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Plan for first time bacon - sound right?

Discussion in 'Hot Smoked Bacon' started by illini40, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Let me chime in on a dry cure method since some one directed you to wet!: https://oldfatguy.ca/?p=6070

    That's Disco's blog, he's around here some where..or frozen solid in Canada.. ;) But I've been doing Canadian and Buckboard Bacon with his stuff for a while now and I like it.

    As an aside; you still hot smoke with or with out the cure. Cold smoking is pretty much defined as under 100f, and hot smoking is 120f+ for the smoker temp. I'm sure there is some government definition more exact, but you get the idea!

    Not really true, it would be a more old timey bacon, more akin to salt pork. I knew a guy who used to do civil war re-enactments and they had it before. He didn't make it him self, buy some one involved did, and it's still bacony he said. But they also would soak it in water for half a day before frying it.
  2. illini40

    illini40 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks again for all of the help everyone!

    I have cut up the pork belly and tossed in the freezer. I have a 3lb chunk separated to use for my first attempt in a week or two.

    My new plan:
    - 3 lbs pork belly
    - 4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    - 4 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
    - 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    - 1/2 cup maple syrup
    - 3/4 cup distilled water
    - 1/2 teaspoon Prague powder #1

    Let it sit in the fridge for 3-5 days. Then hot smoke to IT of 150*ish.

    Does this sound like a solid, safe plan?
  3. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Sounds much better Illini :) I think you got the amounts down. If you don't have it, consider a small digital scale for measuring cure. <In these portions..if you end up deciding to make 200-300 pounds of stuff a weekend..well..> it's just more accurate and you know..a new toy ;)
  4. HowlingDog

    HowlingDog Fire Starter

    Hi illini40,

    I too am learning to make and smoke bacon. It is a great learning process. I have tried it twice and will continue to experiment. I did alot of reading, both here and other places. One of the things I did alot of reading was the amount of cure to use and why. I didn't see it posted before (may have missed it) was a calculator to measure the meat and cure so you do not use too much or too little. I found these two sites helpful, and there are some step by step videos that were really helpful too, such as below.




    Good luck and enjoy the process!
  5. illini40

    illini40 Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you for confirming that I am on the right track! I feel better about this approach. I was hesitant to use cure #1, but after some of the reading, I feel like it is only a positive and makes things more guaranteed to be safe (assuming the right amounts).

    Thank you! What process have you tried so far? I’m curious on your experience.

    Does my plan seem to make sense, based on your experience?

    Thanks for the links. The recipe that I am referencing seems very legitimate and is based on 3lbs of belly. I feel pretty confident with it (came from one of the links you referenced).
  6. HowlingDog

    HowlingDog Fire Starter

    Hi Illini,

    I have made bacon twice. Both times I mixed all the ingredients together (after carefully weighing everything), and rubbed the mix all over the belly. Placed it is a ziplock, no brine. First time I let it cure 8 days. Second time I let it cure 12 days. Hot smoked. I was aiming to smoke at 180 but by the time I finished, smoker got up over 210 (230 once, yikes).

    From my readings and comments I have seen here a number of times, the cure adds flavor as well as providing protection and that is why I let it go longer this time. I am sensitive to too much salt taste so I want to control that. I did learn that maple sugar is a good substitute for brown sugar and helps minimize the salt taste. Amazon had it here in 2 days!

    First time, I tried it right away and it was ok, but each day it got better. Second time, it was pretty ok, still mild on the bacon flavor but I expect it age well, just like the last time. The weather did not cooperate much and I was fighting the smoker quite a bit. The folks I shared with said it was really good, so I have that!!

    It is a fun process. The next time I try it, I am going to pick a nice clear sunny day, be a bit more patient, and use the A MAZE N tube I have. Good luck and keep asking questions, that's what I do!!
  7. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Personally I just always do 14 days, which is the generally accepted 'longest' time to do it. I've had some stuff go 16 days due to weather, it was still fine. Keep in mind..I've NEVER gotten to do pork belly yet, but I do buckboard bacon monthly!

    The real issue with Prague Powder 1/Cure 1/InstaCure 1 is when you screw up with it. Which if you follow some basic guides isn't easy to do. It's when you just rather make up your recipe you will encounter big issues. I've read stuff on facebook that was -insanely- poorly thought out, no one asking for help. One guy decided to replace regular salt, with Pink Salt for instance. He decided to not read about the science and combined old style salt cure with using nitrite etc. Suffice to say he only posted wondering where he went wrong after he ended up in the ER. I'm not sure what all nitrite toxicity can do to you..but I imagine having that much is very unpleasent!

    Now one thing I do that is different is I don't soak my bacon after the curing because I often add alot of nice flavouring. I rinse it well, pat dry..but I don't do the hour soak.. I find it's just fine. I really just want the surface cleaned off of excess salt etc. I also dislike tons of sodium <and I can tell when some thing packs sugar..Sriracha used to be my favourite go to condiment but now.. I hate it! To sweet!>
  8. illini40

    illini40 Smoking Fanatic

    Quick update - I have 3lbs of pork belly curing in the fridge now. I used the following for the cure:

    - 4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    - 4 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
    - 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    - 1/2 cup maple syrup
    - 3/4 cup distilled water
    - 1/2 teaspoon Prague powder #1

    I plan to smoke it this coming weekend. Can’t wait!

    Brine and cure mixed up:


    In a ziplock and into the fridge:

  9. Scott K

    Scott K Newbie

    I have hot smoked bacon several times. I do it pretty regularly. I do the dry cure and let the liquid in the belly make the brine. Cures for 7 days in fridge. Pretty close to what you have in your brine hold the water and add some garlic and bay leaves. You generally cannot go wrong. It is bacon after all. You will love the results. :)