Spicy Dry-Cured Bacon Advice Needed

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Sven Svensson

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I’m making some dry-cured bacon for my neighbor who is from Cameroon. The problem is, being Scandinavian, I’ve never been a spicy food guy. Using black pepper was the extent of exotic spice growing up in our house. He’d like this bacon spicy, with some “kick.” I have some cayenne on hand and I’m wondering if adding that to my percentages for the dry cure would add the kick he’s looking for? Does that even penetrate the pork belly? The other big question is how much do I use? Thanks!
 

indaswamp

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Yes, cayenne will give you a kick. I'm not familiar with cuisine in Camaroon though....so I don't know the level of heat he is looking for. I suggest 5g/kg. for a start...that will give you a noticeable heat on the back end. Could go as high as 10g./Kg....with 7.5g./Kg. being mid-level heat. But I'm a Coonass in Louisiana so my judgement of heat is probably skewed a little higher than most! LOL!!!
 

SmokinEdge

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I would go 5g/K but if you are curing in a bag you will likely need to reapply after curing but before smoking.

I find it kind of difficult to bring spice flavors through on bacon because only the outside has the flavor, once sliced that’s a pretty small surface area.
 

tx smoker

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Using black pepper was the extent of exotic spice growing up in our house.
Sven, for several years one of our favorite bacon profiles is just heavily seasoned with black pepper. It adds a deep, dark color to the meat and a really nice flavor.
I suggest 5g/kg. for a start...that will give you a noticeable heat on the back end.
I agree with Keith here. You could do the heavy pepper and add the cayenne also. That would give the pepper flavor profile but the spiciness from the cayenne. From my perspective, which may differ from others, I don't notice a big flavor from cayenne. Nice heat, yes but not a ton of flavor. You might also consider Ancho chili powder. That also has a nice spice to it but much more flavor than just cayenne. Again, a 50/50 mixture of the two might work out really well.
but if you are curing in a bag you will likely need to reapply after curing but before smoking.
This is absolutely, entirely, 100% correct. When the cure is done, rinse all the old spices off the slabs, pat dry, and reapply a full round of spices. Let sit uncovered in the fridge overnight.
I find it kind of difficult to bring spice flavors through on bacon because only the outside has the flavor
This used to also be true in my world but has changed over the past couple of batches. I used to cure for 7-10 days. That is plenty of time from a safety standpoint but the last couple of batches I'v done for a full 14 days, flipping the slabs ever other day or so. I've found that giving the few extra days really makes a difference in the flavors infusing into the meat. Even friend (and Tracy of course) have noticed the difference.

Keep us posted Sven.

Robert
 

SmokinEdge

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This used to also be true in my world but has changed over the past couple of batches. I used to cure for 7-10 days. That is plenty of time from a safety standpoint but the last couple of batches I'v done for a full 14 days, flipping the slabs ever other day or so. I've found that giving the few extra days really makes a difference in the flavors infusing into the meat. Even friend (and Tracy of course) have noticed the difference.
I always try to cure bacon, both belly and BB, for 14 days it is just better flavor, sometimes I only make 12 days because of the constraints of time. However, this last year I started doing things a bit different.

I don’t do this every time, but I now dry cure on a wire rack inside a sheet pan. This allows the moisture extraction from the salt to escape the meat completely, and slightly dries the meat concentrating the bacon flavors and spice. I then do not rinse but go straight to the smoker with the bacon as It already has a wonderful pellicule. The flavor is very old school and almost dry aged. The spices come through a bit better and the final product is definitely delicious.
 
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tx smoker

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I don’t do this every time, but I now dry cure on a wire rack inside a sheet pan. This allows the moisture extraction from the salt to escape the meat completely, and slightly dries the meat concentrating the bacon flavors and spice.
WOW!! Thanks so much for sharing that. Never seen or heard of that process but it sure has me intrigued. Gonna have to remember this. Will be a while though because last week I wrapped up 36 pounds of bacon so have a nice supply for a while. But....I have a massive order of "bacon ready" beef bellies on the way and plan to make some beef bacon. This process sounds like it'd be excellent for the beef.
Yep^^^^^^^^
All solid advice.
If it comes from you Keith, I'm taking it to the bank my friend :emoji_wink:

Robert
 

gmc2003

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I don't cure anywhere near the amount of bacon that you folks do, but when I dry brine a good amount of liquid leaches out of the meat and then is reabsorbed back in. Wouldn't this allow for some of the added flavors to penetrate the belly.

I think cinnamon and cumin are major spices in Cameroon. Not very bacon friendly IMO.

Chris
 
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indaswamp

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I don't cure anywhere near the amount of bacon that you folks do, but when I dry brine a good amount of liquid leaches out of the meat and then is reabsorbed back in. Wouldn't this allow for some of the added flavors to penetrate the belly.

I think cinnamon and cumin are major spices in Cameroon. Not very bacon friendly IMO.

Chris

Actually....Cinnamon is one of the spices used in some styles of Italian pancetta (rolled dry cured belly). And cumin use to be a table spice back in Roman times... before black pepper was widely available cumin was on the table and was used like we use black pepper today. I've seem some salami recipes that use small amounts of cumin...it is one of the ancient spices along with corriander.
 

G8trwood

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I always season the slices before cooking. I use a salt free blackening mixture or jerk seasoning. No boring bacon ;)
 

gmc2003

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Actually....Cinnamon is one of the spices used in some styles of Italian pancetta (rolled dry cured belly). And cumin use to be a table spice back in Roman times... before black pepper was widely available cumin was on the table and was used like we use black pepper today. I've seem some salami recipes that use small amounts of cumin...it is one of the ancient spices along with corriander.

But I don't think they would provide much of a kick, at least not how I think of kick

Chris
 
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SmokinEdge

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White pepper rules for cured meats, IMHO, other than black pepper corns in some recipes.

Cumin has that “dirty feet” smell to me but I like the flavor in moderation, coriander being the seed of cilantro is my favorite earthy spice. Just me.
 

indaswamp

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White pepper was used more prevalently in the old world. It was the spice of nobility. It take longer on the plant to get it though being the ripe fruit with the red skin removed. I find it gives a deeper richness as compared to black pepper.
 

SmokinEdge

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White pepper was used more prevalently in the old world. It was the spice of nobility. It take longer on the plant to get it though being the ripe fruit with the red skin removed. I find it gives a deeper richness as compared to black pepper.
Agree, plus it’s got its own “kick” I like it a lot on bacon cure and in sausages.
 
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chopsaw

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when I dry brine a good amount of liquid leaches out of the meat and then is reabsorbed back in. Wouldn't this allow for some of the added flavors to penetrate the belly.
More than some . I have 100 % success doing it . Not sure why others say it doesn't work .
I've never had trouble getting the flavor I want to the center of the meat using dry curing methods .
I just did some anise and white pepper cured pork loin . Fantastic , but they were wet cured .
Sven Svensson Sven Svensson I do a Carolina Reaper dried beef . It's addicting ( and HOT ) .
I use a 1/4 tsp of reaper powder to about a 3 lb. hunk .
These were cured using Tender Quick .
Regular cured dried beef .
1660423851547.jpeg
Reaper dried beef . The color is from the Reaper powder .
All the way through .
1660423803113.jpeg
I always cure 14 days . Flip the bag and like Chris says let the liquid reabsorb .
 
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