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First Bacon Attempt Advice

acd4476

Smoke Blower
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Joined Sep 9, 2010
So I'm going to try my first attempt at brining a pork belly to make some bacon this Friday. Before I make the leap I'd like some advice/preferences.  I plan to use pops brine as I just got my prague powder and his brine method seems the most fool proof.  

1.) Do you use the full strength (1c of salt/sugars) or lo-salt (1/2c of salt/sugars)?  

2.)  What are the best spices other additives to make this bacon the best?

3.)  Do you heat your brine to make sure everything is dissolved or mix everything using cold water?  I know if I heat I should let it cool, likely overnight in the fridge, as to not start cooking the meat.

4.)  I plan to let it go 14 days.  Do you rinse your belly or straight to the smoker?

5.)  Hot or cold smoke?  If hot, what temp?  I know to take it to 146.  

Thanks everyone!
 

fullsmoke

Smoking Fanatic
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You need to soak it in fresh water for 2 hours to pull some salt out of it at least that's what I do I smoke mine for one hour no smoke at 140 then start smoke and temp at 200 until IT is 150 . I use a dry cure for 10 days on Bellys and I do Canadian bacon for 5 days
 

SmokinAl

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So I'm going to try my first attempt at brining a pork belly to make some bacon this Friday. Before I make the leap I'd like some advice/preferences.  I plan to use pops brine as I just got my prague powder and his brine method seems the most fool proof.  

1.) Do you use the full strength (1c of salt/sugars) or lo-salt (1/2c of salt/sugars)?  I use 1 cup

2.)  What are the best spices other additives to make this bacon the best? I like to add 1/4 cup each, granulated garlic, granulated onion, & black pepper.

3.)  Do you heat your brine to make sure everything is dissolved or mix everything using cold water?  I mix it in a blender cold. I know if I heat I should let it cool, likely overnight in the fridge, as to not start cooking the meat.

4.)  I plan to let it go 14 days.  Do you rinse your belly or straight to the smoker? Cut a small piece off after rinsing it & fry it. If it's too salty soak it for a couple of hours, then do the fry test again. Then put it on a cooling rack in the fridge uncovered for a couple of days. Then smoke it. 

5.)  Hot or cold smoke?  If hot, what temp?  I know to take it to 146.  I always cold smoke my bacon. I think it has better flavor & texture. For me 10-12 hours is plenty of smoke. 

Thanks everyone!
I used to brine my bacon, but switched to the dry cure method. I think the bacon comes out much better.

Here is a thread I did not long ago. It's really not that hard to do.

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/...-grandson-so-i-made-bacon-steps-q-view-galore

If you use this cure calculator & have a good scale it's really simple.

http://diggingdogfarm.com/page2.html
 

chef jimmyj

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I use Pops Brine at 1/2C Morton Kosher (1/4C Fine table or Sea salt)/Gallon and 1C Brown Sugar...No Soak needed as the Salt/Sweet is perfect for my crew. I do Rinse. I too am a 10-12 hour Cold (Ambient) Smoke guy. An option, heat a Qt of water to dissolve the Salt/Sugar and draw flavor out of the spices. Go simple as Al suggested. Add 3QT COLD water then the 1T of Cure at the end. Add the Belly and Refer for 2 weeks. Dry the Cured Belly in front of a Fan for an hour or so, to form a Pellicle and Smoke. There is No Need to get Cured Belly Bacon to any IT, unless you like to eat it right out of the Refer with no further cooking...JJ 
 
Last edited:

bena

Meat Mopper
183
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Joined Jan 4, 2016
All the suggestions are by experienced /knowledgeable members.  There is a section on bacon that you can review under cold smoking/ that I would encourage you to spend some time researching.   From that research you will have the directions to make a great slab of bacon.    You will just have to decide on which method you want to try first since you will most likely want to make more immediately! ;-).
 

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