Belly Bacon question

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by sawyerrt10, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. sawyerrt10

    sawyerrt10 Smoke Blower

    Just picked up about 17 lbs of Pork Belly to make some bacon. I got the curing process down, but I have a few questions.

    If I don't want to cure it all at the same time, can I freeze the pork belly and cure it later?

    If I cure it all now and don't have the capability to smoke it all right now, can I freeze the cured (but not smoked) bacon?

    Thanks in advance for all ya'lls help!
     
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    I honestly don't know about curing it then freezing and smoking later but I do know you can cut it and freeze part of it before curing and later take that piece and cure it with no problem when I get bellies they are already frozen.
     
  3. sawyerrt10

    sawyerrt10 Smoke Blower

    Thanks Piney! That's the answer I needed! I got it all cut up into 8 managable (little over 2 lbs per piece) and vacuum sealed. Will probably freeze half and make half.
     
  4. The butcher where I buy my bellies will cut it in half and vacuum seal one half. I freeze that one and cure the other half. I only do a couple slabs at once, each about 2-3 lbs each.
     
  5. I find it easier to buy the bellies in bulk (cheaper) and only cure what I can put in the smoker. Then I freeze the uncured bellies for when I need to replenish.

    So along with what everyone else is saying...yes you can freeze and cure at a later time.
     
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would do like Jerry says to. Freeze and then defrost and cure and smoke.
     
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup,
    I just did that a few weeks ago:
    I had to pick up a belly that I had ordered. I didn't feel good, and was worried I might not be able to smoke it after curing. I cut the belly into 3 pieces & froze them. When I felt better, I thawed the pieces & cured & smoked them. Everything came out great.

    I don't know about freezing after curing. That's why I didn't take the chance. Seems like nobody else does either.

    Bearcarver
     
  8. sawyerrt10

    sawyerrt10 Smoke Blower

    Well 8 lbs curing and 9 lbs frozen for later. pictures to follow in about 10 days!
     
  9. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes, you can freeze after curing; unthaw and smoke or unthaw and use as-is.
    There's 3 stages to a belly. 1st is fresh belly, also known as sidepork; it can be sliced and eaten just like that; frozen and thawed, etc.
    2nd stage is cured. Now it's salt pork. Cured, salted pork belly. It can be sliced, fried, put into beans and stews, frozen and thawed, etc.
    3rd stage is bacon; sidepork that is cured as salt pork then smoked as bacon. It again can be cut and fried, baked, etc., frozen and thawed.

    What you don't want to do is to let it sit out of refrigeration and build up bacteria or sit in refrigeration and build up bacteria, just like any other meat. Use it, freeze it or lose it and keep it below 40° F. If you sit on it at any stage and it builds up bacteria (we're talking days, not hours), gets slimy or moldy and then freeze it; when it thaws it's just going to keep advancing as soon as it gets above freezing and the bacteria can keep growing again and it will be spoiled.
    But, freezing bellies when fresh in any stage is ok to do.
     
  10. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    az
    good info.......i have not done bacon yet and have wondered about the transition through the different products.
     
  11. sawyerrt10

    sawyerrt10 Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the info!
     
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks a lot Pops !
    That's exactly what I (and others) wanted to know.

    Here's to you------->[​IMG]

    Bearcarver
     
  13. sawyerrt10

    sawyerrt10 Smoke Blower

    ok, so its been a few days past ten, but finally had a chance to smoke the 8 lbs of bacon that I had curing. Did a test fry about two days ago and it was perfect! No need to soak. Here are the before before and after pics. Will post some sliced pictures tomorrow probably.

    Before


    After
     
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That looks perfect, and nothing beats Perfect Bacon!

    Points to you------>[​IMG]

    Any pics after slicing ?

    Bearcarver
     

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