Belly Up!

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by pit 4 brains, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. pit 4 brains

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

    Ok, i got a 10+ Lb belly from my butcher today. I have done a score of BBB up to now but never a belly. Another factor i am facing is I am using cure #1 instead of TQ which has been my staple for curing. I have determined 2 1/2 teaspoons of #1, about 3 Tablespoons of raw sugar (turbinado) and a half cup of kosher salt for the whole 10 Lbs.. I'm sure about the amount of #1, the sugar doesn't matter but do I need an entire 1/2 cup of salt for a belly? This is basically running off of ryteks recipe. I saw Bearcarvers recipe but he uses TQ... I know I need a mixer for my #1 to be spread around but it just seems a bit high for me so I'm asking around before i mess up 40 bucks worth of belly.. Any thoughts?

    Also, in the book, he uses 4 Tb of #1 for a slab?? If a slab comes in at roughly 10 lbs, than it should only take 1/2 ounce of #1 which should be 1 TB if 6 tsp is an ounce.

    Am I cunfused here?
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Check with Pops on that.

    He's been doing a lot of "Salt Cutting", and IMO nobody knows more about it than he does.

    I think he wet cures his Bacons though, which is what I would do, if I was going to use cure #1, instead of TQ.

  3. pit 4 brains

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

    I was thinking of a wet cure myself since there should be so little #1 for ten lbs of meat

    Maybe I'll just run with the TQfor now.
  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    For 10 lbs bacon   4536 grams  I have

    3 oz  or  84 gr  salt

    1.6 oz  or 45.4 g  Sugar

    0.4 oz  or 11.3 g    cure 1

    You can dust with additional salt and sugar later during the cure time.  I always use a dry cure and have very good results.

  5. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Pops wet cure is very easy. You can find it in the search tool.

    You paid 40 bucks for 10 pounds of belly?

    Hope the skin is off.

    I have had great luck with Bears recipe.

    Read this>>>  
    • Pops6927
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    Just to toss a big ol' wrench right in the middle of this..... try WET curing  instead of dry curing ... mix up ½ cup to 1 cup salt, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup plain ol' sugar, 1 tbsp. pink salt, and 1 gallon of water.  Dump your meat in a bucket, cover it with brine, let it sit for 5 - 7 days in the fridge, don't flip it, don't massage it, don't examine it.. just let it sit and cure.  Make up multiple batches as necessary or partial batches to cover it in brine. Toss a ziploc gallon bag half full of water (push the air out) on top of it to weight it down first.  After it cures, dump the brine, fry test (you don't need to soak ("freshen") it either!), smoke and enjoy!

    Got two 16 lb. turkeys pickling as we speak... leave 'em alone for 6 days while we go on a cruise, no fuss no muss no flip no dredge no massage no foolin'...!  A smoker full of yum when we get home!  
  6. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'll right in tune with Al here , 85/45 salt to sugar in grams for a mild bacon, or for a store bought salty taste 100/35 salt/sugar in grams.  I like mine alttle sweet so I'll go more to the sweet side.

    As far as volume measurements I cant help ya Pete. I almost always use weight for curing
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  7. pit 4 brains

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

    Yuppers, bellies are 3.99 a lb if ya can find 'em..

    I saw that thread before and started to laugh! At first I thought Bear was telling the guy to kick his smoker over and kill himself!! LOL. I'm not starting with bacon, just #1 and bellies. I do think I'm gonna do the wet cure since I want to try using #1 and the wet brine uses it very liberally.. Thanks for the research.. I did some searching but I'm also daddy daycare today with one sick child..

    A decent scale is next on my things to aquire list! I want to get one that reads out to one ounce and one gram and has a tare feature.. any such animal? I have been huntin around the net a little but finding no results...
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  8. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Exactly---Many disagree with me, but I can't even begin to understand how anyone can evenly distribute ONE TABLESPOON of cure over 12.5 pounds of belly ( about 300 square inches).

    There would be too much here & there, and not enough at that spot & that spot.

    That's why I would only use TQ for dry curing & if I was going to use Cure #1, I would wet/brine cure, like Pops (my hero) does.

    The guys who dry cure with cure #1 are still alive, so I guess it won't kill you if you're careful---It just doesn't compute with me.

    I can't help it----when I get a common sense thing in my head, it just won't leave.

  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
  11. ol' smokey

    ol' smokey Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Notice to guys buying scales:

    Don't get one like I got----I love it, but I wish somebody would have told me about the ones that you can remove the readout part from the scale part.

    If I have something large to weigh, I have to try to balance it on the back half of the scale, so I can read the digital screen.

  13. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Mr Bear sez"If I have something large to weigh, I have to try to balance it on the back half of the scale, so I can read the digital screen.  ".

     I have a large stainless bowl that has fairly steep sides.

    Fits right on my lil ol scale and I can still see the read out.

    I was having fits about it being covered until I tried the bowl.

    A removable screen would be da bomb.

  14. pit 4 brains

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

  15. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I have never had a problem w/ dry cured bacon using #1 but you do need to weigh it out and mix w/ salt / sugar very well.

     Apply the same as you do w/ TQ . Make sure that the weighed ammt all goes on the belly. if it spills off while rubbing put it back on before wrapping or bagging for the cure time.

      Never tried wet curing . Never saw the need . Dry works fine. 
  16. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It won't kill you if you get the correct amounts.  The chemistry involved through its actions ensures proper dispersement through the reaction itself.  A whole lot of things are going on, but the key is the reaction is run away, so no matter how homogenius the dry rub, it the proper amounts are in for the weight of meat that needs cured, the reaction will complete in the alotted time frame to a total curing.  Especially during the HNO3 to to H20 NO3 break.  Which is very violent.  It also creates the charges necessary for the Ion to cause the effect called London Dispersement, which furthers the homogeninity of the rub as time takes place.

    Nothing to be worried about as long as you measure the correct amount for the meat, and mix it up well.  Settled science for years, with the USDA FSIS as well. 

    All meats are wet cured.... just depends if you start with a cure rub or a cure pickle.  But they all turn into wet cures as soon as the reaction starts.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup, that's what people do when they use Cure #1 for dry curing, and it seems to work fine for them.

    I just don't like to worry about myself not mixing it properly for one. Number two, I have never seen a recipe using cure #1 that had the importance of the "mixing very well" mentioned with the amount of emphasis that is needed. With TQ, I don't have to worry about it. It stays mixed.

    If someone mixed up a couple pounds, and put it in a bag like TQ comes in, each time they would dip into that bag would have a different percentage of cure in it, and there would be a very big difference from the top of that bag to the bottom of the bag. If someone were to mix a big batch, each time they would want to use some, they should remix the whole batch, before they remove how much they are going to use at that time.

    I realize you don't mix it & stock it, but I feel these are the kinds of things that should be said when this topic comes up.

    Thanks Eman


    Edit: The time on this post is exactly the same as on bbally's post, and I posted it before I read his post, but it still carries my opinion.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
  18. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Total curing mix with cure, salt and sugar as provided has a total weight of 140 grams or 7 tablespoons of mixture.  The three ingredients must be well combined to get an even distribution of cure.

    Do not try and distribute 1 teaspoon of cure separate from the other ingredients

    It is not correct to say that dry cured bacon is unsafe.  Just like anything we talk about on this forum if you don't know how to do something you can produce a product that is not safe.

    Most dry cure methods or at least the method I use is to wrap the bellies tightly in saran wrap for at least the first three days.  According to my research and the comments by posters familiar with the subject the majority of the cure process occurs within the first three days.  During that time period the bellies are allowed to rest in their naturally developed juices further distributing the cure, salt and sugar. 

    "For all you newbies please do not read the next paragraph"

    We dry and wet cure bacon at maximum amounts of cure as allowed by USDA  120ppm.  The minimum requirement is 40ppm.    With a wet cure some of the curing agent is retained in the brine.  With a dry cure some of the Curing agent is lost when we discard the liquid pulled from the bellies.  Neither procedure allows for 100 percent of cure absorption but both allow for considerably greater amounts of cure then the minimal 40 ppm.  Exactly how much neither I nor anyone else on this forum can answer.


    For any Newbie that did not take my advice and read the above paragraph


     Please do not change the tested recipes you have, thinking you can reduce the amount of Nitrites and Nitrates in your cure.   The amounts in the recipes are for your safety and the safety of those you share your hard work with.  The reasons a wet cure is popular and recommended by most members of this forum is because it is easier, safer and faster for people unfamiliar with curing meats.  Wet curing also produces a flavorful bacon, as you well know if you follow the recipes on this site or have ever eaten store bought bacon.  If you are not familiar with the proper handling of fresh or semi-cured meat stay with the wet cure until you are comfortable with those techniques. 

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
    bbally likes this.
  19. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good method Al!!!!
  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Al,

    I agree with all of your points, in every paragraph, as long as you're not saying that I said "dry cured Bacon is unsafe".

    I dry cure all of my cured meats with TQ. TQ is easier to keep from screwing up, when dry curing, but it doesn't mean you can't dry cure with other cures. You just have to be more careful than you have to be with TQ. Wet curing with other cures is also easier to keep from screwing up. Those few things are my main points.

    That is why I said, I dry cure with TQ & if I used cure #1, I would wet cure with it. 

    It doesn't mean that I'm saying if you do something else, you aren't being safe, unless you are doing that something else in an unsafe manner.

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011

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