My First Smoked Beef Belly (Lotsa Pics And Info)

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tx smoker

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Original poster
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Apr 14, 2013
7,539
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Lago Vista, Texas
Been trying for years to find beef bellies, to no avail, until a week and a half ago. Tried several meat processors in the area and most of them acted like I was speaking Hebrew when I asked about them. One that did talk to me entered into a very short conversation. He quoted me a price of $25/pound. Sorry, I didn't want them that badly to pay an extreme price like that. CPB offered them but when they opened their new corporate offices, they also opened a Mercato in the same building where they sold all the different cuts of meat as well as some cured items. One of those cured items was beef bacon and they couldn't keep the stuff on the shelves. It was flying out faster than they could make it so every bit of the bellies were allocated to the Mercato. Of course I was disappointed but understand the business rationale behind it. Finally and alas, Joe was able to work a miracle and procure an order for me....some how, some way. There were some issues with UPS and the delivery, but it finally got here. Decided to smoke a half belly last weekend for Tracy and I.

The bellies: they come two to a package, three packages to an order. Total weight was 56 pounds. They are shipped "bacon ready" which means they have already been trimmed.
001.jpg


The half belly
002.jpg


Seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning. That was my go-to on beef for a long time but since making my own rubs, I've not used it in a long time. Seemed nostalgic I guess :emoji_wink:
003.jpg


Onto the smoker at 8:15 in the morning. Smoke it like a brisket so I'm anticipating an 8 hour cook. Smoker is at 250 and running cherry wood.
004.jpg


At the 3 hour mark. Two pics, one from each side
005.jpg

006.jpg


Get some corn seasoned up with my homemade garlic and herb EVOO and SPG
007.jpg


At the 6 hour mark. Time to baste and wrap. Two pics again, one from each side.
009.jpg

008.jpg


Back onto the smoker along with the corn for another 2 hours
010.jpg


Total time was just over 8 hours. Done, rested, and ready to slice
011.jpg

012.jpg


Sliced...and a lot of fat to deal with. More on that shortly.
013.jpg


Plated with the corn and some of my wasabi horseradish slaw and out to the patio with the mandatory margarita (not pictured).
014.jpg


Nice smoke ring this time
015.jpg


Ok...now to the relevant info being that this is not a commonly seen cut here in SMF. I'll share what I learned. I knew going in that there would be a lot of fat to deal with. A lot of the fat did render out while cooking but there was still quite a bit left when done. My first thought when slicing was that it's not worth the time and effort for such a small yield of meat. That thought was dispelled in a hurry when I took the first bite. OMG!! It was amazing. Such a smooth silky texture and a deep, rich, decadent flavor. The closest thing I can compare it to is the Osso Bucco I did a while back. It was that rich and truly amazing. A huge shout out to SmokinEdge SmokinEdge for all his help the past couple months. He's a walking encyclopedia on how a smoke ring is formed and in the beginning I was not getting it with this smoker. We kept going through info and exchanging ideas until we got it dialed in...or so it seems. I know the smoke ring doesn't bring anything to the table as far as flavor is concerned but when I spend all day cooking BBQ, I wanna see that smoke ring :emoji_laughing: Thank you sir!! Another testament to the great people in this forum.

Well, as promised in the beginning, this was a long story but hopefully I was able to share some good info. If you ever get a chance to smoke one of these, go for it!! It's some spectacular eating.

I'm all done with this one....finally. Y'all take care and see ya soon. Still got a few more things in the queue I'd like to post sometime soon.

Robert
 

clifish

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May 25, 2019
2,590
2,581
Long Island, NY
Been trying for years to find beef bellies, to no avail, until a week and a half ago. Tried several meat processors in the area and most of them acted like I was speaking Hebrew when I asked about them. One that did talk to me entered into a very short conversation. He quoted me a price of $25/pound. Sorry, I didn't want them that badly to pay an extreme price like that. CPB offered them but when they opened their new corporate offices, they also opened a Mercato in the same building where they sold all the different cuts of meat as well as some cured items. One of those cured items was beef bacon and they couldn't keep the stuff on the shelves. It was flying out faster than they could make it so every bit of the bellies were allocated to the Mercato. Of course I was disappointed but understand the business rationale behind it. Finally and alas, Joe was able to work a miracle and procure an order for me....some how, some way. There were some issues with UPS and the delivery, but it finally got here. Decided to smoke a half belly last weekend for Tracy and I.

The bellies: they come two to a package, three packages to an order. Total weight was 56 pounds. They are shipped "bacon ready" which means they have already been trimmed.
View attachment 641847

The half belly
View attachment 641849

Seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning. That was my go-to on beef for a long time but since making my own rubs, I've not used it in a long time. Seemed nostalgic I guess :emoji_wink:
View attachment 641850

Onto the smoker at 8:15 in the morning. Smoke it like a brisket so I'm anticipating an 8 hour cook. Smoker is at 250 and running cherry wood.
View attachment 641851

At the 3 hour mark. Two pics, one from each side
View attachment 641852
View attachment 641853

Get some corn seasoned up with my homemade garlic and herb EVOO and SPG
View attachment 641854

At the 6 hour mark. Time to baste and wrap. Two pics again, one from each side.
View attachment 641855
View attachment 641856

Back onto the smoker along with the corn for another 2 hours
View attachment 641857

Total time was just over 8 hours. Done, rested, and ready to slice
View attachment 641858
View attachment 641859

Sliced...and a lot of fat to deal with. More on that shortly.
View attachment 641860

Plated with the corn and some of my wasabi horseradish slaw and out to the patio with the mandatory margarita (not pictured).
View attachment 641861

Nice smoke ring this time
View attachment 641862

Ok...now to the relevant info being that this is not a commonly seen cut here in SMF. I'll share what I learned. I knew going in that there would be a lot of fat to deal with. A lot of the fat did render out while cooking but there was still quite a bit left when done. My first thought when slicing was that it's not worth the time and effort for such a small yield of meat. That thought was dispelled in a hurry when I took the first bite. OMG!! It was amazing. Such a smooth silky texture and a deep, rich, decadent flavor. The closest thing I can compare it to is the Osso Bucco I did a while back. It was that rich and truly amazing. A huge shout out to SmokinEdge SmokinEdge for all his help the past couple months. He's a walking encyclopedia on how a smoke ring is formed and in the beginning I was not getting it with this smoker. We kept going through info and exchanging ideas until we got it dialed in...or so it seems. I know the smoke ring doesn't bring anything to the table as far as flavor is concerned but when I spend all day cooking BBQ, I wanna see that smoke ring :emoji_laughing: Thank you sir!! Another testament to the great people in this forum.

Well, as promised in the beginning, this was a long story but hopefully I was able to share some good info. If you ever get a chance to smoke one of these, go for it!! It's some spectacular eating.

I'm all done with this one....finally. Y'all take care and see ya soon. Still got a few more things in the queue I'd like to post sometime soon.

Robert
Nice Robert, I have not seen this cut yet myself, only been reading about it here lately. I could definitely see making burnt ends out of this.

Oh and I am starting to doubt your margaritas, we never see pics....you know pics or did not happen...lol
 

tallbm

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Dec 30, 2016
6,591
3,629
Texas
Been trying for years to find beef bellies, to no avail, until a week and a half ago. Tried several meat processors in the area and most of them acted like I was speaking Hebrew when I asked about them. One that did talk to me entered into a very short conversation. He quoted me a price of $25/pound. Sorry, I didn't want them that badly to pay an extreme price like that. CPB offered them but when they opened their new corporate offices, they also opened a Mercato in the same building where they sold all the different cuts of meat as well as some cured items. One of those cured items was beef bacon and they couldn't keep the stuff on the shelves. It was flying out faster than they could make it so every bit of the bellies were allocated to the Mercato. Of course I was disappointed but understand the business rationale behind it. Finally and alas, Joe was able to work a miracle and procure an order for me....some how, some way. There were some issues with UPS and the delivery, but it finally got here. Decided to smoke a half belly last weekend for Tracy and I.

The bellies: they come two to a package, three packages to an order. Total weight was 56 pounds. They are shipped "bacon ready" which means they have already been trimmed.
View attachment 641847

The half belly
View attachment 641849

Seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning. That was my go-to on beef for a long time but since making my own rubs, I've not used it in a long time. Seemed nostalgic I guess :emoji_wink:
View attachment 641850

Onto the smoker at 8:15 in the morning. Smoke it like a brisket so I'm anticipating an 8 hour cook. Smoker is at 250 and running cherry wood.
View attachment 641851

At the 3 hour mark. Two pics, one from each side
View attachment 641852
View attachment 641853

Get some corn seasoned up with my homemade garlic and herb EVOO and SPG
View attachment 641854

At the 6 hour mark. Time to baste and wrap. Two pics again, one from each side.
View attachment 641855
View attachment 641856

Back onto the smoker along with the corn for another 2 hours
View attachment 641857

Total time was just over 8 hours. Done, rested, and ready to slice
View attachment 641858
View attachment 641859

Sliced...and a lot of fat to deal with. More on that shortly.
View attachment 641860

Plated with the corn and some of my wasabi horseradish slaw and out to the patio with the mandatory margarita (not pictured).
View attachment 641861

Nice smoke ring this time
View attachment 641862

Ok...now to the relevant info being that this is not a commonly seen cut here in SMF. I'll share what I learned. I knew going in that there would be a lot of fat to deal with. A lot of the fat did render out while cooking but there was still quite a bit left when done. My first thought when slicing was that it's not worth the time and effort for such a small yield of meat. That thought was dispelled in a hurry when I took the first bite. OMG!! It was amazing. Such a smooth silky texture and a deep, rich, decadent flavor. The closest thing I can compare it to is the Osso Bucco I did a while back. It was that rich and truly amazing. A huge shout out to SmokinEdge SmokinEdge for all his help the past couple months. He's a walking encyclopedia on how a smoke ring is formed and in the beginning I was not getting it with this smoker. We kept going through info and exchanging ideas until we got it dialed in...or so it seems. I know the smoke ring doesn't bring anything to the table as far as flavor is concerned but when I spend all day cooking BBQ, I wanna see that smoke ring :emoji_laughing: Thank you sir!! Another testament to the great people in this forum.

Well, as promised in the beginning, this was a long story but hopefully I was able to share some good info. If you ever get a chance to smoke one of these, go for it!! It's some spectacular eating.

I'm all done with this one....finally. Y'all take care and see ya soon. Still got a few more things in the queue I'd like to post sometime soon.

Robert

Great post on a rare cut of meat!

Do you plan to cure one and try for a "bacon"?
I would assume it comes out more like a pastrami but curious to see what it becomes with such an attempt :)
 

jcam222

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Jun 13, 2017
7,644
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Northeast Ohio
Looks great Robert. I did some a year or two ago. I’d agree very beefy! You nailed it as usual. I’d sure love some of that over hotel food tonight at the Chicago airport lol.
 

SmokinEdge

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Jan 18, 2020
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Western Colorado
As usual this looks delicious Robert. This might be fatty but fat is flavor so big points on flavor.

That is a nice smoke ring, and really,,,, I’m just happy you let me tag along for the ride,,, and thanks so much for the updates on the little tweaking you did. Just glad to be a part of it and happy for some positive results.

Very nice cook as usual, big like.
 

SmokinAl

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Jun 22, 2009
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Awesome smoke Robert!
I can almost taste it the way you described it!
Really looking forward to seeing the beef bacon!
Keep ‘em coming!!
Al
 

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