Fry Testing Bacon - Not Needed - Explained

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by mr t 59874, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Until coming to this forum, I had not heard of fry testing dry cured bacon.  It was my observation that there were those who were regularly fry testing and at times soaking their bacon prior to smoking due to the bacon being too salty.  I have since discovered why, in my opinion this is happening and can explain why fry testing should not be needed.

    The need not to fry test bacon prior to smoking can be explained in one word "equalization".  I will  attempt to explain equalization in curing meats. Take for instance a dry kitchen sponge, pour a tablespoon of water on the top center. At first the entire amount of water is confined to the top portion of the sponge. After a few minutes the sponge absorbs the water and it is distributed evenly throughout the entire sponge, equalized.  An illustration of this can be found in the Morton® Home Meat Curing Guide or in pdf. form, page 15.

    We know that sugar counteracts the harshness of salt.  As salt enters meat at a faster rate than sugar, time must be given to allow the sugar to equalize with the salt within the bacon or the bacon will taste salty.  It was my observance that the ones doing a fry test on their bacon were the ones using a shorter cure time, some 10 days or less beginning to end, than what is generally recommended by cure manufactures, such as in the following thread.  Calculating bacon cure time using Morton® Tender Quick® or Sugar Cure® (Plain or Smoke Flavored)

    Without personally doing a physical comparison, I believe that by cutting the curing and equalization period short, if a sample is cut from the end, the fry test can result in a very salty test piece due the salt being more concentrated in that area. By cutting the curing time short, the salt has not had time to penetrate or equalize throughout the entire piece as it would with a longer cure time.

    Personally if a pork belly two inches thick, I cure it for 14 days, let it equalize for two days, and then smoke to a desired color which could be from a few hours to three or more days depending on the smoke generator used. Starting from the start of the smoke it is then allowed to equalize for five or more days to allow the smoke to equalize as in when smoking cheese, totaling in 21 days start to finish. After the 21 days it is then vacuum sealed and refrigerated or frozen.   

    My intensions here are not to disprove any one technique, but to possibly explain why certain results are achieved. If you like the results you are getting by using the technique you are presently using, by all means keep doing it. For those who have not tried a longer cure such as recommended by Morton®, try it and treat yourself to some real country cured bacon by doing a fry test along with some pancakes and eggs. Let us know your results.

    Related thread:   Salt vs. Sugar Absorption Rate?

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
    kc5tpy likes this.
  2. Tom

    Your thoughtful posts and recommendations here are greatly appreciated.  I'm going to get some bacon curing this weekend, and I'm going to give this a try.  I'll keep you posted.
  3. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    HMMMM.     Interesting .     Thanks
  4. Tom

    That is a very good wright up. I have said in my past bacon thread that I don't see a need to fry test. I wasn't really thinking of it this way. I also always go a lot longer than the minimum. I often go 30 days. Mainly because I remove it when I have time.

    Happy smoken.

  5. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thank you Swede, I'll be waiting.  In case you don't have a recipe the following is mine.

    Per pound of bacon.

    1 TBS. Morton® Tender Quick®

    1 TBS. brown sugar (light or dark)

    1/4 tsp. granulated garlic

    1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

    I normally cut belly in half length ways and weigh then place into two gallon zip bags. Mix the ingredients for each and rub onto the meat covering all sides close and begin the curing process.
    HMMMM right back c f.  Thank you.

    Thanks mule, sounds like you got it down.

  6. You're exactly right, Tom, I haven't fry tested anything in close to 20 years....maybe more.

  7. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Im sorry and glad you posted this... I trust you as I said earlier.. amd when Martin agrees.. im always on board!
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree---Fry Testing is not needed.

    I do it & I recommend it, but no it is not needed. Looking both ways before crossing the street is not needed either.

    I fry test every thing I cure, and so far the only time I "Had To" soak it was a BBB when I used Hi Mountain.

    Had I not Fry tested that BBB, it would have been too late to do anything about the fact that it was too salty.

    I don't remember how long I cured it, because it was a long time ago, and I haven't bought anything from them since, but I know I went by their instructions, because I was a Newbi at the time.

    Just my 2 piasters,

  9. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Martin, if you can remember back 20 years, your younger than I thought, I think.
    Welcome aboard.
    The reason I don't fry test prior to complete equalization is because of my inability to determine the finished product before completion.  After completion if it is determined that it is salty, a simple soak prior to cooking is all that's needed.  I can't remember ever having to soak belly bacon, but I have had to soak loin meat for a short time prior to cooking.  It's my opinion that that was due to the leanness of the loin.

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  10. I'm 48, is that younger than you thought? :biggrin:

  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's exactly what I do----Fry-Test before smoking.

    How did you know you had to soak that loin meat, for Canadian Bacon?

  12. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The best reason I can think of for fry testing just can't wait to give it a try!!!


    Impatience....though I'm sure those that use the fry test have a much more scientific reason.

    I like your research and appreciate your view!

    Thank you for sharing this.

    thatcho likes this.
  13. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well that explains your good memory.

    I don't know were you got the idea that I fry test prior to smoking, that would be premature in my opinion.

    Bear, this thread is about not testing before the completion of equalization, not after.  I guess technically you can call any time a person has the first piece of a newly completed product for breakfast a test.

    I don't call a belly bacon completely equalized until after a rest period after it has been smoked, a minimum of 21 total days start to finish. As I stated in the OP, If you like the results you are getting by using the technique you are presently using, by all means keep doing it.

    Thank you.

  14. Hello Tom.  How ya doin?  Bacon is on my "to do" list.  Been SO busy I still haven't converted my fridge to a smoker.  Without first hand experience; what you are saying just makes sense to me.  The fry test is done on an unfinished product.  If you were to taste menudo ( mexican tripe recipe ) before cooking it a million hours [​IMG]  you would think NO ONE could eat that.  After the proper amount of time you find it ain't bad at all.  ANOTHER good thread. I almost forgot.  AND you got Martin on side.   Keep 'em coming.  Keep Smokin!

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  15. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I haven't made any for a while now, but my first couple of corned beef pastrami seemed salty, with a shorter curing time (wet-cured) than the last couple rounds did with longer cure times. Now I know why...equalization...the thought never even crossed my mind.

    Thanks for the info, Tom!!!

  16. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Hello Danny, doing just fine, hope you are doing the same.  I have an idea that may help you with your smoker.  Some have spare rooms in their homes that aren't used for any thing.  I can see attaching a Smoke Daddy to the outside of the door and BANG, you have a walk in cold smoker. Just trying to help.

    When looking at the big picture, so much in smoking foods simply takes common sense.

    There is a lady that works at a museum on a reservation near here who makes tripe soup.  She and I used to trade soup for smoked salmon.  I feel that nutritionally it would compare to ciappino or kimchi.  Very good indeed.

    Your welcome, Eric.

  17. [​IMG]   Mr. T you just scared the heck out of the wife!  She says not to give me any more ideas; apparently I have enough crazy ideas of my own.  [​IMG]    I LIKE the idea.  We have a spare bedroom where the grandkids sleep when they stay over but surely they wouldn't mind it if it smelled a little smokey.  While typing I am getting that you better not fall asleep tonite look.  [​IMG]   PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES MEN!  The butchering knives will be hidden away tonite; just for safety sake you understand.  Keep makin with the great posts my friend.

  18. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Danny, if you are still with us, place some pine bowels under the bed, the kids will think they are camping.   [​IMG]

  19. thatcho

    thatcho Meat Mopper

    Great post. I have become new on this and have followed the lead on several good recipes from here. Your correct you do not HAVE to fry test but man oh man i sure enjoy it.. LOL. I mean just knowing you can not touch it for days while it sits in the fridge curing away. That and my family has now proclaimed this FRY TEST a FAMILY MOMENT.. Great info and post keep smoking.
  20. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Got that fridge converted yet?  [​IMG]

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