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Couple of Bacon Questions

rvachewlover

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Joined Jul 26, 2016
So I'm doing my second batch of bacon today. I'm using a base recipe widely available online and one I ran back in December.

3 pounds unsliced raw pork belly
3/4 cup distilled water
1/2 teaspoon Prague #1
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
4 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

I've made some modifications on it. I bought a 10lb belly and after trimming etc it came out to be 8-9lb so I figured on doing three separate types of bacon. I started the cure last Saturday and am smoking today. Expecting the belly to hit 150*. All slabs are 1-1.5 inches thick at the thickest part.

First slab is the above recipe but with more salt and less sugar (don't remember the exact measurements since it was last weekend when I started)

Second slab is 3/4 cup of water 1/2 teaspoon of Prague then a custom blend of herbs and spices.

Third slab is 3/4 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon of Prague with a traditional barbecue rub.

So the questions are as follows:

Is it alright, overall, to have deviated from the base recipe with different herbs and spices. I didn't add or subtract Prague or water (which is what I've found to be gospel online). I just changed the flavoring ingredients. I don't know if there's a certain ratio of salt to sugar or something that makes Prague work so that's the reason for the question.

The other question I have is I foolishly didn't mix the water and PP1 before putting it into the bag. I remember on one slab I just dropped the PP1 on the bacon itself. This isn't going to create an ultra-cured/dangerous spot is it?
 

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olaf

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From what I understand they will cure. You will see this when you slice it and it will taste like bacon rather than smoked pork. Were these bellies in a bag with a brine? They look as if they were dry rubbed after brining.
 

bregent

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If you are going to be making bacon, do yourself a favor and spend $10 on a gram scale. Much better to measure out ingredients by weight rather than volume, Also, I don't use any water with my dry rub bacon cure. Enough moisture is drawn out of the belly to dissolve the salts and cure.
 

rvachewlover

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Joined Jul 26, 2016
From what I understand they will cure. You will see this when you slice it and it will taste like bacon rather than smoked pork. Were these bellies in a bag with a brine? They look as if they were dry rubbed after brining.
In a bag brining for a week. Took them out, rinsed and threw a little bit more seasoning on them. Just came in off the smoker and they turned out great! Nice cured pink color and flavor. The herby seasoning is out of this world with the salt cure.
 

SmokinEdge

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Everything looks ok. The sugar is a bit high only in the sense that it will make the bacon burn in a skillet. I think over all you are fine, but I would caution on using recipes “widely found on the internet “ instead I would encourage you this way:

Apply salt, sugar, and cure #1 by percentage to meat weight. No volumetric measurements. This will make the recipe absolutely repeatable.

Example for a 3# piece of belly;
1 pound = 454 grams,,, so 454x3=1362 grams

salt, I like 1.5% so we figure 1362x0.015= 20.43g salt.

Sugar, I don’t like more than 1% so we figure, 1362 x 0.01 = 13.62g sugar.

I can run you through the long math on cure, but for 156ppm nitrite, you will apply 1.1g per pound that = 3.3g cure #1

no water is needed. Mix whatever spices you want with the salt, sugar and cure. Rub all over all sides of the belly. Place belly and all left over mixture in a ziploc bag. Refrigerate 1 day for every 1/4 inch of thickness plus 2 days. Turn belly daily. Totally repeatable bacon every time. Adjust the salt, sugar by percentage to taste.
 

olaf

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As others have stated only do dry rub and use a gram scale this will give you repeatability meaning it will always turn out the same. I had ran your recipe to see what kind of percentages you were at kind of hard to figure an average but it seemed pretty close to what I use. I got tired of this stupid basf ad continually taking over my phone so i never followed up with my recommendation of getting a gram scale, cutting the sugar a bit and going with a dry rub. Glad it turned out I won't buy grocery store bacon again. If you can cold smoke try that too.
 

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