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Raw Peppers in Cure

Avw0516

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Hi all,

Brand new to the forum and making bacon in general. I used to have a Brinkman propane smoker but after years it rotted out and I just got by with the Weber Kettle. I finally got another gas smoker just to make life easier and have more capacity and recently just made my first batch of bacon and it turned out great!

Obviously, now I want to start experimenting. Is there any reason not to use raw peppers in the cure instead of a dried pepper powder? Apologies if this has been covered before, I couldn’t find any threads about this subject. Thanks in advance!

Here’s a shot of my first homemade BLT - wish I had normal bread but with the whole COVID-19 thing I couldn’t find any in the grocery store.

-Andrew
 

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thirdeye

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Do you mean using a dry cure and putting jalapeno slices in the zipper bag, or putting jalapeno slices in a wet cure?
 

Avw0516

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I was thinking about blending up some jalapeños and habaneros to mix with the salt/sugar/pink salt to make a paste to spread all over and vacuum seal.
 

Avw0516

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Two 5lb pork bellies.

One I’d like to make one pretty hot, the other just standard salt/brown sugar/pink salt.

Working on getting the new smoker dialed in!
 

thirdeye

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I was thinking about blending up some jalapeños and habaneros to mix with the salt/sugar/pink salt to make a paste to spread all over and vacuum seal.
I don't see why it would not work, but just like when adding cracked pepper or garlic, the flavor is really at the surface. I have tasted garlic bacon from a custom butcher in Iowa and I think they must inject garlic infused liquid into the belly because the flavor is in the entire slice.
 

Avw0516

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That is a great point! I wonder if stabbing it with a fork to get more of the flavors inside would help? Thank you for the reply!
 

Avw0516

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A little update - my creativity seems to have gotten the best of me this time. For the “hot” bacon I used a combination of habaneros and jalapeños, fresh garlic, salt, sugar, pink salt, and a little soy sauce.

The flavors from the garlic and peppers are definitely there but they are completely overwhelmed by the soy sauce. It is more like teriyaki pork belly than bacon, I did not expect that since the cure paste I made only had a faint hint of soy. I guess the soy is able to penetrate the meat much better than the other flavors. Lesson learned.

Oh, one other thing - the texture seems somewhat altered as well. I’m not sure if that’s from enzymes from some of the fresh garlic/peppers or another interaction with the soy sauce. It is definitely more chewy than classic bacon.

It definitely has some heat but not nearly what I was hoping for so I gave it a sprinkle of scorpion pepper powder and tossed it in the fridge to smoke tomorrow. Not overly optimistic about it, but going to follow through and see how it turns out.

On the bright side, the standard (salt, brown sugar, black pepper, pink salt) bacon I cured turned out amazing and it’s a relatively meaty (and larger) belly! Will give an update after smoking tomorrow since I won’t be able to stay out of it.
 

chef jimmyj

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Soy Sauce can be overwhelming. If it's Umami you are looking for, MSG is your best bet. With a few exceptions, most people are not sensitive to it and many who Swear they are Allergic, consume MSG everytime they eat a prepared food. Items like Canned or Dried Soups, boxed Side Dishes, Snack Chips and Puffs, Etc. There are lots of Convenience Foods that contain MSG.
Regarding Vegetable, Fruit and Fresh Herbs added for flavor, they can All be finely minced or coarsely pureed and placed in Cheese Cloth or other, and have their flavorful Juices and Oils squeezed out in liquid form. These juices are highly concentrated flavor and can be rubbed on or for through and through flavor, Injected...JJ
 

Avw0516

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Joined Mar 15, 2020
Thank you for the reply!

To be honest I just didn’t think it would come through so strong. I love how soy/garlic tastes together but did not expect it to be so strong this time. Especially since in the paste it was not the predominant flavor.

MSG is a very interesting idea! I have actually been playing with it a lot more in my daily cooking. It can make a massive difference to a simple dish. Good thought!
 

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