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Can I freeze bacon in mid cure?

Discussion in 'Hot Smoked Bacon' started by westtnbum, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. westtnbum

    westtnbum Newbie


    I started 11# of BB bacon on 13th using some Hi Mountain cure. I just found out today that I have to go out of town on the 24th of this month. I was set to take the bacon out of cure on the 25th to wash and put in the fridge to rest a day before smoking. I have the butt cut into 6 slabs about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, I vacuum sealed them in with the cure on them. Since we have to leave a couple days before they are supposed to be finished can I freeze them and smoke them when I get back in two weeks?

  2. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This sounds like an excellent question for bbally.  If you are pressed for time you might want to pm him.

    Good luck and good smoking!
  3. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    There was a similar question a few months back, but I don't remember what the consensus was.

    I agree---Good question for bbally. You can PM him, if he doesn't swoop in soon to save the day.

    He's definitely my go-to guy on one like this!

  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I am going to bet BBally's advice will be to go ahead and freeze the BB with the cure still on it and sealed in the vaccu packs.  Below 36 degees  the cures slow down to the point of halting

  5. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What Al said. Curing will stop at freezing temps. When you get back home. take the meat out of the freezer, let it thaw out and you should be good to smoke.
  6. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    If you are only going to be gone for a couple of days I would leave it in the cure and allow for a little more time soaking in plain water to remove the saltiness. I would not stop the cure this close to the end if it were me  
  7. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Danny said he'll be gone for 2 weeks.

    I would like to agree with Al & AK1, but I'm not a scientist like bbally. For all I know that cure being in the freezer, could dissipate, and not protect it during the low temp smoking process. This is just a dumb guess, but that's what we have to do when we have no idea.

    I would ask bbally.

  8. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I got the information I posted from the Marianski book so I feel pretty good about it being correct. I have also read the same thing while reading about cures on some other sites.  That is why we cure at temps above 40 degrees (in the fridge) not the freezer.   Depending on when you pull the bacon and put it in the freezer will determine how long to let it rest in the fridge after removing it from the freezer.  I would freeze then when you are ready to finish, remove from the freezer and  continue the cure time for the missed days.  I would add a day or two to the cure time to make up for the defrost time.  An extra day or so in cure time will not hurt the product.  Keeping the bacon in the vacu pack will also help with the texture of the bacon.

    Good luck,  you shouldn't have any problems

    To bad you don't have someone that can just throw it in the freezer when finished curing

  9. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Thanks Al,

    You're probably right, I didn't know you got that from a book.

    I don't cure my meat over 40˚ though.

    I do it between 36˚ and 38˚---My fridge holds 36˚ to 38˚ perfectly the way I have it set, and I keep an ET-73 in it (24/7), to keep an eye on it.

    My books say under 34˚ will not cure properly, and over 40 could spoil.

    If any of my fridges go to 40˚ for more than a few minutes, panic sets in.  [​IMG]

  10. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Freeze it.  Thaw and finish as normal.

    The meat is actually cooked in the first few days of curing, the rest is just salt and spice equallibrium taking place.
  11. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    I don't put thermos in my fridge when curing.  36 is the temp the cures slow down.  They continue to work it's just that as they get closer to and below freezing liquids don't work very well and the cure is not transported through the meat.    I don't think my fridge is much below 40 degrees but it probably close to 37 or 38. 

    I should probably restate the over 40 degree remark.  Most recipes I read recommend between 35 and 42 degrees when using Cure 1.  If using Cure 2 you can cure at higher temps (even room temps) if recommended by the recipe.  Thanks for catching that Bear

    I've learned not to guess when speaking about cures.  There is a good bit of flexibility built into cure procedures and concentrations but the closer you stay to recommended procedures the better.  I figure the little mistakes I make are not a big problem if I am well inside the guidelines. 

  12. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    No problemo Al,

    I know about the cure #2 temps being higher, but i caught this because hearing or reading the word "Bacon" makes all my senses more alert.

    Different books say different things. Rytek Kutas says 38˚ to 40˚ most places, and 35˚ to 40˚ at one place. some say 34˚ to 40˚, like I learned on this forum.

    That's where I got 36˚ to 38˚---Dead center of 34˚ to 40˚. Mine is on 37˚ about 90% of the time, straying to 36˚ or 38˚ the other 10%.

    I think over a year ago, I used a Hi Mt cure, and it had a temp over 40˚ in their instructions.

    That was the only one I ever saw like that.

    I was already used to 36˚ to 38˚, so I asked the Pros on this forum if I should follow the Hi Mt temp, or the 36˚ to 38˚ that I learned here & elsewhere.

    They all said to stay between 34˚ and 40˚.

    BTW: Thanks Bob (bbally).

    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011