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Discussion in 'Bacon' started by SmokinAl, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Well I have heard so much talk about Berkshire hogs that I wanted to try to get a belly for bacon. None to be had around here so I went online & ordered one from Tenderbelly.com. They are a great Company to deal with & the owner Shannon is a real stand up guy, kinda reminds me of Todd Johnson of Amazen Products. Berkshire pork products are a little pricey, but we don't eat a lot of bacon & this batch will last us a year or more. So it was worth it to me to see if it's worth the extra money. Of course if you can source one locally then it would be even better & cheaper. Anyhow this is what I started with. A 15 lb, 11 oz belly between 2" & 3" thick.

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    I used the bacon calculator to figure the salt, sugar & cure #1 amounts. Then added 1/8 cup of each, granulated garlic, granulated onion, & cracked black pepper.

    I cut the belly into 3 pieces, weighed each one & put them in vac bags & then added the proper amount of cure & spice mix to each bag, 1/2 on one side & then the other half on the other side.

    Rubbed it into the belly on the first side & flipped it over & did the same to the other side.



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    Then vacuumed them up.


    And they are ready for a trip to the fridge for 2 weeks.

    I flipped, massaged, & rotated them daily.

    We try to eat a low salt diet, so after 2 weeks I rinsed off the cure & soaked the bellies in ice water for 2 hours to leach out some of the salt. This is unnecessary if you are not concerned about your salt intake. The recipe is perfect without this step.


    Next stop is drying them off, rubbing them down with some black pepper & drying in the fridge for 3 days.



    Then into the smoker for a cold smoke with apple for 12 hours. Got some nice TBS going!



    12 hours later they have some nice color & are ready for another 3 days of drying time in the fridge.


    2 days in, starting to dry out.


    Next stop is the freezer for 3 hours to really make them easy to slice.


    I had to get the big boy slicer out for this. I had this for sale & nobody wanted it.
    But today I'm kinda glad I didn't sell it, cause it really made all this slicing easy.

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    There was a lot to slice so Judy & I took turns on the slicer.


    We divided it up into 1/2 lb. packages.

    Then vac packed them up.


    I ended up with about 14 lbs. of bacon & some scraps for soup & beans.


    Definitely got to cook some up & try it out!


    We cooked 2 trays full for BLT's for lunch & dinner.


    Judy had already made sour dough buns that were in the freezer. Perfect for BLT's.


    That what 3 weeks of work will get you.


    Got to have a homemade pickle with mine!


    Well what is my opinion of Berkshire bacon. Both Judy & I thought is was the best bacon I have made so far. The flavor is different, especially the fat. It is fattier than the bellies I usually get, but the fat is like bacon butter. I don't know any other way to describe it. It has the mouth feel of butter. Will I buy it again. Yes, absolutely!
    Next time I get a little extra money, I think that maybe I will have to try Berkshire Babybacks next. If they have that same kind of fat in them, then they ought to be fantastic!!!
    Thanks for watching guys!!

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  2. motocrash

    motocrash Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Beautiful bacon Al! Heritage breeds rule!
    jbuttimer likes this.
  3. That is awesome Al!!! That's a beautiful piece of Pork. I just put in two bellies from a Magnalista I raised. These are my first two bacons ever. I'm using the Morton tender quick method. I raised a Berkshire last year and was very happy. Just trying different breeds to see the best carcass.
  4. tropics

    tropics Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Al that is some great looking Bacon Points and it belongs on the carousel IMHO
  5. chilerelleno

    chilerelleno Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Out Freaking Standing!
    Al that has me salivating so hard it hurts, great looking bacon and the pics do it complete justice.
    Having that to convalesce on should definitely help, food for the body and soul.


    Also, I like your kitchen from what I can see, weird, man envy of another guys kitchen... LOL... Your car too.
  6. motocrash

    motocrash Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nothing wrong with that,after all besides the smoker that's where the magic happens...
  7. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Very cool.. I was wondering if that had more fat in it also. Because that's how they used to all be before the bad publicity of fat in the market for pork caused the farmer to start breeding pork to be leaner.
    They bred the fat and flavor out .
    Nice thread Al.

    Point! &
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
  8. griz400

    griz400 Master of the Pit

    Nice job on that bacon .. points to you .. now we need a Berkshire fattie .....
  9. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Beautiful Berkshire Bacon, Al !!!:)
    None of my Bacons ever had their own names.:D

    And That BLT is to Die For!!!:) Like.

  10. Braz

    Braz Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    That is gorgeous. I am going to get a couple of bellies after the holidays are over. I have a local butcher/processor that I get them from. I think I'll give Bear's "Extra Smokey" a try.

    Looks like you are cooking your bacon in the broiler. That has become my method of choice.
  11. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Two weeks work for a sandwich?? Well worth it IMO. That bacon looks DELICIOUS!!!!
    Nice job Al. You and Miss Judy are all set now.
  12. Really nice job there. Definitely treated that piggy with respect.
  13. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Made the carousel ..

  14. myownidaho

    myownidaho Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Nice job, Al! That’s some great looking bacon. The first batch of bacon I ever did was Berkshire.
  15. wellerjohn

    wellerjohn Newbie

    Awesome, look s damn fine.
  16. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks a lot fellas, your kind words & likes are much appreciated!
  17. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thank you!
  18. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Awsome bacon Al. I think you nailed it spot on. Merry Christmas.

  19. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Holy Bacons,,,, very nice,, have a belly in fridge not that I have to do.

    Merry Merry Merry Christmas,, have a great day