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

Baconbass

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These replies are great. The more I read the more questions I have.

Wet cure seems to be a popular choice. I didn't like it last time I tried but I'm seeing I probably should have waited longer. My tub choice forced me to have a lot of excess water which meant it was less efficient compared to a dry rub type cure.

From my initial reading it seems the most efficient way for wet cures would be to have tubs just slightly larger than the belly slab so the water component of the whole equation is minimized and I don't waste ingredients on making cured water.

If I'm doing stacks in a tub I'd probably want spacers to give the water some room to flow right?

Fridge temperature is 3c 37f.

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I'm intrigued with the idea of speeding up the loin section of my belly by injection, I'm using a dry cure at the moment so I don't know if just scrapping off some of the dry cure and trying to inject that would work? Seems risky to interfere with something already in process, maybe I should just let them go longer than my planned 7 days?

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.
View attachment 637603


Your setup sounds like what I'm trying to achieve. I'm scared of the cold smoking idea for now though. Luckily my customers are very happy with my current hot fake smoke method.
You must have a good relationship with your butcher. The pigs over here are giving me hassles with the back half of their bellies being thin with about 70% fat. How do you make sure all your purchased bellies are usable?
I tried the diggingdogfarm calculator that was linked and thankfully the amounts are almost exactly what I've been using based on my conversion of the recipe i started with.
Thanks again for all the info.
 

rexster314

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You must have a good relationship with your butcher. The pigs over here are giving me hassles with the back half of their bellies being thin with about 70% fat. How do you make sure all your purchased bellies are usable?
I tried the diggingdogfarm calculator that was linked and thankfully the amounts are almost exactly what I've been using based on my conversion of the recipe i started with.
Thanks again for all the info.


I get the bellies from our local grocer, but they are coming from Swift packing house. They usually weigh around 10 lbs raw, and I'll get 8 lbs of sliced bacon and about a pound of trimmings that are used for soups, beans, seasoning
 

tallbm

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These replies are great. The more I read the more questions I have.

Wet cure seems to be a popular choice. I didn't like it last time I tried but I'm seeing I probably should have waited longer. My tub choice forced me to have a lot of excess water which meant it was less efficient compared to a dry rub type cure.

From my initial reading it seems the most efficient way for wet cures would be to have tubs just slightly larger than the belly slab so the water component of the whole equation is minimized and I don't waste ingredients on making cured water.

If I'm doing stacks in a tub I'd probably want spacers to give the water some room to flow right?

Fridge temperature is 3c 37f.

View attachment 637622
I'm intrigued with the idea of speeding up the loin section of my belly by injection, I'm using a dry cure at the moment so I don't know if just scrapping off some of the dry cure and trying to inject that would work? Seems risky to interfere with something already in process, maybe I should just let them go longer than my planned 7 days?




Your setup sounds like what I'm trying to achieve. I'm scared of the cold smoking idea for now though. Luckily my customers are very happy with my current hot fake smoke method.
You must have a good relationship with your butcher. The pigs over here are giving me hassles with the back half of their bellies being thin with about 70% fat. How do you make sure all your purchased bellies are usable?
I tried the diggingdogfarm calculator that was linked and thankfully the amounts are almost exactly what I've been using based on my conversion of the recipe i started with.
Thanks again for all the info.

If you have a large tub, you can add more bellies to it which will reduce the amount of water needed. You will need to figure it out before hand but this is another nice thing about scaling in a big tub. More meat = less water :D

Nothing is stopping you from injecting the cure solution into the bellies either for a faster cure time :)
 

SmokinEdge

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If you have a large tub, you can add more bellies to it which will reduce the amount of water needed. You will need to figure it out before hand but this is another nice thing about scaling in a big tub. More meat = less water :D

Nothing is stopping you from injecting the cure solution into the bellies either for a faster cure time :)
If you are going to inject on a large scale, mix up brine with 1200ppm nitrite and salt from 15% to 26% (26% being all the salt water can dissolve) then sugar to taste maybe start with 10% sugar. Then calculate 10% of meat weight and weigh that much brine and inject the belly. In this way you will impart 120ppm nitrite, 1.5 to 2.6% salt and 1% sugar. Bag them and overhaul them every other day for 5 to 7 days. Done deal.

Brines are a PITA when trying to calculate uptake, and that uptake is random meat to meat. Much better to inject and know what is in the meat percentage wise. Otherwise just stick with the dry rub.
 

Baconbass

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If you are going to inject on a large scale, mix up brine with 1200ppm nitrite and salt from 15% to 26% (26% being all the salt water can dissolve) then sugar to taste maybe start with 10% sugar. Then calculate 10% of meat weight and weigh that much brine and inject the belly. In this way you will impart 120ppm nitrite, 1.5 to 2.6% salt and 1% sugar. Bag them and overhaul them every other day for 5 to 7 days. Done deal.

Brines are a PITA when trying to calculate uptake, and that uptake is random meat to meat. Much better to inject and know what is in the meat percentage wise. Otherwise just stick with the dry rub.
I'm going to explore the idea. Ive seen some injected that ended up with lumps of cure here and there. I'll want to learn how to do it properly I think
 

SmokinEdge

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I'm going to explore the idea. Ive seen some injected that ended up with lumps of cure here and there. I'll want to learn how to do it properly I think
If you want to get serious about it, look into a vacuum tumbler, that’s what commercial producers of bacon and ham use, they all stitch pump the cure and vacuum tumble the meat. This evens out the cure in the meat and speeds the process. They can be bought small to very large.
 

Baconbass

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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]
Did you happen to have a link to that calculator? So far I've seen the diggingdogfarm one and the meathead one but I'm not sure which one you were referring to.

Thanks -Josh
 

DougE

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So far I've seen the diggingdogfarm one and the meathead one but I'm not sure which one you were referring to.
diggindog farm is the one many/most people who use calcs here use. I just weigh the meat and do my own calculations. It only takes a minute or two.
 

tallbm

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Did you happen to have a link to that calculator? So far I've seen the diggingdogfarm one and the meathead one but I'm not sure which one you were referring to.

Thanks -Josh
Hi Josh, here you go :)
http://www.diggingdogfarm.com/page2.html

The little calculator on the side will helps with conversions. Also know that the main cure caluclator field that says "Weight of meat in Grams..." would contain meat weight + water weight if doing any wet cure/brines. If not doing wet, then you only put the meat weight.

Simple :)
 

DougE

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Just be aware that the diggindog calc adds the salt in the cure plus the additional salt for the total salt. So if you were to use my recipe of 1.5% salt, 0.25% cure#1, 0.75% sugar, you have to put in 1.75% for the salt value.
 

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