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First Shot at Bacon

rkrider99

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Always wanted to try bacon, so a couple of weeks ago I went to Costco. They were just putting a fresh shipment of pork belly out. I grabbed the biggest one I could find which was 11.18 pounds or 5172 grams.

Came home and split it in about 2 equal pieces, Okay, so one was 2566 grams and the other 2606 grams. Went to DiggingDogFarm calculator and plugged in the numbers. I did drop the salt to 1.75%, but left everything else where it was.

2566 grams was 6.4 g of Prague Powder, 38.9 g salt, and 25.7 sugar. The 2606 gram piece was 6.5 Prague Powder, 39.5 salt, and 26.1 sugar. Rubbed the respective pieces down with the mixture, sealed in vacuum bags, and put them in the 37 degree fridge meat drawer for 8 days, turning them over each day.

Took them out on the 8th day, rinsed them off, dryed them with a paper towel and put them on a rack, back in the 37 degree fridge meat drawer to form the pellicle.

Bacon_Readytosmoke.jpg

The next day it was pouring rain, and I thought I might have to wait until later in the day, or maybe even another day. But about an hour later, the weather broke. Storms were predicted off and on for the entire day, so I thoguht I'd better get it done. Started the MES440/s, and set the temp for 160 F. Lit the A-MAZE-N tube loaded with LJ Applewood pellets. Smoker came to temp, I pulled the pork belly from the fridge and I hung the pork belly in the smoker. Maybe that was my biggest mistake, taking the pork belly right from the fridge to the smoker. Sorry, by the time I thought to take a picture the window on the door was all smoked over.

Here's where it started getting crazy. I had the Inkbird IBBQ-4T probes inserted in each belly, and one on the bottom grate for the chamber temp. Everything seemed to be running right around 160. And so I waited, and waited, and waited. Never opened the door of the smoker, and the temp stayed pretty constant.

About 5 hours into it, the IT temp of the belly was still around 120 F, I was shooting for 145 F, so I cranked the heat to 170 F. Another 2 hours and I was still looking at an IT of 125 F, and we're 7 hours into it. Up the temp to 180 F, and finally afer about another 2 hours, the IT was up to 145 F. Opened the smoker up, and was disappointed to see the bacon fat rendering into the unused water pan. Not a whole lot, probably a quarter cup. Pulled the bacon out and put it on a rack to cool down.

Bacon_Smoked.jpg Bacon_Smoked_2.jpg

Threw it in the fridge when it had cooled. Waited a day, and then sliced some up. It was delicious. The wife is happy, and therefore I'm happy.

Bacon_Cut.jpg Bacon_Packed.jpg

Actually, I like my bacon left in slab form. I cut them in about 1 pound slabs. Vacuum packed the slabs and into the freezer for future use.

So, any suggestions on why it was rendering fat. I'm sure 9 hours was way too long to be in the smoker. Should I have started at say 200 degrees for a shorter period of time?

Thanks for looking.
 

smokeymose

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At 160 you were basically cooking it. You'll get some rendering. At 200 you would get even more.
With the proper cure (which you did) you wouldn't need any heat at all just to smoke.
Not sure why you wanted to take it to 145IT but at those temps you can expect it to take forever.
Nice color, though :-)
 

thirdeye

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Although I like 12 to 14 days of cure time, your process was spot on. I weigh and calculate for each piece too.

Like was mentioned you were cool smoking, and toward the end of the day you did more of a smoke cooking method, which is fine. The curing gave you protection for cold smoking as well. In the fall and spring I'll do the exact kind of cure, but cold smoke for 8 hours each day for either 2 or 3 days in a row. The bacon returns to the fridge each night. My internal temp might only reach 60°. It's just another way to reach the same finish line. Enjoy your first bacon!
 

SmokinEdge

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I did drop the salt to 1.75%, but left everything else where it was.
Looks good, you only need to go to 145* IT to be pasteurized. If you are always going to cook it before eating, you can stop when the color is right for you, no worries about IT.
I take mine to 145* just because I feel the sugars burn less in the pan. It does help that.

just so you know, 1.75% salt plus the 0.25% cure #1 gives you a final salt of 2%. That’s just for your information.
 

Wurstmeister

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Good looking bacon first time or not. That will be the best tasting bacon you will ever eat! ENJOY!🍻
John
 

crazymoon

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RKR99, A liitle fat rendering from higher temps didn't hurt your producy by the looks of it. Nice job !
 

EvenFlow87k

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I have never done bacon myself yet. You laid out a nice road map and answered a couple questions I had.
Thanks for sharing and it looks excellent!
 

Bigheaded

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WOW, looks absolutely killer. Bacon's my favorite meat, seeing this makes me want to dive in and try making my own. Did I mention Bacon's my favorite meat? It sucks it's not socially acceptable to eat it as a main course, I can go to a steakhouse and get an 24oz Tomahawk Rib Eye, why don't any offer a 24oz plate of Bacon? I know the answer to this, hell I know you shouldn't even eat an entire 24oz Rib Eye, so 24oz of Bacon would be a 911 ambulance ride to the hospital waiting to happen.

GOOD JOB on the Bacon I really want a slab now :D
 

rkrider99

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Thanks for all the information and likes.

I did want to take it to 145 since I am a nibbler. Cut a slice for the frying pan, and cut a chunk for me to eat right now before the pan.

So far I am very happy with the results, and somehow, when I grabbed that pork belly at Costco, I grabbed the right one, since it was quite lean.

BLT's tonight!
 

SmokinAl

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Looks real good, but I prefer the texture & taste of cold smoked bacon, but if the wife is happy then you did good!
Al
 

chopsaw

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I agree with Eric . You're hooked now .
Looks fine to me BTW .
 

tallbm

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Hi there and welcome!

Congrats on your first successful bacon smoke!

I also smoke my bacon to an IT of 145F because I like to eat it right out of the pack and while I'm slicing it hahaha. Hell like 90% of the bacon I make like this never hits a pan for frying, it's soooo good right out of the vac pac.

So the thing to do is to walk your smoker temps up just like smoking sausage is done. You started at 160F. With sausage you don't do that or you can shock and render fat just like you did with the bacon.

So next time try at a temp like 110F then an hour later bump up 20 degrees or so and do so until you hit 165F smoker temp. You can even bump it up to 180F at the end but I wouldn't go over 170F. I get away with 180F on doing wild pork meat sausage because you take meat to an IT of to 165F for parasite concerns and wild hogs can have parasites, bears as well.

Now that is the process BUT it's important to know what smoker you are using. What is your smoker?

This is important because electric smokers do a temp swing where if you set to 160F it will go up to like 172F or so and drop down to 152F or so. It doesn't hold at 160F. So you can see your smoker swinging so high can cause your fat to render.
I have a rewired MES smoker with a PID controller that holds within 1 degree of what temp I set so there are no swings for me. This is super important for doing sausage and bacon. So this may be something you have to factor in.

I hope all this info helps and welcome to the 145F bacon club. Enjoy that bacon right out of the pack it looks good :D
 

Bearcarver

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Thanks for all the information and likes.

I did want to take it to 145 since I am a nibbler. Cut a slice for the frying pan, and cut a chunk for me to eat right now before the pan.

So far I am very happy with the results, and somehow, when I grabbed that pork belly at Costco, I grabbed the right one, since it was quite lean.

BLT's tonight!

Looks Great, Rider!!
Nothing wrong with taking it to 145° when you smoke it.
I never did that with Belly Bacon, but I do it with Canadian Bacon & Buckboard Bacon. And one of the Legends "Pops" from this Forum used to Smoke his Belly Bacon to 145° for the same reason you do it.
Nice Job!!
Like.

Bear
 

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