Pork Belly Bacon (with Q-View)

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by luv2q, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. After seeing all of the wonderful bacon projects on the forum lately, I decided to attempt a bacon project, as well. Once completed, and after tasting the fruits of my labor, I'm so glad that I did!

    A few weeks ago, I mentioned to my father and uncle what I was planning on doing and, to my complete surprise, they showed up with a 7.51 pound package of the main ingredient - PORK BELLY! After opening the package, I cut the belly in half. I took both of the slabs and properly proportioned the right amount of Morton Tenderquick cure onto each one. After, I coated one of the slabs with turbinado brown sugar and the other slab with pure grade "B" maple. I placed each slab into a plastic bag and into the refrigerator they went. Each day, I'd open the bag and flip each slab. After 10 days, I pulled the slabs out, thoroughly rinsed them, dried them with paper towels and put them back into the refrigerator (uncovered) to form the pellicle. The next day, the slabs went into the smoker for 12 hours. I smoked the first nine hours at 100 degrees and the last three hours at 200 degrees. The internal temperature ended up at 143 degrees. I used a mix of apple and cherry chips.

    Side note: One day, I'll purchase an AMNPS and make my life easier, but in this case, I didn't have one and I had to resort to charcoal in my chip tray for the first nine hours, in order to keep the wood chips smoking, because wood chips will not smoke when the temperature of the MES is set too low.

    After the smoke, I foiled the slabs and placed them both into the freezer. The next morning, I brought out each slab, set each on my counter, lifted the corner of the skin with a knife and proceeded to peel the skin completely off. To my surprise, it peeled off rather easily and cleanly. This sure beats the hell out of cutting off the wavy skin with a knife before smoking! Once left with the skinless slabs of pork belly, I sliced them both up in the slicer and placed each sliced slab into zip-loc bags.

    Another side note: After frying up a bunch of strips for breakfast, my wife noted a slight salty taste. My kids and I were okay with the taste, but I guess my wife has more sensitive taste buds, so the next time I attempt to make bacon, I will soak the slabs in cold water for an hour and see if the slight salty taste that my wife noted goes away. As I've read, this salty taste issue is different with different people, but it's something to consider if you're going to try this for yourself.

    Anyhow, I'm really happy with how things turned out and I hope to never have to buy bacon at the store ever again! After hearing my wife, kids and friends rave about the taste, I'm looking forward to attempting not only the pork belly bacon again, but giving the buckboard bacon a try, too.

    Here's the Q-View I promised...

    The package of pork belly, as brought to me by my father and uncle. It was purchased at Publix for $3.19 a pound and weighed in at 7.51 pounds.

    [​IMG]

    Here's what the pork belly looks like after I cut it into two slabs. Can you see the bacon strips staring back at you already?

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    This is what the slabs look like after being coated with the Morton Tenderquick cure.

    [​IMG]

    These are the slabs in the smoker, ready to be smoked. They were rinsed the day before and left in the refrigerator (uncovered) for a day, in order to form a pellicle. The top slab is the maple slab and the bottom is the turbinado.

    [​IMG]

    After 12 hours of apple and cherry smoke, this is what the slabs look like.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a close-up of the maple slab after smoking and just before going into the freezer.

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    This is what the maple slab looks like the next morning after I peeled off the skin. Notice how cleanly it peeled away.

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    Here's a close-up of the peeled skin.

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    Here's a shot of a few slices coming off of the slicer.

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    A beautiful pile-o-bacon!

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    Here's a shot of both slabs in zip-loc bags, sliced and ready to refrigerate.

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    I hope you enjoyed the pics! Thank you for looking.
     
  2. Great color there!
     
  3. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Beautiful color, very nicely done!
     
  4. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I was thinking the same thing.........colors really jump out at you.  If it tastes as good as it looks (and I'm sure it does) you got some good eatin' coming up.
     
     
  5. scrappynadds

    scrappynadds Smoking Fanatic

    [​IMG]  Looks great..........Bacon sandwiches for me tonigh
     
  6. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Now that is some great looking Bacon ! Nice job 
     
  7. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Great looking bacon [​IMG]   I do have a question tho why are you raising the smoker temp? At anything much above 100 the fat starts to render and since it is cured you don't have to raise the temp to any certain level.
     
  8. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    bacon looks great !!!!
     
  9. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Those were some nice looking bellies, and you did them justice!

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
  10. Ozark, thank you!
     
    Mossy, thank you!
     
    rock, thank you and, yes, they taste great!
     
    Scrappy, thank you and enjoy your sandwiches!
     
    Scar, thank you!
     
    Piney, smoking at 100 degrees in the MES is a chore without an apparatus like an AMNPS. Also, I did a lot of reading and while some folks cold smoke at 100 degrees for roughly eight to 12 hours, some folks smoke at higher temperatures and take the internal temperature to 150 degrees. I wasn't happy with the color after nine hours, so I cranked it up to 200 degrees for the last three hours and not only got the color I was looking for, but I didn't have to fight the MES to heat the wood chips as bad as I had to when I was locked in at 100 degrees. Yeah, I agree that it's not a mainstream idea to do it the way I did, but the result was more than acceptable to me. One day, I'll pick up an AMNPS and I won't have this problem. By the way, thank you for your compliment!
     
    jrod, thank you!
     
     
  11. Venture, thank you!
     
     
  12. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    nice looking bacon u have there,I also question the higher temp used, but as long as it worked for you.I use a small electric hot plate to get my smoke going and can still keep temps at 100,also you can use a soldering iron to do the trick.which I will have to use this comming WE. when my belly comes outta cure since it will be 75* and with my drum being black it holds a 125* temp without a heat source on warm days.enjoy the bacon,and glad to have yet another baconmaker on board.
     
  13. ronrude

    ronrude Meat Mopper

    Nice work!  That is beautiful bacon.  I have my first shoulder bacon curing in the fridge.  I hope I am half as successful as you.    As far as taking your temp up, everything I have read says take it up to 150 IT at the end of the smoke.  I am going to follow your lead there.
     
  14. desert, thank you! I had read about the soldering iron and have one, but I figured I'd use briquets in the chip tray to get things going, instead. After going through this project, though, I can tell you that an AMNPS is definitely on my short list of things to get. Again, thank you for the kind words and good luck to you this weekend!!!
     
    ron, thank you! If there's one thing I've noticed is that everyone has a different way of getting an end result. As long as that end result works for you, that's all that matters. Best of luck with the shoulder, buddy!!!
     
     
  15. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Very nicely done! The bacon looks delicious!
     
  16. xjcamaro

    xjcamaro Meat Mopper

    Two notes, and this is just my opinion. One, you dont have to open the bags to flip the slabs, i just flip the entire bag over once a day when i do mine, and rub it down a little through the bag. Two, for the saltiness, try soaking the bacon in ice water for 30 minutes after you rinse it off and before you stick it back in the fridge for over night. Its gets the strong salt flavor out and still leaves enough in there. You can use longer or shorter ice water soak times to adjust the saltiness. Other than that looks good! And your will be hooked now. I havent bought store bacon for over a year, i just make sure i keep an eye on the bacon inventory in the freezer. Just got a batch done yesterday and slicing it up tonight.

    Did you slice the bacon up frozen? Im going to try that tonight. I have two slicers, one is really nice but if the bacon is too flimsy it wont cut it right. So i stuck some slabs in the freezer before i left work and am going to try cutting them almost completely frozen.
     
  17. Amazing color on that bacon...I love it. Could you taste the maple? I too have an MES and use the soldering iron/tin can to smoke mine.
     
  18. Al, as always, thank you!
     


    xj, I ran out of large zip-loc bags and I resorted to using plastic shopping bags, instead. If I flipped them in these plastic shopping bags, the liquid would have just spilled out. It was easy enough to just undo the knot I put in the top, stick my hand in and physically flip the slab. Next time, though, I hope to be more prepared and have the large zip-loc bags handy. I agree with you that it's a hell of a lot easier to just flip the bag over.

    Regarding the saltiness, I'm going to do just that and soak the slabs in ice water for an hour after rinsing. If that doesn't cure the saltiness thing with the wife, I'll up the soak time to a couple of hours the next time around and see how that goes.

    Finally, I find that freezing meat before running it through the slicer makes things a whole lot easier. If you look closely at the pic of the slices, you'll see the pieces of hardened white fat along the edges from when the frozen fat sticks to the blade.
     
    Husker, thank you! Personally, I can taste a subtle difference between the two slabs, but I'll need to sit down to a whole plate in order to see if I can really taste the maple flavor. [​IMG]
     
     
  19. xjcamaro

    xjcamaro Meat Mopper

    Ok, i didnt realize you were using a different type of bag, i thought you were opening a ziplok bag and flipping them every day, my bad. You might not have to soak the meat for a couple hrs, i usually soaked mine for a half an hour. If it was too salty i would go another 15 mins and try it, you might be good at trying that a couple times, you might only need a half an hour.

    And on the frozen slicing. i didnt know if the slicer would cut through the frozen meat. Thats why i was curious.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  20. Looks good!!![​IMG]
     

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