Cold smoked my first bacon

  • 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.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

rwlanthier

Newbie
Original poster
Jan 14, 2017
10
11
After two years of research and countless hours of reading post and forums on this an other websites, I finally built a smokehouse dedicated to the cold smoking of meats, and find the process amazing.  Of course, we now use modern curing salts (sodium nitrates), but when you realize that our forefathers used potassium nitrate (saltpeter) and the same was an active ingredient in the manufacturing of their gunpowder, the process becomes even clearer.  Since we built a sizeable smokehouse, we opted to cure 40 lbs. of bellies, utilizing a combination of Kosher salt, brown sugar, black pepper, and Curing Salt 1 as recommended.  We skinned the bellies, kept the skins for cracklins, and weighed out each belly, marking their weight.  After calculating that the total sum of the cure for a 5 lb. belly was 200 grams, then calculated that 40 grams per lb. of belly was required.  Each belly was weighed and the appropriate weight of cure was applied and the bellies were placed in large ziplock bags.  Turned over bellies each day in dedicated fridge, for ten days, then rinsed and air dried.  Placed in the smokehouse, using pecan as it is native to Louisiana, and smoked bellies for 6 hours.  Immediately placed in ice to cool down and then hand sliced the next day.  Results were amazing and the flavor and smell when cooking. Wow!  Now can't think of eating store bought, thinly sliced, pieces of fat. 

Have a second batch of bacon and two hams curing in preparation for second smoke, in addition to making 10 lbs of Cajun smoked sausage, and this has turned out to be a great get together for friends.
 
Sounds like a great smoke.

Sure would like to see some photo's of that smokehouse in action!

Al
 
 
After two years of research and countless hours of reading post and forums on this an other websites, I finally built a smokehouse dedicated to the cold smoking of meats, and find the process amazing.  Of course, we now use modern curing salts (sodium nitrates), but when you realize that our forefathers used potassium nitrate (saltpeter) and the same was an active ingredient in the manufacturing of their gunpowder, the process becomes even clearer.  Since we built a sizeable smokehouse, we opted to cure 40 lbs. of bellies, utilizing a combination of Kosher salt, brown sugar, black pepper, and Curing Salt 1 as recommended.  We skinned the bellies, kept the skins for cracklins, and weighed out each belly, marking their weight. 

After calculating that the total sum of the cure for a 5 lb. belly was 200 grams, then calculated that 40 grams per lb. of belly was required.  Each belly was weighed and the appropriate weight of cure was applied and the bellies were placed in large ziplock bags.  

Turned over bellies each day in dedicated fridge, for ten days, then rinsed and air dried.  Placed in the smokehouse, using pecan as it is native to Louisiana, and smoked bellies for 6 hours.  Immediately placed in ice to cool down and then hand sliced the next day.  Results were amazing and the flavor and smell when cooking. Wow!  Now can't think of eating store bought, thinly sliced, pieces of fat. 

Have a second batch of bacon and two hams curing in preparation for second smoke, in addition to making 10 lbs of Cajun smoked sausage, and this has turned out to be a great get together for friends.
RW, morning....  Glad you dove into the art of cold smoking...    Would mind outlining what proportions of each you put into your "Cure Mix"....  Your 40 grams per pound seems a little high, but it all depends on each ingredient...  

Just checking from a food safety standpoint...     "Anal about food safety" Dave...
 
Dave, the 40 grams per pound is the total sum of the Kosher salt, black pepper, brown sugar, and the curing salts.  Proportionally correct by scale.
 
Hello berefood.  The recipe we use for the dry cure, based on five pounds of pork bellies is:

1 tablespoon black pepper

1/2 cup Kosher Salt

1/2 cup Brown Sugar (Dark cane)

1 teaspoon Curing Salt #1

When you weigh it out, it weighs precisely 200 grams, so 40 grams of dry rub total to lb. of pork belly.

Skin the pork bellies and save the skin.  Great pork skins during smoking process

Weigh the bellies and apply the 40 grams of cure mixture per lb. of belly.  I usually skin all my bellies first and then weigh, thus knowing precisely how much total cure to prepare in advance.

Place the bellies in large ziplock bags.  I use the storage bag type so I can put two bellies per bag.

Cure for at least 7 days, though I prefer 10 days in fridge.  We actually bought a used fridge for just this purpose.  Turn over daily and those bellies will transform.  On 10 day, take out of bags, rinse under cold water, and then place back in fridge on top of used bags to air dry overnight, then allow them to dry to room temperature before smoking.  We usually hang in smokehouse for 2-3 hours before applying smoke.

Light the smoker, invite some friends and smoke for 6-8 hours.  We are using pecan as it is native to Louisiana.  While smoking the meat fire up the cracklin pot and render down those skins.  Take them out, place in fridge and let them cool, while you heat the grease to 400 F.  Drop a handful at a time and fry til they float.  Eat cracklin and drink beer while bacon smokes.

Slice and eat.  Will make you turn up your nose at store bought bacon.
 
at 48 tsp. per Cup....  that's 24 tsp. of sugar and 24 tsp. of salt per 1/2 cup  ....   Salt is best weighed because of different densities, due to the processing differences...

Salt additions should be weighed to have consistency between types of salt

Salt Type ..........................................Weight of 1/4 cup (grams

Morton’s Table Salt..................................... 76.0   6.3 grams / tsp.       76 / 12 = 6.3 
Morton Pickling Salt.................................... 74.0   6.2
La Baleine Coarse Sea Salt.........................66.8   5.6
La Baleine Fine Sea Salt............................ 64.8    5.4
Morton’s Kosher Salt.................................. 62.0    5.2
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt..................... 45.2    3.8
Maldon Sea Salt......................................... 33.2    2.8

Depending on the salt, you have from 5.4% salt to 4% salt... based on the 2 Kosher salts listed above... 

FWIW, some of us old farts use considerably less salt than that...   I stick with around 1.8% salt and 1% sugar...  

My numbers would convert to ~41 grams salt per 5#'s of meat...  or ~1/4 Cup of Diamond Crystal...

I'm not picking on your method or quantities...   I'm doing this conversion for others that want to consider lowering the salt content in their bacon..  they may need this conversion... 

Most every recipe on this forum is adjusted for personal preference...   I'm sure folks tweak my recipes...  
 
Last edited:
I like to rinse the belly...  have it a little damp...  apply the rub/cure and rub it in good... then refer...
 
This forum is awesome.  It's amazing what a great food science this really is.  Wonder how long it took our forefathers to come to these conclusions on cold smoking meats.  When I decided to dive off into this as a hobby, I dedicated myself to keeping a journal, detailing all the different rubs, woods, smoking times etc.  In addition, the successes and challenges.  I wonder what my grandchildren will think when they read this in 20-30 years.
 
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Hot Threads

Clicky