• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Buckboard bacon

617Smoker

Newbie
12
2
Joined Oct 4, 2020
I’m looking for info. about how to safely cure a deboned shoulder to make buckboard bacon. I’ve made two batches of belly bacon using a dry rub, and my understanding is that a dry rub won’t penetrate anything thicker than a belly -1.5” or so. Will a brine cure anything thicker? Is there another reason to bribe cure? One method I saw had a rolled and tied shoulder brined for two weeks and it certainly looked cured all the way through, or would it be safer to cure it unrolled and so thinner? I’ll be hot smoking this to 145 or so after the cure. Thanks on advance-first time posting on this great forum.
 

tx smoker

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
4,057
4,834
Joined Apr 14, 2013
 

617Smoker

Newbie
12
2
Joined Oct 4, 2020
Thank you!
 

SmokinAl

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
46,290
7,279
Joined Jun 22, 2009
I usually cut the butt in half & use the side with the fat cap for BBB. Since it is going to be rather thick, I like to use Pops brine. I inject the brine into the butt and get as much in there as possible. Then put it in a 2 1/2 gallon zip lock bag for a couple of weeks. Rinse it off & let it dry out in the fridge for a couple of days then cold smoke it for 10-12 hours. Then into the fridge for a couple of more days & then into the freezer for a couple of hours to firm it up. Then slice it & vac pack it in 8 oz servings & into the freezer.
Al
 

olaf

Fire Starter
47
52
Joined Sep 4, 2017
I’m looking for info. about how to safely cure a deboned shoulder to make buckboard bacon. I’ve made two batches of belly bacon using a dry rub, and my understanding is that a dry rub won’t penetrate anything thicker than a belly -1.5” or so. Will a brine cure anything thicker? Is there another reason to bribe cure? One method I saw had a rolled and tied shoulder brined for two weeks and it certainly looked cured all the way through, or would it be safer to cure it unrolled and so thinner? I’ll be hot smoking this to 145 or so after the cure. Thanks on advance-first time posting on this great forum.
I've had no problems but my thickest was maybe 2 1/4 in. I currently have 17 lbs curing. I'll go 10 days for the cure are you able to bisect it?
 

Bearcarver

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
39,083
11,678
Joined Sep 12, 2009
I’m looking for info. about how to safely cure a deboned shoulder to make buckboard bacon. I’ve made two batches of belly bacon using a dry rub, and my understanding is that a dry rub won’t penetrate anything thicker than a belly -1.5” or so. Will a brine cure anything thicker? Is there another reason to bribe cure? One method I saw had a rolled and tied shoulder brined for two weeks and it certainly looked cured all the way through, or would it be safer to cure it unrolled and so thinner? I’ll be hot smoking this to 145 or so after the cure. Thanks on advance-first time posting on this great forum.

I Dry Cure anything with TQ, up to 3" thick, without injecting.
Here's two I've done in the Past:
Buckboard Bacon (Step by Step) Oct 10, 2017
Buckboard Bacon (Step by Step) Nov 4, 2018

Bear
 

617Smoker

Newbie
12
2
Joined Oct 4, 2020
I've had no problems but my thickest was maybe 2 1/4 in. I currently have 17 lbs curing. I'll go 10 days for the cure are you able to bisect it?
I haven’t bought it yet. I can always trim it to 2” or so I figure but was not sure if that was necessary with a brine. The video I saw on YouTube where the guy rolled and tied it does not seem like a good idea.
 

617Smoker

Newbie
12
2
Joined Oct 4, 2020
So the first try at buckboard bacon did not go well -- 6 days in and the meat was rotting. I went back to try and troubleshoot. The short version, i think the recipe I used didn't call for enough cure mix. Long version: I used the basic dry cure recipe in the book "Charcuterie, the Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing" by Ruhlman and Poleyn. It calls for 50g of the mix for every 2.25kg of meat. I made a mix per the book's ratios that resulted in this: 90g salt, 45g sugar and 10g Prague Powder#1. Using the ratio of 50g-per-225kg of meat, I used, for example, 24.7g of mix for a 1,122gram cut of pork belly. When I did the math after the fact, it's well short of the 0.25% Prague-Powder-to-meat-weight ratio that is generally called for, and also short on the salt.
I did not use Bearcarver Bearcarver 's mix only because I had the pink curing salt on hand, not TQ, and am regretting it all now.
I also just picked up a thermometer for the fridge, and it's right around 40 degrees -- a smidge higher on the shelf above where the pork was curing, so I am shifting the fridge colder, too.
Going forward, I am going to weigh out the salt, sugar and curing salt for each piece of meat, using 2-2.5%salt, half that of sugar and 0.25% curing salt.
If anyone here has any other thoughts about what may have gone wrong, please share. Someone learning from my experience may be the only good thing that comes from 3kg of rotting pork butt!
One other question for the experienced folks on this -- I am wondering if the irregular shape of the pork butt would require a greater volume of cure than a belly, because it has more surface area? I know you don't want to increase the ratio of nitrite, but would a mix with the same amount of nitrite with more salt to ensure every speck of the meat was covered?
 

Bearcarver

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
39,083
11,678
Joined Sep 12, 2009
617,
With TQ, I go by weight for determining how much TQ to use for each piece.
If it's thicker than 3", I cut it down in 2 or more pieces, and cure them separately.
I go by Thickness for how long to cure, Not Shape. I measure the thickest point of the Meat & use that for my calculation.
All of this is in any of my Buckboard Bacon Step by Steps in my Index.
See the Links I posted in post #6.

Bear
 

617Smoker

Newbie
12
2
Joined Oct 4, 2020
6 617Smoker - I use a bacon curing calculator, posted link below, makes it really easy. I sometimes leave mine curing for 24 days and it doesnt matter if everything is measured precisely.

Thanks for the link. I only used the book because it was on paper and I didn't want to have to use a computer or calculator with dirty hands. I would have thought the book would have been more careful with its instructions.
 

olaf

Fire Starter
47
52
Joined Sep 4, 2017
So the first try at buckboard bacon did not go well -- 6 days in and the meat was rotting. I went back to try and troubleshoot. The short version, i think the recipe I used didn't call for enough cure mix. Long version: I used the basic dry cure recipe in the book "Charcuterie, the Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing" by Ruhlman and Poleyn. It calls for 50g of the mix for every 2.25kg of meat. I made a mix per the book's ratios that resulted in this: 90g salt, 45g sugar and 10g Prague Powder#1. Using the ratio of 50g-per-225kg of meat, I used, for example, 24.7g of mix for a 1,122gram cut of pork belly. When I did the math after the fact, it's well short of the 0.25% Prague-Powder-to-meat-weight ratio that is generally called for, and also short on the salt.
I did not use Bearcarver Bearcarver 's mix only because I had the pink curing salt on hand, not TQ, and am regretting it all now.
I also just picked up a thermometer for the fridge, and it's right around 40 degrees -- a smidge higher on the shelf above where the pork was curing, so I am shifting the fridge colder, too.
Going forward, I am going to weigh out the salt, sugar and curing salt for each piece of meat, using 2-2.5%salt, half that of sugar and 0.25% curing salt.
If anyone here has any other thoughts about what may have gone wrong, please share. Someone learning from my experience may be the only good thing that comes from 3kg of rotting pork butt!
One other question for the experienced folks on this -- I am wondering if the irregular shape of the pork butt would require a greater
I would use the cure calculator that has been referenced I have always used my own own calculator made up on an excel spreadsheet and I use a lower nitrite level than even the European standards and have no problem curing my pork butt. Don't pre make a mix and then measure from it because it may not be perfectly mixed. Weigh out each ingredient for each piece of meat separately, throughly mix, rub then ziploc.
 
Last edited:

617Smoker

Newbie
12
2
Joined Oct 4, 2020
I started the makeup round with two butts I bought from Costco 13.68 lb at $1.99/lb. They were already deboned, but I wound up cutting one butt into two pieces, and sort of butterflying the second, bigger piece, and cutting the second, larger butt into three pieces. One piece is still a bit thick -- about 3" thick, but we'll just see how it goes.
I mixed up the cures a bit.
Piece 1: maple brine from amazing ribs website, subbed half maple sugar for half the brown sugar called for (plus half-cup maple syrup)
Pieces 2-3: plain dry cure, 2.5 percent salt, 1% white sugar, .025% Prague #1 -- used diggingdogfarm diggingdogfarm 's calculator -- plus some black pepper
Piece 4: same as 2-3 except subbed maple sugar for the white sugar -- added a tiny bit more to up the sweetness
Piece 5: the cure as above, using brown sugar instead of white, then on top of that some shake of a spicy/savory rub; chipotle powder, black pepper, onion and garlic powder, coriander and mustard powder.
All in the fridge for a week. I think the brine is supposed to come out sooner but I'll figure it out after tonight -- a lot of work!
Thanks to all on this great forum - I learned a ton!

Getting ready
IMG_3959.jpg

Several pieces with the basic bacon cure -- Morton's kosher salt, white sugar and Prague powder#1, plus some black pepper.
IMG_3960.jpg

With the maple sugar -- this got kind of liquid-y soon after applying.
IMG_3962.jpg

The spice rub -- also the thickest piece. Little worried about this one.
IMG_3966.jpg

Each piece in a gallon bag and ready for a week or so in the fridge. We'll see how it goes!
IMG_3970.jpg
 

Bearcarver

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
39,083
11,678
Joined Sep 12, 2009
Looks Great for a start!
I use TQ, but if you have the right amount of Cure #1, that 3" thick piece should be fine, as long as you give it enough time to get to center.
I Dry cure up to 3" thick all the time.
Be Back for the Tasty Shots!!
Like.

Bear
 

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.