Bacon Fail

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by 8x57, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. 8x57

    8x57 Newbie

    I smoked 10 lbs. of bacon this weekend and it came out completely inedible, tasted like it has been in a house fire. This is the first time that I cold smoke something.

    Hot smoking sausage in the same setup works great.

    I am wondering if there is something wrong with my design or if it just needs more ventilation?

    Finished bacon, looks good, tasted terrible.

    Smoke Hollow smoker with Mailbox mod.

    This is where the smoke enters the smoker, it was clean when I started, this is after only 9 hours with Traeger apple pellets in the AMAZEN.

    Any ideas? 
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like you didn't get a Pellicle before smoking.


    Put it in the smoker @ about 130° without smoke for 2 hours before smoking.


    Put it in front of a fan for a couple hours before smoking.

    Or put it in the fridge uncovered over night before smoking.

    The surface needs to be Dry & tacky (Pellicle) before it gets smoke, or you could get what you got.

    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  3. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did you give it a rest before tasting it?

    I rest mine for a week before slicing.
  4. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Further to Bear's suggestions, I put my bacon on a rack and dry it with a paper towel. I let it sit for 15 minutes and dry it again. I keep doing that until the surface is totally dry. It can take up to an hour as I soak my bacon to remove surface salt.

    When I do this, I get better smoke flavour in my bacon.

    I also agree with c farmer. Resting the bacon helps flavours blend through the bacon although I don't go for a week, it sure wouldn't hurt to let it sit that long.

  5. smokinal

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

    I let it sit in the fridge uncovered for 4 days before smoking ( I cold smoke ).

    Then back in the fridge uncovered for 4 days after smoking.

    Then slice.

  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    These are all good things to do, however the lack of pellicle is more than likely 8X57s reason for house fire tasting, inedible Bacon.

  7. 8x57

    8x57 Newbie

    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    I let the bacon dry in the fridge for 48 hrs. before smoking so I don't think that is the problem.

    Tomorrow it has rested for a week after the smoke so I will give it another try but if it tastes like my fridge smells it goes in the garbage [​IMG]

    Do you think the vent is enough on the smoker? I currently has three half inch holes at the top?

    I have already started curing another 10lbs. for further experimentation.
  8. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The Traeger pellets may be your problem. My feeling is that they're just not designed for cold smoking. I have a big bag of them that I've stopped using for the very same reason. At first I was content with the results because I'd never cold smoked before and was just stoked that my homemade smoke tube did the job. But I was never terribly happy with the results. I chalked it up to me not letting the food rest long enough, or just not being familiar with the way real smoked food should taste. Then I decided that was a load of crap and the food did, in fact, taste bad. Not only was it like licking an ashtray, there was a solvent, almost lighter fluid flavor. Then I did a little research, read the bag, and discovered these aren't actually apple wood at all. They're "base wood", which depending where they're manufactured can be anything from oak to ash to recycled shipping pallets. Then they have a flavor oil sprayed on. YUM!!! Now in the smokers for which these things are intended, this isn't as much of a problem since the pellets are being completely burned at a higher temp and the volatile oils in the "flavor oil" are burned off. But in a cold smoker, the combustion is nowhere complete and all that nasty stuff in whatever the base wood is, as well as the flavor oil, goes right on your food. I further convinced myself by loading my tube with real pecan chips. The difference was night and day. The food had a delicious smoke flavor without any of the nastiness. To be fair, I haven't tried any 100% hardwood pellets as it's been quite a while since I cold smoked, but this fall I'm going to do some more bacon and cheese and feel quite confident that good pellets will lead to good smoke.

    Long story short, lose the Traeger pellets and get some 100% flavor wood pellets from Todd Johnson on here or another reputable vendor and you'll achieve much better results.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    X1000!!! Traeger Pellets are not nor were they ever designed for Cold Smoking! You can cook some Burgers over a Hot Pine Campfire but try using Pine to cold smoke and the result tastes like turpentine...JJ
  10. I've only made bacon twice before, so take that for what it is worth. Both times I went right from the brine to a rinse to the smoker. I was loosely following Meatheads bacon recipe. He mentioned the drying time wasn't necessary, so I didnt do it. I don't know enough about it to know otherwise, but the stuff I made tasted great. I have only used Lumberjack pellets in pecan in a amazing tube smoker. I've been out of belly bacon and will definitely try some new techniques as soon as Costco has it again. I sliced and wrapped mine after a day in the fridge, so "mellowing" the smoke may not be an issue. As a side note, when I cold smoke cheese, it tastes worse than an ashtray's backside until it mellows out for a few weeks, the longer the better. Maybe certain woods need more mellowing than others.

    EDIT: Now that I think about, I have a buddy who smokes cheeses and used to use Traeger pellets. He always hated his smoked cheese, described it just as the OP did. I think these guys are right.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  11. 8x57

    8x57 Newbie

    I'll give Todd's pellets a try on the next smoke, just have to wait for the bacon to cure.
  12. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You might want to clean out that mailbox and smoke tube before you send good smoke through it.

    This was a great post and I learned a lot. I don't use Traeger pellets myself, but now I have the knowledge to let someone else know if need be.
  13. 8x57

    8x57 Newbie

    I have smoked over 50 lbs of sausage with the same Traeger apple pellets and those were absolutely great, so I am not sure that the pellets are 100% to blame for the "house fire" bacon.

    I will try Amazen pellets and report back.
  14. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good idea!
  15. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have stopped using Traeger pellets for anything. I have switched to Myron Mixon and I have better burns with better smoke flavour from my pellet smoker. I have used them in my tube smoker in a pinch and they are ok but 100% hardwood is way better.
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This thread is getting interesting.

    Of the things you mentioned, the only one to my knowledge that could have caused the bad taste would have been a lack of pellicle.

    However I never tried "Traeger" Pellets. All I ever use are Pellets from Todd at "Amazing-Smoker".

    I'll be interested to find out what you come up with after your testing.

  17. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Pellets may be part of the problem, the lack of air flow is an issue. Cold smoking requires good air flow to keep the smoke moving through the smoker. (3) 1/2" exhaust holes is not enough. It may work for hot smokes as the heat will create a draft and move the smoke through. When I cold smoke I have all my vents open. The top vent has a total of 5.5" of exhaust, and the lower vents (intakes) have a total of 6".

    I'll second Todds pellets. The cob pellets for bacon are the bomb!
  18. 8x57

    8x57 Newbie

    I have no problem opening up the vent holes. You are saying 5,5 square inch right? Not 5,5" diameter?
  19. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How exactly would a lack of pellicle alter the flavor of the smoke? It's been my experience that the pellicle does aid somewhat in smoke absorption, but I can't honestly see how a lack of dried protein on the surface of the meat would make the smoke taste bad. I'm not being argumentative, I just don't understand.
  20. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes square inches.

Share This Page