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Bought my first pork belly - bacon time.

stlmyke

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I was at my local butcher today and asked what he had that would be fun and he asked if I ever made bacon. My answer was no but I do love me some bacon. He told me that he had 4 bellies that he was getting ready to make some bacon with but would sell me one If I wanted to try. Of course I did. So I bought a 12.6 lb belly from him and brought it home. $3.99/lb didn't seem bad as this was going to be fresh bacon. 

Ive read about pops brine on here many times so that is what I shall do. So many great reviews It has to be good and make me no longer want store bought bacon again.

Trying to track down cure #1 locally is being a pain in the rump. Amazon has some but it says Prague powder and im not sure if this is correct.

I will be doing an entire qview with my new bellie so I want to make sure I do it right. Any help would be greatly appreciated.



 
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woodcutter

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Prague powder or Insta-cure as long as it is cure #1. LEM sells it in small amounts or check Cabelas of Bass Pro shops. Looks like a nice thick belly from here!
 

pc farmer

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Looks like a great belly to start with.

I can only find thin bellys here and I pay 3.59 a lb for them
 

stlmyke

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also how big of pieces do people usually cut up to put into the brine?
 

daveomak

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also how big of pieces do people usually cut up to put into the brine?
I trim the belly.... all the edges maybe 1/2 - 3/4"... cut the belly into rectangular pieces to fit my small smoker better... usually 9 1/2" X 4-6".... 9 1/2" fits my meat slicer.... 4-6" for fitting in the brining tub.......

Bellies I put in the brine/cure 5 days ago
......... click on pics to enlarge......

Crafts doo-hickeys.... I use them as spacers so the brine/cure surrounds the meat.... then I lift each layer
every day to circulate the brine.... I use a long meat fork and gently lift each layer.....

The odd trimmings, I marinate in a Chinese Char Siu mix.... then I have Chinese BBQ pork tid-bits....


Everyone has their own process.... some cure and smoke skin on in one whole belly piece... We made cracklins with the hide 4 days ago but they have been eaten.... and I didn't take any pics...

edit after I saw Kevin's post.......

OH YEAH....... The there is Kevin's way.... :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
 
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diesel

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 also how big of pieces do people usually cut up to put into the brine?
How big is your bucket?  If you don't have to cut it then don't.  I usually just cut mine in half.  They fit pretty good that way.  Good luck on your adventure in bacon curing.  Like you said in your thread starter, you won't want store bought again.

Aaron.
 

daveomak

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also how big of pieces do people usually cut up to put into the brine?

Leave it whole until you get ready to slice for the freezer. You'll get more bacon that way.
LOL.......

OK...... tell me...... If I have a 14# belly, how much more bacon can I get if I leave it whole ??? vs cutting into hunks.... and I want to see the math..... :yahoo:
 

Bearcarver

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also how big of pieces do people usually cut up to put into the brine?
I usually cut my bellies into 3 pieces each so they're easier to handle, but also because I Dry Cure, and that size fits in my gallon size ziplock bags just right.

I don't square the pieces until it's time to slice, because that way I get a bunch of good smoky Bacon Ends to heat up & gnaw on!!!

Bear
 

java

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I just did 2 bellies with pops brine and they came out good.

I am going to tweek it a little to make it mine, but it is an excellent start.

I just cut my bellies into 3 pieces each, but that was just what I thought would make 

for easy slicing and what fit good in the bucket.

You will love home made bacon, and if you can keep getting good bellies like you got

it is all the much better.
 

mneeley490

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It seems to me that if the butcher was making bacon himself, he should have had some cure #1 he could have sold you. I get mine from respectable dealers on ebay. Much cheaper than anywhere else I've found, and you can buy in quantity. I cut mine in half to fit the square bucket I use, and it makes them easier to handle.
 

foamheart

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LOL.......

OK...... tell me...... If I have a 14# belly, how much more bacon can I get if I leave it whole ??? vs cutting into hunks.... and I want to see the math.....
Since I brine cure, I throw it all in the bucket, then if you need to cut for the smoker you can if you like. But I found when I (and I have) cut them into what I think are proper sized pieces I tend to try and square 'em up so they slice pretty. If I'd waited till afterward I don't have bits and pieces.

This is smoked cured


This is the bacon


This is the trim


If I pre-trimmed, A lot of the above scraps and trim would have not been cured or smoked hence I would have lost bacon.

That's what I was meaning....
 
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stlmyke

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It seems to me that if the butcher was making bacon himself, he should have had some cure #1 he could have sold you. I get mine from respectable dealers on ebay. Much cheaper than anywhere else I've found, and you can buy in quantity. I cut mine in half to fit the square bucket I use, and it makes them easier to handle.
Yeah he just didn't want to sell me any, I think he was running low and waiting on shipment.
 

Bearcarver

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If I pre-trimmed, A lot of the above scraps and trim would have not been cured or smoked hence I would have lost bacon.

That's what I was meaning....
 Pretty smart for a youngster!!


Bear
 

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