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First Cold-ish Smoked Bacon: Update #2: Done - Results

HowlingDog

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Howdy!! Been a while since I last posted and I actually have something new to post. I ended up with a 7 lb pork belly so I thought I would give Cold smoking a try. I usually do a hot smoke but since everyone keeps saying Cold is the way to go, I thought I would try. Did alot of reading and I think I got it right.

The Belly:
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Cured for 13 days. Used Cure #1, Salt and Maple sugar. Rinsed it off and let it set overnight uncovered in the fridge. Looks like a nice and meaty piece of belly.

Hanging in the smoker:
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Added some smoke: I put in a frozen water bottle in an effort to moderate the temp. I think it helped a little bit.
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As I do with my hot smoking, I use the AMAZEN tube:

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This is the first time I am using my big smoker for in this way. Usually, there is a fire in the firebox and the tube is in the smoke chamber. Sealed up and running....


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For today, I let go for 8 hours. Temp started at 68 F and got as high as 81 F, which was pretty much ambient temperature in SoCal today. After 8 hours, I ended up with:

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It is now bagged and in the fridge for an overnight rest. I plan on doing another 8 hours tomorrow and letting set for about 2 - 3 days before I slice and fry some up. Smoking meats is really an exercise in patience!!!! I was surprised that the belly stretched a little from hanging, and it was fairly dry to the touch.

I am looking forward to doing a comparison between the hot and Cold-ish smoked bacon. I wish it were a little cooler here but I get what I get!! I will update with progress tomorrow (and the finished product. Thanks for looking.

HowlingDog
 

SmokinAl

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I think you will be pleasantly surprised with your bacon, compared to a wet brine. It sure looks good so far. I hope you show us some sliced pics & some of the bacon fried up. Also if you don’t want it to stretch during the smoke portion, just lay it flat on a grate. It will stay thick and the only downside is it will have grate markings on the bacon. Not really a problem!
Al
 

SmokinEdge

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Looks like a great start on that cold smoke. Your plan sounds just about right to me. I’m in for the cut shot. It’s going to be delicious.
 

HowlingDog

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Thx Smokin Al and Edge!! I do plan on posting the finish shots. I am 3.5 hrs into smoke day #2 and I am recharging the tube right now.

SmokinAl, I always use the dry rub (cure #1, salt, maple sugar). I am really curious about the taste difference from hot smoking. The stretching isn't a problem, it just surprised me when I went to bag it overnight.

It is a bit cooler outside today although the smoker temp is running at 73 F with two ice bottles in it. Only 4.5 more hours smoke, and 2 days rest before I sample, not that I am counting.

HowlingDog
 

SmokinEdge

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The smoke will be much more pronounced, but in a good way, after the 2 day rest. I warm smoke all my bacon to 145* IT and plan it to take about 10hr total with apple wood. My Mrs. likes it better that way, so that’s what I do. I actually prefer the cold smoke, but it is what it is.
 

forktender

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That looks great, the 81* is not a problem in my opinion, but if you're worried about it next time, try smoking it at night. I cold smoke bacon in the summer when the temps are in the 90s, I just wait until the sun goes down before I start up the smoke tube. I'm the opposite of you, I've never hot smoked bacon before, cooking bacon before frying it makes no sense to me, so I cold smoke it.

After my final smoking, I let it rest overnight uncovered in the refer, then slice. It turns out awesome and makes the best BLT's I've ever had.

You're gonna love the stuff, I get requests from friends all the time, they want me to make bacon for them.
I tell them to buy the meatiest, thickest belly they can find, and I will come over and help them make it at their house. I always get, "well we don't have a smoker" I come back with "do you have a cardboard box?" then tell them the box will work perfectly, they look at me like I'm crazy until I show them how to set it up.:emoji_laughing:
 

HowlingDog

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Thanks All!! After 15 hours of smoke, I pulled the belly:

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It obviously looks so very different than my hot smoked bacon. So now I wait! I will slice and fry some on Friday afternoon, so more pictures then. I do want to give it some time to mellow. Wonder what the neighbors thought with a smoke tube running two straight days. I live in a fairly dense urban area surrounded by houses less than 30 feet away on all sides. I will give update #2 on Friday.

I warm smoke all my bacon to 145* IT and plan it to take about 10hr total with apple wood
I generally warm/hot smoke to about 155F in about 4-5 hours. I have to try this plan as well. Always fun experimenting.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

HowlingDog
 

SmokinEdge

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Some bacon and a little sausage. Bacon is that 10hr smoke.
 

SmokinEdge

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3D67FB0C-D2D9-42B2-96D4-6A10E7946469.jpeg

More bacon about half way through the smoke.
 

HowlingDog

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Looks Great SmokingEdge! So the bacon is well on the way to 145F IT?? That would explain the slightly darker color vs my cold smoke. What temp do you run at?? Nice smoker!!!

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Here is some hot smoked from awhile ago, probably running about 160F in the smoker.
 

SmokinEdge

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Those look fantastic!

I start all my hot smokes at 140* I run there looking for color then bump up 10* at a time until I reach a maximum cooker temp of 170* then looking for an IT of 145*
 

pineywoods

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Nice looking bacon. Your temps were very good for a cold smoke. Looking forward to your thoughts on cold smoke vs hot smoke I've smoked a lot of bacon but never hot smoked any
 

HowlingDog

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Happy Late Friday Everyone. Hope Thanksgiving was excellent for You, Family and Friends....

So I have been waiting for two days to test my first cold smoke bacon and today was the day. But first had to take the pup to the park for some play time:
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Got home and got slicing:
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This was one of the best bellies I ever found so I was anxious for the results:

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And my verdict, after going to Costco, curing for 13 days, waiting a day to mellow and dry in the fridge, smoke for a total of 15 hours over two days, wait another two days and.... I think I did something wrong in the smoke.... The taste was bacon with a light smoke but an "ashy" aftertaste. In fact the whole smoker, probes and me smelled a bit like a distant wildfire. I used my AMAZEN pellet tube with a mix of apple and hickory and this was the burn:

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It looks like any other smoking I have done with it. The belly was clean with no soot on it but maybe the pellets were moist?? They stayed lit the whole time. I did have a fan on blowing into the smoker to help with airflow. When the fan was off, the smoke did not flow through the smoker, so the fan was on for 15.5 of the 16 hours.

I don't want to say I was disappointed, but for the overall experience and especially the taste/texture, I prefer the Hot smoked bacon. The texture of the Hot smoke is more similar to what I got growing up here in SoCalif. I do know that taste is very subjective so I will share it with folks and they may like it (better than me). My wife said it tasted like inexpensive store bought bacon.

I am really glad I tired it, but I need to get another belly and start a Hot smoke, run it at about 145 F/160F for about 6 hours..... I still use the same tube and pellets, but have not had a similar taste issue in the past. Oh Well.

I also hit up Thermoworks for a new Dot and several new probes. Holiday Shopping!! Ya.

Thanks for looking and if you have any thoughts on the ashy taste, I am curious.

HowlingDog
 

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