first time belly smoke

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by jimalbert, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. jimalbert

    jimalbert Meat Mopper

    I hate to ask you all too many questions, but this time I need some expert advise.  I am planning on doing my first bacon smoke, some in brine, some with a dry cure.  I plan on following bearcarvers method, but the problem is I couldn't find tender quick anywhere local.  I stopped at my local butcher where I buy all of my casings, high temp cheese, etc., to get some curing salt.  He gave me a pack of tinted curing salt that is good for 25 pounds.  It says use 1 oz per 25lb of meat or poultry.  Use 1 level teaspoon per 3 pounds of meat or poultry.  I would assume that following these directions are the best option, however it just seems that 1 teaspoon is a little light.  Also, I wouldn't need to add any additional salt with this cure correct?  I plan to add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar per pound of belly also.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank You,

  2. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    You can order TQ from the Mortons website...
  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    The first thing you have to find out is what the cure is.  If it is Cure 1 we can help you.  Call the butcher and find out what it is.

    The second thing I would recommend is to purchase a small digital scale so you can weigh your cures

    Third,  you will not use the same amount of cure for dry cure, for brine or as a replacement for TQ.  Remember do not use a recipe with TQ and substitute Cure 1.  They are not the same
  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Oh and by the way

    When learning how to use cures you HAVE TO ASK lots of questions.  Cures can be poisonous if improperly used.

    Just ask, we love to help

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  5. jimalbert

    jimalbert Meat Mopper

    OK so the cure has no name on it.  Ingredients: Salt, Sodium Nitrite 6.25%, 0.00045% FDC Red #40 added as a safety tint.  Keep out reach of children.  There is a number beside the "Tinted curing salt" on the label - 31811.  It is a light brownish orange pack.  I have used this for beef sticks before, but I assumed that curing salt was curing salt (except for the fact that each curing salt may require different amounts).

    I could take a pic of the pack if that would help.
  6. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That would help, but like Al said, find out from the butcher.

    If this is your first bacon, then I would HIGHLY suggest using a brine. Brines are simple to make and use, but you need to know what cure you have. Is the curing salt pink?

    Ask as many questions as needed until you are really comfortable with using cures. Doing a little research on the chemistry of curing will help too..
  7. jimalbert

    jimalbert Meat Mopper

    I did not open the pack.  However I just looked at the instacure package online and the ingredients and the measurements are the same.  And from what I gather from a bit more research is that all "pink curing salt" contains the same amount of sodium nitrate.  I will open and let you guys know.

  8. jimalbert

    jimalbert Meat Mopper

    It has a slight pink tint but more white.  I would assume that with the same amount of sodium nitrate that It cant be that different.

  9. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You have Cure 1

    If you don't mind doing a dry cure look in the Wiki section and use the Dry Cured Bacon Calculator with instructions.  It will walk you through the process.  There are also many brine recipes that you can look up.   Brines can be faster but they do produce a different product then the dry cure procedure.  

    As mentioned earlier please do not substitute Cure 1 for Tender Quick.

    You have time so please pick up a scale and use it.  Also read through some of the other Bacon threads and familiarize yourself with the different cure procedures

    There is no Sodium Nitrate in Cure 1.  Sodium Nitrate is not approved by the USDA for Bacon curing but is found in TQ and commonly used by members of the forum.  Sodium Nitrite is the curing agent in Cure1. 

    Ask if you have questions,  Good Luck,

  10. jimalbert

    jimalbert Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the advice.  I weighed out the proper amounts of the cure and hit the slab with it.  I had a 12 pound slab, 6 pounds of that I did a brine, and the other 6 i did a dry cure.  I have pics of the dry cure I will post shortly.  I will massage them each day for 9 days and then smoke as low as I can go with hickory.  I will be butchering pigs in Feb, so I am hoping these will hold me off until then.  I actually think I paid a bit much for the pork belly, 2.95 a pound, but It looks pretty good.


    Dont mind the bottle of home made peach wine in the background :)


  11. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    Looks good so far.  I have about a dozen peach trees, maybe you can post the directions on the peach wine!
  12. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Looks good so far Jim!
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Now you really screwed up, Jim !!!  [​IMG]

    Once you make your own Bacon, you'll never go back to store bought !!!  [​IMG]

    Join the gang!

    Looks good so far!!

  14. sound1

    sound1 Smoking Fanatic

    I see another bacon fanatic in the making...I just did a maple sugar and TQ dry cure flavor test...tis fun to compare.
  15. oldthymer

    oldthymer Newbie


    I have always used a brine so I am wondering what the difference is in the end product. 
  16. 2salty

    2salty Fire Starter

    Might have cost a little extra, but that's a perfect looking slab!
  17. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    That's a good question and I am sure there are many different opinions.  I have found that the dry cure bacon I produce has less salt, less moisture so it tends to be firmer and in my opinion the flavors are more concentrated. 

    Kind of compare it to the dry cured hams or brine cured hams readily available in the supermarket.  Notice I didn't say either was better, just different.  Why not give it a try next time you do bacon and let us know what you find out.
  18. jimalbert

    jimalbert Meat Mopper

    Fanatic????  I am way beyond that point.  I get crazy about anything I do, This year alone I did about 125 gallons of wine, shine, etc.  And this smoking thing just keeps me content.  I have a GOSM that my dad bought me years ago that I love, but I wanted something to smoke a bit slower, and little known to me, my boss gave me a 200 dollar cabelas card for helping him out with a generator hookup (Im licensed).  So i went and bought a masterbuilt 30" at cabelas last week.  Hopefully it pans out, but I can say that I smoked a turkey in it for thanksgiving, and I was pretty pleased with the constant temperature from the electric.  Im sure a cold smoke house is in the works for the future.  I am going to try some canadian bacon in the next week.  As far as the cure goes, I would like to stay with something that I can get locally, and If I follow the directions on any type of cure, i should be fine correct?  I mean, Im going to follow bearcarvers cb recipe and he uses tenderquick, but I would like to use the stuff I have and can get in the wimp of an eye.  Am I correct in saying that?

    Thanks for all the help guys,

  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I get my Tender Quick at "Wegman's" in Allentown.

    I think it's around $5 for a 2 pound bag.

    You have a Wegman's up there?

  20. oldthymer

    oldthymer Newbie


    I may have to do that.  The brine I use has very little salt in it and never requires a soak in fresh water.  It also is much less salty than any store bought bacon you can find.  It was given to me many years ago by a butcher and is very similar to the Pops brine I see floating around.  It does seem to add moisture to the bacon and the bacon tends to shrink a bit when you fry it.  I can only assume that is due to the brine. 
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011

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