Probably ruined 20 lbs of bacon

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wvengineer

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Original poster
Feb 4, 2024
5
5
I’ve been making bacon for a while (medium temp raised to finish at 147). With this hog I decided to cold smoke the bacon. I was rather busy yesterday and didn’t pay close attention to it other than temperature. Anyway, very noticeable creosote taste. Is it at all repairable? I was thinking about rinsing really well. Letting it dry again. And finally sealing and letting rest in the fridge for a week to hopefully mellow. I’m thinking about how you let cold smoked cheese mellow for a few weeks. Is this even worth trying? Thanks. Oh, and yes it was moronic for me to “test” a new method with 20lbs. I have another hog I’m going to butcher soon. I didn’t realize you could medium smoke (100-110) without bringing it up to fully cooked. I think I’ll try that next.
 
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I think that is a good plan. A heavy rinse. Pat dry. And leave unwrapped in the fridge for a few days. It could mellow a bit.
 
I think that is a good plan. A heavy rinse. Pat dry. And leave unwrapped in the fridge for a few days. It could mellow a bit.
When I’ve cold smoked cheese I’ve always vacuum sealed it during the mellowing phase. So I shouldn’t seal the bacon in your opinion?
 
When I’ve cold smoked cheese I’ve always vacuum sealed it during the mellowing phase. So I shouldn’t seal the bacon in your opinion?
I usually let my slabs hang out uncovered in fridge up to 4 days... depending on my time schedule. Just be aware... you can cold smoke peanut butter meltaways that are uncovered this way!

Do you have pics or tell us your process so we can have a better idea on what's going on.

Ryan
 
How many hours in smoke? What wood? Was it pellets, dust or chips? I’m betting this is salvageable.
12 hours, hickory, and chips. I’m using an MES 140 with the cold smoker accessory. I have an idea where I went wrong, but I didn’t know if it’s worth trying to salvage, or a method to do such.
 
12 hours, hickory, and chips. I’m using an MES 140 with the cold smoker accessory. I have an idea where I went wrong, but I didn’t know if it’s worth trying to salvage, or a method to do such.
Hickory is some strong smoke for sure and if it wasnt thin blue like Inda mentioned above then it can be a problem.

Cold smoke, to me, is best done below 80*F and really shouldn’t go longer than 5 hours then rest and air out for 12 or so hours then you can repeat the 5 hour smoke the next day. You may find you only need 3 hour sessions but I don’t go more than 5. You can always add to but it’s usually difficult to take away.

Now to your problem. I sure wish I had a picture of the meat, that said, right now a good wash or rinse and dont be afraid to use a soft bristle brush, then dry and give it some time. I would give it a week of rest time. This costs nothing and you will find that the smoke mellows a bunch. When I cold smoke I always allow several days of rest after the smoke as well as the resting in between smokes. It takes time for the smoke to absorb and then dissipate a bit. Mostly I warm smoke and just get it all over 145F IT with in 10 hours on warm smoke, most generally I’m done at 5-6 hours though.

Worst case scenario you may need to “skin” the outside of the pieces to remove the bitter, but the inside of the meat should be fine enough to eat. To determine this slice a few pieces off about 1/2” from a slab and set aside, then slice a couple more slices and trim them maybe 1/8” all around the exterior then fry those for a taste test, if it’s good you know you can save the rest. Most of the acrid smoke is just on the surface.
 
I was thinking that as well. Just wasn't sure how to describe it. This is an option if it doesn't mellow after resting.
Absolutely worth trying before you toss 20# of home raised meat. I’ve had some bad smoke sessions in the past, and just lightly trimmed the meat and it was then just fine. Unless the outside “bark” is real dark or has black spiderweb appearance, I think the scrub and rest time will mellow it out. If not, skin it.

EDIT TO ADD:
If the surface of the meat is black-ish or black spiderwebs then skin it now, then rest. Don’t want that creosote resting on the meat for more days.
 
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Thanks everyone for the advice. The surface isn’t black and doesn’t have spider webs. I’ll let it mellow for a bit in the fridge. It’s not completely inedible but definitely has an acrid taste.
 
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Update:

I let it rest for close to a week and had to do a little trimming but it actually tastes pretty good now. Thanks for all the help everyone. I started raising registered Berkshire pigs and the hog I have left to butcher will be my first one of those. I was going to do it this weekend but the weather didn’t cooperate.
 
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