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Resting bacon...

Discussion in 'Bacon Makers Group' started by wes w, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hope everyone had a good day.

    The last bacon I did  I cold smoked with heavy smoke for 12hrs.  I let it rest for 3 days, sliced and into the freezer.   The first few pounds we had, had spots of a heavy smoke flavor.  Still very good, but I'd like to correct it.

    I cure with Pops.   My question, can I safely let it rest for 5 days in the frig?  My project frig is set in the mid 30s for temp.   I sell quite a bit of my bacon, just don't want to chance it being bad. 

    Even with the pink salt, I have no clue how long it is protected from going bad.

    Thanks for any information you have.

    Hope everyone has a good Holiday Season.

  2. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes, I have left smoked bacon in the reefer for 8 days after coming out the smoker. It mellows the smoke, my only problem was it dries out the actual exposed meat and its texture becomes like if you warm smoked it. Its a small change, but I did notice it.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wes, evening.... have you tried a lighter smoke.... I've done 36 hours over 6 days, 6 hours/day.... too much smoke for Bride.... last batch 4 hours light smoke.... Bride says it was perfect.... I used 1 1/2 rows in the AMNPS with Pitmasters choice pellets.. 2 days rest in the refer, freeze and slice...
    I guess 4 hours will be my new method... gotta keep Bride happy.... Dave
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  4. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I must have missed it RR  I read the whole thing and didn't see anything about how long is to long to let cured, home smoked bacon rest......

    Thanks FH.   From what I've read the norm is 3-4 days.  I just wanted to make sure I wasn't pushing the edge with leaving it unfrozen that long after taking it out of the cure.

    Dave, good to hear from you.  Well, ya'll  know my setup.   Its hard to keep light smoke and keep temps down.  I know I could use the handy dandy AMNPS.  :-)    but you know me, that would be to easy.. :-)     I could use a  longer  pipe to cool the smoke.   As is I keep a smoldering fire.  I love the color I get after 12hrs.  I just wanted to make sure I could leave it in the frig a couple more days.  Dave, if you are smoking 36hrs over 6 days I should be plenty safe.   

    This leads me to another question.   With Pops cure how long will it keep un friged?   Just curious.   Would it by chance keep a couple weeks vac sealed?   IOW would it make a  trip to Japan?  

    Hope everyone has a good day

  5. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    In the olden days, back when Dave was just a sea-pup, they hung there bacon in the smoke house all year. Yes it got a little moldy just wash it off or cut it off and its ok if the bacon is cured properly.

    If I wanted to ship it, I would not slice it. Its like grinding hamburger, you are exposing more to possible contamination. Leave it in a slab and cryo-pack it. I would assume it would be ok. Its the coldest time of the year right now too. I don't know about the shipment of meat outside the country. I am sure it would go by country. If it is FPO though, that is considered US to US I believe. I know I got stuff while in the service.

    Bottoms line, I would cryo-pac the slab, and ship it. If it doesn't make it, its the thought that counts...>LOL

    BTW that extended dry period is a dang good idea for shipping, shows ya thinkin!

    Its just my humble opinion, maybe Dave will come back.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wes, afternoon...... I wouldn't trust vac-packed bacon being non refered for any length of time...

    The Aw... water activity level is still way too high and bacteria could grow.... don't know if it would but all the right ingredients are there for bad stuff to take place....
    You could take a whole slab, vac pac it and leave it on the kitchen table for two weeks.... then cut it open and see if it has mold or slime on it..... smell it..... fry some up and give free samples to that crowd picketing your house because your smoker is polluting the atmosphere they have to breathe....... and check the results.... NO, WAIT!!!!!! That could be a baaaaad turn of events.... for someone....
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  7. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well, talked to our son this evening via IM  and he said the  management in the chow hall was a real ***hole.   So if it can't be friged when it gets there, there isn't a point in trying to send it. He said if he was in Camp Lejeune  it wouldn't be a problem.   Oh well. 

    Thanks for the help anyway.  

    While I'm hijacking my own thread...  how do ya'll pepper your bacon.  The last I did I peppered it with regular table pepper when it came out of the cure.  I peppered it black.   Dried it in the frig a couple days then smoke.   The guy I peppered it for said it was more of a mild pepper then hot pepper.   Just curious how I could make it a bit more peppery.    I have some butchers pepper but it doesn't look like to would stick its so coursely ground.   Any thoughts?

    Hope everyone has a great evening!
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Fresh ground or mashed in a molcajete... It's hot if you do that... sprinkle on the belly after the rinse and while wet.... rub it in real good... use the back of a serving spoon if need be.... dry to form the pellicle... If it doesn't stick after that, rub on some maple syrup, very thin and rub it in... You can probably pound it in with a flat meat pounder.... I haven't tried any of the above mentioned methods.... I love pepper but Bride can't take it.....

  9. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I tried pressing the cracked black pepper into the belly after rubbing it with maple syrup. Then wrapping it tight and pressing it in as hard as you can. Let it stay wrapped over night. You really can't rub it.

    I did one slab because its always what you see at the deli, its ok bacon, but when you fry it all the pepper falls off and just messes with your ability to do sunny side eggs. I can add the cracked pepper while cooking and its just the same to me. Just my humble opinion.

    I really never found a flavor carry over from anything I tried to rub on the exterior before smoking belly. I tried "Cajun Power" Franks" Maple Syrup" Liquid Garlic or Onion" "Cracked black Pepper" that good Cajun whiskey "Jacque Daniels" but the smoke was good.
  10. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Wes,

    Going back to your original question, just wanted to throw something out for you. When guanciale or pancetta is made, the pork jowl or belly is cured and then air dried for weeks or even months at around 50 deg F and 70% humidity. The gradual drying process does something really special to the texture of the finished product, as well as enhancing the flavor. Consequently, when I make bacon, if my project refrigerator is available I prefer to let it sit on a rack or hang it at 50 deg F and 70% humidity for a week or so before slicing it up. Not only does the smoke mellow, but the texture improves. The biggest danger I see with just letting it sit uncovered in a cold dry refrigerator for a long time is the drying of the surface (called case hardening) which traps moisture inside the bacon and then can potentially cause spoiling on the inside. Both Foam and Dave mentioned these problems.

    Also, my husband is not a big fan of smoke either. When I cold smoke bacon I go with 5-6 hours of smoke from the AMNPS, and that is perfect for his taste. If you really overshoot on the smoke, you can always fall back on soaking the bacon in cold water for a litle while, pat it dry, let it dry in the frig for a bit, and then slice it. Not ideal, but it will get rid of some of the smokiness.

    Have a great day!
  11. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for the input.  

    Clarissa, I like the smoke but it almost has that bitter smoke flavor.  I think if I could let it rest just a couple more days it would be perfect.   You also got me to thinking.  Being winter our garage is around 40-50 degrees.  Could I just hang it out there?  I'm not sure how to get that much moisture in the air in winter, but the garage would have more then the frig.    Interesting ideas.  Thanks for  the input by everyone.

    Oh, wife put some scrape bacon ends and fat in some pintos, and it smell freaking awesome!    There about half done now but I tasted them and the pintos and smoky flavor... I think I'm in love!  
  12. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've been resting smoked jowl bacon in my garage all week because I didn't have space in my project refrigerator. My garage is running around 40-50 deg F and somewhere around 50% humidity.....a bit on the dry side, but better than my regular frig. If your bacon was cured adequately using Cure #1, which it sounds like you have done, then it should be fine at that temp and humidity for several days. If you are just resting for a few days, the only problem you should run into is if you have little critters running around your garage. :biggrin:

    I think you will find that letting the bacon dry for a few days improves the texture too. I'm interested to see how this works out for you!
  13. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for the input.   I use pink salt which  I'm pretty sure is the same as Cure #1.   Love my bacon.  The cost of bellies keep going up here.  Last I got this week was 2.98lb.   I order it from the local grocery store. I know the meat department manager and she will order it for me.  I have to take the whole case though.  (2 bellies)  We don't have a big city butcher shop around these parts.

    Critters?  Ah, they won't eat much.... :-)   Haha, the dog I'm worried about..   When we do a smoke we throw the bones in a box.  Every evening when the wife comes home from work she (the dog) will go in and get her a bone out of the box and go back out before the door closes.  

    I'll post back how it turns out.  I may cut back on the smoke a couple hours as well. 

    Hope everyone had a good week-end
  14. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Clarissa, the bacon turned out awesome as usual.

    I smoked it for the same as always.  12hrs.  What I did do was wrap it in saran wrap before putting it into the frig.  I had read here that it would help hold the moisture in.  When we got home I checked it and moisture had collected on the wrap, so it did its job in keeping it from drying out. 

    The week long rest in the frig (wrapped) did not hurt it at all.  It had the same feel to it as a 3 day rest unwrapped.  The meat had the same texture as usual.  The flavor was quite a bit better.  Less of a strong smoke flavor.   I will probably continue to do it this way.  I like the results.  

    Thanks to everyone for input on this.  It turned out great with no side effects.  
  15. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have learned anytime I use a cure for anything, I make my self give it 3 or 4 days if not a week before making a decision if I like it. I have taken stuff out the smoker that the neighbors dog would not have eaten, and only after a weeks mellowing I was making more. You just have to allow that mellow time into the process on any smoked cure.
  16. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Kevin, I totally agree! If there is one thing that I've learned about smoking, is that the mellowing step is as important as the smoking step. These smoking and meat curing hobbies sure teach a person patience!
  17. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've always rested it a couple days.  I think I started the tread to see if a week was to long.  It turned out as good as ever.    Everyone loves the homemade bacon.   I sell most of mine.  Its hard to keep enough for myself.    Pepper bacon seems to be what most people want though.    Hope everyone has a great evening
  18. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm glad the longer rest worked out for you, Wes. Hope you have a great evening, too!