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Featured First Attempt At Bacon

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by GaryHibbert, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    First Attempt At Bacon

    Well, the weather is nice and cool and, because of the wet weather I’m not working, so I decided it was time to dive into the freezer and thaw out half a belly from our pig. It’s BACON TIME!!


    After thawing the belly I cut it into 4 manageable pieces that would fit nicely into the MES 30.


    I weighed each piece (total 7 lbs 13.5 oz.) so I could calculate and weigh out the proper amount of Tender Quick for each—1/2 oz. of TQ per pound of meat. After laughing at me for years for taking pictures of the food I was smoking, Miss Linda snapped this one while I was carefully weighing out the TQ grain by grain—I actually had to put my reading glasses on to read the scale.


    Placing each piece on its own plate, I spread the TQ on the meat and rubbed it in evenly. I then added 1 Tbsp of dark brown sugar per pound, rubbed it in, and added fresh cracked black pepper and garlic powder to the top.


    With Miss Linda’s help, I bagged each piece in a large Ziploc, and scraped any remaining TQ from the plate into the bag with the meat. The bags were then sealed, leaving enough air inside to make it easy to massage the soon to form liquid back into each piece daily.


    Then it was into the fridge. The thickest part of any piece was about 3 inches. Using Bearcarver’s formula of 1 day for each ½ inch of thickness and then adding 2 extra days, the belly needed remain in the fridge for at least 8 days to ensure the TQ penetrates all the way through. As it turned out, work interfered and the meat sat in the fridge for a total of 16 days.

    On Oct 29 I removed the belly from the fridge, rinsed each piece thoroughly, and soaked them in ice water for one hour. A one slice fry test reassured me it was good to go. I patted each piece dry with paper towels and put them on racks to dry. Three hours with a fan blowing on them formed a nice pellicle on the meat, and it was time to start smoking.

    I filled 3 rows of my AMNPS with hickory pellets and lit one end. While I let the pellets burn for 10 minutes, I plugged the MES 30 Gen 1 into my Auber PID and set the temp for 100* F. (I always set to 100* as it seems to give me the best convection for cold smoking). While the MES was warming up, I put the meat on the two top racks. By this time the AMNPS was smoking nicely, so it went into the “mailbox”. Eleven hours later, the last of the pellets went up in smoke.

    I brought the 4 pieces of belly (actually bacon by now) inside and wrapped each piece individually in plastic wrap. Then it was back in the fridge for a day and a half.


    Halloween afternoon I retrieved the bacon from the fridge. Both it and the fridge smelled fantastic!!! I put the 4 pieces into the freezer for 2 hours (I tried 3 hours when I did the back bacon, but that was a bit too long). Then it was time for my El-Cheapo meat slicer to go to work. I removed the plastic wrap and in no time at all the bacon was sliced and ready to package. Since I wanted thick cut bacon, I had set the slicer to ¼ inch. Each of the 4 pieces sliced up differently—some with lots of meat, and some with little meat and lots of fat.


    After weighing out bacon into one pound piles, I vac-sealed them and they went into the freezer—all except 1 pound that was earmarked for supper that night. I ended up with 6½ bags for the freezer, one ½ pound bag of ends to be used the next time I make some of those delicious GaryS beans, and one ½ pound bag of fat to be rendered down and formed into a brick for the Chickadees this winter—lucky birds.

    The bad news is that 4 bags go to our daughter and 1 bag goes to my neighbor, leaving me 1 for supper and a half pound bag in the freezer. The good news is—I still have half a belly for next time.

    That night I fried up the pound of bacon I hadn’t frozen—12 slices to the pound. You had to be there to believe the fantastic aroma that filled the house when I started frying the bacon. It was unbelievable!!


    Supper that night was bacon, fried potatoes and onions, and sunny side eggs spiced up with garlic and some of my smoked paprika. IT WAS FANTASTIC!!!!!! Miss Linda just couldn’t believe how much better the bacon was than anything you can buy in a store. We’re both hooked now.


    The only change I’ll make next time will be to soak the bacon for an extra hour before smoking. It was just the tiniest bit too salty.

    Thanks for looking.

  2. pc farmer

    pc farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Beautiful bacon Gary. Love the thick bellies.
  3. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Did i read it right? First time bacon? What have you been eating all this time? Store bacon?

    Bacon and dinner look awesome. Beginers luck! Kidding...it only gets easier.

    If it came out salty why don't you try cure#1 since it allows you control of the salt.
  4. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Out of the park! Looks amazing!

    Wood Chunk Chick likes this.
  5. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I don't believe that was a first time looking Perfect.Gary you nailed that one big time. POINTS
    Wood Chunk Chick likes this.
  6. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Adam, and thanks for the Point.
    This belly came from the 300 pound pig we butchered.
    Wood Chunk Chick likes this.
  7. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks. Ha--probably was beginners luck. But it is amazingly easy--just takes time.
    I used TQ because I don't have an extra fridge to store a bucket of brine in.
  8. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Tom, and thanks for the Point.
    Still can't believe how good it tastes.
  9. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Richie, and thanks for the Point.
    After eating just one meal of it, there's no question I'll be making more. And next time maybe I'll get to keep a little more of it. LOL
  10. Phil Chart

    Phil Chart Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Looks awesome. You nailed it good write up and pics too
    fivetricks likes this.
  11. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks Great, Gary!!
    So does the rest of the plate!
    Fried Taters look just like the ones we make.

    That extra salt flavor could have been the 16 days in cure.
    At 3" Thick I would have cured it for 10 or 11 days, not 8.

    About time we got you to make some Bacon!

  12. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Homemade will always be better my friend. Always. And if it isn't, don't post it till you make one better, right? ;)
  13. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Master of the Pit

    That bacon looks freak'n fantastic Gary. Really nice job on it. It looks like Ms Linda caught you with a little grin starting.
    Nice write up and even better results.

    Point for sure.
  14. SmokinAl

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

    Fantastic looking bacon Gary!
    Your hooked now!
    No more store bought bacon for you!
    That meal is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!!
    Great work & congrats on making the carousel!!
  15. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Master of the Pit Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Awesome looking bacon there guy in fact I like the whole meal. Bear has already said what I was thinking the long stay in the fridge may have been your salty problem.

  16. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Gary , that is awesome . Perfect color on those . I use TQ on mine also , but you can use cure 1 in a dry cure .
    Great job !
  17. ab canuck

    ab canuck Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That is some beautiful looking bacon Gary. Great job. Points...
    Congrats on the carousel ride.
  18. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Phil. I'm really happy with how it turned out.
  19. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks John, and thanks for the Point.
    Good thinking about the extra time in cure making it saltier than normal. Apparently I need a refresher course in basic math so I can tell how many halfs there are in 3" LOL
  20. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Chris and thanks for the Point.
    Yeah, I was starting to grin at the thought of her starting to take pics now.
    Winterrider likes this.