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Slicing bacon, size and direction

Discussion in 'Hot Smoked Bacon' started by brandeeno, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. brandeeno

    brandeeno Newbie

    Attached picture of my half belly. Fully cured. Ready to smoke. Questions on cutting.
    For cooking, do I slice this against the grain (parallel to the measuring tape)?

    If I do the above, each slice of bacon will be a massive 12-14 inch slice. How do you guys resolve that? If I cut in half (perpendicular to measuring tape) one half will be super fatty and other meaty. Looking for some ideas on what you guys do
  2. smokerjim

    smokerjim Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    what i can see it looks like your slicing direction right, if it were me when i smoked it i would cut 2 inches or so of that fatty side off, chop it up and save that for baked beans or smoked beans or some other dish that calls for something like that, if not you can just slice it whole, it will shrink when you fry it. good luck
  3. wade

    wade Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes you slice it parallel to the tape. 

    I cut mine half length ways before I cure it to give me ~6" rashers but you can still do that now. Yes with your belly it will give you a super fatty side however as you slice along the bacon it will vary. I take a good look at the belly pork before I buy it to ensure that there isn't a large amount of fat at one end. Sometimes that is unavoidable though and I have to trim some off.

    Do you have an electric slicer? If you do and do not want to cut it in half you can fold it in half and then slice the rashers. That way you would end up with 12" rashers with only having to do a 6" cut.
  4. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I'm kinda anal about cutting bacon across the grain.

    In most cases the grain will run in different directions in the same slab.

    So I cut across the grain until it changes direction & re-position the slab so that I continue to cut cross grain.

    Here is an example of what I'm talking about.

    You can see that if I start cutting cross grain from the end on the right side of this slab, that by the time I get to the middle I will be cutting with the grain. So what I do is start on the right & when I get just a little past the line of fat going across the slab. I turn the slab & start cutting from the bottom, which is cross grain again.

    Hope this helps!

  5. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How does the grain run in a belly? Nose to tail?
  6. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Every belly that I have had, it runs all over the place.

    But I think it more or less runs from the top down or perpendicular to the ground.

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
  7. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So we slice nose to tail?
  8. brandeeno

    brandeeno Newbie

    what is a rasher?  no i don't have an slicer.  i plan to hand slice... just like i do when i cut my beef for jerky. i feel good about it and don't have room for a slicer anyway.
  9. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    So much over thinking IMHO.

    I Slice my Bacon in whichever direction makes a nicer, more balanced fat to meat ratio.

    I never noticed a difference from one slice in one direction to another slice from another direction. It's all Bacon, all tastes Great, and it's never tough, no matter how you cut it.

    I Cut my Bellies in thirds when I get them to fit in my curing bags, and then, like I said, whichever direction is most balanced Meat to Fat.

    My slices end up shorter than most---6" to 10", because I don't like to throw a 12" to 14" slice in a pan, and have the middle get done fast & the ends are undone. When I throw mine in, one end get done quicker than the other, and when I flip them end to end, the other end catches up quickly.

    My shorter pieces, after frying usually fit just right in my BLTs too.

  10. brandeeno

    brandeeno Newbie

    thanks bear, its good to hear that i am over thinking this. thanks for bringing me back to earth. 

    i am thinking i will trim that big fatty side on the right, about 2-3 inches of it.  i will save for some other use. 
  11. I do the same & havent had any complaints. I usuall cut my bellies down to where my slices of bacon look more like 1/2 slices as they fit like Bear said perfect on a slice of sour dough with smoked cheddar tomato lettuce & mayo to make one awesome sandwich
  12. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good to know is a non-issue. Didn't bother with it last time, so I will stick to that method.
  13. rexster314

    rexster314 Smoking Fanatic

    I cure my bellies whole. When I start slicing on my Hobart, I put the whole belly on the slicer and start cutting. Usually it will take two passes to get the end right. The trimmings go into a bag for seasonings. I'll slice the whole belly then. Most times the rashers are 12" long which my customers like. Easier for me as well as I put the sliced bacon in 15" seal bags. 
  14. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    LOL---When I run out, and it's too cold out to smoke, Mrs Bear buys a pack of Bacon.

    The first thing I do is cut it in half----Before opening it up---I just cut right through the unopened pack of Bacon with a big scissors.

    I do NOT like full length strips of Bacon!!!

  15. badbuck

    badbuck Newbie

    Is it ever too cold to smoke....not yet for me..
  16. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Same here, until 6 years ago.
    Things changed.

  17. Steve H

    Steve H Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    A rasher is UK talk for a slice of bacon.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  18. nanuk

    nanuk Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I am like BearCarver.... I ALWAYS cut store bought bacon in half, or thirds, right through the bag.

    I do NOT like long bacon, as it cooks so unevenly.

    I just bought about 8 lbs of slab and each piece is quite small, so won't need to cut it down, and it will fit great in smaller bags...
    So Ima try some in TQ a la Bearcarver, and some in Pops' brine.