Pork Bellies

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by mulepackin, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well I have definitely caught the bacon bug. Started the search for bellies today, but can't find them anywhere. Tried the supplier I usually use for trim and pork fat. They did some checking than when they got back to me, told me that their supplier sends all of the "good" bellies to commercial bacon packers, and what they had left wasn't of very good quality. He said he just wouldn't feel right selling me them. Tried Sam's club, no dice. Guess I'll try some of the retail grocers on the off chance one might be able or willing to get me some. Also have a buddy checking at the base commisary meat counter also. I'll settle for buckboard and Canadian in the the meantime, but really would like some bellies. If any of you bacon makers have any other suggestions I'd love to hear it. Thanks.
  2. john3198

    john3198 Smoking Fanatic

    This may not be an option where you are, but I get mine in oriental or Chinese markets.
  3. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Try a chain meat counter, talk to the meat manager. He or she may have the ability to order fresh bellies, as it can be sold as sidepork, usually in the offals section (not an offal but is included in the offals section ordering)... pig ears, snouts, feet, brains, calf sweetbreads (thyroid gland), livers, kidneys, tripe, etc.
  4. I agree with pops. If you find a good butcher to order them...more than likely they are going to give you a great belly.
  5. bixter1

    bixter1 Fire Starter

    Yepperz, find a good butcher that can get them for you.
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yep I had looked for a long time before I found a good old school butcher thats told me sure we have them and we can get all you want to.
  7. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah not an option here, although there is an asian market of some sort here, I'm pretty sure they don't handle any fresh products. We are just too far from everywhere and good shipping routes. I did contact another wholesaler today that I thought had closed down. They are still open and can get em in for me so I will see what happens. Thanks for the replies everyone.
  8. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Finally got me a belly today. Got it cut up (slabs), and curing now. I'm just trying a simple honey, a maple, and a brown sugar for starters. Now vac packed and sitting in the fridge. One is wrapped in butcher paper and vac packed, I was working on the paper,after covering it with honey, I flipped it to do the other side, when I lifted it, the honey, salt and cure stayed on the paper, not the meat, so I just wrapped it all up, then vac packed it. Learned a lesson there. Not sure the vacuum packing is needed, but seems like a good idea to me. Now letting it sit for a week in the fridge.
  9. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    mulepackin-looking forward to seeing the finished results.
    Since you raise your own beef, have you given any thought to raising your own hogs? Berkshires will give you some great meat for smoking. They are the real pig. What I mean by that is they haven't been re-engineered to make them lean. As a breed, they have great fat marbling throughout the meat.
  10. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    nice looking start there, I cant wait to see th finished porduct as well. bacon is on my short list for 2010
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    MMMmmmm, and a fine lookin' belly it is ![​IMG]

    Meet you at the finish line----Can't wait for your final Qview.

  12. arch_cpj

    arch_cpj Newbie

    I think the best way to find pork bellies is to go to the butcher shop most of the farmers or 4Hers get their animals processed most of them will have fresh bellies etc especially as most of those places have them to make their own bacon...
  13. badfrog

    badfrog Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I get mine from a local butcher that brings em in the front oinkin' and sends them out the back on ice! This is an old farmer and his sons that have been doing this for 3 generations; they also make and sell bacon, hams and sausage. Check with your local farm feed store and they can point you in the direction of local pig farmers, then jsut follow the trail...thats how I found mine! (he even let me "suit" up one time and help with the entire process!
  14. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    We had two weiner pigs when I was growing up. They were a royal PITA, since we weren't really set up for them. Spent more time chasing them than anything. Maybe when I retire, and live on the ranch full time. We do have hutterite colonies here. They are large communal farms, people of Russian and German heritage, live very austere, simple lives. I guess like Amish, menninite or such. They are far and away the largest producers of hogs, poultry, and dairy in the state. They are always willing to sell outside of their standard commercial channels. I'm just not patient, plus they don't process, and it's gotten very difficult to find processors around here.
  15. That is exactly how my wife and I do them. We rub them on butcher paper, then pour honey or what not while on paper. Flip them repeat, and Vaccupack them from 4 to 7 days, flipping and rotating daily.
    It really seems to work great as there is less mess cause of the butcher paper. The vacupacking seems to get the rub and sauce into the meat evenly. Made bacon twice this way and works great for us.
  16. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Hound. Glad to know it will work out. I kinda had an "oh ****" moment there for a while.
  17. b8h8r

    b8h8r Smoke Blower

    Packin....if you're ever in Butte, call ahead to Western meat Block. I haven't seen them yet, but I called and ordered 2 today, he said they get their hogs tomorrow, and I'll have my bellies on Wednesday. 2.79 lb.

    Everything I have ever gotten from them has been top notch, and I've been eating and having them process my meat for 30 plus years. Hope that helps.
  18. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just take a drive down to West Texas... there's enough wild hogs running around to feed all of Montana! And they'd love nothing better than to give 'em to them, too! I've got a couple hunters who are promising me a wild hog to cut up for them and we split the meat; hopefully one will be coming in soon! Once you cut up a couple you'd surprise yourself at how simple they are to cut up.

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