Beef Belly Bacon: The Saga Is Complete (Pics)

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tx smoker

Legendary Pitmaster
Original poster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Apr 14, 2013
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Lago Vista, Texas
As was mentioned in the smoked beef belly thread I posted a couple weeks ago, I'd been on a quest for beef bellies for a LONG time. The original intent was for making bacon but since I had plenty, I smoked one of them while the bacon was curing. I went about the beef bacon the same way I've done pork belly bacon for years as far as technique and flavoring. This time though I did one full belly that was pepper crusted and one that was seasoned with Jeff's Texas rub. For some reason that just seemed appropriate for a big slab of beef.

The bellies in the cryovac
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One each in a pan. For reference, these are 18 x 13 pans.
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All seasoned up and cure applied.
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Into vac seal bags to cure. Sure glad I bought that 16" Vacmaster 360 Pro that SmokinAl SmokinAl recommended. These would have never fit into a 12" vac seal machine.
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Two weeks in the cure, rinsed, and second round of seasoning applied. Now for an overnight rest in the fridge
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Into the smoker the next day. I did two 6-hour cold smoke sessions with an overnight rest between each session. Using Pitmaster Choice pellets in the 12" tube
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After 12 hours of cold smoke. They took on some nice color but not as much as I'd expected.
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Another overnight rest then onto the Rec Tec the next day. Running low temp / extreme smoke
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After about 5 hours on the Rec Tec, they definitely took on some color. The aroma is amazing.
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Once again, an overnight rest, then slice the next morning. These are the same 18 x 13 pans. This stuff is huge!!
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Texas rub
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Pepper
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A few slices of the TX into an electric skillet for breakfast. Again, for reference, that is a 16" skillet. That's probably about 3/4 pound of bacon, maybe a bit more taking into account how thick it was sliced
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All done cooking. Man this stuff looks and smells crazy good
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And my breakfast. I know...looks like I made some smiley faces with the butter but it was not planned that way :emoji_laughing:
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After all of this, if I could only make one type of bacon and had a readily available supply of this, I'd be doing exclusively beef bacon. There is just so much more flavor to the meat than pork. Before anybody asks, no, it does not taste like pastrami. Similar texture I guess but the flavor is all the way around the world different. Anybody who makes their own bacon and can lay hands on some beef belly, I'd recommend going for it!! This stuff is outstanding. A couple words to the wise though. I sliced this at 5.5 mm and probably should have done it at 5. The first batch I cooked was just a bit tough but not bad at all. The next day I did some of the pepper for breakfast and cooked it longer. That made a huge difference in the tenderness. I guess you gotta kinda treat it like a brisket :emoji_wink:

Well gonna call this one done. Just got home from TN a little while ago and got a few chores to catch up on. Y'all take care and thanks for posting all of those amazing Labor Day cooks!!

Robert
 
that bacon looks amazing!! very nice description with all your pictures!! nice job and thanks for sharing!
 
OMG!!!
That's Just Freaking Awesome, Robert!!
That's gotta taste like a Dream!
Nice Job!
Like.

Bear
 
That looks absolutely amazing! I've been waiting for this post and you did not disappoint. Thanks for sharing the detailed steps, I definitely learned something. Added to my BBQ bucket list for sure... Well done Robert :emoji_ok_hand:

-Tyler
 
Looks delicious Robert! Knew it would be a homerun! I don't mind smiling toast...as long as it's not sticking it's tongue out! Hope ya had a great trip!

Ryan
 
Good grief Robert!
That bacon looks amazing!
Question is could you have just cold smoked it longer, and did you take it to a certain IT, or just looking for the right color?
Anyway i bet it tasted amazing!!
Al
 
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