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First Bacon

barry cohen

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I've been lurking in these forums for a while now, but just registered a couple of weeks ago. So I first want to thank everyone for their posts and opinion that I've been reading for so long.

I started my first attempt at making bacon. I got the belly from my butcher, who also raised the pigs himself. Talk about knowing where your food comes from. All organic, no hormones, pesticides, fillers, etc. I had the skin removed to make my job a little easier, then cut the belly into four pieces.


I used a basic dry cure of salt, sugar, and pink salt. Then blended in some flavors - Maple, Honey, Molasses, and Maple-Honey.


Into the fridge for 2 weeks, turning daily.


Rinsed and tested.



Into the smoker, where it sits now. (With a block of cheese for the wife)



I am thinking of letting it smoke for 24 hours. Any suggestions on that would be welcomed. Too long? Not enough time? I value the opinion of this forum. My goal is to move from Padawan Learner, to Apprentice, to Jedi Master.. or to just make some awesome bacon.

After bacon, I plan on trying my hand at making lox. Not the garbage you find in the stores nowadays, but the good stuff we used to get in New York right from the smoke house. But that's a whole different conversation.

-Barry
 

goliath

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alot of threads on here about bacon, cold smoke vs hot smoke. wet brine vs dry brine. 12 hours vs 48 hours. all boils down to preference. bottom line is its all up to you. as for the cheese there was another thread on here yesterday. MR T is the cheese guy .....

myself i have 50 lbs to smoke on saturday that will have been in the dry brine for 2 weeks. seems to work for me. i have done a partial cold then finish with a bit of heat, hot smoke, cold smoke ...   ha ha ha

ITS ALL BETTER THAN STORE BOUGHT  :0)

Good Luck
 

jdne5b

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Joined Dec 16, 2013
Looks great!  I'm going the opposite way... Lox first, then going to try Buckboard bacon.

Let us know how it turns out.
 

mneeley490

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Barry, welcome!

How long you cold smoke seems to me to depend on your tastes and what type of wood you use. With stronger woods like hickory and mesquite, you might want to go a shorter time, but again, it's up to your personal taste. Some people smoke for hours, others for several days.

With lighter fruit woods you might be inclined to smoker longer. Last year, I hit up some bacon with peach wood over 3 days for a total of 24 hours or so in the smoke. After tastsing it, I think it could have gone for another 16.

Good luck, and keep the pics coming!

Mike
 
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barry cohen

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Thanks for the feedback. It is a very light smoke that I'm using - Apple wood pellets run from my Traeger. I'm thinking that 24 hours will be a good amount of time for the bacon to get yummy.
 

dave17a

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My first bacon last year was 2 12#ers. Did half in pops and other in Sausage makers Brown sugar ham cure. Both were great even before smokin. Did half in apple and other with pitmasters choice. AMNPS. 24 hrs. Rest halfway between. Would prefer more smoke myself. Got 36# going on now. gonna smoke 40 hrs. this time. BBB next. Love smoke!
 

woodcutter

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You did get a nice color on them. Good idea marking each one. It is hard to keep track once things start moving out of the smoker. I did about 16 hours with apple pellets cold smoking and after a few days I thought it could have used a little more smoke. I want to try 24 hours next time. It is hard balancing my smoke flavor appetite with normal people who do not have this smoking addiction.
 

barry cohen

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Thanks, Woodcutter. I knew before I even started that I would have to label everything as I go along. Each ziplok bag they were cured in was labeled. Then I removed and rinsed one at a time so I would not forget which was which. The only easy one to remember was the molasses cure, but the others all looked alike. After rinsing, I stuck my little toothpick flag in the belly and moved on to the next one.

I can't wait to start eating this stuff. Every time I open the fridge, I get blasted with the aroma of smoke. Tomorrow can't come soon enough.
 

duffman

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I got a few questions for you as I am thinking about trying some bacon this year. What temp did you smoke the bacon at? Can you post your recipe for your cure? When you say you added in your favorites after the salt, sugar and pink salt did you just dump them in a bowl and then stir in some honey? I have never made bacon before and would like a little more info before I try. :)
 

barry cohen

Newbie
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Joined Jan 2, 2014
It was cold smoked, so there was no heat applied at all. The thermometer never went above 75 degrees.

I had 10 pounds of pork belly. With that, I used 10 tablespoons of salt, 15 tablespoons of white sugar, and 2 teaspoons of pink salt. I mixed all that up so the pink salt was evenly distributed. then I evenly rubbed the bellies with the mixture. After that, I used about 1/4 cup of each flavor - honey, maple, molasses - and rubbed it all into the bellies with the sugar/salt rub. Cured in the fridge for 2 weeks, turning each day. Rinsed all of the cure from them. I probably didn't rinse enough because the bacon burns easily in the frying pan, which makes me think there is still too much sugar/honey/maple/molasses on them. I smoked for 24 hours, and that may have been too much. Next time I will back it down to 16 hours. I let it sit in the fridge for 2 days after smoking (because I got sick and was in no mood to use my new deli slicer while feeling loopy from the drugs). Then sliced, packed, and froze what I wasn't gong to eat right away.
 

duffman

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There is that darn meat slicer again. I am going to have to get one of those I think. As it stands right now I would have to cut it by hand, so it would be thick cut bacon. LOL Thanks for the recipie. I am going to try that before it gets to warm out. 

Another question, should I be able to get pink salt at most stores am I going to have to go to a special store for it?
 
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dave17a

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It was cold smoked, so there was no heat applied at all. The thermometer never went above 75 degrees.

I had 10 pounds of pork belly. With that, I used 10 tablespoons of salt, 15 tablespoons of white sugar, and 2 teaspoons of pink salt. I mixed all that up so the pink salt was evenly distributed. then I evenly rubbed the bellies with the mixture. After that, I used about 1/4 cup of each flavor - honey, maple, molasses - and rubbed it all into the bellies with the sugar/salt rub. Cured in the fridge for 2 weeks, turning each day. Rinsed all of the cure from them. I probably didn't rinse enough because the bacon burns easily in the frying pan, which makes me think there is still too much sugar/honey/maple/molasses on them. I smoked for 24 hours, and that may have been too much. Next time I will back it down to 16 hours. I let it sit in the fridge for 2 days after smoking (because I got sick and was in no mood to use my new deli slicer while feeling loopy from the drugs). Then sliced, packed, and froze what I wasn't gong to eat right away.
Why do you think to much smoke? Do you smoke alot?  Thats alota sugar and after 2 weeks she's infused. Store bought maple bacon will stick and all. Mainly wonderin on your smoke preferance. Thanks, Dave
 

barry cohen

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Joined Jan 2, 2014
Duffman - I got both the slicer and pink salt on Amazon. Since I'm a Prime member, I get everything in no more than 2 days. Great for a lazy SOB like me.

Dave - I just though the flavor of the smoke was overpowering. I know that may be a little sacrilegious to say in these forums, but that's just my taste. I used apple which I thought would be very mellow, but it turned out to be a bit much. I like the flavor, just not THAT much flavor. I hot smoke all the time. This was my first attempt at any sort of cold smoke. 
 

fished

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I have done BBB twice now, with Bear's dry cure method.  I only smoke for 8 hours.  Both myself and my wife don't like a heavy smoke taste.  I want to do some belly bacon, just have to locate some bellies.
 

meddling kids

Meat Mopper
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Joined Mar 14, 2011
My first time I did 12 hours. Last time I did 30. My wife found it to be too smokey. She's not a huge fan of smoke flavor though (hates smoked cheese.) I like both but the 30 hour you can smell the smoke coming out when you cook it. I'd recommend 12 unless you really like smoke flavor.
 

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