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Pork Belly Curing

AverageJay

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I've been scouring the internet for over on month gathering information and researching how to make bacon. The information out there ranges considerably! I'm confident on my recipe and curing salt amount. What I'm looking for is further information on what the hazards are to eating uncured pork belly.

Based on what I've read if you hot smoke your belly (regardless if its cured or not) to 150F, cool it in the refrigerator, cut it up into slices and fry it up your good to go? Is this correct?

I've found a little information on eating uncured bacon and there doesn't appear to be any issues in eating it. So what is the big deal in curing your bacon if you plan to cook it and raise the meat temperature enough to kill all the bacteria? How does your food handling techniques change if eating uncured bacon?

Just to clarify I do plan on curing my belly. I just want to understand the associated hazards in potentially under curing the meat.

Sorry for the Newbie questions! Thanks in advance!
 

tropics

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I will try to answer
You can do as you said bring it to 150°F IT hot smoked over 200°F in the smoker

Curing allows you to cold smoke giving the belly more time to absorb the smoke.
Curing also helps to eliminate some of the baddies,that can kill you

Richie
 

thirdeye

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The "cure" portion of a curing recipe (or formulation) allows you to safely use lower smoking temperatures and longer smoking times to add layers of flavor. Some techniques call for a few hours of cold smoking followed by a hot smoke finish. Other techniques call for several cold smoking sessions over a day or two, then a hot smoked finish, and still others will call for cold smoking only and just enough hot smoke to get a final internal of 130° which is more like a store bought bacon. The "cure" is also what provides the nice pink color you see in bacon or hams, and it helps to change the texture of the meat as well. Think of fresh side pork bacon and cured bacon... or a ham verses a roasted leg of pork. The other ingredients in a cure recipe are typically salt and sugar, and then there can be some signature seasonings as well like fenugreek, black pepper, garlic or onion powder and even cayenne or chili powder.
 

daveomak

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Using nitrite when curing, give the pork belly the "bacon" flavor... Just like a nitrite cure gives pastrami the "pastrami" flavor.... without the nitrite cure you end up with pig and beef flavor....
Nitrite also kills and eliminates botulism when you smoke meats below 225F...
 

AverageJay

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Thanks tropics, thirdeye, and daveomak! You helped shed some light and add clarity on when curing salt is needed.
I have some belly that has been curing in the refrigerator for 7 days that I will smoke tomorrow. Looking forward to it!

Cheers!
 

jcam222

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Thanks tropics, thirdeye, and daveomak! You helped shed some light and add clarity on when curing salt is needed.
I have some belly that has been curing in the refrigerator for 7 days that I will smoke tomorrow. Looking forward to it!

Cheers!
They have you covered in the safety aspect. You want to make sure it’s cured all the way through for sure if you are cold smoking. If you have never smoked fresh pork belly give it a try sometime, it’s lucious. Use a rub like you would on pork butt and cook to about the same temp 190 to 205. Also look into pork belly burnt ends!!
 

pops6927

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There are 3 stages to pork belly.
1) fresh pork belly is also known as "sidepork". Sliced thick and fried, especially with the 'rind on'; (outer skin), it is delicious! And make milk gravy out of the drippings over potatoes, boiled or mashed, some fresh peas, and you have a great meal!
2) Salt pork. This is cured fresh belly, as is, no smoking, right out of the curing brine. It is often added to pork and beans, greens, and many other old time dishes; just Google it! Delicious!
3) Cured and Smoked Belly, aka Bacon! i.e. Slab bacon. Streaky bacon. Belly bacon. Conventional bacon. As opposed to Buck board bacon out of pork shoulder (leaner) or Side bacon (also known as Canadian bacon) - leanest, from the pork loin, cured and smoked!

Everything you need to know about bacon!
 

indaswamp

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So what is the big deal in curing your bacon if you plan to cook it and raise the meat temperature enough to kill all the bacteria? How does your food handling techniques change if eating uncured bacon?
Yes, 185*F temperature will kill the bacteria, but if Clostridium botulinum bacteria take hold, though they will be killed, the neurotoxin they create will still be there...unless the food is brought to 212* INT for at least 10 minutes to destroy the toxin. The spores are deactivated 250*F @ sea level for 20-100 minutes depending on the food....

https://ucanr.edu/sites/MFPOC/Food_Safety/Botulism/
https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/Botulism/clinicians/control.asp
 
Last edited:

AverageJay

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Yes, 185*F temperature will kill the bacteria, but if Clostridium botulinum bacteria take hold, though they will be killed, the neurotoxin they create will still be there...unless the food is brought to 212* INT for at least 10 minutes to destroy the toxin. The spores are deactivated 250*F @ sea level for 20-100 minutes depending on the food....

https://ucanr.edu/sites/MFPOC/Food_Safety/Botulism/
https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/Botulism/clinicians/control.asp
Thanks. Lots of good information on your post!
 

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