So i'm thinking about smoking bacon for the first time.

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by bros, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Picked up a hot smoker at a garage sale a few years back for cheap, it works, used it a few times, but haven't used it in a while.

    Was thinking of making bacon with it.

    Obviously, I'm not very experienced with smoking, so I have a few questions.

    I am planning on using this recipe from Food Network as a three day curing sounds easy enough. However, since I do not have a cold smoker, what would you knowledgeable folks recommend I do? Open up the door on the smoker to let some of the heat get out? Put less coals in?

    Have any tips for a first time bacon maker?

    Edit: Oh yeah, I don't think it matters, but i'm in NJ.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2013
  2. Bros[​IMG]

    Glad you joined the group. The search bar at the top of any page is your best friend.
    About anything you wanna know about smoking/grilling/curing/brining/cutting or slicing
    and the list goes on has probably been posted. Remember to post a QVIEW of your smokes.
    We are all smoke junkies here and we have to get our fix. If you have questions Post it
    and you will probably get 10 replies with 11 different answers. That is because their
    are so many different ways to make great Q We all have our own taste.

    When you get a chance will you drop by roll call so everyone can give you a proper SMF welcome

    Yes your location is inportant. Please add that to your profile.

    Now to your bacon. I read the link that you posted. The link will be removed by the computer cops.

    We are not allowed to post off site links.

    That recipe will not make bacon as you know it. It will not be safe to eat if you cold smoked it 6 hours.

    No you can't cold smoke by leaving the door open on a hot smoker!


    Here is a link to my bacon

    Spend some time in the bacon area on here.

    Happy smoken.

  3. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Check out the various threads here on bacon. I'm sure you will find a recipe you like.

    And the best way I know to cold smoke is using one of Todd Johnson's AMNPS. You'll find a link at the bottom for A-maze-n Smoker products. And there is an online coupon this month for 10% off, and free shipping. Use code SMFJULY2013

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
  4. Thanks for the tips.

    So as far as I understand it, the difference between warm and cold smoking is that warm smoking cooks it while cold smoking simply imbues the smoky flavor.

    Cold smoking seems like it might be a bit too much of a pain for my first time making bacon, to be honest.

    The recipe I am planning on using requires three days of refrigeration - I am wondering if this sounds par for the course, above average, elow average, what? I mostly want to avoid trichinosis :p

    So since the recipe requires cold smoking, I am curious as to how long I would warm smoke it for, another recipe I saw that did warm smoking suggested 2-3 hours at 200 degrees, how does that sound?
  5. Days in cure depends on the particular recipe and method.
    Is there cure in the recipe that you intend to use?
    That's one of the dangers of important and relevant links being removed! Yikes!!!!!

  6. 1 second.

    Here's the ingredients:

    1 cup sugar

    1 cup salt

    8 ounces molasses

    2 quarts water

    2 quarts apple cider

    2 tablespoons black pepper

    5 lb pork belly


    In a non-reactive pot, bring half the water, the cup of sugar, salt and 8 ounces of the molasses to boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a large container with the remaining water and the apple cider and cool to 40 degrees F in the refrigerator.

    Press the pepper into the pork belly and once the brine has cooled placed the pork belly into the mixture until completely submerged  Refrigerate for three days. After three days have passed, remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Lay on a rack over a sheet pan and place in front of fan for 1 hour to form a pellicle. Lay the pork in the protein box of the cold smoker for 4-6 hours, then chill in the freezer for an hour to stiffen for easy slicing.

    I was thinking that if I could find pink salt/cure #1, I would add some into the mixture, but I do not know how much/if that would be a good thing. I read pink salt gives it it's bacony color.
  7. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bacon     Mmmmmmmmmm........... Bacon!

    There is two excellent tutorials here. Pops which is a brine and BearCarvers which is a rub.

    Here is what I understand, max heat allowable is approx 140 degrees. The warmer the bacon the better the smoke holds on, but you don't want to "Cook" it or render the fat. So from what I have seen some do cold smoke with a smoke generator the entire smoke. Some of the more seasoned veterans do extended smokes gradually increasing the temp from 100 to approx 140 carefully watching to not render the bacon. Some small amounts of weigh loss are generally given to loss of water from curing. Less than 5% seems acceptable.

    Cold smoking can but doesn't require a cooling medium like ice. More normally its achieved by just using a smoke generator with no additional heat from the smoker.

    If you still have questions and don't we all I would suggest you read either:

    Bearcarvers Tutorial

    Craigs Tutorial (Pops Brine)

    These guys are ahead of the curve on makin bacon.

    Hope it helps.

    BTW here is my first bacon.

    Its  a lot of fun, the first batch only lasted days all the neighbor as well as the butcher took some. Sunday or Monday I'll have some more coming out of a 2 week brine/cure. Thinking maybe this time I'll do a cold smoke. Oh and the above picture is a 10 hour smoke, 100 to a max of 137 degrees. Want to try a cold smoke to see if there is a difference in the meats texture.

    Enjoy the smoke.

    Craig's Readers Digest version of Pop's has a very easy simple cure guide as to how long to brine/cure per meat type.

    Bear says that ham cured butts are the ambrosia of the gods!

    Pop Bear and Craig are pretty dang smart smokers.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    CAUTION:  Food Network has some good recipes...BUT...NOT WHEN IT COMES TO CURED MEATS! Stick with known and proven methods like those found here...JJ
  9. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member



    The first time I tried bacon, I used a similar brine with half water & half apple cider. I found that due to the high sugar content, the finished bacon would fry up very dark, very quickly. I stopped using apple cider, and haven't had that problem since. Also, I know that there are uncured bacon products out there, but I would never make my own without cure #1.
  10. That looks delicious.
    Good to know.

    What problems are typically faced with their recipes? Ones such as the one identified below, i.e. too sugary/salty/etc?

    Yeah, I was thinking the apple cider might make it a bit too sugary.

    Also, I was able to find some sodium nitrite while out getting pork belly. Would this work as curing salt?

    Also, i'm only working with two 3.5 lb pork bellies. They aren't *that* thick, does that mean I could cure for less time?
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
  11. What exactly do you have?

  12. It's labelled Sodium Nitrite. Got it from an Asian food market.
  13. Cure #1 is pink & consists of  6.25% sodium nitrite and 93.75% salt - is this what you found?

    Yes thinner cuts of meat cure faster than thicker ones.

    As far as cold smoking goes I find cold smoked bacon to be far superior to hot smoked bacon in both flavor & texture & will only cold smoke mine. You will find lots of opinions on this though. One thing is for sure though - you will soon have some homemade bacon to enjoy!  [​IMG]   [​IMG]
  14. Nope, Found a 3 oz packet marked Sodium Nitrite
  15. What's it called?
    How much nitrite is in it?
    Any directions on the package?

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
  16. This is what it says on the label:

    Sodium Nitrite

    Net Wt: 3oz (85g)

    Ing: Sodium Nitrite

    Food Ingredient.

    (Not for immediate consumption)
  17. It's hard to believe that it's pure nitrite, but it may be.
    You shouldn't use it unless you're 100% sure what it is.
    Pure sodium nitrite is extremely dangerous to work with.
    It's certainly not for beginners.

    Are you still planning to use Scrap Iron Chef's Bacon recipe?
    That's a LOT of sugar even without the apple cider.
    In addition, as written, it's a an unsafe recipe.

  18. Yeah, probably not going to use the nitrite.

    That is the recipe I was thinking of using. I have some very thin pork belly - it's about 0.75 to 1 inch thick and about 3 pounds.

    From what I was reading, a rule of thumb is 1 day of curing per half inch, so I would cure this for 2 days, then an extra day for safety.
  19. Hmm - you could use that to make your own cure #1 but I don't think I'm allowed to post the method on here due to possible serious safety issues as it could be quite dangerous if not done EXACTLY right. You would be much farther ahead (and safer) to just get some cure #1 to use... [​IMG]
  20. Yeah, i'm not going to risk that math when I am absolutely horrible at math. I'd rather not poison myself with sodium nitrite.

    Here's another recipe I found, opinions?

    1/8 cup fennel seeds
    1/8 cup cumin seeds
    1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    4 teaspoon black peppercorns
    1 teaspoon white peppercorns
    2 tablespoon ground coriander
    1/2 cup salt
    1/3 cup sugar

    Rub the pork belly with the cure, refrigerate for 3 days.

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