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I've started selling bacon before I fully understand what I'm doing.

Baconbass

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So, as the title says, I'm now a seller of bacon. I live in a country where good bacon is rare. Average bacon is rare. Terrible bacon is the norm here.

My wife is a home baker and has made a full time job of selling cakes and bread online. I've recently started making bacon for fun and she sent a few pieces to some of her top customers and we suddenly started getting requests. So far I've sold a few batches of bacon and bbq ribs. I don't have a smoker here so I'm cheating with liquid smoke but that will change soon.

I know the basics of making dry cured slabs of bacon in Ziploc bags and this will do for small orders but I've got a feeling I can scale this up.

But I'm gonna have questions. I've got a few already. (Maybe these questions need to go in the other section of the site but I'll put them here first)

If I'm stacking 8kg of cut slabs on top of one another in separate bags I'm I gonna flatten my bacon? Lose moisture on the bottom ones?

How do I guarantee to get good pork belly with a nice fat ratio every time. I can't be sending people 80percent fat.

If I cure with the loin attached, how do I get the thicker loin to be as nicely cured as the belly meat?

Cheers, and wish me luck!
 

Baconbass

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Yeah, might want to look into the regulations on selling cured meats in your country.

Laws, regulations... Haha if only it were that simple here...

I am in fact looking into this at the moment, but also looking at the laws and regulations of other countries. I don't just want to be compliant with the law, I also don't want to hurt anyone. So far that means no cold smoking and being careful with the nitrite measurements.

What else would look out for?
 

TNJAKE

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Laws, regulations... Haha if only it were that simple here...

I am in fact looking into this at the moment, but also looking at the laws and regulations of other countries. I don't just want to be compliant with the law, I also don't want to hurt anyone. So far that means no cold smoking and being careful with the nitrite measurements.

What else would look out for?
Laws are important for sure. Only worry about your own laws though. Post up your cure recipe and method from start to finish and people can help better
 

DRKsmoking

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Adding so I can follow,
as I would be very concerned about the regulations of selling meats on line etc
in any country.

David
 

Baconbass

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I'm in China. Over here things are very often based on the philosophy 'it's easier to say beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. ' Having said that I will be exploring the relevant laws once I start scaling up so I can get access to wholesale meat prices and better shipping.

My process is based on Jesse Pryles' recipe which is basically following ingredients in a bag for a week in the fridge. I've changed the flavoring parts of the recipe a little but the meat to salts ratio is the same.

3lb skinless, boneless pork belly
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon pink curing salt (aka Prague Powder #1)


I then take the cured slabs and rinse them off and faux smoke by brushing on liquid smoke in a 95c oven for two hours until internal temperature is 66c.

After that I slice and vacuum pack and deliver chilled.

Mostly my questions are still as above. After reading through this site it seems a lot of people like 14 day curss , conversely over at Amazing ribs they seem to go for much shorter cures. I've tried shorter than 7 days and it never seems bacony enough for me.

That's all I can think of for now. I came here to learn so don't hold back. If you think I'm gonna kill a customer, let me know.
 

DougE

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The legal aspects are up to you to sort out, but on the technical side, I'd recommend weighing everything out in grams for each piece of meat, as follows:
0.25% Cure#1
1.5% Salt
0.75% Sugar

As for curing time, cure moves about 1/4 inch per day, so 1 day per 1/2 inch of thickness plus 1 day for safety is the minimum cure time. Most of us go longer for flavor development. I personally let my bacon ride for 2 weeks.
 

tallbm

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Hi there and welcome!

Like others have mentioned, be sure to figure out your country/state regulations for doing bacon.

With that said, here is a great calculator for determining the amount of cure needed. Understand that the Parts Per Million (PPM) value "156" is based on USDA (United States) rules/recommendations/etc. Your country or your application may require a change in PPM.

Also understand that Prague Powder #1 works well with this calculator because it has a Cure #1 % Nitrite of 6.25%.
If you get cure #1 salts from other countries or of different types then the Nitrite % may be different.

I'll simplify the above statements by saying:
  • 156 PPM comes from USDA for USA consumption
  • 6.25% Nitrites is Cure#1/Prague Powder #1 we get in USA but can be a different % Nitrite if you get cure products from other countries
Now you want to understand how to scale.
If you have a large enough refrigerator that can hold large food save containers, then you can wet cure your bacon.

This means add the weight of your bacon and the weight of the water used to cover the bacon to get a Total Weight (TW).
Now you measure Prague Powder#1/Cure#1 needed to apply to the Total Weight.
You measure salt and sugar against the Total Weight as well.

You dissolve the Prague Powder, salt, and sugar into the water. NEVER boiling or hot water, that will kill the Prague Powder nitrites for curing.

This will ensure that the Water and the Bacon will both evenly cure as the Praque Powder, salt, and sugar spread evenly between the water and the bacon. Prague Powder, salt, and sugar always want to spread evenly to be an equal level. That is why you have to add Water + Bacon to get a Total Weight and then use that to measure the amount of everything else.


Now you asked what to do about the thick loin.
Do the same thing I mentioned with the wet cure bacon and ADDITIONALLY, get a meat syringe.
Once you have mixed up the wet cure liquid properly you draw the wet cure liquid into the meat syringe and then inject keep into the loin about 10cm apart and all over into the loin.
This will ensure that the loin is curing from inside and outside. The cure liquid you inject will want to travel back outwards and even out with the rest of the meat and liquid.
This also really really speeds up curing time.

Prague Powder and salt will travel into meat about 6.35mm a day. When you inject the cure liquid you make the process happen from inside and outside. You can see how much faster the curing process will be.

Finally, I have never used liquid smoke in a wet cure BUT I think you can experiment and you might also be able to figure out how much liquid cure to add and then you get a liquid smoke cured bacon.
This is something to consider if you cannot really get into smoking the bacon with a smoker.

I don't think liquid smoke cured bacon will be as good as regular smoked cured bacon, but not everyone lives in an area of the world where they have extra space, access to many products/materials, and the opportunity to smoke their own bacon or barbecue. Maybe a liquid smoked cured bacon is as practical as it gets in some cases :)

I hope this information helps :)
[Edit: corrected all the mentions of nitrate to nitrite lol]
 
Last edited:

TNJAKE

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Hi there and welcome!

Like others have mentioned, be sure to figure out your country/state regulations for doing bacon.

With that said, here is a great calculator for determining the amount of cure needed. Understand that the Parts Per Million (PPM) value "156" is based on USDA (United States) rules/recommendations/etc. Your country or your application may require a change in PPM.

Also understand that Prague Powder #1 works well with this calculator because it has a Cure #1 % Nitrate of 6.25%.
If you get cure #1 salts from other countries or of different types then the Nitrate % may be different.

I'll simplify the above statements by saying:
  • 156 PPM comes from USDA for USA consumption
  • 6.25% Nitrates is Cure#1/Prague Powder #1 we get in USA but can be a different % Nitrate if you get cure products from other countries
Now you want to understand how to scale.
If you have a large enough refrigerator that can hold large food save containers, then you can wet cure your bacon.

This means add the weight of your bacon and the weight of the water used to cover the bacon to get a Total Weight (TW).
Now you measure Prague Powder#1/Cure#1 needed to apply to the Total Weight.
You measure salt and sugar against the Total Weight as well.

You dissolve the Prague Powder, salt, and sugar into the water. NEVER boiling or hot water, that will kill the Prague Powder nitrates for curing.

This will ensure that the Water and the Bacon will both evenly cure as the Praque Powder, salt, and sugar spread evenly between the water and the bacon. Prague Powder, salt, and sugar always want to spread evenly to be an equal level. That is why you have to add Water + Bacon to get a Total Weight and then use that to measure the amount of everything else.


Now you asked what to do about the thick loin.
Do the same thing I mentioned with the wet cure bacon and ADDITIONALLY, get a meat syringe.
Once you have mixed up the wet cure liquid properly you draw the wet cure liquid into the meat syringe and then inject keep into the loin about 10cm apart and all over into the loin.
This will ensure that the loin is curing from inside and outside. The cure liquid you inject will want to travel back outwards and even out with the rest of the meat and liquid.
This also really really speeds up curing time.

Prague Powder and salt will travel into meat about 6.35mm a day. When you inject the cure liquid you make the process happen from inside and outside. You can see how much faster the curing process will be.

Finally, I have never used liquid smoke in a wet cure BUT I think you can experiment and you might also be able to figure out how much liquid cure to add and then you get a liquid smoke cured bacon.
This is something to consider if you cannot really get into smoking the bacon with a smoker.

I don't think liquid smoke cured bacon will be as good as regular smoked cured bacon, but not everyone lives in an area of the world where they have extra space, access to many products/materials, and the opportunity to smoke their own bacon or barbecue. Maybe a liquid smoked cured bacon is as practical as it gets in some cases :)

I hope this information helps :)
Cure #1 sodium nitrite......not nitrate. Figure you made a typo. Good stuff though
 

smokeymose

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SMF Premier Member
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Joined Aug 13, 2015
Be careful. I know China doesn't have the same "regulations" as here but you could still get in trouble (or make someone sick).
 

SmokinEdge

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I'm in China. Over here things are very often based on the philosophy 'it's easier to say beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. ' Having said that I will be exploring the relevant laws once I start scaling up so I can get access to wholesale meat prices and better shipping.

My process is based on Jesse Pryles' recipe which is basically following ingredients in a bag for a week in the fridge. I've changed the flavoring parts of the recipe a little but the meat to salts ratio is the same.

3lb skinless, boneless pork belly
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon pink curing salt (aka Prague Powder #1)


I then take the cured slabs and rinse them off and faux smoke by brushing on liquid smoke in a 95c oven for two hours until internal temperature is 66c.

After that I slice and vacuum pack and deliver chilled.

Mostly my questions are still as above. After reading through this site it seems a lot of people like 14 day curss , conversely over at Amazing ribs they seem to go for much shorter cures. I've tried shorter than 7 days and it never seems bacony enough for me.

That's all I can think of for now. I came here to learn so don't hold back. If you think I'm gonna kill a customer, let me know.
First let me say welcome to SMF. Happy to have you aboard.

First thing I see is that your measuring In volume not weight, this can and will eventually bite you. Not all cups or measuring spoons are the same and the grind of the salt is an issue as well because a Tablespoon of Kosher salt weighs less than Tablespoon of granular table salt, so weighing is the precise way to measure. Also use pure salt, no iodine or other additives. Following that, you are using real close to 4% salt to meat weight. This is great from a food safety standpoint but is pretty high for palatability. 1.5 to 3% is a better working range For taste.

Refrigeration temperature is another big question. Are you in the 30’sF? Or closer to 40F plus?

Find out and post the percentage of nitrite in your cure salt. Ours is standard at 6.25% nitrite and 93.75% salt blend In cure #1. Also a level teaspoon of cure #1 is a bit heavy for 3 pounds meat, another good reason to weigh and apply at 0.25% this equals 1.1 grams per pound Of meat. This would be 3.3g for 3 pounds meat, you are applying 5 to 6 grams, almost double the amount allowed here in the States.

stacking the belly slabs will flatten the bottom ones but really not a big deal in a volume production.

I think you will find that once you scale up you will want to produce bacon like commercial companies here do, and that is to pump the bellies with a cure solution no more than 125ppm nitrite by weight and add ascorbic acid in the form of sodium erythorbate (cure accelerator and preservative) in this way your bellies are completely cured in one day. Mix up a brine solution based on 10% solution to meat weight. This will speed the curing process and give you good control on final product repeatability.

Once the bellies are cured and dried on the surface, finding an enclosed space below 80F will allow you to cold smoke with sawdust or hardwood pellets.

Good luck with this and keep asking questions.
 

jcam222

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I think folks have you covered in that safety is number one concern. I’m just curious why you are “faux” smoking with liquid smoke.
 

Baconbass

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Joined Jul 13, 2022
At the moment I live in a high rise apartment. I'm on the top, 26 floors up, and I do have a balcony so I could potentially run a smoker up here but it's likely to draw attention if the neighbors smell smoke day in day out. Once I rent a commercial space I will move up to real smoking.
 

Baconbass

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Thread starter
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Joined Jul 13, 2022
First let me say welcome to SMF. Happy to have you aboard.

First thing I see is that your measuring In volume not weight, this can and will eventually bite you. Not all cups or measuring spoons are the same and the grind of the salt is an issue as well because a Tablespoon of Kosher salt weighs less than Tablespoon of granular table salt, so weighing is the precise way to measure. Also use pure salt, no iodine or other additives. Following that, you are using real close to 4% salt to meat weight. This is great from a food safety standpoint but is pretty high for palatability. 1.5 to 3% is a better working range For taste.

Refrigeration temperature is another big question. Are you in the 30’sF? Or closer to 40F plus?

Find out and post the percentage of nitrite in your cure salt. Ours is standard at 6.25% nitrite and 93.75% salt blend In cure #1. Also a level teaspoon of cure #1 is a bit heavy for 3 pounds meat, another good reason to weigh and apply at 0.25% this equals 1.1 grams per pound Of meat. This would be 3.3g for 3 pounds meat, you are applying 5 to 6 grams, almost double the amount allowed here in the States.

stacking the belly slabs will flatten the bottom ones but really not a big deal in a volume production.

I think you will find that once you scale up you will want to produce bacon like commercial companies here do, and that is to pump the bellies with a cure solution no more than 125ppm nitrite by weight and add ascorbic acid in the form of sodium erythorbate (cure accelerator and preservative) in this way your bellies are completely cured in one day. Mix up a brine solution based on 10% solution to meat weight. This will speed the curing process and give you good control on final product repeatability.

Once the bellies are cured and dried on the surface, finding an enclosed space below 80F will allow you to cold smoke with sawdust or hardwood pellets.

Good luck with this and keep asking questions.


Thank you for your replies everyone.
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I agree on converting my recipe to weights instead of volume. I'd copy pasted the recipe from Jesse Pryles' site above but for my own setup I've already built a calculator in excel that allows me to input the weights of each piece of meat and it spits out my total cure recipe in grams and splits in to the right amount for each piece of meat.

I'm going to try the injection idea for the fatter loin section. Thanks!

I tried wet brining slab before and didn't like it as much as the version I'm currently using. Seems like I have to use a lot more sugar and salts to get the same result. I like the convenience idea though so I'll try to learn more

I can't see myself going full injection, 'one day cure' as I've never loved supermarket bacon. Can you really do it that way and still get that awesome flavor the homemade style ones have?

I'm using the Hoosier hills#1 cure for now. I can get locally made cures and the raw chemicals here but one step at a time....


Thanks for all the great input everyone. I'll put some photos up soon to show my work.
 

rexster314

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We do over 200 pounds of home cured and smoked pork bellies each month. For the last 8 years or so. It's sold exclusively to friends and friends of friends. No advertising. We don't want this little side gig to turn into real work. This LINK will take you to a cure calculator that is without a doubt the best thing you can use in calculating cure, sugar and salt. Other seasonings can be added, but unless salt heavy, won't affect the cure itself.
I let them set in the refrigerator in separate bags for 10 days. I've found that in that time period the cure is finished and it's not soaked so much, I don't have to rinse the bellies off before smoking. This is a dry cure and doesn't take up the room in a refrigerator like a wet brine will.
The next thing you MUST do is to let the bellies rest until they form a pellicle on the meat. The smoke will stick to the meat very good that way, and if you don't do this step the smoke can get wiped off easily.
I cold smoke my bacon so the buyers can cook it the way they prefer it. Certainly nothing wrong if you want to hot smoke it.
2022-06-16 15.34.33.jpg
 

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