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The Bellies are Curing

ballagh

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OK so I picked up two 8 pound pork bellies trimmed/skinned tonight. $1.89 a pound by the way. I have talked to a few of you in the chat here, and in the posts. I am try to decide the best way to dry cure these, and what ingrediants to use for the cure, and the best method to store them while they are dry curing in the fridge. I am making one hickory flavor, and one maple flavor with Grade A dark maple.

Storage -
VacuSeal them in two or four different food saver bags?
Tupperware them on a rack inside a container?
Ziploc?
Reynolds Cooking Bags?

Dry Cure -
50% sugar, 50% sea salt?
BB Cure?
For the maple flavor, do you coat the belly before the salt/sugar? About how much do you rub into it?

Do you want it to sit in the drained fluids, or keep it out of it, or if vacusealed do you drain the fluids every now and then or just let it ride?

Any other help, tips, or tricks would be greatly appreciated. I am goign to start this tommorrow afternoon.
 

ballagh

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OK - after lots of research, and chatting with the fine folks here, and a couple of books later..here is how I am doing my virgin voyage with bacon.

I got two 8 pound pork bellies, skinned and vaccusealed. I bought the Mortons Tender Quick Cure to use on this. My last run at Canadian bacon was not the greatest, turned out to be a salty pork loin, just using sea slat and brown sugar. I forgot about the nitrites, and nitrates. Think that was part of the problem.

So I cut each belly in half since I would have had to to slice anyway. Now we are sitting with 4-4 pound slabs. Two of them got the straight mortons tender quick and some Mrs. Dash seasoning (to be smoked with hickory) The other two got Mortons Tender Quick and Grade A dark maple syrup mixed in to for a paste. Then I rubbed the mixes onto the bellies really good, and stored them inside a plastic tote on a food grade baking rack so keep them outta the juices. They are stored side by side so the flavors dont mix.

Here are some pics...

















Going to let them sit for 4 days in the fridge, then take them out flip them around check for spots that I may have missed, rub some more on, then 10 more days in the fridge then off to the smoker, let it sit a day in the fridge, then slice her up! I hope to god this works......everyone thinks I'm nuts! LOL
 

joed617

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Looks great!! My wife thought I was a nut also until she tried the bacon. Now she is asking when I'll be making more.. When your finished smoking the bacon I'd love to see a pic of the finale product.

Joe
 

cheech

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Looks like I have the motivation for trying to find some pork bellies around here
 

joed617

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How much are guys buying the bellies for?? I am curious.

Joe
 

ultramag

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Looks good ballagh! I look forward to the final results as well. Maybe you will inspire to graduate to "real" bacon. I have only made the Buckboard style up to this point.
 

ballagh

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Joined Dec 23, 2006
I have not done buckboard yet. That is next on my list. I bought a box of the BBC yesterday and looking foward to it. I really really need to get another fridge. The wife I already moaning about how much room this takes up. I just tell here "Did you buy the fridge" or the house or......for that matter. LOL
 

ballagh

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Joined Dec 23, 2006
Here they are soaking after the dry cure



Here they are sitting uncovered in the fridge with a little seasoning on them





Here they are whacked and stacked in the smoker! WOO HOO





Few more hours in the smoker then I will pull them and let them cool off and then throw them in the fridge overnight to cool. In the morning I will put them in the freezer for a bit, then fire up the slicer and slice til my arms fall off. More pics to come!
 

vulcan75001

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They sure look like they are going to be good...What time did you say breakfast is being served??
 

salmonclubber

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debi

regular bacon is made from the side of the pork by the ribs it is the meat on the outside of the ribs buckboard bacon is made from the shoulder the boston butt it is thicker and is made from a dry cure
salmonclubber
 

cheech

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Wow those look great. I can not want to make some of these. It will be a bit but boy those look awesome
 

deejaydebi

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Thanks Salmoncluber!

I'm thinking in my little ECB I better just do one belly - unless I can line them up side ways.
 

shellbellc

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I definitely want to try this. I'm sure it will be a trip to the butcher, grocery stores around here surely won't carry this.
 

smoked

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this is definitly on my list of to-do's, especially since we like apple wood smoked bacon and that's a tad tough to find in the stores!!!! ;-)
 

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