First time bacon

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by dustincantrell, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. This is my first post!  I've been wanting to cure and smoke bacon for a long time.  I'm an avid smoker.  Pulled pork, brisket, ribs, chicken and roast are some of my favorites to smoke.  One of my specialties is to smoke a roast to rare and then slice it super thin and serve it on rolls with a couple slices of provolone or swiss on top and a side of au jus.  I've lurked on here for a bit and decided to dive in.

    I drove out to a packer this morning and picked up a 22lb whole inside round that I'll slice up tonight and start marinating for jerky (I smoke some amazing chipotle jerky).  Also picked up a 14lb pork belly.  I'd been hesitating to try bacon as they only sell the bellies whole and that's a lot of meat to lose if I screw it up.  None-the-less, I dove in.

    I mixed up a simple cure with 14T Tender Quick, 9T turbinado sugar, 1t white pepper, 1t garlic powder and 1t onion powder (found that basic recipe on here).  I cut the belly into quarters and rubbed down each with the cure.  I stuck each chunk in a ziploc bag with the cure that fell off.  I hope I've done well so far in my first bacon excursion, and I'll put them on my 22.5" WSM in about 7 days.  
  2. jbg4208

    jbg4208 StickBurners

    Welcome to the forum.. A lot of knowledge to be tapped here. Also a good bunch of folks that love to help where they can and love their Q-view..[​IMG] Be sure to jump over to the roll call forum and formally introduce yourself, your smoker, ect...

    Oh BTW, any way I could get that jerky recipe?

    Again, Welcome!!
  3. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF, Dustin.

    Please take a moment and swing by Roll Call and introduce yourself to all the other fine folks here.

    As for your bacon, sounds like you are on the right track.  As you know, we have a number of folks that do their own bacon and they put out some amazing stuff so give them a shout if you have any questions or problems.

    Looking forward to pics of your finished bacon.
  4. Last time I bought a whole inside round it was closer to 15lbs, I think.  This is how I marinated it for jerky. 

    7T onion powder

    5T garlic powder

    3 cans chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (pureed in blender with soy sauce)

    7T cayenne

    4T black pepper

    5 C soy sauce

    2.5 C worcestershire

    I occasionally use chipotle powder instead of canned chipotles, and sometimes add a can of mango nectar for a touch of sweetness.  Brown sugar might make its way into the marinade every once in a while.  
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    It sounds to me like you well on to your way to some fne bacon. All you have to do is wait for the 7-10 days it says too. I let it go for extra couple of days for the whole 2 weeks. Then just cold smoke it and you will be onto some good eats for sure. Remember you aren't out to cook the bacon you just want that color and flavor of the smoke. We haven't bought any strip bacon in about a year or so now. Next I would cure a butt into some buckboard bacon it bad to the bone.
  6. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Welcome to the forum Dustin. Good luck with your first bacon.  [​IMG]

    I know a lot of folks cook the whole slab at once... but I prefer to cold smoke bacon, giving me more options as to how to cook it later.  Pork fat renders at 82 degrees so anything smoked lower than that will not cook the meat.. it will just smoke it.

    Take pics if you get the time too...we love pics. [​IMG]
  7. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hello Dustin and welcome to SMF. Sounds like you got a pretty good handle on this gig already. I copied that jerky recipe and will give it a try. I noticed that there is no cure in it. How do you process it?
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Originally Posted by DustinCantrell  

    I mixed up a simple cure with 14T Tender Quick, 9T turbinado sugar, 1t white pepper, 1t garlic powder and 1t onion powder (found that basic recipe on here).  I cut the belly into quarters and rubbed down each with the cure.  I stuck each chunk in a ziploc bag with the cure that fell off.  I hope I've done well so far in my first bacon excursion, and I'll put them on my 22.5" WSM in about 7 days.  

    Hi Dustin, and Welcome,

    Sounds like you did everything right so far. It sounds like my recipe you're using, because I think I'm the only one who specifies putting the cure that fell off into the bag with the piece it fell off of.

    Keep up the good work, and if you need it, just click on "Bacon", below, in my signature.

  9. jbg4208

    jbg4208 StickBurners

    Awesome!! thanks Dustin.
  10. I always set up three grates on my WSM and smoke it around 150 degrees until it's to my liking.  I keep one bag in the fridge (lasts a couple days...) and put the rest in the freezer.  I haven't had any problems with it so far.  I was considering adding some cure to my marinade this time.  I have Tender Quick and then I also have some pink salt I got from the butcher this morning.  How would you suggest I incorporate cure into my marinade?
  11. I figure I'll get 20lbs of jerky meat from the whole inside round that's a little over 22lbs.  I think I've decided to add 4t of pink salt to the marinade as instructions I found online say 1t per 5lbs of meat.  Right thing to do?  Somebody stop me if not before I screw up all this meat!
  12. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have no experience with pink salt. I do have experience with TQ and if you follow their directions I am confident you will be fine

  13. I want to avoid using Tender Quick because I don't want to add that much salt to the marinade.  It is salty enough from the soy sauce and I don't want to cut out the soy sauce because I like the flavor.  I'd have to add 20T of Tender Quick (what is that, 1 1/4 cups?) and I'm sure a large portion of that would be plain salt therefore making the jerky overly salty.  Though if the Tender Quick is .5% sodium nitrite and .5% sodium nitrate and I consider that 1% for my purposes, I would need .2T pure sodium nitrite/nitrate to equal the amount I'd get from 20T Tender Quick.  If the pink salt is 6.25% sodium nitrite, I'd take the .2T times 6.25 and I need 1.25T pink salt to equal the amount of sodium nitrite in the Tender Quick.  Am I wrong in my thinking here?  I realize pink salt is normally weighed and I'm not sure whether the ingredients in Tender Quick are measured by weight or volume, but I think I'm pretty close here.  With the pink salt I should be getting the same amount of sodium nitrite while only adding 3.75t of plain salt instead of who knows how much is in 20T of Tender Quick.  

    Table salt has 590mg sodium per 1/4t and Tender Quick 1340mg per 3/4t.  1770mg sodium for table salt versus 1340mg for Tender Quick.  Not sure if basing my calculation on sodium content is going to be very accurate, but I figure that the Tender Quick is approximately 75% plain salt.  I'd be adding 15T of salt to my marinade.

    I'm using a marinade instead of a dry cure for my jerky, so I'm not sure if that changes the game completely or not.

    I really want to use pink salt instead of Tender Quick, and I think I've talked myself into believing that 4t is the correct amount to use.  
  14. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the forum Dustin. When using  pink salt, (cure #1) in a brine you want to keep the amount  of cure around 150-175 PPM (parts per million) and no more then 200 PPM.  So the amount of water/ marinade will dictate the amount of cure.

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  15. Thank you for the info!  I'll start my first batch of jerky smoking tonight (will have marinated 36 or so hours at that point and no cure in that batch) and when it's done I'll smoke the first portion of this batch.  Filled up a 2.5 gallon food storage container and a 1 gallon ziploc bag with meat marinating.  I think my smoker is going to be cranking for a couple days.  [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    One thing I forgot to mention,

    No Qview, it never happened.

  17. My belly has been curing in the fridge for 6.5 days now.  I said enough is enough!  I pulled them out, rinsed them off, and let them soak in ice water for two hours.  My first test fried up was a bit too salty so I let them soak for two hours.  I knew I couldn't do a true cold smoke in my WSM without a smoke generator, so I rigged something up that I had saw online before.  I used aluminum tape and taped one end of a 5' dryer hose to the lid of my little Smokey Joe, and the other end to one of the bottom vents of my WSM.  I set the WSM up on a small side porch so the smoke would have an easy upwards path into my smoker.  

    I don't have any bacon hangers, so I was wandering around the house wondering how I could make some.  I didn't want to lay these slabs on two separate grates and wanted to smoke it the traditional way by hanging.  I remembered I had some stainless skewers that I had never used after buying several years ago.  Bingo!  I bent them into offset hooks and trimmed the excess off once I was satisfied with each of them.  I made eight of these hooks, two each for my four slabs.  I hung them from the top grate of my smoker.  I had a bit of lump going so I put that in my Smokey Joe with a couple chunks of apple wood.  Smoke is flowing nicely, so now I just have to wait!  I'd post pics, but since I'm doing this at night they aren't very good.  

    I'll let it get some good smoke for a while, then pull them off and chill it (probably stick it in the freezer for a bit once it's chilled) and slice it by hand.  I have been trying to source a cheap old deli slicer through an experienced meat man that I know, though no luck yet.  Most of the household slicers I've seen for sale don't look like they'd be worth purchasing.  Guess I better break out my steel and my favorite knife!
  18. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you got it under control, now we just need some Q-view!

    The main problem with the average household slicer and bacon is they won't travel far enough to slice a slab I think mine will cut 6.5".
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds real good Dustin. Should be able to get the best pics---The ones of the slices!

    I cut mine in easier to manage pieces in the beginning. Then when I slice them, they end up being pieces about 6 or 7 inches long.

    Although many say it's better to make your bacon in the oven, most people still fry it in a frying pan. It is beyond me why anybody would want to put "long" slices of bacon in a frying pan.

  20. Bacon in the oven?!  Any time I've had bacon longer than the width of the frying pan I've just laid it in there and as it shrank the ends joined the rest in the middle.  

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