My first bacon, need some guidance please, best method for small belly cut

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kilohertz

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Dec 29, 2022
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57
Vernon, BC Canada
I had a great successful second brisket ever experience yesterday and now I want to try bacon. I have spent the morning reading all about hot vs cold smoke and dry vs wet brine, and am now totally confused and could use some guidance from those of you with lots of experience.

It's a nice small cut and is 2.2 lbs, about 1.5" think, skin on. From what I have read, there is a liquid brine from Pops, a nice simple method from a number of years ago, I remember seeing it this morning, just wondering if that is still a good way to start. I have Kosher salt and just ran into town and got 100g of the Prague curing salt #1 from a friend of mine who owns a sausage business.

Anyway, I'll let you gurus step up and let me know what's the simplest for a first timer. It's just above freezing here right now and will be like that for a few more months so I'm thinking cold smoke for now. I am planning on using my Kamado for this as I have it setup with an electric element with thermostat controlled temp so if the temp is better at 45-50F rather than 32, then I can dial in whatever is recommended and I was planning on smoke tray/tube with pellets but am open to other suggestions as well. I can change it back to wood/charcoal but then it's harder to keep the temps low. I have also put wood chunks right on the element, makes a nice smoke flavor.

Thank you all.

Cheers

pork belly.JPG
 
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DougE

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I'd do a dry brine
Weigh the meat in grams for ease of calculation and go with:

0.25% Cure#1 (this number doesn't change)
1.5% non-iodized salt (don't use regular table salt that has iodine in it)
0.75% sugar

You may wish to increase the salt and/or sugar some for your tastes later on, but this is a solid place to start from.
 
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gmc2003

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Like Charlie said there are a few ways of mak'in bacon. Here's another option that I use.

From Disco

Chris
 
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Bigtank

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Jul 10, 2018
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Algona IA
Here's my dry brine recipe,

0.25% Pink Cure #1 (Prague powder etc. that has 6.25% nitrite)
1.2% Salt (Kosher)
1% Brown Sugar (I like Organic Maple Sugar)
I would take the skin off before I cure it, put everything in a vac bag or zip loc and squeeze out as much air as you can. Refrigerate, massage and turn it over every day. I like to cure a belly for 14 days (a little longer than needed but I think it improves flavor.

%'s are of the weight of the meat. This is a lower sodium recipe. You can use DiginDogs Calculator to help. http://www.diggingdogfarm.com/page2.html
 
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kilohertz

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Dec 29, 2022
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Vernon, BC Canada
Man Mark, you have inexpensive meat in your location. My little 2 lb piece of belly, on sale, was $15, that whole slab of yours was $23, amazing.

Thanks for the vote, and I have decided I am going to do both simultaneously then smoke together once cured. I'll zip into town tomorrow and get another one.

Here we go...keep your hands inside the car at all times and wait until it comes to a complete stop before leaving.

Cheers

Paul
 
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HowlingDog

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Full disclosure, that was a pre-pandemic price. I think Costco is up to $3.50lb US now.

Have fun with it. I am still learning the process but enjoy it. Since it takes several hours to smoke, you have an excuse to sit by the smoker "tending" it and you gotta stay hydrated...... Cheers!!
 

kilohertz

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Dec 29, 2022
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Vernon, BC Canada
Starting with dry today, wet tomorrow.

Looking at the Diggindogfarm calculator, the %'s of salt looks like it combines the cure #1 amount with the kosher salt to make up the say 1.5% total salt? So if for round numbers my belly is 1,000g, then for 1.5% salt I would add 15g salt, but the diggindog calc says 12.66g and then .25% cure#1 would be 2.5g, which does jive with DDfarm.

Could someone enlighten me as to the correct way to measure the salt please?

Thanks
 
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HowlingDog

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I too use the DiggingDog calculator. I guess you are technically correct because the Cure #1 is mostly salt but I still measure them separately. You can set the DD calculator to the amount of salt you want and just hit the Calculate the Cure button and it will tell you how much of each ingredient you need. I follow the amounts exactly and have never had a bacon that is too salty. The cure amount is impt. Do you have a scale that can measure gram weights??
 
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Nefarious

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Full disclosure, that was a pre-pandemic price. I think Costco is up to $3.50lb US now.

Have fun with it. I am still learning the process but enjoy it. Since it takes several hours to smoke, you have an excuse to sit by the smoker "tending" it and you gotta stay hydrated...... Cheers!!
As howling dog says, hydration any time the smoker is on is key. It takes a long time to smoke for a reason.
 
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kilohertz

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Dec 29, 2022
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Vernon, BC Canada
Okay it's done and in the ziplock in the fridge. I just went with simple math, not the DDF calc.

Thanks everyone for the help. Tomorrow I'll make up a half batch of Pops brine. Is it safe to assume it can be scaled for smaller pieces of belly, as long as it's submerged?

Cheers
 
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