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Question on my first attempt at belly bacon.

gmc2003

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So I followed Discos tutorial on making bacon, and now that I'm on my ninth day of curing. I have a few questions:

Here's what I've done so far:
1) Three pound slab of pork belly(Costco). Two inches thick.
2) 1.05 oz. of brown suger
3) .9 oz of Kosher salt
4) .12 oz of cure #1

Mixed the rub up in a bowl and evenly spread it onto the belly - all sides. Slide the belly into a 1 gallon zip lock and and added the remaining rub(including the rub that fell onto the plate). Squeezed the air out of the bag and placed the zip lock bag into a glass pan and put it into the fridge. The fridges temp is set at 37*. Each morning I flipped the bag over in the pan and gentle rubbed the belly.

So my questions at this point are(I'm sure they'll be more later on in the process):

1) I see some liquid weeping out of the bacon, but not that much. I expected more. Should I see more then maybe a shot glass full?

2) Outside of the smell test is there a certain color I should be looking for? I guess I'm asking if there are any visible ways to make sure I didn't screw this up.

3) Being a virgin at curing I really don't want to make anyone sick, and any pointers will be appreciated.

Chris
 

SmokinVOLfan

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Chris sounds to me like you are on the right track. I am no bacon expert by any means but have done several slabs. I do the same method as bear with the TQ. What you are describing is exactly what my slabs have looked like after 9 days and also with the liquid. No real odor or smell to it. The belly might not be pretty once its done curing. Probably some brownish discoloration and maybe a couple pink spots but once you smoke it up it wont matter at all and you will have the best smell in the world!
 

tropics

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Chris I always let mine cure for 14 days
Were did you get the recipe?
Richie
 

pc farmer

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Yeah I have had some bellies produce almost no liquid.
I had one that didn't make any, I added a tablespoon of water.

It don't take much to make it work.
 

gmc2003

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Yeah I have had some bellies produce almost no liquid.
I had one that didn't make any, I added a tablespoon of water.

It don't take much to make it work.
So do you think I should add a little water, or do you think it's to late since tomorrow is supposed to be my last day of curing?

Chris
 

pc farmer

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So do you think I should add a little water, or do you think it's to late since tomorrow is supposed to be my last day of curing?

Chris
Leave it. It will be fine.
 

daveomak

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I have found, the liquid will re-absorb into the belly... The first thing that happens is... any salt and sugar suck out the water... then equilibrium pulls the liquid back into the meat....
You are good to go... I would leave it for 2 weeks also....
 

chopsaw

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I go 14 days like Richie , just to make sure it's cured all the way thru . The questions you're asking are ones that most ask for the first time . I know I did .
Sounds like you're all over it .
 

disco

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You have got lots of good advice.

1- The amount of liquid varies all over the map depending on the cut of meat. Don't worry about it you are doing fine.
2-Don't worry about the colour. The pink won't come until you smoke it.
3- You are doing fine. As for letting it sit for 14 days as mentioned by some, it won't hurt anything but I have used number of inches thick times 4 times 2 plus 2 (10 days) for many smokes with no problem and I am lazy.
 
Last edited:

gmc2003

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Ok so the results are in, but it's not what I was really expecting(my fault). Since mother nature wasn't playing nice with me over the weekend. I decided not to fire up the smoker, because of the cold(morning temps 29*) and the high winds throughout the day. So here is my unseasoned non-smoked first attempt at belly bacon.

This after 12 days of curing and sitting in the fridge uncovered for two days. 3 pound belly.
DSC01140.JPG


Another shot from the top:
DSC01141.JPG


Saturday nights dinner somhow made it's way into the photos. Chunky Chucky chili with cornbread muffins.
DSC01142.JPG


Todays test slice of the bacon: The wife and I both tested it. This was what was left for Skidmark. I figure if we're gonna get sick - then we are all gonna get sick.

DSC01144.JPG

It tasted pretty darn good for a first try. Onto my industrial slicer.
Brand: Oyster, circa early 1970s and still going strong.
DSC01145.JPG


I sliced up half(1.5pounds) and saved the rest for later. It's all vacuum sealed and in the
freezer for future use.
DSC01147.JPG


I didn't add any seasoning to this belly, and as I stated I didn't get to smoke it either. So the only flavoring was the cure(Discos recipe). The wife and I thought it tasted a bit hammy. Which was what I sort of figured it would taste like. The next time I make it. I will add some seasoning after the curing process. Overall I was pleased and will use this to make pork-shots or BLTs during the winter months.

Thanks for all the advice, and looksees.

Chris
 

dernektambura

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Look... first thing first... if you don't have vacuum pack machine, use straw to suck out air out of ziplock bag.... second: if you ise proper amount of cure meat redness will improve.... that is what nitrite in cure #1 do.... third: doesn't mater how long you keep your belly bacon in vacuum or near the vacuum cure.... it will always take 80% of cure in first couple of days.... rest of it is called equilibrium.... if you take it out of cure sooner than later, 80% of salt will distribute itself over the period of time....
 

GATOR240

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Looks good from here Chris.........You probably don't realize it yet, but now your hooked. I have done 5 bellies since my first one in February. And you will rarely, if ever, buy bacon from the store again. LIKE.
 

tropics

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Chris Looks good and nice try,next time leave it in the cure til you are ready it will be fine. Big Likes for trying
Richie
 

pc farmer

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Looks good. Once the smoke is added to the same recipe it changes the taste. Try the same recipe smoked then go from there.
 

chopsaw

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Chris , it looks fantastic . You can still put some smoke on what you didn't fry up . I see no negatives in what you have . Nice work .
 

gmc2003

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Looks good from here Chris.........You probably don't realize it yet, but now your hooked. I have done 5 bellies since my first one in February. And you will rarely, if ever, buy bacon from the store again. LIKE.
Thanks Gator and for the like appreciate it, not sure about hooked just yet, as the waiting for bacon is worse then for cheese.

Chris Looks good and nice try,next time leave it in the cure til you are ready it will be fine. Big Likes for trying
Richie
So your saying no air drying in the fridge before smoking? It was in the cure for 12 full days(close to 13). Thanks Richie for the like and advice.


Chris
 

gmc2003

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Looks good. Once the smoke is added to the same recipe it changes the taste. Try the same recipe smoked then go from there.
Will do farmer. I thought about adding pepper to the air dry stage, but wanted to see what it tasted like without anything added. Sort of a baseline to start with for the next time I make it.

Chris , it looks fantastic . You can still put some smoke on what you didn't fry up . I see no negatives in what you have . Nice work .
Thank you Chop, I'm hoping for an Indian summer soon so I can defrost the 1.5 pounds I didn't slice and smoke it up.

Chris
 

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