Newbie, First Bacon Attempt

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by stoverr2, May 22, 2013.

  1. stoverr2

    stoverr2 Fire Starter

    First off, let me say I'm a newbie to the forum.  I picked up my amnps and some Traeger Apple pellets from the internet and have been trying them out for burn time and heat generation.  I've had some pork curing for some Buckboard Bacon the last couple of weeks and plan on starting them in my home built cold smoker in a few days.  I'll post pics for feedback as I progress.

    For my hot smoking I use a simple Chargriller Duo with a side firebox.  I've gotten into making sausage as well and wanted to cold smoke some andouille and chorizo this past spring so I built a cold smoker.  Essentially it's 2ft square, about 4ft high, and is on casters.  I first attempted to use a hotplate and skillet with chips in the bottom of it, but was not happy.  One, the temperature was too high, and two, the smoke was too acrid.  Smelled like I was burning lumber while trying to cut it with a dull circular saw.  I solved this by firing up my hot smoker and running a duct from the chimney on that to a hole near the bottom of the new contraption.  Fabricated a simple fan from an old laptop cooling unit that I placed inside the cold smoker right next to new hole I cut.  This allowed me to draw the smoke through the 10 foot tube and into the unit.  Worked like a charm.  Since I had decided to use the hot smoker to generate my smoke, I decided to take advantage of that and threw a couple of shoulders on as well.  For the hot smoker, I use charcoal and soaked hickory chunks.

    Ok, with all of that out of the way, here's what I'm doing now.  As I mentioned earlier, I got the AMNPS and some Traeger pellets in the mail this week.  I had read in some posts that the long pellets didn't work quite as well in the AMNPS.  Not knowing what "long" meant I decided to load it with the pellets straight out of the bag to see how well it worked.  Didn't "turn the corner well".  I spent several hours breaking the long pieces down to be no longer than 1/2" and have it fired up again now. 

    It's currently Wednesday morning, I'll be taking the pork out of the cure to rinse, truss, and dry tomorrow.  Placing it in the cold smoker either Thursday night or early Friday morning, depending on pellicle formation after I start it drying.  Not having used the AMNPS, or any other method for smoking bacon for that matter, any suggestions on length of time for the smoking?  Should I light both ends of the smoker for greater smoke generation?  I am also planning on placing some cheese on racks below the hanging bacon, Why let all that space go to waste, right?
  2. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    And i'm with you on the cheese

  3. stoverr2

    stoverr2 Fire Starter

    Thanks SQWIB! Only using the smaller pieces for the bends will make life much easier. I'm getting more and more excited about the possibilities that abound with cold smoking.  My first attempt a few months ago turned out very well, smoking 20 pounds of sausage.  Also, the cheese that I started this morning was pulled after 3 hours.  I only did small bricks of swiss and cheddar to start out with, but will so much more on Friday.  Let me see if I can import any pictures without messing things up too much....

    While testing out the burn on the smaller pellets, I snapped this pic.  Look normal?  The AMNPS was in the fire box, roughly 2-3 feet away from the chimney. 

    This is the set up that I used back in the Spring for my sausage smoking.  Please forgive me for my poor pictures, I was not planning on sharing them. LOL  The power cord is going to the USB fan that I mentioned earlier.  The fan itself can be seen better in the next photo.

    The racks themselves are basically nothing more than cookie cooling racks, each one is roughly 10 inches by 16 inches, or 20x16 for each shelf.  They're held in place by three 5/8" dowel rods that are removable for hanging meat.  With all the shelves in place, I have 1600 square inches of rack space.  Not bad for less than $100 in total cost. 
  4. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Cool setup
  5. i would put the cheese above the pork. don't want it dripped on. my last belly bacon i did 40+ hours of smoke.

    2 to 3 hours on the cheese works.

    happy smoken

  6. stoverr2

    stoverr2 Fire Starter

    Have made some nice progress on the bacon.

    I decided to take advantage of the smoke and toss some almonds in. I'll pull them after 3 hours and put them in the oven for a bit. I've seen plenty of posts regarding hot smoking almonds, but didn't dig too deep to find direction on cold smoking them.
  7. Your smoker looks great. I have cold smoke a lot of things but never nuts. I've smoked Pecans on Prailene bacon but that was hot smoked. did hot smoked pecans last night in chex mix.

    I'll just grab a bag of[​IMG]  and a [​IMG]. I'm in.

    Happy smoken.

  8. stoverr2

    stoverr2 Fire Starter

    Well, I'm happy a happy camper this morning. My first attempt has gone well. By virtue of the fact that I used the same recipe on varying weights of meat, I am going to be able to have different concentrations of seasoning to try. Hopefully this'll allow me to narrow down the flavor profile I like faster.

    The almonds turned out amazing. Hopefully that will mean my wife will overlook the drama associated with this batch of Bacon.

    I started the smoker around 9:30 Thursday night. Around 1 in the morning my wife is awakened by lights and sirens. She looks out the window and yells at me to wake up, there is a firetruck outside. I was awake, put on a pair ot pants, and down the stairs in 30 seconds flat. Not a small feat for a big guy, let me tell you... Well, part of the reason I was down the stairs so fast was because I fell for them. I rush out to my back patio just in time to meet a fireman and my neighbor. It would appear my nice recluse of a neighbor thought the big wood box on my porch was on fire. Nevermind the fact that it was a slow thin stream of smoke coming out of the freaking chimney. At any rate, I explained the the nice fireman that I was smoking bacon, and that it would be ready Saturday morning if he wanted to come for breakfast, lol. He goes on his merry way and I head to the emergency room to see if my arm is broken. Thankfully, nothing worse than a really bad sprain and bruised ego.

    So, as I said earlier, I'm hoping the almonds and 7 pounds of cheese I smoked will be enough to outweigh the drama of the long smoke.

    Here are some of the pics I've taken of the finished product.

  9. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    That all looks pretty tasty from here, Stoverr! 

    Can't believe your neighbor called the fire department in the middle of the night without checking with you first.  Send him your ER bill....

  10. looks great. hope you get well soon.

    Happy smoke.

  11. travisb

    travisb Smoke Blower

    Quite the story! Glad it seemed to turn out well though. Bacon always seems to help with recovery.
  12. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Outstanding!  Bacon = Penicillin  Take 2 twice a day and call me Thursday morning. 

    Dr. Brian...
  13. stoverr2

    stoverr2 Fire Starter

    After taking the first batch off, I went down to the cabin for a night. Came home and fired up the smoker again. Here are the last two slabs after 36 hours. Looking forward to dinner tonight!

  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    All looks Great, Stover!!!

    Hope to see those last slabs sliced !!

  15. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Stoverr2, It's easy to see that you are getting a good clean, smooth smoke with your setup.  Do you have a way to shade it all during the warmer months?

    I prefer cold smoking almonds also.  Time varies on the cold smoke generator being used AMNPS or Smoke Daddy.

    Welcome to the forum.  Will look forward to future threads.

  16. stoverr2

    stoverr2 Fire Starter

    Thanks for the encouragement.  I'm glad to hear that the smoke looks right.  During the last batch, the two slabs, I set up a canopy over the smoker since we were getting some rain.  Worked out great, as long as the wind is not too severe.  It'll be touch and go as to whether I can do a long over the summer with average temperatures here being 80 during the day.  I will however be able to manage a fair amount of short smokes in the evenings and overnight.  Will try out using my regular smoker with the AMNPS in the firebox for that. 

    Here's a pic of one of the slabs that Bear asked about.

  17. Looks great. i do night smokes when it gets hot. it's hard to cold smoke when the smoker is already hot.

    Happy smoken.

  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    That stuff is so dark red inside it looks strange, but I guess it's because it's the leanest I've ever seen!!! Barely any internal fat showing in that picture!!!

    That stuff is leaner than BBB.

  19. stoverr2

    stoverr2 Fire Starter

    I'll snap another picture of a slice on its edge, showing the internal fat a little better. You're right though, it is very lean. Purchase it boneless, but fat cap intact for less than $1.50 per pound. It's what I've always used for my sausage and pulled pork, have to add fat when I make sausage since it's so lean.
  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great, I'll be watching for it.

    Don't get me wrong though, I wasn't picking on it. I just never saw such dark Crimson colored Bacon. Must be awful tasty!!!


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