First Bacon Attempt wIth BB

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AngleAway

Newbie
Original poster
Aug 17, 2022
8
6
Hey Guys,

I’ve been reading around this forum for a while and have been inspired by all of your amazing posts and information to embark on a bacon adventure. Also helped that my local Kroger had butts on sale at 0.97/lb! Been smoking and cooking for quite some time, but am just beginning curing meats.

Based on information I’ve read here, I decided to use the following for my first attempt:
0.25 cure #1,l
2% kosher salt
1% brown sugar

I deboned the butt and weighed each piece, then made separate cure batches.
Mixed the cure batches in a shakers, hit both sides of the meat, added to vac bag, sealed (no vac), and they’re now down for a long nap. I’m planning on a 12-14 day cure then a ~24
Hr dry in fridge for pellicle formation.

I have a few questions after my first prep:

1) Cure loss to board/gloves. Does it matter? I definitely lost a little cure on my prep gloves and I’m sure a bit on the board after flipping the pieces. Is this enough to matter or am I per thinking? I just see that the amount of cure #1 is tiny and wonder if a bit of loss is problematic.

2) Should I vacuum seal the bags? I saw somewhere that you shouldn’t but I don’t recall where. Seems vacuum sealing may increase the speed of cure, yay or nay?

3) Any constructive criticism, or suggestions on wood for smoking? I’m thinking a mix of cherry and hickory.

Just a couple of photos of the prep. I’ll post final results when they’re out.

046133A9-5255-48D1-AF09-4585A306BF9B.jpeg

8F1EFF49-07AA-4A3B-AB90-8FD0B4146D76.jpeg
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5623DDC2-938E-4197-B6EC-A68E7645ECBC.jpeg
 
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617Smoker

Fire Starter
SMF Premier Member
Oct 4, 2020
42
28
Good questions. I've wondered the same thing. I measure to a gram or fraction of a gram if I can and then leave behind some. I have been not doing the minimum amount of nitrite because if that but I don't know if that's needed or appropriate.
 

DougE

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Apr 13, 2010
2,655
2,792
Richmond,KY
You want as much of the cure mixture in the bag with the meat as is reasonably possible. Whatever is left on the tray I put the meat on to apply the cure gets scraped off into the bag with the meat, as well as what I can get off my hands. Losing a little isn't a huge deal, but since everything is based on the weight of the meat, try and get as much as possible in there with it.
 

TNJAKE

Legendary Pitmaster
SMF Premier Member
Nov 26, 2019
9,294
12,570
Ridgetop Tennessee
Agree with DougE DougE when I dry cure I put the meat in the bag first. Then I use a spoon to apply dry rub. That way it all ends up in the bag instead of stuck to gloves and cutting board. Like he said. A little lost might not be a big deal but important to get as much in as possible. I do a light vac seal
 

AngleAway

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Aug 17, 2022
8
6
Thanks for all the tips and the warm welcome! I’ll try seasoning n the bag next go-round. It sure does take a lot of patience to wait out this cure! I find myself checking it several times a day 😁. I will definitely update when it comes time to smoke!
 

Pit pixie

Smoke Blower
SMF Premier Member
Jul 30, 2022
85
43
Southampton England 🇬🇧
Hey Guys,

I’ve been reading around this forum for a while and have been inspired by all of your amazing posts and information to embark on a bacon adventure. Also helped that my local Kroger had butts on sale at 0.97/lb! Been smoking and cooking for quite some time, but am just beginning curing meats.

Based on information I’ve read here, I decided to use the following for my first attempt:
0.25 cure #1,l
2% kosher salt
1% brown sugar

I deboned the butt and weighed each piece, then made separate cure batches.
Mixed the cure batches in a shakers, hit both sides of the meat, added to vac bag, sealed (no vac), and they’re now down for a long nap. I’m planning on a 12-14 day cure then a ~24
Hr dry in fridge for pellicle formation.

I have a few questions after my first prep:

1) Cure loss to board/gloves. Does it matter? I definitely lost a little cure on my prep gloves and I’m sure a bit on the board after flipping the pieces. Is this enough to matter or am I per thinking? I just see that the amount of cure #1 is tiny and wonder if a bit of loss is problematic.

2) Should I vacuum seal the bags? I saw somewhere that you shouldn’t but I don’t recall where. Seems vacuum sealing may increase the speed of cure, yay or nay?

3) Any constructive criticism, or suggestions on wood for smoking? I’m thinking a mix of cherry and hickory.

Just a couple of photos of the prep. I’ll post final results when they’re out.

View attachment 641267
View attachment 641268 View attachment 641269 View attachment 641270 View attachment 641271 I have done my first cure with belly pork for bacon.
I mix the cure in a tub and placed my meat in a tub
16610882509178379578126603463467.jpg


I then put the meat straight into the before sdding the cure, this saved me a little cure only losing what was left on my gloves after rubbing in.

I hope this helps next time around

Lucy
 

SmokinEdge

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
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Jan 18, 2020
5,011
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Western Colorado
Mixed the cure batches in a shakers, hit both sides of the meat,
This I would caution you against doing. Probably more important than the little bit of cure mix lost to the board and on gloves, is the even distribution of the cure itself over the meat. Cure salt has a bad habit of classifying itself away from salt and sugar. In a shaker, that agitation will classify the cure salt to the point that some parts will have to much and some none at all. Cure #1 should be applied at 1.1g per pound of meat that’s a small amount. It also helps to use as fine of salt grain as possible,the closer grain size to the cure#1 the better, this helps them from classifying away from each other. I’m using fine sea salt.

I mix up my cure mix for each piece of meat by weight watching that pink salt carefully, when mixed well I spoon it from the bottom of the bowl up, then sprinkle that over the meat. In this way everything is distributed as even as possible and I only need to pat the meat down, not really rub the meat, so my loss is fairly low. Doing this in a tub or on a sheet pan also helps you scrape up the little lost into the corner of the pan then into the bag.
 
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slipaway

Meat Mopper
May 28, 2014
186
25
Needham Mass.
Hey Guys,

I’ve been reading around this forum for a while and have been inspired by all of your amazing posts and information to embark on a bacon adventure. Also helped that my local Kroger had butts on sale at 0.97/lb! Been smoking and cooking for quite some time, but am just beginning curing meats.

Based on information I’ve read here, I decided to use the following for my first attempt:
0.25 cure #1,l
2% kosher salt
1% brown sugar

I deboned the butt and weighed each piece, then made separate cure batches.
Mixed the cure batches in a shakers, hit both sides of the meat, added to vac bag, sealed (no vac), and they’re now down for a long nap. I’m planning on a 12-14 day cure then a ~24
Hr dry in fridge for pellicle formation.

I have a few questions after my first prep:

1) Cure loss to board/gloves. Does it matter? I definitely lost a little cure on my prep gloves and I’m sure a bit on the board after flipping the pieces. Is this enough to matter or am I per thinking? I just see that the amount of cure #1 is tiny and wonder if a bit of loss is problematic.

2) Should I vacuum seal the bags? I saw somewhere that you shouldn’t but I don’t recall where. Seems vacuum sealing may increase the speed of cure, yay or nay?

3) Any constructive criticism, or suggestions on wood for smoking? I’m thinking a mix of cherry and hickory.

Just a couple of photos of the prep. I’ll post final results when they’re out.

View attachment 641267
View attachment 641268 View attachment 641269 View attachment 641270 View attachment 641271
I put the meat in the bag first and then put the rub on each side, in the bag. No loss. Also, I run my vacuum sealer for about 5 seconds to get a lot of air out and then stop it and just hit "seal". Sort of a cross between vacuuming and not but it works for me.
 

DougE

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Apr 13, 2010
2,655
2,792
Richmond,KY
It sure does take a lot of patience to wait out this cure! I find myself checking it several times a day 😁.
Once you get this first one under your belt, there will be none of the anticipation next time. I have 4 slabs of BB that have been curing since the 12th, and almost forgot to flip them several times.
 
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Brokenhandle

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
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Nov 9, 2019
7,638
6,826
Nw Iowa
Hey Ryan, ever use pecan in place of hickory? I switched and really like the difference.
Kind of...have cherry going in amnps, had hickory in my tube, it ran out so just refilled with pecan. So no, not just by itself. Only used apple and pitmasters choice before but now that I have a pellet smoker I have many flavors!

Ryan
 
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SmokinEdge

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Jan 18, 2020
5,011
5,161
Western Colorado
Cherry is the bomb for color hands down but mild in flavor. So I have ran apple which is excellent, hickory which works good, but then I tried pecan. This is a flavor smoke wise between apple and hickory.

For me cherry brings that red color and pecan brings a nice browning with a nice smoke flavor. These two are my absolute go to for flavor and color with smoke. Is an excellent combination. Cherry simply cannot be replaced, but the others can. I just really prefer the pecan with cherry. It’s a winner.
 

AngleAway

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Aug 17, 2022
8
6
So I’ve let the cure run a bit longer due to life happening. Just opened and set in the fridge for pellicle formation. (18 day cure)

I notice a few spots around the edges have a gray color, while the rest has taken in a much more rich red/pink. Do I have anything to worry about with these gray spots? Should I trim them off or let them roll? Massaged and flipped *almost* daily.

Zero odor, so I think I’m good, but wanted to consult the brain trust since I have a day before this will hit the smoker.

41E8AC51-4E6B-46C8-8879-CF6500FF4D0B.jpeg
8B113932-CB79-46F7-A9B0-8CE69CD9B190.jpeg
D1630428-A181-4981-AA75-A2CE5C719781.jpeg
6950A967-E53A-4513-8298-3582B0EC1B2D.jpeg
 

SmokinEdge

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OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Jan 18, 2020
5,011
5,161
Western Colorado
So I’ve let the cure run a bit longer due to life happening. Just opened and set in the fridge for pellicle formation. (18 day cure)

I notice a few spots around the edges have a gray color, while the rest has taken in a much more rich red/pink. Do I have anything to worry about with these gray spots? Should I trim them off or let them roll? Massaged and flipped *almost* daily.

Zero odor, so I think I’m good, but wanted to consult the brain trust since I have a day before this will hit the smoker.

View attachment 642724 View attachment 642725 View attachment 642726 View attachment 642727
No worries. It’s just oxidation. This happens in the curing process and is not a problem. Once cooked the color will be uniform. Carry on.
 

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