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Got a belly from my Grandson, SO I MADE BACON , steps & q-view galore

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by SmokinAl, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. SmokinAl

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

    My Grandson is a chef in a high end restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale. He came up for a visit & asked if he could bring anything. I said if you can get a nice thick pork belly that would be great.

    He said no prob, Gramps!

    Here is what he brought. It was already skinned & weighed 13 lbs.

    Here is the kid.

    I don't get bellies this thick around here.

    1 1/2 " to 2".

    If I get one 1" thick it's a treat

    I cut the belly into 3 slabs about the same size. Turns out they were too big for zip lock bags so I vac packed them.

    I weighed them all out & mixed the cure #1, salt, & sugar according to the bacon calculator.

    Then I added 1/8 cup of each of, granulated garlic, granulated onion, & black pepper to each bag.

    I put the slabs in the bags then poured the cure mix in & massaged it into the belly.

    Vacuumed them up & put them in the fridge for 14 days.

    Each day I flipped them & gave them each a nice massage.

    14 days later, they are ready to see some air.

    Next step is to rinse them off.

    At this point I suggest you do a fry test to determine the salt level. If it is OK then just continue on to the drying stage.

    If it seems too salty to you then just give it a soak in cold water & put it in the fridge for a couple of hours & check it again.

    I soaked this one for 8 hours, but that may be too long for most. Actually I think most of the guys just skip this step & don't soak the bellies at all.

    I have tried it that way & it's too salty for our liking. So we do the soak thing.

    Make sure they are all submerged.

    Into the fridge.

    Take them out of the water dry them off and the next step is to dry them in the fridge uncovered for 4 days & they are ready to smoke.

    Smoker set up for cold smoking.

    Hang the slabs in the smoker.

    Let her rip! I put a fan on low blowing on the cold smoker with the ash tray open about 1/2 " to get a good air flow going.

    I also put a weight on the lid, because it tends to leak some smoke.

    Good smoke in the box.

    Nice TBS.

    I cold smoked them 10 hours with apple wood, until they had this nice color & what I thought was enough smoke.

    Next step back into the fridge for 4 more days.

    After 4 days they are ready to slice. I put them in the freezer for 2 hours before slicing them up.

    I'm kinda of crazy about slicing the bacon across the grain. As you can see the grain runs in different directions on each slab, so I cut it against the grain until the grain changes then cut it the other way.

    Here's 10 lbs of bacon cut up for the freezer & I left some out for a couple of BLT's

    I also had some scraps for bean soup.

    For the BLT's we like to bake the bacon in the oven.

    While the bacon was cooking I bagged up the rest for the freezer.

    Oh yea, Judy had to make some bread for the BLT's

    Can't have BLT's without good old fashioned white bread.

    Bacon is done & out of the oven.

    Making a sammie. Toast the bread & add the fixings.

    Here it is. A BLT with some homemade pickles.

    Ya just can't beat homemade bacon!

    Thanks for looking fellas!

    Hope you enjoyed the show!

    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  2. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Al That is some seriously nice looking Bacon Meaty like OMG it does exist.You have a good Grandson also. Points thanks for sharing


  3. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]  Al, your bacon looks great!

    Nice job! Enjoy!
  4. Nice Job Al, and a good looking Kid, you gotta be proud.

    Bacon looks fantastic  I thought the one in the middle had my name on it.???

    Love BLT's  had them for supper last night  But we call them BLTP's  I like the slice pickle on my sandwich.

    Also add an egg sometimes.

    It all looks great   [​IMG]

  5. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Now that's some seriously nice looking bacon! More meat than fat!
    That sandwich pic makes me want some tonight, but no tomatoes in the fridge..
    Awesome job and points too!
  6. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Bacon Looks Awesome, Al !!![​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]----------[​IMG]

    What a Gift for Gramps!!![​IMG]

    Beautiful Job!![​IMG]

    Only thing I thought was unusual was the 8 hour soak in Ice water, after curing-----Reason?

    And I gotta freeze mine for 3 or 4 hours before slicing---Maybe my blade isn't sharp enough?

  7. SmokinAl

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

    Thanks a lot guys!

    And I appreciate the points too.

  8. pc farmer

    pc farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Wow. Beautiful bacon. Thick and great color.

    I have the same question as Bear. I use the same calculator and don't soak.

    Oh, points for sure.
  9. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great looking bacon!:drool
  10. SmokinAl

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

     Hey guys,

    Thanks for pointing this out. It never occurred to me that most of you guys don't soak the bacon after the curing stage. I have been doing it this way for quite some time. 

    We don't salt our food or eat much processed food so I think our palate is much more sensitive to salt than most. 

    I changed the thread to say to do a fry test to determine the saltiness of the bacon & if it seems too salty, then soak it until it is right for you. If it is OK then just move on to the drying stage.

    Bear, 2 hours was plenty to firm up the bacon for slicing, but I do sharpen the blade after about 3 or 4 uses and it's real sharp.

    Thank you both for the compliments & the points!

  11. bena

    bena Meat Mopper

    Awesome job Al !.   Great pics!.. especially like the pic with the bacon in the fridge covering the access to the Atkins Vanilla Shakes!

  12. SmokinAl

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

    Thanks B!

    And thanks for the point too!

    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  13. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Al, That makes more sense now. I thought you were just automatically soaking for 8 hours.

    I soak mine about 1/2 hour to an hour. Then do the salt fry test, and I never had to soak any longer with any of my TQ cured Bacon.

    That's funny because TQ already has salt in it, and I don't use salt on anything at the table, or on my Steaks & Prime Rib Preps. It doesn't take much salt for me to taste it.

    The only time I ever tasted too much salt was the one time I used "Hi Mountain Cure & Seasoning" on some BBB.

    Guess I gotta try sharpening my blade better----I always get that little sliver at the bottom that keeps building up with each slice, until I slice it off with a knife. (PITA)

    Thanks again for the reply Al,

  14. SmokinAl

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

    Thanks Ben!

    Yea I drink those shakes everyday for breakfast!

  15. Great work on a beautiful piece of meat plus the excellent photography and descriptions. I tried curing a belly one time and look forward to trying it again with your guide for a backup. But, in my opinion the best part is the memory you gave your grandson. He will surely never forget the look that had to be on your face when you opened that beautiful piece of pork.
  16. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    That was a beauty. The pig must have 6 pack abs! I think grandson found a good one just for grandpa...
  17. Awesome pics and write up:)Looks delicious
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  18. SmokinAl

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

    Thank you, I wish he was still here to have a BLT with me, but I have plenty in the freezer for when he visits again.

    I agree. He had it about 1 month before he visited, he called & talked to Judy & told her I have a belly for Grampa.

    Thank you Sir!

  19. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That really looks great Al!  Awesome gift from your grandson.  Are you and your wife the one's who got him into cooking?  I am with Bear in that I have to freeze mine much longer.  Any tips on the best way to sharpen your slicer blades?  Points for some beautiful bacon!!

  20. Beautiful looking bacon!!!