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bacon not right?

vikkip

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I know the mantra is "if in doubt, throw it out" but I'd like a second opinion.

I bought a belly from the packer, it came in vacuum pack.  I usually get fresh bellies but not available that day.

I put a belly piece in to dry cure.  1.3kg total weight with skin off.

I calculated at 2.5% salt, 1.5% sugar, and 156 nitrite, and added 3.24g cure #1, 30g salt, 20g sugar.

I dry rubbed the belly piece and sealed it in a ziplock.  I've been flipping the bag daily for the past 6 days.

Unlike most times I have cured, the meat has not changed noticeably in firmness or color.  It's as if there was no cure at all.  

I sliced a thin strip off the edge and the fat is still globby, not solid feeling.  There are a few drops of creamy liquid in the bag, not brown sugar tinted brine.  Interior color is the same as exterior color, pale pinkish with brown/gray.  It does not smell like much of anything at all, good or bad.

I fried the test slice.  A little sugar and a little salt, but no bacon taste.

I am SURE that I put the cure in.  I am sure the cure is good, because I just finished 30# of smoked sausage.

Should I toss that belly, or is there a way to try to reclaim it?
 
Last edited:

tropics

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I know the mantra is "if in doubt, throw it out" but I'd like a second opinion.

I bought a belly from the packer, it came in vacuum pack.  I usually get fresh bellies but not available that day.

I put a belly piece in to dry cure.  1.3kg total weight with skin off.

I calculated at 2.5% salt, 1.5% sugar, and 156 nitrite, and added 3.24g cure #1, 30g salt, 20g sugar.

I dry rubbed the belly piece and sealed it in a ziplock.  I've been flipping the bag daily for the past 6 days.

Unlike most times I have cured, the meat has not changed noticeably in firmness or color.  It's as if there was no cure at all.  

I sliced a thin strip off the edge and the fat is still globby, not solid feeling.  There are a few drops of creamy liquid in the bag, not brown sugar tinted brine.  Interior color is the same as exterior color, pale pinkish with brown/gray.  It does not smell like much of anything at all, good or bad.

I fried the test slice.  A little sugar and a little salt, but no bacon taste.

I am SURE that I put the cure in.  I am sure the cure is good, because I just finished 30# of smoked sausage.

Should I toss that belly, or is there a way to try to reclaim it?
I don't think 6 days is long enough,I started a piece 9 days ago and have no intention of smoking it til the 18th

JMHO

Richie
 

daveomak

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I fried the test slice.  A little sugar and a little salt, but no bacon taste.

what color was the meat after the fry test ???   Did it have the pink color or was it brown like pork....
 

vikkip

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It wasn't brown like a grilled pork chop, but it wasn't richly pink like bacon...more like the section of ham that is really pale pink.
 

dirtsailor2003

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6 days just isn't enough time...
I'd have to agree with this too.

When I dry rub cure bacon I let it go 12-14 days.

Every hunk of meat is different and they will react differently to curing.

If the belly is ati in the cure and you haven't removed it, give some more time.

What's the temp of your fridge? If it's too low that can slow the curing process down.

If you're worried about it, hot smoke it and chalk it up to a learning experience.
 

vikkip

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Other than slicing off that ribbon of meat, I didn't mess with it.  

I'll give it another week.  Glad to know that I may not be crazy after all.  It just surprised me that for such a thin piece of meat that the cure would be so slow to work.
 

dirtsailor2003

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Other than slicing off that ribbon of meat, I didn't mess with it.  

I'll give it another week.  Glad to know that I may not be crazy after all.  It just surprised me that for such a thin piece of meat that the cure would be so slow to work.
How thin is thin?

The bellies we get here are 1 1/2" - 2" tops. Skin off, 12-14 days cure time.
 

vikkip

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I actually bought it because they didn't have back fat and I needed some for sausage.  I ground up a lot of the belly but left the thickest part, which was at most 1 1/4" thick.
 

vikkip

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I have brined before.  But after Thanksgiving came and left, I did not have room in the fridge for another big container. So dry curing in a bag was the selected method.
 

smokeymose

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I have brined before.  But after Thanksgiving came and left, I did not have room in the fridge for another big container. So dry curing in a bag was the selected method.
Totally understand! Every time I bring out the 2 gallon bucket I get the snake eye....

:wife:
 

vikkip

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In my defense, I had two whitetail being converted into more palatable forms at the same time.  So the fridge was pretty full!
 

vikkip

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update, bacon is in the smoker now.  It's easy to cold smoke in frigid temps.  

A test piece tasted pretty good.
 

mneeley490

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Totally understand! Every time I bring out the 2 gallon bucket I get the snake eye....

LOL! Yeah, that's why there's an extra fridge in the garage now.
 
update, bacon is in the smoker now.  It's easy to cold smoke in frigid temps.  

A test piece tasted pretty good.
Good luck! I'm sure it'll be fine.
 

vikkip

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After letting it sit snugly wrapped in the fridge overnight, I am happy to say it tasted just like bacon when sliced thin.  The salt to sugar ratio was just right, though it was a bit...not sure how to describe...unexciting.  Almost like a blank bacon canvas.

I had a heck of a time keeping a steady temp in the very low temps and gusty winds, and made the mistake of using apple with some bark on the branch cuts which left a bit of a harsh taste.  A quick rinse and scrub took that smoke scum off and improved the flavor.

It is curious that given two similarly fatty cuts, top of shoulder and belly slab, that the flavor would be so different when cured with the same cure for the same time.  And the lower part of the "Boston Butt" tastes different from rear leg ham.  It must be the density of the fat in the bacon.
 

smokeymose

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After letting it sit snugly wrapped in the fridge overnight, I am happy to say it tasted just like bacon when sliced thin.  The salt to sugar ratio was just right, though it was a bit...not sure how to describe...unexciting.  Almost like a blank bacon canvas.

I had a heck of a time keeping a steady temp in the very low temps and gusty winds, and made the mistake of using apple with some bark on the branch cuts which left a bit of a harsh taste.  A quick rinse and scrub took that smoke scum off and improved the flavor.

It is curious that given two similarly fatty cuts, top of shoulder and belly slab, that the flavor would be so different when cured with the same cure for the same time.  And the lower part of the "Boston Butt" tastes different from rear leg ham.  It must be the density of the fat in the bacon.
Some folks give it a coat of coarse black pepper after the cure. I use Pop's brine with the brown sugar plus I add a half of one of those tiny bottles of Maple flavoring to the brine.
Lots of ways to play with that blank canvas....
[emoji]9786[/emoji]️
 

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