Buckboard and Belly Bacon

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Safe food temps for a fridge are 36-42. I would advise everybody to ck it in the center of the cavity. ymmv
 
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I sliced into the BBB until I reached about the halfway point. Everything is firm and it appears as though it has uniform color throughout. I fried up a few pieces from the center cut and had them with breakfast.

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I was surprised that this tasted more like bacon than it did ham, though the texture is more along the lines of ham. Perhaps it was the thicker cuts I did with the knife. I do find the recipe salty and would scale it back. I think thinner cuts would be the way to go.

I'm also questioning the accuracy of my thermometer. While I was cleaning out the fridge to make space, I found that my sour cream has ice crystals in it. I think I'll pick up a different one today.
 
I sliced into the BBB until I reached about the halfway point. Everything is firm and it appears as though it has uniform color throughout. I fried up a few pieces from the center cut and had them with breakfast.

View attachment 685329


View attachment 685328

I was surprised that this tasted more like bacon than it did ham, though the texture is more along the lines of ham. Perhaps it was the thicker cuts I did with the knife. I do find the recipe salty and would scale it back. I think thinner cuts would be the way to go.

I'm also questioning the accuracy of my thermometer. While I was cleaning out the fridge to make space, I found that my sour cream has ice crystals in it. I think I'll pick up a different one today.
2.5% salt is definitely on the upper edge of most palettes also if you add the .25% cure #1 (93.75% salt) you end up with about 2.75% salt. Same with your 1.5% salt belly, add the cure and you are all in at 1.75% salt.
 
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Very nice cross section on your BBB. I could go for that and couple fried eggs.

Mona pulled out a small package of the bits and pieces and chopped up and put in her corn chowder for tonights supper.
Hope she makes some biscuits also, :emoji_yum: :emoji_yum:

35 lbs of belly curing in fridge... patiently Waiting.
Mental note , get new map for the Nw Iowa area, and bring cooler.

david
 
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I sliced into the BBB until I reached about the halfway point. Everything is firm and it appears as though it has uniform color throughout. I fried up a few pieces from the center cut and had them with breakfast.

View attachment 685329


View attachment 685328

I was surprised that this tasted more like bacon than it did ham, though the texture is more along the lines of ham. Perhaps it was the thicker cuts I did with the knife. I do find the recipe salty and would scale it back. I think thinner cuts would be the way to go.

I'm also questioning the accuracy of my thermometer. While I was cleaning out the fridge to make space, I found that my sour cream has ice crystals in it. I think I'll pick up a different one today.
Take detailed notes on all aspects of your curing recipe, smoke time, temperature, everything. Then you’ll be able to fine tune your process to your taste. It took me about 5 attempts to get exactly what we like for belly bacon. One daughter thinks my bacon is too salty, the other would like less smoke yet they have no problems cleaning out the freezer when thy visit. Practice and fine tuning is the key to produce what you like
 
The bacon came out pretty good. I cut a few strips off and fried it up for lunch. The bacon is almost too long to fit into my pan. I got 5 packs from the belly and they came out to really close to 375g per. I did a partial freeze before running them through the slicer.

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Sure glad I did these yesterday. I went to bed without so much as a single snow flake on the ground and able to wear a light sweater outside. I woke up to winter.

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2.5% salt is definitely on the upper edge of most palettes also if you add the .25% cure #1 (93.75% salt) you end up with about 2.75% salt. Same with your 1.5% salt belly, add the cure and you are all in at 1.75% salt.

I used the DiggingDogFarm cure calculator which I believe gives you an "All-in" salt number rather than adding cure on top of salt. I do know that I won't be doing 2.5% again. In fact, I may even drop it down to 1.25%

Everything has been sliced, put into vac-packs and is in the freezer now. The packs are portioned out to what the family can consume in one sitting.

Take detailed notes on all aspects of your curing recipe, smoke time, temperature, everything. Then you’ll be able to fine tune your process to your taste. It took me about 5 attempts to get exactly what we like for belly bacon. One daughter thinks my bacon is too salty, the other would like less smoke yet they have no problems cleaning out the freezer when thy visit. Practice and fine tuning is the key to produce what you like

I'll definitely be making notes on these and changing things up a tad. The belly bacon came out really good, though I'd like to try a different wood. I see others mentioned cherry and pecan as alternate smoke. I'm currently using a bag of competition blend since that's all I had available - oh the joys of small town life. Wife and I are happy on the overall smoke level though.

Other than that, I think I'll also trim the belly a tad. There's a few packs that have a very big fat end that I could have used in sausage rather than leaving grease in the pan.

Very nice cross section on your BBB. I could go for that and couple fried eggs.

Mona pulled out a small package of the bits and pieces and chopped up and put in her corn chowder for tonights supper.
Hope she makes some biscuits also, :emoji_yum: :emoji_yum:


Mental note , get new map for the Nw Iowa area, and bring cooler.

david

Thanks! We're making beef stew tonight and we usually chop up some bacon to throw in it. Now that I have bacon ends on hand, we've thrown some of them in instead.
 
Nice round. Every batch is a learning experience. As Murray Murray suggested I keep detailed notes on every cure, sausage, or major smoke. The only thing I don't keep records is my bread baking. Haven't gotten to a recipe I like.
...
I used the DiggingDogFarm cure calculator which I believe gives you an "All-in" salt number rather than adding cure on top of salt. I do know that I won't be doing 2.5% again. In fact, I may even drop it down to 1.25%
...
Be aware that dropping the sodium below 1.75% significantly reduces the nitrite uptake.
I cure at 1% total sodium. I triple the cure time.
 
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“Other than that, I think I'll also trim the belly a tad. There's a few packs that have a very big fat end that I could have used in sausage rather than leaving grease in the pan.“

Some suggestions for the fatty pieces other than sausage.

After slicing I’ll separate the really fatty pieces and cut them into bacon bits and depending upon time fry them up as ready to use or freeze them raw to fry up later.

Cut the fatty pieces into chunks and use when frying fish. Render the fat down in a frying pan and add fish, better than butter!

Adding larger pieces of homemade bacon to beans takes beans to another level.

I only cold smoke bacon, we like it more than hot smoked bacon(personal tastes) but I would think my suggestions would hold true for hot smoked bacon.

Anywhere you would use salt pork I substitute homemade bacon.

Remember that jar of bacon fat that your Mom/Grandmother always had in the fridge that people in the medical field said it was bad for you, they never had homemade bacon fat.

The possibilities are endless
 
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I had a 1/3rd of a belly to deal with after I did my initial batch in the first post. Now that the cold snap has passed and we're sitting at WELL above normal temperatures. I figured that I may as well take a second kick at the can with the remaining belly.

This time I used:
  • 1.5% Kosher Salt
  • .25% Cure #1
  • 1% brown sugar
  • TOTAL salt (including cure #1) = 1.75%
I was a tad worried that this would be a bit too salty for me and the family since the last batch was decent. To counter balance it all, I added an extra .25% sugar to the recipe I've seen posted here a number of times.

I also changed up the smoke process. I picked up a bag of Vermont Castings Cherrywood pellets to see how it would be compared to the Traeger Competition Blend that I used before. Rather than use the Traeger, I pulled out my Bradley and bought a smoke tray.

I gave the belly three hours of smoke starting at 120f then ramping up to 140f. After the three hours was up, I put the belly into the oven set to 170f and cooked until it hit an IT of 132f.

Cool to the touch and vacuum pack to sit in the fridge overnight. This afternoon I put it in the freezer to solidify it a bit, then sliced it.

After 7 days vacuum packed with the cure, put into my fridge with fridge temps set to hold 4c (36ish-f). Quick rinse, then on a rack with fans to help speed up the drying process.

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Firing up the pellets.

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Preheating the Bradley and letting the smoke tray do it's thing.

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3 hours of smoke later I pulled the belly and put it in the oven. Pulled at 132f.

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A rest in the fridge, quick partial freeze and slice. Thickness on my slicer set to 4, though I couldn't tell you if that's in mm or just a random setting. It is a thicker bacon.

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Since it was lunch time anyways, I couldn't resist cooking some up and having a BLT.

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My wife said that it had a noticeable smoke flavor and really liked it. My son initially said he wasn't hungry, but then changed his mind after he got a sniff! He really liked the bacon too. Although my wife feels it could be a bit less salty, she's happy with it overall. I thought it was perfect the way it was.

Now I need to pick up some more bellies since this stuff isn't going to last.
 
I had a 1/3rd of a belly to deal with after I did my initial batch in the first post. Now that the cold snap has passed and we're sitting at WELL above normal temperatures. I figured that I may as well take a second kick at the can with the remaining belly.

This time I used:
  • 1.5% Kosher Salt
  • .25% Cure #1
  • 1% brown sugar
  • TOTAL salt (including cure #1) = 1.75%
I was a tad worried that this would be a bit too salty for me and the family since the last batch was decent. To counter balance it all, I added an extra .25% sugar to the recipe I've seen posted here a number of times.

I also changed up the smoke process. I picked up a bag of Vermont Castings Cherrywood pellets to see how it would be compared to the Traeger Competition Blend that I used before. Rather than use the Traeger, I pulled out my Bradley and bought a smoke tray.

I gave the belly three hours of smoke starting at 120f then ramping up to 140f. After the three hours was up, I put the belly into the oven set to 170f and cooked until it hit an IT of 132f.

Cool to the touch and vacuum pack to sit in the fridge overnight. This afternoon I put it in the freezer to solidify it a bit, then sliced it.

After 7 days vacuum packed with the cure, put into my fridge with fridge temps set to hold 4c (36ish-f). Quick rinse, then on a rack with fans to help speed up the drying process.

View attachment 687380

Firing up the pellets.

View attachment 687381

Preheating the Bradley and letting the smoke tray do it's thing.

View attachment 687382

3 hours of smoke later I pulled the belly and put it in the oven. Pulled at 132f.

View attachment 687383

A rest in the fridge, quick partial freeze and slice. Thickness on my slicer set to 4, though I couldn't tell you if that's in mm or just a random setting. It is a thicker bacon.

View attachment 687384

Since it was lunch time anyways, I couldn't resist cooking some up and having a BLT.

View attachment 687385

My wife said that it had a noticeable smoke flavor and really liked it. My son initially said he wasn't hungry, but then changed his mind after he got a sniff! He really liked the bacon too. Although my wife feels it could be a bit less salty, she's happy with it overall. I thought it was perfect the way it was.

Now I need to pick up some more bellies since this stuff isn't going to last.
Nice work, looks fantastic.
Without the calculator, you can reduce the salt to around 1% then add the .25% cure #1, all in at 1.25%

Just once though, I’d like you to make the 1.5% salt with .25% cure with .75-1.0% sugar and let it go for 14 days. I lie not, those extra 7 days will level that salt, it will balance and you will be impressed, time, extra time is a very key ingredient. Try it just one time.

At 7 days I get the hit of salt, but at 14 days I get a wonderful savory flavor. To be fair, I cure with a dusting of granulated garlic and white pepper, but that has no effect on salt flavor. Go longer, and see how the product changes, I think you will like it.
 
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I'll give it a shot when I pick up some more bellies SmokinEdge SmokinEdge . Wife won a $500 Costco gift card a while back so I have a few bucks to spend. I also have my fridge temps dialed in a bit better so why not.

Are you suggesting a 14 day cure time with 1.5% salt all in, or 1.75% salt all in?
 
Are you suggesting a 14 day cure time with 1.5% salt all in, or 1.75% salt all in?
Either. Now that you have tried both of those, I really think it will benefit you to take either or both for 14 days, it make a very big flavor difference. No down side other than the wait.
 
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