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BACON (Extra Smoky)

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by Bearcarver, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    BACON (Extra Smoky)

    My tomato plants seem to be doing well, and I have been out of Belly Bacon for quite awhile, so I figured it's time to stock up for my BLTs. Got two fresh bellies (17lb 2oz) from one of my butchers, and began the process.

    I got the bellies without the skin (rind). I figure I don't eat the skin, so why should I waste cure & smoke on something I'm not going to eat.
    I also don't hang my Bacon, so I don't need the skin on for extra strength for hanging. I lay mine on the smoker racks.
    I was going to replace the "Bacon" Step by Step in my signature with this one, but since I managed to get this one so perfectly EXTRA smoky, I'll leave the other one there too.

    This one came out like the PA Dutch specialty butcher shops make theirs, only better!
    I'll leave the other one there too, because this batch could easily be too smoky for some people, and the other one is very mild in the smoke department.
    In my book, there is no such thing as Bacon that is too smoky, unless it has Creosote on it.
    I haven't gotten creosote on anything, since I stopped trying to use that other smoke generator, and started using Todd's little miracle AMNS & AMNPS.

    First Day
    I cut each belly into 3 pieces that will fit in big zip lock bags, and weighed each piece individually.
    Then I weighed out the right amount of Tender Quick (on paper plates) for each piece, and set them aside.
    I rinsed each piece, dried them good with paper towels, and rubbed them good with 1/2 ounce (1 TBS) per pound of belly.
    I also added between a tsp and a TBS of brown sugar with each pound of belly, after rubbing the TQ on first.
    I don't mix TQ with anything prior to rubbing the meat, because I like to be able to see that I spread the TQ evenly first.
    I then put each piece in it's own zip-lock bag (along with any TQ that fell off, because the cure was measured exactly----I never throw away any cure that falls off, because that would change the amount of cure in the package. I rub them on a dinner plate, so after I put the piece of Belly in the bag, I can scrape any that fell off into the bag, with the piece of meat it was meant to be with. )

    I squeezed the extra air out, zipped them shut, and put them in the fridge. I kept the fridge between 37˚ and 38˚.

    Calculating curing time:

    The thickest place on any of these belly pieces was just under 2".
    I calculate there being 4 "half inches" in 2 inches, so that gives me the "4".
    Then to that 4 (days), I add 2 more days for safety, the way I was taught.
    So that would be 6 days.
    I then usually add another 3 days on my own, unless I have scheduling problems that make me want to smoke a day or 2 in either direction.
    Note: I Never cure for less than 8 days.
    Every day, while curing, I remove the packages & flip them over, and massage them a bit.
    Moisture will accumulate in the packages. I leave that in, because some of it is curing juices, and at the end of the curing process, it will nearly all be gone through reabsorption.

    On day 9, I removed them from the fridge, rinsed them off in cold water, and soaked them in ice water for 1 hour, to remove surface salt. Then I patted them dry, cut a couple slices, and did a fry test for salt flavor---Just right!

    Note: You don't have to do a Fry-Test, but once you smoke it, if it's too salty, it's too late to do anything about it!!
    I never had any TQ cured Bacon that was too Salty, but I still always do a Fry-Test.
    I've never been hit by a Truck, but I still look both ways before crossing the Street!

    I dry them again with paper towels, laid them out on two smoker racks, not touching each other, sprinkled black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder on them, and put the racks in the fridge over night.

    Smoking Day
    6:45 AM--------------------Preheat my MES 40 to 130˚.
    7:00 AM--------------------Put meat in top 3 positions.
    7:30 AM--------------------Fill my AMNS with Hickory Dust, light one end, and put it on the bars to the left of the chip burner.
    7:30 AM--------------------Cut MES heat back to 120˚.
    5:00 PM--------------------Bump heat up to 130˚.
    7:00 PM--------------------After 11 1/2 hours of perfect smoke, my AMNS finally burned out.

    I killed the power, opened the door, and took some pictures.
    The 6 pieces of Bacon had internal temps that ranged from 116˚ to 123˚
    Left the door open for awhile to cool down a few degrees.
    Wrapped pieces individually with plastic wrap, and put in fridge for 39 hours.
    Two days later, I unwrapped the pieces, took pics, and began slicing.
    I only got one plateful sliced, and I realized I forgot to put in freezer for awhile before slicing.
    They were not slicing very good, because of being too soft. (I had just sharpened the blade, too)
    I put the rest in the freezer, and waited an hour and a half before starting to slice again.
    After that, I'd slice a little, and bag a little, while giving the rest time to get hard enough to slice.
    It seems two hours in the freezer works best for slicing IMO.
    Finally I got it all sliced, vacuum packed & marked.
    I kept one pack out for myself, and gave my Son a few packs to hold him over for awhile.
    Then I froze the rest.

    This was definitely a smoke that turned out Awesome!

    Note: I realize Pork fat renders at a temperature somewhere down around 90˚, but this smoke showed little, if any of that.
    When I bought the bellies, I had a total of 17 lbs, 2 oz of Belly.
    After trimming some loose fat & meat off of them, I had 16 lbs, 14 oz.
    The Belly pieces were sweating for at least the first 6 hours.
    During the 12 hour smoke, with temps ranging between 120˚ and 140˚, my MES 40 window was steamed up the whole time (water loss).
    The 6 Belly pieces were above each other, 2 pieces per rack, and there was no fat drippings on any from the ones above.
    There was also no fat drips in the water pan, on my aluminum heat blocker, or in my AMNS.
    When I removed the 6 pieces, after 12 hours of 120˚ to 140˚, the total weight was 16 lbs, 4 oz.
    So a total of 10 ounces from just under 17 pounds was lost during the smoke.
    I expected a lot more loss, and that 10 ounces must have been all water.

    Thank you all for looking, and please enjoy the Qview & BearViews,


    Two nice Fresh Bellies ($2.65 per pound):

    16 lb, 14 oz of Belly, divided into 6 pieces:

    All rubbed & bagged for curing:

    Smoking away (Note moisture loss on Window):

    Hard to see in picture, but that's the way it smoked for 11 1/2 hours---Just right:

    Bacon Finished, and AMNS completely burned out:

    Quick Taste Test------MMMMmmmm..........

    Ready for slicing, after wiping excess dry seasonings off exterior:

    First plateful of sliced Goodness:

    All Vacuum Packed, marked, and ready for freezer:

    That's All Folks !
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
    denny, idahopz, dabigbozman and 15 others like this.
  2. big twig

    big twig Smoking Fanatic

    That looks great, love the sandwich. I can't wait to start doing my own bacon! Great step by step too. I know when I am ready to do my bacon I can always just click on your signature for help. Thanks Bear!    [​IMG]
    StoneNorth likes this.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bear, the neighbor just moved out and I told him I knew of a guy that might move in ????  When can you be ready ????

    We can make arrangements for the wife and kids later. It is important that you get here NOW !!!
  4. shooter1

    shooter1 Smoking Fanatic

    Great post Bear and it looks like you got plenty of bacon for BLT's now.  I'm saving this for when I get a chance to do my own.
  5. Looks SOOOO Goood. One of these days when i feel more sure of my smoking abilities I hope to give this a try. For now I will stick to Buck board Bacon. Enjoyed this post Bear.
  6. smokin - k

    smokin - k Meat Mopper

    Holy Crap I'm hungry seeing that sammy! Great job Bear... Loved the breakdown on how long you cure the bacon. I need to start bringing my smoker to work with me. Happy Smoking, Smokin - K
  7. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great looking bacon Bear. Makes me hungry for a BLT. Question: Why didn't you just cold smoke them?
  8. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Another GREAT Bacon Post By Bear!

    I've cold smoked Bacon and also smoked up to 120° Internal

    Do you prefer one over the other?

    Notice any differences?

    Great Job My Friend!!!

    devildog 2660 likes this.
  9. sunman76

    sunman76 Master of the Pit

    thats good looking bacon you made up..

    need about 8 more slices on that breakfast sammie....lol[​IMG]
  10. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Yes sir, that is some mighty good looking bacon there!  Great post Bear.  I'm going to be doing some myself soon in my new MES 40, with my new AMNPS.  

    One question -- how do yo make square eggs?

    I need to go find an egg and bacon sammy now!
  11. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    That looks incredible!!!  Now I want to make some.  

    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  12. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    awesome bacon bear............... Tomatoes will be ready here in nc in about 1 more week....... Now I gatta pull my bacon out of the fridge and make me a bacon sandwich for lunch......

    Oh and I like your post ending

  13. tank

    tank Smoke Blower

    Looks great Bear.  I have been calling around to get some prices on bellies to try this here soon.  Thanks for a great step by step.
  14. alaskanbear

    alaskanbear Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    We gotta figure out a way to "Pig`Salmon" trade here..

    Looks scrumptous to me Bear--great work sir!!

  15. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looking very delicious!!!

  16. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    [​IMG]YOU THE MAN.Showing your mad skills.[​IMG]
  17. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    That is some good looking bacon you got there Bear...

    when will my breakfast order arrive?
  18. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Thank You BT,

    That's what they're there for.


    LOL---Thanks Dave---I gotta put up with enough rain right here!


    Thanks Shooter,

    Glad I can help!


    Thanks K !!

    LOL---Would that be a new meaning for a "Smoke Break" at work???

  19. great looking bacon. I'll be trying my first bbb and canadian in 6 more days. O nly one sammie? i need at least 2 of'em
  20. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Thanks Al !!!

    See Below,


    Thanks Todd !!

    I have smoked Belly Bacon just about every way, except for cold smoking for longer than 12 hours.

    They are ALL good, but IMO colder smoking had the least amount of flavor & color, probably because it takes a lot longer to get the smoke to adhere to a cold clammy piece of meat. It is my guess that if you cold smoke long enough, you can get the best smoked Bacon there could possibly be, but I'm not into smoking things for days.

    I talked to some butchers in my area, and they agree that a little heat allows the meat to be able to accept smoke more readily, and as long as you keep the temp down, it won't have any adverse effects. I had my heat set at 120˚ (a little higher than the temperature in Arizona right now) for almost all of the smoke, so the lowest it went was about 116˚, and the highest it spiked would have been about 140˚ (only for a few minutes). Most of the time it was between 120˚ and 126˚.

    I watched this one really closely, and if it would have started dripping any fat, I was prepared to cut the heat quickly, but it did not.

    Your AMNS and/or AMNPS made it so much easier than trying to get consistent smoke any other way, especially at such low temps!

    Thanks Todd,