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First time bacon curing, unsure of my recipe

brandeeno

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Joined Nov 22, 2016
This is my first-time curing bacon. I am having second thoughts if I am doing my equilibrium bacon cure correctly and would appreciate some thoughts on what I have done so far and what I plan to do.

My pork belly weighed 2,808 grams. I used 
-- 7.02 grams of cure #1 (.25% of meat weight)
-- 70.2 grams of kosher salt (2.5% of meat weight)
-- 28.08 grams of sugar (1% of meat weight)

I removed the skin off the belly and reserved for other use. With skin off, the belly weighed 2,808 grams as shown above. I mixed the 3 dry ingredients and then spread on top and bottom of the belly. I inserted the belly into a large plastic bag. I turn the belly over every 24 hours. It’s been a few days now.

I plan to keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks... since this is an equilibrium recipe, I expect the extra time to not be a detriment to saltiness.

After the 3-4 weeks, I will remove from the bag, rinse, and put on a wire rack in the fridge for 1-2 days to dry a bit. Then I will cold smoke (below 90 degrees) for about 10 hours. Once the smoking is done, I expect to have my bacon.

I hesitate over a few things 
1) because I have never found a recipe of the above... its my putting together of a few ideas. And as I search more... people seem to do the equilibrium recipe in a brine, which is different ratios. 
 2) after I spread the dry mix over the belly, it just felt like not much. After the first 24 hours, and before the first flip, I could see a tiny bit of dry ingredients left. After the first flip, there were no dry ingredients left.
3) any thoughts on my smoking time?

Am I on the right track? Should I adjust anything? Did I do anything wrong?
 

wild west

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Apr 25, 2016
Your recipe looks fine. You would only need it to cure for about 7 days per inch of thickness but longer doesn't hurt although 3 to 4 weeks seems excessive. Do a fry test after its done the dry brine to check saltiness you can soak it in water for a few hours with water changes if it's too salty. You can also add other flavourings at that point like black pepper for instance. I would smoke it longer than 10 hours most do. It can be smoked over 2 or 3 days with a rest between smokes if that's easier. Your definitely on the right track. Goodluck and post some bacon porn when it's done
 

brandeeno

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Joined Nov 22, 2016
Fantastic, thanks! 2-3 days sounds like a super long smoke time to me, the inexperienced.  Why so long? 
 

daveomak

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[h1]Taken from Marianski's web site..[/h1][h1]  [/h1][h1]Cold Smoking[/h1]
Cold smoking at 52-71° F (12-22° C), from 1-14 days, applying thin smoke with occasional breaks in between, is one of the oldest preservation methods. We cannot produce cold smoke if the outside temperature is 90° F (32° C), unless we can cool it down, which is what some industrial smokers do. Cold smoking is a drying process whose purpose is to remove moisture thus preserving a product.

You will find that different sources provide different temperatures for cold smoking. In European countries where most of the cold smoking is done, the upper temperature is accepted as 86° F (30° C). The majority of Russian, Polish and German meat technology books call for 71° F (22° C), some books ask for 77° F (25° C). Fish starts to cook at 85° F (29.4° C) and if you want to make delicious cold smoked salmon that is smoked for a long time, obviously you can not exceed 86° F (30° C). Cold smoking assures us of total smoke penetration inside of the meat. The loss of moisture also is uniform in all areas and the total weight loss falls within 5-20% depending largely on the smoking time. Cold smoking is not a continuous process, it is stopped (no smoke) a few times to allow fresh air into the smoker.

In XVIII century brick built smokehouses a fire was started every morning. It smoldered as long as it could and if it stopped, it would be restarted again the following morning.



Cold smoked meats prevent or slow down the spoilage of fats, which increases their shelf life. The product is drier and saltier with a more pronounced smoky flavor and very long shelf life. The color varies from yellow to dark brown on the surface and dark red inside. Cold smoked products are not submitted to the cooking process. If you want to cold smoke your meats, bear in mind that with the exception of people living in areas with a cold climate like Alaska, it will have to be done in the winter months just as it was done 500 years ago.







Cold smoking at its best. Smoking continues through the night. Photos courtesy Waldemar Kozik.

Using dry wood is of utmost importance when cold smoking. It is recommended to keep wood chips in a well defined single pile as they will have less contact with air, thus will smoke better without creating unnecessary flames and heat. By following these rules we achieve 75-85% humidity, creating the best conditions for moisture removal. Once the moisture content drops low enough, the salt present in the meat will further inhibit the development of bacteria and the products can hang in the air for months losing more moisture as time goes by.

Lox (smoked salmon) is smoked with cold smoke for an extended period of time. Applying hotter smoke (over 84° F, 28° C) will just cook the fish, the flavor will change and we will not be able to slice it so thin anymore. Cold smoking is a slow process and the hams, which lend themselves perfectly to this type of smoking, can be smoked from 2 to even 6 weeks. During smoking they will slowly be acquiring a golden color along with a smoky flavor.


Cold smoking allows us total smoke penetration inside of the meat. Very little hardening of the outside surface of the meat or casing occurs and smoke penetrates the meat easily.


Hot smoking dries out the surface of the meat creating a barrier for smoke penetration.
 

brandeeno

Newbie
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Joined Nov 22, 2016
Ok, all good information. Thanks guys... I have a typical gas weber genesis, where I will NOT use the burners. I will use one of those A-MAZE-N pellet smoker mazes.  I plan to put the smoking box on the left and the meat on the right.  In two weeks, I anticipate the weather in my area to be 25-45 f.  

Smoking concerns are:

1) If its too cold, will the meat freeze?

2) I have heard that the smoke needs to be flowing very well... will I not get this flow in my gas weber container? Air only flows from the bottom and holes are on the left and right (no vent on top)
 
Last edited:

daveomak

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Ok, all good information. Thanks guys... I have a typical gas weber genesis, where I will NOT use the burners. I will use one of those A-MAZE-N pellet smoker mazes.  I plan to put the smoking box on the left and the meat on the right.  In two weeks, I anticipate the weather in my area to be 25-45 f.  

Smoking concerns are:

1) If its too cold, will the meat freeze?  Yes the meat will freeze.. you need the temp, IMO, 60-70 deg. F and the meat at that temp to avoid condensate on the meat...

2) I have heard that the smoke needs to be flowing very well... will I not get this flow in my gas weber container? Air only flows from the bottom and holes are on the left and right (no vent on top)  Pick up a step drill and drill several 3/4 holes near the top of the side walls of the smoker body so you get good air flow....

You do not want to add smoke to cold meat...  condensate forms and then the smoke can create "acid rain" on the meat...  Maybe you can add a light bulb to the inside of the smoker to create a bit of heat...  or something similar... 
 

wild west

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I don't think cold smoking is recommended below 40*. You should be OK in the grill but it's a small chamber so try to not let the smoke get too thick. You could smoke in a cardboard box.....Wade had a post recently where he did bacon I believe in a box. Maybe he will be along and post the link. I tried to find it but no luck
 

brandeeno

Newbie
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Joined Nov 22, 2016
I am going to use by weber, where I will place my a-maze-n smoking thing into.  

As seen above and elsewhere, I am told my meat should not be cold, or moisture and smoke will do bad things to my meat... what if my smoke box hovers in low temperatures, say 35-45f? Does that mean my meat should be the same temp?  If I bring my meat to room temp (70f) prior to smoking,  will it be safe to enter a significantly colder smoke box?
 

daveomak

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I am going to use by weber, where I will place my a-maze-n smoking thing into.  

As seen above and elsewhere, I am told my meat should not be cold, or moisture and smoke will do bad things to my meat... what if my smoke box hovers in low temperatures, say 35-45f? Does that mean my meat should be the same temp?  If I bring my meat to room temp (70f) prior to smoking,  will it be safe to enter a significantly colder smoke box?
Yep... That will work....  Have the meat above ambient and condensate won't form on it...  Keep the vents open so the AMNPS will breathe...  The AMNPS will warm up the Weber several degrees which is OK.....
 

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