Beef Belly Bacon: The Saga Is Complete (Pics)

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Robert that is a smiley face from heaven right there!!!!!!!

Very nice work!
Thanks so much sir!! Again, I assure you (and everybody else) that the smiley faces were a total accident. I didn't even see them for what they were until I added the pic to the thread.

Robert
 
Simply phenomenal, Robert. That bacon looks fantastic and I'll bet it tastes even better. I've only heard of beef belly on here, never seen it anywhere.
 
I seem to recall on your other beef belly thread you had no desire to try making bacon with it and was so disappointed. So glad to see you now did! Looks great and congrats on the ride!
Hmmm...I honestly don't know where this came from. The only beef belly thread I've posted was the one I smoked a couple weeks ago and in that thread I mentioned that I had some curing for bacon. Now a few years ago I tried making beef bacon out of a brisket flat that did not come out very well so perhaps that's where the confusion is coming from. Al that aside, thank you for the kind words.

Robert
 
Looks absolutely AMAZING! The perfect bacon for a beef lover like you! Awesome post!
Thanks so much Keith. This was a long time coming but OMG, this stuff is amazing. Had some on BLT's last night and even Tracy was blown away by it.

Robert
 
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Simply phenomenal, Robert. That bacon looks fantastic and I'll bet it tastes even better. I've only heard of beef belly on here, never seen it anywhere.
I very much appreciate the kind words Charles. As I've noted and several others have stated, the beef bellies are apparently a bit difficult to find unfortunately. I've no doubt that if they were readily available a lot of people here would be doing some amazing stuff with them.

Robert
 
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 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
Is there another name for that cut of meat? never heard of beef belly. Where did you find it?

HT
 
Hmmm...I honestly don't know where this came from. The only beef belly thread I've posted was the one I smoked a couple weeks ago and in that thread I mentioned that I had some curing for bacon. Now a few years ago I tried making beef bacon out of a brisket flat that did not come out very well so perhaps that's where the confusion is coming from. Al that aside, thank you for the kind words.

Robert
That's good to know. I had considered trying it with a brisket flat.
 
That's good to know. I had considered trying it with a brisket flat.
I think it was part operator error and possibly the meat I used. It was a CPB flat and of all their cuts I've had, this is the only one I'm not happy with.
I did some with a brisket flat and it was delicious.
Jake...that is great to know. you also noted the meat being very lean. I honestly thought that was my problem but apparently you had the same issue and figured out a solution. Hopefully I won't have issues getting the bellies going forward but I love knowing I can use brisket and get good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

Robert
 
Tasted alot like country ham which kinda messed with my mind but in a good way. Another option for beef bacon for those who can't find a belly is short ribs with the bones cut off. Saw the bearded butcher's do some like that and it had a nice bacon look
 
Touche! PM sent
Got it and I'll get to a reply pretty soon. Still playing catch-up and don't want to rush my reply to you and possibly miss something. Hang tight for a bit please :emoji_wink: Now I gotta go clean the pool....

Robert
 
Is there another name for that cut of meat? never heard of beef belly. Where did you find it?

Beef navel. Most of it gets made into pastrami.
Keith has one of the names it's also known by. When I opened the package it said "plate" on the shipping invoice. I'm guessing it's cut off the plate ribs (???). This was gotten from the wholesale division of Certified Piedmontese Beef where I get pretty much all of my beef these days.

Robert
 
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Keith has one of the names it's also known by. When I opened the package it said "plate" on the shipping invoice. I'm guessing it's cut off the plate ribs (???). This was gotten from the wholesale division of Certified Piedmontese Beef where I get pretty much all of my beef these days.

Robert
Thank you. See I learned something I didn't know. Good information.

HT
 
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