doesn't feel/look right...

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by simple, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. simple

    simple Smoke Blower

    I've not done enough bacon to have a "gut feeling" for it yet.  Only 1 10lb belly cut into 2 or 3 lb chunks to practice on, just in case...

    Still, my gut tells me this chunk isn't right.  It looks different than the others--the color and the fine lines of marbling, for lack of a better word, just don't look "right". And it feels different in the slicer--almost gristly as it goes through.  It doesn't fall the same, it doesn't flex the same.  The further I got to the middle of the chunk, the more pronounced the difference became. I have a sneaky suspicion that it didn't cure all the way through, but no experience to back that up.  Maybe it's just different because it came from further down the belly?  While I didn't check the temp before slicing, it should be pretty much the same as the others I've done.  Used the same process.

    Here's a pic or two--notice the fine lines of fat running through the lean portion.  I haven't come across that with the others.  And look at the difference in color of the lean sections of the same piece.  Does this appear to back up my concern, or have I just been struck with a case of the nervous nellies?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I realize none of you are clairvoyant, but I'm hoping there's enough experience floating around  that someone can help me out.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Fl
    It looks ok to me.

    Looks like some sort of tissue in the fat there..have had that myself.

    Pops will be here soon and tell ya whats happening..

      Dont worry..

      Craig

    update!!

    Here's a pic of some I sliced a few weeks ago.

    You will notice some of the same kind of thing you are talking about over to the left.

    We have been eating it steady...no problems..

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  3. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    It does not look like normal Bacon to me.
     
  4. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    My first few bellies I smoked were like that more meat less fat different part of the belly, no complaints from me except my final outcome, my learning curve. The last couple I bought were more like cheap store bought in looks but not in flavor. 

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  5. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    az
    are you cutting it against the grain?
     
  6. simple

    simple Smoke Blower

    Heck if I know[​IMG].   Against the grain or across it?  The way I cut it seemed logical at the time, but anything's possible.  I don't think I sliced it all, just tossed it all back into the freezer.  I'll pull it out in the morning and check it out. I had already fried/tried some of another chunk, so I didn't want to try any of this until I knew the other was OK.  I'll fry a bit of this tomorrow and see if has creates any ill effects...
     
  7. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    az
    try cutting it the the other way and see if it looks any better......
     
  8. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    We all have to figger these things out.

    In this case it will taste great either way!

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Let us know how it tastes.
     
  10. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Has it been under refrigeration the entire time?  Did you use a reliable cure mix, apply it properly in the manner described in the recipe?   If you did what you where supposed to do and from the looks of it you did, I don't think you will have a problem.  Fry up a slice and do a taste test.  If you decide not to eat it give me a pm and I will send you my mailing address  [​IMG]

    Speaking of slicing I normally slice with the grain?  up and down as it hangs on the pig.  I do this because I believe I get a better ratio of fat to meat.  Anybody do it the other way?  Are we in agreement that up and down is with the grain?

    Al
     
  11. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    az
    al, this would be against the grain...

    [​IMG]

    this looks like it is with the grain, see the striations or "threads" of meat running from left to right.....

    [​IMG]
     
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree with Al.

    If you used the right amount of whichever cure, and cured for long enough, it should be fine, no matter how it looks or feels.

    It would help if we had some pics of the slices you took for the fry test, to see if it was cured to center, but if you did the right things, it should be fine.

    As for direction of slicing, I heard that mentioned a longtime ago, and I was worried about it, so I took a piece & sliced it from a few different sides, and they didn't have a noticeable difference "To Me". Since that I slice my pieces for size & appearance. I'm not saying there isn't a difference---I'm saying there isn't a big enough difference for me to be concerned.

    Bear
     
  13. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It will have the same flavor but I got to agree with Rob I think you need to turn the meat 90 degrees and slice it. Looks good in the pics, color wise
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011
  14. simple

    simple Smoke Blower

    Thanks for all the replies.  This is where this interweb thingy is so useful.  It's amazing the amount of knowledge floating around the ether.

    I was concerned it hadn't cured right and was leery of even frying up a couple pieces to test.  I appreciate that most of you agree it "looks right", so I'll give it a try, hopefully later today, or tomorrow morning. Have other things I need to get finished.

    Found out this morning I've finally found a job after being unemployed since April.  Only pays about 1/2 of what I was making, and not enough to survive on, but the benefits are great and start after 60 days instead of 90, so that's a huge thing.  My wife has MS, and we have to have insurance to survive.  We were just approved as a charity case by one of her med mfrs., so that's $4200 a month off our mind.  Still, I keep a job for the insurance as much as for the income. Once I know what shift I'll end up with, I'll try to pick up a second job to make ends meet.  Out here, a lot of places won't even talk to you if you're unemployed.  It's totally ridiculous.  At least now maybe I can at least get an interview.   

    Anyway, I have a painting projects started in a couple of rooms (oh joy. It never ends...) I need to get finished, so that probably ought to take precedence over bacon.    They may not, but they should...
     
  15. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes, you are just slicing it with the grain vs. across the grain.  Won't hurt a thing, just be a llttle chewier.  Turn it 90 degrees and slice the rest of it up and you'll be fine.  Sorry about your wife's difficulties, have had similiar with me and the wife too - two strokes and two cancers.
     
  16. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Chef Rob  +1 with what you are saying,  I have some chunks of bacon in the freezer that need slicing,  I will be more attentive to the grain when I slice it.  As I said previously I slice up and down as as it would hang on the pig.  Pretty sure after looking at my rock hard abs and comparing to a pig the muscle runs from rooter to tooter on the pig so across the grain would be up and down.  Never really paid any attention to the grain of belly because I try for a good fat/meat distribution

    never seen a pig do situps
     
  17. simple

    simple Smoke Blower

    Well, I fried some up this morning.  Smelled right when I unwrapped it.  Smelled right when it was cooking, but it shrunk quite a bit more than my other chunks have done. Could slicing it the "wrong way" make a difference on the way it cooks up. Tasted right. Looked like it crisped up okay, but was a bit chewier than I expected.  Again, is this a function of slicing/grain correlation?

    Guess we'll see how it stays down...
     
  18. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★


    Bear, I've never made belly bacon only BBB, ( can't get bellies around here ) but I can tell the difference with the way it's cut.

    If I slice it across the grain it's much less chewy, and if I use a piece of butt with a lot of the fat cap it tastes more like belly bacon.

    I guess with bellies it doesn't make that much difference how it's cut.

    Hopefully one day I can get some bellies & make "real" bacon.
     
  19. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    That's why you slice meat against the grain, isn't as stringy or chewy.  Never had chewy bacon unless I slice it too thick or don't cook it long enough.  I like my bacon very crisp.   An it does shrink when you cook the fat out.
     
  20. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    You mean I got it right. [​IMG]
     

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