To pellicle or not to pellicle?

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Kyleblun

Fire Starter
Original poster
Aug 25, 2021
30
7
Almost everyone I have seen make bacon will insist that you have to leave the bacon on a wire rack for 24 hours after curing, before smoking. They say that this process forms the pellicle (sticky goo basically) that will help with smoke absorption.

Recently I have seen some well respected chefs say that the pellicle is totally unnecessary and that you don't even need to pat the bacon dry after rinsing the cure off. They just throw it in the smoker still wet.

So, who is right?
 
Almost everyone I have seen make bacon will insist that you have to leave the bacon on a wire rack for 24 hours after curing, before smoking. They say that this process forms the pellicle (sticky goo basically) that will help with smoke absorption.

Recently I have seen some well respected chefs say that the pellicle is totally unnecessary and that you don't even need to pat the bacon dry after rinsing the cure off. They just throw it in the smoker still wet.

So, who is right?
I wouldn't describe a pellicle as a sticky goo. Tacky yes, but goo no. I'm one who believes in letting the bacon form a pellicle before smoking.

Chris
 
Someone would have to do some kind of side by side comparison to really put this to rest. I personally don't bother with forming the pellicle. I don't think it matters, but I don't know for sure either. I also see people cold smoke it for ridiculously extended periods of time as well. I think there has to be a point of diminishing returns. I just patted my last belly dry and warm smoked it for probably 6 hours. It's got plenty of smoke. I can't imagine wanting more smoke.
 
Someone would have to do some kind of side by side comparison to really put this to rest. I personally don't bother with forming the pellicle. I don't think it matters, but I don't know for sure either. I also see people cold smoke it for ridiculously extended periods of time as well. I think there has to be a point of diminishing returns. I just patted my last belly dry and warm smoked it for probably 6 hours. It's got plenty of smoke. I can't imagine wanting more smoke.
When warm/hot smoking no pellicle is needed but a dry surface is best. As to cold smoking, the process is less about smoke flavor and more about drying and losing meat weight. This process helps in preservation and it concentrates the cure and meat flavors. With cold smoking a pellicle is best practice. I often dry cure bacon slabs naked on a cooling rack in the fridge with a sheet pan under to catch liquid. This process helps dry the slab down and lose weight giving a much more definite “old butcher” style taste like when I was a kid. Then I hot smoke it.
 
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