Cured Belly Bacon Color Question

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by pearlheartgtr, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Hey guys!

    I picked up a couple of 4lb bellies from the local Compare Foods (the only place in my area that carries bellies) and set them to cure about a week ago. I used the Sausagemaker pre-mixed Country Ham & Bacon Cure. I didn't realize it contained the cure when I ordered it, just thought it was a seasoning rub. I ended up cutting the bellies into halves after I had to remove the rind and a few rib bones that were included and setting them up in their own bags to cure, making sure to get any and all air out of the bags before sealing. The bellies range in thickness from 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches.

    Now here's my concern. Some of the outer meat is a really dark grey--please someone tell me it's normal, please? There's no smell to speak of and when I took off an outer slice for a fry test, the meat was pinkish inside. From my own personal experience a few weeks ago, I had bought a rack of ribs to smoke and after 2 days in the fridge, I took them out and I could smell something off. And it was really bad when I made a small tear in the cellophane. There was a small dark spot about the size of a dime that was the culprit. But these bellies don't have any type of odor whatsoever. I fried up a couple of pieces the first time around and they were a little too salty, but fine. I soaked them for an hour and the next fry test was perfect. My plan was to cold smoke them tomorrow night.
  2. The meat/fat naturally turns a dull brownish/grayish color from curing,

  3. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead


    Don't expect the deeper red color until after cooking.
  4. Thanks. I was getting worried because I went through the posts with Qviews and most still had a reddish/pinkish color, maybe a light grey after curing.

    I will say again, the fry test was promising. My dad wanted me to leave one of the slabs out for him to cook up tomorrow morning and he wanted a full bacon sandwich (on my homemade challah bread) right then and there.

    I slathered on some maple syrup and brown sugar for the night and am psyched to get smoking.
  5. I just read this thread, because I was worried about the color of my curing belly. But, I think now that oxidation is most likely the cuprit and not an un-even application of the cure. I mixed the cure with the salt and sugar with a whisk, so I don't think it could get more evenly distributed than that!

    I thought I had a stroke of genius, when I put the bellys into two ziplock bags, and cut the bottom corners off, and placed them at about a 30 degree angle in a SS pan. The idea was to drain the liquid as soon as it formed. But when I looked at the bellys when flipping them, there were areas of bright red (cured color), and the rest looked darkish, leading me to believe that I didn't do something right. But, after reading, I think that the belly just oxidized a little bit from me cutting the corners off of the bag for drainage. Does everyone agree? I have since transferred the bellys into non-cut ziplocks with a sprinkling of more salt.

  6. Looks fine to me.

    I do similar, I use larger food safe plastic bags with an open end, large enough so the meat is fully covered, but the liquid drains out the end.
    It's a good idea to do so, because the meat resting in its own liquid can lead to toughening of the meat.

  7. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Speaking of Q-views...where the heck are they????
  8. Hey Martin- my bacon turned out to be MONEY!!! ill send pics...
  9. That's great!!!!!

  10. I did a belly in pops brine, brined it for 13 days, and cold smoked it last night. When I sliced it today, the "outer" meat was grayish, while the "middle" meat was pink/almost red. Did the brine/cure not make it to the middle? Is it safe to eat after an overnight at 70*?
    Last edited: May 23, 2013

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