I ruined a batch of bacon and suspect a bozo move on my part. Any thoughts?

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Original poster
Feb 14, 2023
I discovered this site not long ago and have found it to be a wealth of information and a great place spend some time. This is my first post, but I’ve asked a few private questions and have appreciated those helpful responses. This go round, I’m hoping to get your thoughts on how I ruined my bacon.

I recently starting curing and smoking various cuts of meats and have loved the results (well, except for the pastrami/brisket – ugh that was dry – but I’ll ask questions on that one another time).

I’ve made Canadian bacon, buckboard bacon, and belly bacon. All three were delicious and my wife even raved about them. In fact we enjoyed them so much, that the first few batches were gone in no time. Then the problem occurred. I did two batches of buckboard bacon and a 10 lb belly at once and popped them in the freezer. Initially they were fantastic. But within a few weeks they started to taste rancid, particularly the fat.

Here’s where I think I went wrong. Before I put the buckboard bacon in the freezer, I had simply sliced it up, portioned it out, and stuck it in some ziplock freezer bags. No extra wrap. No vacuum seal. In fact I didn’t even get most of the air out of the bags. With the belly bacon, before I put it in the freezer, I sliced it up, portioned it out, wrapped it in saran wrap a couple of times, and then put those wrapped portions in a freezer bag. Again, no vacuum seal.

I didn’t have a vacuum sealer at the time, but I have one now. I suspect by not using a vacuum sealer…and thereby allowing an easier way for air to contact the meat made the meat turn so quickly. Sound reasonable? Any thoughts?

I will definitely vacuum pack the next batch. How long should it last in the freezer once it’s vacuum packed before starting to lose flavor quality?

For reference, I dry cured the meat for several days and smoked at a low heat to an IT of 145.


Welcome to the forum.

The air in the bag is a problem, but the rancid taste of the fat, I would say, is more from the freshness of the meat and or possibly curing at a temp warmer than the 30’s F. One thing I’ve been playing with is adding sodium erythorbate to my dry cure mix. This is sodium of vitamin C and acts as a color preserver and helps stop fat rancidity it also accelerates the cure but that’s secondary to me.

If vacuum sealed it should keep in the freezer about 6 months, although mine never lasts that long at all.
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Thanks for the reply. They were definitely cured properly as far as correct amounts of cure and curing times (I think it was 9-10 days on the belly and 12 days on the BBB) and smoking was at 155 - 165 for 4 hours (low smoke setting on my smoker), then dialing it up to 200 until the IT was 145. After smoking, they sat in the fridge overnight, were sliced the next morning, and popped in the freezer. They tasted great for a couple weeks when cooked (they were kept in the freezer). It was after this time period that the taste seemed to turn.
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Sounds like meat quality to me . smokerjim smokerjim makes a good point , and I would agree with that .
I cure at 36 degrees . Verified with a therm . Normal curing temps are between 36 and 40 degrees . Not sure what temp you were at .
Thanks for the reply. I just checked the fridge that I use (it's in the garage) and the temp is at 35. I tossed another thermometer in it to see if that one reads at the same temp.

As far as meat quality, both the BB and BBB were well before their sell/freeze by dates (at least a week, maybe two weeks). The BBB (pork shoulder roast) came from the supermarket and the BB (pork belly) came from Costco.

Am I wrong to think my problem arose from not vacuum packing the meats?

I'd hate to vacuum pack and have the same problem.
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the temp is at 35. I tossed another thermometer in it to see if that one reads at the same temp.
That's good . Now you know . I have one I hang in there all the time , and when I have a bunch of meat or stuff curing I put a remote in and set and alarm .

Am I wrong to think my problem arose from not vacuum packing the meats?
No , but in my opinion it depends on how long it was in the freezer . I don't vac stuff that I'm going to use within the month . I have hams and loins that are vac'd and have been in for a year or more . No quality issues , but not a lot of fat either .
I had some sausage once that was frozen . When it thawed it went downhill fast . Turned gray , and there's no mistaking the smell of the fat going " bad "
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While digging around in the freezer for sausage meats to grind a few weeks ago I found a pack of extra extra thick belly bacon that I vac sealed in Dec 2022. It tasted as good as the day I first sliced it IMO.

Lemme talk to ya about full quarter inch or maybe a hair over thick bacon on a cheeseburger.....

I like to have OD'd

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