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Newbie curing and smoking belly bacon

mdgirlinfl

Meat Mopper
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Joined Oct 14, 2016
Hi, I'm looking to get my bacon on. I have four 1-pound pieces of belly waiting to be cured and smoked. I have cure #1 and some maple sugar and syrup, plus other kitchen items, But I am looking for advice and successful cure recipes. I think I'd like to test a maple, a pepper a standard, and one other with my four little bellies.
Wet or dry? Ziplock or vacuseal? Time line for cure and smoke?
Thanks,
Cindy
 

chef jimmyj

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Wet cure with Pops Brine is easy but is not practical for 4 different flavors. Dry Cure is good as well and will suit your situation better. Use this Cure  calculator to figure the ingredients... http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/124590/universal-cure-calculator  But substitute the Maple Sugar in one and add a coat of Black Pepper to one during the cure and so on. Figure 7 days per inch thickness in a ziplock with the air pushed out. Flip and massage daily. Give the bellies a rinse, pat dry. Leave one plain and apply more Pepper, maple sugar and whatever you chose to the forth then rest uncovered on a rack in the refer overnight or place in front of a Fan for an hour or so to form a Pellicle. This is a covering of tacky dried protein that let's the smoke adhere better and develop a nice surface color. I like 12 hours of Cold smoke, 50 to 100°F, depending on time of year. Some guys go much longer, 3-4 or more, eight hour smoke sessions over a few days. Then there are the Warm/Hot smoke fans which you can investigate. Check ... http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/newsearch?search=hot+smoked+bacon 

Good luck...JJ
 

mdgirlinfl

Meat Mopper
223
39
Joined Oct 14, 2016
Many Thanks JJ. I'll be starting them bellies today. I had seen this calculator somewhere before but neglected to save/bookmark its location and couldn't find it again.
The upper end of the cold smoke temps may be all I can get here in southwest Florida. I'm using a Masterbuilt electric and I do have a cold smoke attachment. No danger of food born illness in that 80-100 degree range because of the cure process, correct?
With or without water/liquid in the smoker pan?
-Cindy
 

chef jimmyj

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Joined May 12, 2011
No safety issues. The cure takes care of the major bacteria. Have fun and good luck. Feel free to post or PM questions...JJ
 

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