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Smoked Bacon ( step by step with Qview )

Discussion in 'Hot Smoked Bacon' started by Bearcarver, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I was going to put this in "Cold-Smoking", but my smoker temp got up over 100˚.

    I checked on my Bacon supply a couple weeks ago. It looked like I had quite a bit left, but I decided not to take a chance of running out of Bacon before Tomato season ends. Got a fresh belly from one of my butchers, and began the process. Cut one 11 pound, 5 ounce belly into 6 smaller pieces, weighed each piece individually, and weighed out the right amount of Tender Quick for each piece. Rinsed each piece, dried them good with paper towels, and rubbed them good with 1/2 ounce (1 TBS) per pound of belly. Also added about a TBS of brown sugar with each pound of belly. Put each piece in it's own zip-lock bag (along with any TQ that fell off, because the cure was measured exactly----never throw away any cure that falls off), squeezed the extra air out, zipped them shut, and put them in the fridge. I kept the fridge between 37˚ and 38˚ for 9 days, massaging & flipping each bag every day.

    On day 9 I removed them from the fridge, rinsed them off in cold water, and soaked them in ice water for 1/2 hour. Then I patted them dry, cut a couple slices, and did a fry test for salt
    Patted them dry again, laid them out on two smoker racks, not touching each other, sprinkled black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder on them, and put the racks in the fridge over night.

    Next day, preheated my MES 30 to 110˚, put the two racks of belly pieces on the top two positions for about 45 minutes to dry them off a little more. Then I pulled the plug on my MES 30, because I wanted to try to do somewhat close to a "cold-smoke". I had a Prototype A-MAZE-N-Smoker to test, so I loaded it up with Hickory dust, lit it, and stuck it in to the left of the chip drawer. This new AMNS should put out as much smoke lighting one end as my 6 X 6 puts out lighting both ends. We expected it to run about 9 hours or more. It ran nearly 3 hours on the first of three rows, but the second row burned much faster, and jumped through the wall into the third wall. I put that out & continued. End result was 6 1/2 hours of medium heavy smoke---Very very good, but not perfect. I notified Todd, with my report & a few suggestions, and he is taking it from there. He will fix this---He is the man behind that little miracle!

    Back to the Bacon:
    After 4 hours of smoking, the temperature of the box got up to 129˚ and the meat up to 97˚, so I put a half gallon jug of ice in my water pan to cool it down (trying to cold-smoke). This brought the box temp down to 122˚,  but then it started creeping up again. When it hit 124˚, I put another half gallon of ice in the water pan. That brought the temp of the box down to 108˚. At the end of 6 1/2 hours of smoke, the AMNS Prototype burned out. I left the Bacon in for another 1/2 hour & pulled it. When I pulled it, the box was at 100˚, and the Bacon was at 100˚.

    I left it cool a little more, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for two days. Then I sliced it all, vacuum packed it, and stuck it in my meat freezer to await their turn with the tomato, lettuce, and toast.

    My findings with this Bacon:
    I have smoked Bacon to numerous degrees of internal temp. This Bacon was GREAT, but no better or worse than the ones I took to 128˚, 139˚, and 145˚. So I can still say, I don't care where it falls between 100˚ and 145˚----It is ALL GREAT !  Maybe it's just that I love Bacon soooo much!?!?  

    Thanks for lookin'


    Enjoy the Qview below:

    Belly pieces ready for the cure:


    Tender Quick measured out for each piece:


    Cure & Brown Sugar and ready for fridge. These are just stacked to carry to the basement fridge.

    Lay them flat in the fridge, so the whole piece is in the juice that forms in each bag:


    Out of cure:


    Salt Test---MMMMmmmmm:


    On racks, ready for over night in fridge:


    Forming Pellicle.

    Note: Notice my Maverick probes in fridge. The smoker one hanging in air runs from 31˚ to 43˚. 

    The meat probe is in the bottle of water, and reads 37˚ and 38˚. Any fluctuation causes me to adjust.


    Loading up the A-MAZE-N-SMOKER & lighting it up:


    After 2 1/4 hours:


    Bottle of frozen water (AKA Ice):


    After 4 hours, cooling her down:


    Out of the smoker:


    All sliced up:


    Vacuum packed for freezing:


    "BLT Neat" (Take a bite--Pop a cherry, Take a bite--Pop a cherry)


    That's All Folks !
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  2. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Thats the best looking BLT Ive seen. Nice job. [​IMG]
  3. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Hey Bear, What are the dimensions of the prototype AMNS.  Looks to be 6X12 from here...

    Nice looking Bacon too...   INVISA [​IMG]
  4. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Thanks Meateater, I knew you'd like it!


    Thanks Paul.

    That's close! Pretty good eye.

    It's 5" X 11"---Fits to the left of MES 30 chip drawer, on the bars. There's only about 5 3/8" space to the left of the chip drawer.

  5. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Looks to be putting out plenty of smoke...
  6. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice Bacon My Friend!

    The Bacon Gods have blessed you with success!!

    karen abbott likes this.
  7. ellymae

    ellymae Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's an awesome pictorial - Thanks!
  8. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow! That's fantastic looking bacon Bear!

    Thanks for posting the recipe.
  9. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Dangit Bear!!!!!!  Everytime you do Bacon, I have to buy a new keyboard.  Hell man, I am just gonna have to keep my bib with me all the time.  Even at work.  I don't care anymore what they say.  The bacon shots are killing me Bear!!  [​IMG]
  10. cheapchalee

    cheapchalee Smoking Fanatic

    Very nice looking bacon.  Looks like a lot of people favor the tenderquick over other cures.

  11. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I call it "medium/heavy". It really is a nice amount of smoke-----It's also 1 1/2" high, instead of 1".

    The Bacon Gods & your little contraption---The "A-MAZE-N-SMOKER" !

    Thanks Todd,


    Thanks Elly,


    Thank You AK1

    Hey, are you related to AK47 ? (couldn't resist that one) [​IMG]


    Thanks Cavey,

    Isn't Bacon a beautiful thing? And my tomatoes are really starting to come in now too !!!!

  12. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Thanks Chalee,

    Just off the top of my head, I would guess that more people on this forum use the other cures that are out there than TQ, but I love using TQ. There is less chance of screwing up with TQ. If you use too much cure, it would be too salty to eat. I would also think it's easier to evenly distribute 12 1/2 ounces of TQ on 25 pounds of meat (dry cure), than it is to distribute 1 ounce of the other cure evenly over 25 pounds. I started with TQ---everything has turned out perfect---I stick with a winner.

    Thanks again,

  13. fishwrestler

    fishwrestler Smoking Fanatic Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Nice looking bacon,
    Bear how did you get the golden color, I got the smoke flavor but not much color in my first try with bacon this weekend.

  14. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What's the $$ numbers on making bacon, cost to make make is it comparable to store bacon?  I understand the satisfaction of making something that you and others can appreciate, (i.e. home made cake vs store bought),   We go through 4 or 5 lbs of bacon a month, how much to make 20lbs and freeze most of it until needed?
  15. fftwarren

    fftwarren Smoking Fanatic

    where I live the pork belly ranges from 1.79-1.99 per pound then your spices and cure. i buy the bacon kit for around $8 and thatll do 25 lbs
  16. fishwrestler

    fishwrestler Smoking Fanatic Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I paid

    $20.00 for an 8 lb skin off belly.

    $ 3.20  for cure for the 8 lbs of meat. $10.00 for enough cure to do 25 lbs

    $7.00 one package of apple wood chips

    $30.20 total for 8 lbs , got about 7 lbs after curing and smoking

    $2.34 a pound

    Fletchers Bacon on line $13.18 a lb

    Mountain Smokehouse Chipotle Southwestern Smoked Bacon - $12.48 a lb.

    Broadbents Hickory Smoked Bacon  $10.25 a lb

    I think it is well worth the price of making my own 

    Just my opinion 

  17. pineywoods

    pineywoods SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    It looks awesome and a great pictorial along with it [​IMG]
  18. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Great coloring on the bacon there...I also like the idea of cooling down your smoker with ice that is frozen in  its own container....Keeps everything neat and minimizes water spillage from the  waterpan.   I tried smoking at low temps last week and was in the same ball park as you were.  I will try cooling with bottled ice next round.     [​IMG]
  19. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member


    I have paid less than $2 per pound all the way up to $3 per pound for belly without the rind.

    I don't use Hi Mt----It is a waste of money, and is no better than my own simple mix, plus I had to soak Hi Mt for hours, and I don't have to with mine.

    I pay about $2.50 for a 2 pound bag of Tender Quick-----That's enough to cure 64 pounds of Bacon, at 1/2 ounce (1 TBS) per pound of meat.

    So 64 pounds of my home made Bacon would cost between $130 and $195, not counting brown sugar, pepper, garlic powder & onion powder, and fuel for smoker.

    That would bring 20 pounds to cost between $40 and $60, or $2 to $3 per pound, not counting the things I previously mentioned. Unless you want to count shotgun shells to keep others out of your freezer.

    Plus it's not just satisfaction of making something, it's that you really can't stand store bought after eating this stuff.

  20. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    It must be the smoke. Actually this is the least golden brown I have made. I think a little heat is needed too. Next time I won't put any ice in. Whatever heat I get from the AMNS is going to stay. I don't think the box will get over 140 anyway, so whatever I get I get. I'm betting it will get a lot more color that way too. Then I'll pull it when it gets real dark. I have a lot of leeway, because I have pulled them as low as 100˚ internal, all the way to 145˚, and they were all great.