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First attempt at pork belly

moresmoke

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22 pound belly $1.69 a pound and apparently that's cheap from what I've looked at online. Cured 8 days and now drying in fridge.
 
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akdutchguy

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That's a great price. 8 days doesn't seem like enough. Those look like they should have gone closer to 14. What process did you use?
Jason.
 

worktogthr

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You are probably correct, good thing it's cheap! If that's the case have I wasted my entire belly?
The experts will be along soon but I am pretty sure it's salvageable if you hot smoke it at 225 or higher and get it to at least 145-150 degrees. It would be like cooking any non cured piece of pork. Just might not taste as bacony! Don't take my word for it though as their are experts on here that can help you out with curing dos and donts. PM @Pops6927 or chef jimmyj chef jimmyj and they will give you great advice
 

pc farmer

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The cure amount is double the amount also.

0ne teaspoon per 5 lb of cure #1.
 

SmokinAl

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Actually the cure amount is more than tripled, so with that amount of cure, I'm sure it's fully cured.

You might want to cut one of the slabs in half to see if the cure got to the center.

I don't think 3 times as much cure is a toxic level, but you should check with Chef Jimmy J.

I'll PM him & he will respond to this when he comes on. 

I teaspoon per 5 lbs. & 14 days cure time is what most of us do.

Al
 

chef jimmyj

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That is a lot of Cure for Bacon, 1tsp per 5Lb is more than enough, but it is not Toxic amounts and a lot will dissipate when cooked. On the Cure Time a common guideline is 7 days per Inch thick. You may be shy with the thickest pieces but no safety issue as any dangerous bacteria are Only on the surface and that is definitely Cured. Worst case, you have a thin strip of Gray meat in the center instead of all pink when cooked...JJ
 

wade

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As has been said above, the outside will certainly be well cured and, given the amount of bacon that you have produced, you will probably be freezing some of it anyway - so even if the cure has not fully reached the centre after the initial curing period it will be fine.

Unless you cut it very soon after it has been removed from the cure I am not sure that you will actually see any grey meat in the centre as the cure will continue to diffuse from the outside to the middle over the resting time too. Though if you do see it, as JJ says, do not worry too much about it - though if it is there I would not store it for any length of time after it had been sliced - treat it as if it were fresh.

The bacon looks good so far
. I may have been tempted to trim of some of that fat though (there seems to be rather a lot) for later use in sausages.
 

daveomak

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Morning...  Those bellies are awesome.....   Somewhere I found an article that noted...  Sugar molecules are much larger than salt molecules and take much longer to penetrate to the center of the meat...  I find curing my bellies like 14 ish days...  no bags, just laying on the racks in the refer...  and I use plastic screen between the slabs...  the kind you get in the sewing section of W-M....

 

wade

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Some nice meat on those slabs Dave. 

A quick question regarding the racks - When you are using them does the liquid that is drawn out of the meat during the curing period drain off the bellies and away?  If so do you collect it and redistribute any dissolved salt/cure that is in it back over the meat?
 

moresmoke

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They were cured in large ziplock bags and flipped everyday. When I took them out after curing and rinsed them, I threw the liquid away with the bags.
 

daveomak

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Some nice meat on those slabs Dave. 

A quick question regarding the racks - When you are using them does the liquid that is drawn out of the meat during the curing period drain off the bellies and away?  If so do you collect it and redistribute any dissolved salt/cure that is in it back over the meat?
The most liquid I've seen, that has seeped out of the meat is 1 Tbs...  That's from 30# + of bellies...    Most of the liquid evaporates from the dehydration properties of a refer...   That intensifies the pork flavor...   Dry aging type thing...   2 weeks in the refer...   rinse, dry, pellicle and cold smoke.....  back in the refer for at least 1 more week to dry and age and let the smoke distribute throughout the meat...

The bellies I buy are not enhanced...  some bellies for sale are enhanced...  more liquid would be noticed with enhanced bellies...
 

wade

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Thanks Moresmoke. My question was actually directed at Dave - I did not make that clear, sorry

The way you did it is the same as me and it works well. If you get as much air out of the bags as possible then more of the produced brine stays in contact with the meat. I actually vac pack mine which keeps the brine and meat in intimate contact.
 

daveomak

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They were cured in large ziplock bags and flipped everyday. When I took them out after curing and rinsed them, I threw the liquid away with the bags.
That's the way to do it...    some meats will re-absorb the liquid over time..  some don't...    pitch it after the curing process is complete.....
 

wade

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The most liquid I've seen, that has seeped out of the meat is 1 Tbs...  That's from 30# + of bellies...    Most of the liquid evaporates from the dehydration properties of a refer...   That intensifies the pork flavor...   Dry aging type thing...   2 weeks in the refer...   rinse, dry, pellicle and cold smoke.....  back in the refer for at least 1 more week to dry and age and let the smoke distribute throughout the meat...

The bellies I buy are not enhanced...  some bellies for sale are enhanced...  more liquid would be noticed with enhanced bellies...
That makes sense Dave - I have never thought about trying that as I just assumed that significant brine would be lost. I will give it a go 
 
 
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dirtsailor2003

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That should be some tasty bacon! Are you going to cold smoke it or hot smoke it? What type of wood are you going to use?
 

moresmoke

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I'm torn on the cold or hot. I've read so much my brain is fried. I'm leaning to warm smoking at 170 and get internal to 155. I have six slabs off that one belly and want to do 2 with maple wood, 2 hickory, and 2 apple/cherry.
 

wade

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Why not hot and cold smoke one of each?
 

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