze for fat for other projects. Both were calculated and weighed out to 0.01g of cure at 156ppm cure#1 per weight of the piece of meat. The smaller half to was calculated to 2℅ salt and the larger piece to 2.25℅ salt, then roughly followed a recipe for seasonings from an old article online. Did a bunch of reading and apparently less cure in the 120ppm could be used, and that fsis page said 2℅ to 3℅ salt for bacon.

    Trimmed up.

    Spread the seasonings on both sides and massaged it around in the bag. Flipped and massaged daily to every other day.

    Pulled them out of the bags and rinsed them after 12 days. Backpacking this last weekend, work, and recovery from the trip prolonged it to 12 days curing. I'm a little concerned about the outside color, hoping it's from sitting in liquid for 12 days.

    Plan is to cut one in half to check the middle, and do 3 separate smokes over the course of the weekend since we are supposed to have a high of mid 50s. One small piece with a "hot" smoke friday, one cold smoked with pellets, and one cold smoked with chunks and charcoal. trying to see which method I prefer. Hopefully the color is ok, and it's edible.

    Hopefuly this is the right forum, cause there is 2 bacon forums. :duel:
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
  2. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    looks good... I like to go 14 days, but 12 likely fine... i wouldn't cut it in half if it was me. you actually get some protection from it being whole if for some odd reason the cure didn't penetrate.

    i'm jealous of your temps for cold smoking... I end up having to add ice to my food chamber to keep it under 90.
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Everything looks fine with your bacon. Time to get a smoking!

    I cold smoke my bacon. I do it over several days. I also let my bacon air dry for 3-5 days after the cure prior to smoking. Then after smoking I let it rest another 5 days in the fridge prior to packaging. I do not slice mine. I cut it into rashers. I third the belly prior to curing. Then after smoking I cut those three slabs into thirds and pack. That gives the flexibility to use it for other things besides strips.

    This is the cure calculator that I and many others here use
  4. Thanks! Apparently they bumped the highs up to 61 degrees this weekend, but should still be fine! I can  live without cutting it if the color doesn't look too bad. I'll just cold smoke both of them, and maybe on the next round try to make a smaller piece to hot smoke and see how that tastes.

    That's the calculator I used after I ran a few of the hand calculations while I was researching. I typed everything on my phone during break, which is time consuming. I'll find the seasoning recipe as well and add it here.

    I'm thinking I'll slice some and keep some 1/2lb and 1lb chunks of belly, because we usually have a hard time finding non-sliced bacon for soaking in my pea soup recipe that I like.

    Cabela's was having a sale today on their Deluxe 8.7" meat slicer ($99 bucks with free shipping after promo code, regular $200), so that will be on the way to slice bacon next week! It's not the most industrious, probably not the best, but should hopefully work for my purposes. I usually cut my bacon slices in half anyhow unless I'm making a wrapped meat loaf. I guess I can hand slice some of the next batch for that as well for the purpose of wrapping meat with more meat.
  5. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    Color looks fine to me... when I use pellets, it doesn't take on a nice bacon color until after I smoke it and rest in the fridge
  6. Smoke one of 2 is on, hit a high temp of 75 while warming up and threw a fan on the ducting as SmokinAl suggested. Which dropped the temp to 65 degrees in the smoke vault with a 59 degree ambient temp, and only a high of 62 degrees in the forecast today. I got a late start today, but tomorrow morning I'll throw the stack of cheese on as well.

    Test fry, the higher salt content of 2.25% was tastier.

    Ready to go on, 3 days in the refer.

    Getting her lit.

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  7. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    Looks great! It's funny how subjective salt can be... it's awesome that you have it narrowed down so well for your tastes.
  8. It's been holding about 63 degrees all morning, and the ambient temps just dropped... So I figured I would try more cheese since the last small run is finally mellowing out. I figure I have another 3 hours till I hit ~8 hours on the bacon and return it to the fridge. Then I'll do a second run tomorrow while cutting up sausage.

  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Everything looks great so far!

  10. smokin jay

    smokin jay Smoking Fanatic

    Looks awesome!
  11. And we are off for another 9 to 10 hours of cold smoke, after yesterday's 9 hour session... The nose says I need more wood to charcoal ratio... So I switched over to my lump charcoal bag, and hatcheted down the chop saw chunks to increase the area of wood to charcoal. The chimney smoke is smelling sweeter this morning with more applewood.

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  12. Double posted, yeah cell phones...
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  13. Well, 18+ hours on cold smoke, over 2 days. All the cheeses I threw in are already delicious! But I should probably throw the cheese pictures in a cheese thread. ;) Can't wait to fry some of this bacon up this week!

    Biggest lesson this week, was modding a remote smoke generator is one of the best things ever. I was starting to get condensate coming back into the little BBQ smoke generator after 18 hours. Disconnected the cooling tube and outpoured a liquid that smelled terrible and acrid just like how my test food samples with a smoke generator directly in the smoker turned out...

    How long do you wait to slice and fry? Cheese was already tasty, so I can't imagine that long. I was thinking 2 to 4 days, above someone said 5 days.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  14. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    you put all that time into curing and smoking and you want the shortest? lol. I have never gone less than 5 days, but 7 is noticeably better IMO. you might like a more harsh smoke taste than most people if you liked the cheese right out of the smoker so maybe you would like less of a rest?
    cookfarms likes this.
  15. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I like to let the bacon age for at least 5 days after the smoke. The last batch I let go for 7 days. Not so much about the mellowing of smoke, but more for texture. I have been doing the same on the front end after curing. Last batch I let air dry in the fridge for five days before smoking. So far this was the best bacon I've made. Last batch I smoked with cob and let me tell you it was fantastic.
    cookfarms likes this.
  16. The main rush, is I'm out backpacking for a few days this weekend, so it's 4 days or 9 days to sit open and uncovered in the fridge. I might be able to do it on day 5 if I have all my gear packed, and meals made for the trip. Which is why I was wondering what windows people were using to rest it, and be relatively safe. Pre-project it was looking like 2 to 3 days, then I've been reading more and more people doing 4 to 6 day windows post smoking. Something about leaving meat uncovered in the main fridge for a week still makes me nervous. I'm a newb, still trying to figure out the best practices.

    The cheese really wasn't that harsh at all. My wife isn't a fan of smoked cheese, and she was throwing the 2 hour test cheese on nachos and other snacks Sunday 24 hours after it was smoked... Haven't broke into the 3, 4 and 5 hour cheese blocks yet. Not sure if it was the fan pulling the smoke out, or the fact the wood was burning on a hot bed of coals, or I was just hungry... But 24 hours later it wasn't that harsh in my opinion, but don't get me wrong, I made enough to keep testing it daily all month long to make sure I wasn't just really hungry the day after! :)
    Do you think 9 days would be too long uncovered in the fridge?  The biggest issue is as I mentioned above, i have a backpacking trip in the middle of my slicing window. :) I have a feeling with the delicious sweet smell permeating everything in the main fridge, this will likely be the best bacon I've ever had! My wife laughed as she poured out milk to make protein bars for hiking, that the milk even smells smoked. We'll be getting another fridge to go with the upright freezer in the garage soon. lol.
  17. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    going longer won't hurt anything as long as you used cure#1 or #2... you may get some case hardening, but 9 days is pretty short for that to happen... especially considering you did 18 hours of smoke and likely rested it uncovered before smoking.

    i honestly get the unease though... i used to feel the same way. if you look at refrigerator prosciutto, its basically the unsmoked version of what you have dried in the fridge uncovered for much longer than we're talking about. it will make your ridge smell for a long time... i don't know how long it takes to dissipate because i make bacon about once a month so my fridge always smells like that. 4 days won't mean bad bacon though.

    this is your first bacon, i promise it won't be your last... if you slice at 4 days this time, try longer next time.
  18. Weather pushed back the trip by a day due to 1” of rain in the mountains in 24 hours which isn't great backpacking weather..., so at 6 days It's sliced and fried! Holy crap that is amazing bacon!

    Discussion with wife, me, "do you object to me continuing to make more?"

    Wife, "you need to buy an extra fridge."

    The hunt for a fridge is is on! :)

    Fry test, wife still insists 2.25% is the best.

    My $99 on sale Cabela's deluxe 8.7 needed some love. The biggest complaint online was the pot metal sliding rod bent in shipping. Mine was unlucky, and had that problem. Perfect fix was metal supermarkets sold me a 1/4" Stainless 304 pipe schedule 40 with an OD 0.540. manufacture spec was 0.544 to 0.556 depending where in the slight bend was that you measured... Slides like a dream now!. Also had to adjust belt on the gears, otherwise worked amazing after the $4.67 pipe fix. :)

    Folded and partially frozen as I read somewhere on here so that I can get long slices without having to buy a huge slicer. Funny part is that one comment appeared to be ignored...

  19. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    Looking great!!! What we're your take aways? Any changes planned?
  20. First take away is, how did I ever live without homemade bacon?! The amazing smell of real smoked bacon just fills the air when it's fried up! I need to start another batch in a week or so or I'll be out!

    As far as technique goes for smoking it, I will need to drain the cooling pipe every 6 to 10 hours to prevent the condensate from pooling up in the tube. It didn't effect anything except add some tar to bbq smoke generator approaching 18 hours of cold smoke.

    Next batch I'll make a bigger batch!!!
    I'll try one sweeter, and one of similar sweetness. I used that new York times recipe as a start for flavoring. It might be a little more savory, than sweet breakfast bacon. But was still utterly amazing!
    I used the cure calculator to figure out the actual 156ppm and salt content, and checked the figures by hand.

    The rough recipe I followed for seasoning:
    ¼ cup maple syrup,
    2+ tablespoons apple cider
    6-8 garlic cloves, smashed
    1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
    2 teaspoons fresh thyme
    1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted
    1 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted

    Next batch I'll also smoke one sample for less time, and another for the full 18 hours to see if there is a level of smoke preferred.
    6 days seemed just about right for cutting, they firmed up and dried to a consistency we really enjoyed.

    Folding, making a couple butcher ties and freezing worked fairly well to get full length slices out of only an 8.75" blade. Next time I'll leave the other pieces in the freezer till the piece before it are sliced. Towards the end of the slicing the second one, it smeared some fat that got stuck to the blade, vs slicing right through.

    Other than that, I'm stoked to start an even larger batch since I wasn't even at a third capacity in the smoker! If anyone in the Seattle area has a good deal on a freezer/fridge combo, let me know, I need another one in the garage a.s.a.p.!
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016

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