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

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Diggindogfarm calculator, the %'s of salt looks like it combines the cure #1 amount with the kosher salt
Diggingdog does combine the .25% cure plus additional salt, so you would have to put 1.75 on the line for salt to get what I use. 1.5% salt plus the .25% from the cure.

kilohertz
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
Yes you are thinking right. So if you input 1.5% salt the calculator will allow for the cure #1 salt. So in this way you will have 1.25% salt then add the .25 sodium nitrite and you have 1.5% salt. Otherwise, a lot of us do the 1.5% salt then add the .25% cure #1 and we are all in at 1.75% salt. Does that make sense?

kilohertz
Pops brine is good but I use dry cure using the dogs calculator. Put 2 pork loins in the cure yesterday.

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

Absolutely NOT. Make a full gallon. If you need more make another full gallon.

Those were Pops rules and quite frankly the best ones to go by.

I've used both Pop's and dry brine and honestly can't tell the difference in the final product.

My preference is Pop's...make sure it's completely submerged and it's basically "set it and forget it" until it's finished.

Now, having said that, if I needed more than a gallon of Pop's, I'd dry brine...takes up a lot less space in my fridge.

Pop's is easy and produces excellent results. Have 9 pounds of belly soaking right now.

Using a TQ and sugar rub is easy and produces great results as well. 1TBS TQ per pound of belly, sugar up to you. Started 4 pounds of belly on Saturday.

The cure #1 recipes are good as well, but you will most likely need a scale. Many cure calculators on the web.

Regardless of the cure method, i alway dry the bellies and dry in the fridge for 12 - 24 hours after curing. After drying, i apply any additional seasonings.

Generally course ground black pepper, maybe some garlic and onion powder....

Not much, if any difference in the taste or texture regardless of the method, in my opinion.

Having said that, i use Pop's brine most often.

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?
As already said No . Post 7 says mix by the gallon .
Absolutely NOT. Make a full gallon. If you need more make another full gallon.
Exactly . Like you said , that comes from Pops himself .

The only way I've done it is with Pop's brine, using 1/3 cup Kosher, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, 1TBS of #1 and a gallon of water. It's super simple and works. I've had one going for a week now. It won't hurt anything to go longer than 14 days. I've gone as long as 3 weeks waiting for the weather to cooperate for a smoke.
I also dump in one of those little bottles of Maple extract/flavoring.

Using a TQ and sugar rub is easy and produces great results as well. 1TBS TQ per pound of belly, sugar up to you. Started 4 pounds of belly on Saturday.

The cure #1 recipes are good as well, but you will most likely need a scale. Many cure calculators on the web.

Mmmm, another variable, okay cool. From my research TQ is Mortons Tender Quick? which I have found to contain .5% sodium nitrate and .5% sodium nitrite in the 2lb bag, plus salt and other "curing ingredients". One other thing I found on their web site states not for curing pork bellies or making bacon. Mmmmm?

Could someone please clarify before I consider experimenting with this method?

Thanks

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Mmmm, another variable, okay cool. From my research TQ is Mortons Tender Quick? which I have found to contain .5% sodium nitrate and .5% sodium nitrite in the 2lb bag, plus salt and other "curing ingredients". One other thing I found on their web site states not for curing pork bellies or making bacon. WTF? Really?

Could someone please clarify before I consider experimenting with this method?

Thanks
Really!

I just offered an alternative.

You decide.

I am with DougE with the dry brine. I use maple sugar and then hot smoke.

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Good luck, take pictures and enjoy the process. It is addictive and you will be forever hooked on your home made bacon!!!

Mark
I'll second that. haven't bought store bacon in years. I do the maple slurple too, just beware more syrup will make your bacon fry "darker"

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Mmmm, another variable, okay cool. From my research TQ is Mortons Tender Quick? which I have found to contain .5% sodium nitrate and .5% sodium nitrite in the 2lb bag, plus salt and other "curing ingredients". One other thing I found on their web site states not for curing pork bellies or making bacon. WTF? Really?

Could someone please clarify before I consider experimenting with this method?

Thanks
USDA prohibits the use of nitrate in bacon. Only nitrite is allowed. That’s why Morton does not recommend TQ for bacon any more. People have used TQ for many generations to make bacon though.

kilohertz
Really!

I just offered an alternative.

You decide.
Sorry Bill, that wasn't aimed at you, it was a comment meant for Morton's TQ. It must be a CYA statement conjured up by their lawyers.

Now back to the show.

Sorry Bill, that wasn't aimed at you, it was a comment meant for Morton's TQ. It must be a CYA statement conjured up by their lawyers.

Now back to the show.
all good. i didn't take it personally.

kilohertz
USDA prohibits the use of nitrate in bacon. Only nitrite is allowed. That’s why Morton does not recommend TQ for bacon any more. People have used TQ for many generations to make bacon though.

Okay I understand now, appreciate the explanation.

cheers

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

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First, I would pull the skin off.

There are several different methods you can use for curing meats. As long as your method achieves proper nitrate concentrations, you should be good to go.

I love making my own bacon. It has a cleaner and much more natural texture than most store bought bacon.

I use a 10% brine, equilibrium, method for curing. What does that mean? I use 10% of the weight of meat in water and make the brine strength to reflect the weight of meat and water. Once the dissolved solids equalize between the water and meat, you are done with the cure. You can also inject this 10% brine into your meat for faster curing.

This method will not submerge your meat so you will have to do it in a sealed bag. I use a vacuum bag and evac most of the air.

See my attached instruction sheet for this method.

JC

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Been checking out all the food flyers this morning and found skinless whole pork bellies at one shop, cryovac pack \$5.88/lb (about \$1.99/lb USD ) and whole brisket points \$5/lb. Sure glad I have 3 freezers. Ha! It's going to be a busy month of smoking...

Going shopping shortly.

cheers!

Well wouldn't you know it, the day I pick for smoking my first bacon and it's blowing bloody blue murder 20-30 km winds so out came the moving blanket, plywood and lawn chair cushion.

I bought cherry pellets and mixed them with hickory and I am using the PB820, trying to keep 180* and get the IT to 145*. I cold smoked one slab a few days ago with cherry then put it in the fridge for 2 days and by then the second slab was ready, a 10% brine cure. Let it pellicle in the fridge overnight and today at 3pm they both went on the smoker. I'll keep you updated as we make progress. When I put the PB820 from smoke P0, which was only holding at 130, to 200*, the temp shot up to 230 (per usual with this smoker, can hardly wait to build my Arduino PID) so it's back to "smoke" at P0 and hopefully will hold near 170-180 with all the blankets and shielding.

More later.

Cheers

First one is off after only 2 hours, it was pretty thin and it went to 147 and then to 153 sitting on the counter. Will let it cool to room temp then wrap in plastic and let it mature in the fridge for a few days.

Second one is at 123 right now.

Cheers

Looks delicious. Waiting for the slice and sampling yet to come.

SmokinEdge
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