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Trying My Hand At Bacon - 4 Flavors - QView

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by Preacher Man, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. Pork Belly's went on sale around here for $1.88/lb so I decided to try out bacon for the first time.

    I vacillated between just doing a basic recipe for the first time, or trying to get all fancy and try all different ones. I went the fancy route, and invited a buddy to give his input.

    My first invention was an Italian style bacon.
    2 1/2 lbs Pork Belly
    1/2 t. Cure #1
    1 T. Kosher Salt
    1 T. Dried Basil
    1 T. Dried Oregano
    1 T. Dried Thyme
    1 T. Dried Parsley
    1 T. Garlic Powder
    20181109 (1).jpg

    My second invention was to use a prior invention from my garden called jalapeno pesto. I struggled with this one because it's not really a wet brine nor was it a dry rub. So I added the same amount of cure to the mixture as before.
    2 1/2 lbs Pork Belly
    1/2 t. Cure #1
    8oz. Jalapeno Pesto
    20181109 (2).jpg

    My friend said he brought his finest culinary creations: One he coated with Tony Chachere's Creole and the other he coated with black pepper.

    Into ziplocs and the fridge they went for 9 days.
    20181109 (3).jpg

    After the 9 days we cold-smoked them for 5 hours with applewood.
    20181109 (4).jpg

    All sliced up and vacuum-sealed.
    20181109 (5).jpg

    I thought all the flavors turned out excellent. The jalapeno pesto one was awesome in the pre-smoke test, but then the flavor seemed to get overpowered after the smoke. The Italian will be the perfect addition to a spaghetti sauce.

    I do wish I had a meat slicer. It tried chilling them in the freezer for 3 hours to firm them up before slicing, but it will still really difficult getting what I thought was a decent bacon thickness. I don't like thin, but ours were more like ham slices. It seems a bit difficult to fry them properly at that thickness. I'm hoping someone has a slicer on their Black Friday sale.

    Also, my bacon wasn't near salty enough like I think bacon should be. Oh well, I love having room for improvement. I think next time I'll not talk myself into getting fancy and just try a pretty basic cure recipe I've seen floating around this forum and compare, then start adjusting flavors from that point.
  2. meatallica

    meatallica Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I have to hand slice also. I put some on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil @375° this morning. That worked pretty good for getting crispy
    mushroomboots likes this.
  3. How thick is thick cut bacon from the store anyway?
  4. JZ_Focus

    JZ_Focus Fire Starter

    I have a small slicer at home, but when I'm doing bacon, I take it back to my butcher that I bought the bellies from, and he slices it for me. He charges me $1/lbs to slice, but it's totally worth it to me to get a nice consistent slice.
    mushroomboots likes this.
  5. hondabbq

    hondabbq Meat Mopper

    I do the same thing. I make standard bacon plus I came up with about 8-9 different flavors.
  6. What kind of flavors have you tried?
  7. disco

    disco Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks good and kudos for experimenting. However, you are quite low on salt and salt helps bring the liquid out of the pork and then it soaks back in to get a good cure. Big like!
  8. I agree on the salt. How much salt is usually recommended per pound?

    Thanks for the like!
  9. disco

    disco Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you use Tenderquick, they use a tablespoon per pound but I find that a lot. I use less salt than most but still enough to draw out the liquid, 1 1/2 teaspoon or 0.3 oz by weight per pound of pork. If you're going metric, I use 15 ml or 19.2 grams per kilogram. Keep in mind that there is a bit more salt in the Pink Salt #1 but you only use 1/5 tsp or 0.04 oz per pound so it isn't very much.

    I have always got a nice cure and, while it still has the bacon salt taste, it isn't as strong as Tenderquick bacon.
    Preacher Man likes this.
  10. Thanks, I'll give this a try. I use the pink salt.
  11. disco

    disco Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Pink Salt #1 is a curing salt. You had the right amount at 1 tsp per 5 pounds. Add 1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt per pound and, Bob's your uncle!
    Preacher Man likes this.
  12. mushroomboots

    mushroomboots Newbie

    Is Tender Quick considered the same as pink salt? I do realize it's a brand and have bought some, but I'm still unclear if it's the same species. I appreciate any thoughts.
  13. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Different creatures.

    Tenderquick is salt/sugar/curing all in one, and thus has a different ratio. I have both as some recipes I like to try use tenderquick, some use pink salt 1. Do not use them interchangable as it could be dangerous to you.

    I found out the fun way that peppers get hotter when smoked with some smoked cheese. Mango Habanero that promptly felt like a kick in the teeth when I opened a pack weeks after cold smoking! But you are right, the fun is in experimenting!
    mushroomboots likes this.
  14. mushroomboots

    mushroomboots Newbie

    Oh, thank you so much. That is very good information. How is it that it could get dangerous I'm wondering? Does this have something to do with a nitrites? Also, interesting about the smoked cheese and peppers! I'll have to try that out at some point; carefully. Hey, since you seem to be a pro here, is there such a thing as a cold smoker that doesn't cost a bunch of money? I suspect there's a way that you could actually put one together on your own. By the way, I love the picture of your puppy. Have a Shepherd mix, and she is of course the best thing in the world!
  15. An $20 Amazen Tube turned my smoker into an instant cold smoking unit.
  16. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use the AMNPS tray, but dissolve the pellets into dust and dry them out.
    I started trying that and became a total convert to dust.
    Easier to control the result, much better smelling smoke, and much cooler for cold smoking.
    I think the taste is more like what I've come to like about commercially smoked meats, even and consistent.

    Pink Salt, Prague Powder #1, Cure #1, is good stuff, IMHO. When I began using it, I found a flavor difference I was looking for, for decades. I takes very little to be effective, and should be respected for what it can do. Not something to be used haphazardly.
    Once it's work is done, heat neutralizes it. So when you fry your bacon, it's done. Or, in my case, I dry my Jerky at 165 degrees for the entire process in a dehydrator. Effectively burning out any nitrates left in the meat.
    Not based on any scientific stuff, only on the fact I'm still alive, and nobody I've fed died as a result of my cookin...yet.
    Use Cure safely and respectfully. Best method is by weighing, proportional to the meat's weight.
  17. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    If you mean my pup..thanks! Course now she weighs 90 pounds and all, but that was a darn cute picture of her deciding to sit in a cooler on a hot day when she was a puppy!

    And like Preacherman said, check out the AMNPS.

    https://www.amazenproducts.com/product_p/amnps5x8.htm <--I use this, some prefer like tubes. But it's a godsend for electric smokers, and Pellets are far cheaper now. Just make sure what you are buying pellet wise is truly meant for a smoker, and make sure it's not blended. Alot of 'Apple' might be blended. But that's a topic of another thread :)
    mushroomboots likes this.
  18. hondabbq

    hondabbq Meat Mopper

    I do
    Rosemary and Garlic
    Apple Cinnamon
    Black Pepper and Garlic
    Bloody Mary
    Honey Chipotle
    Honey Dust
    Double Smoked

    As you mentioned not all of these I put into smoke.
  19. mushroomboots

    mushroomboots Newbie

    Dang you guys! This is truly Such great information! You can learn so much more discussing things with real people on a forum I think, and this is clearly the right place to be. I really appreciate the sharing from others and will utilize the information.
    Preacher Man, trying to make it back to Missoula where I too have lived. Have to do some BBQ.
    Those flavors are inspiring. Would love to try the Apple Cinnamon, Bloody Mary, Honey Dust, and Double Smoked most of all. What were your favorites?
  20. hondabbq

    hondabbq Meat Mopper

    Out of those you listed the Bloody Mary and Honey Dust are my faves.
    Bloody Mary bacon on a BLT is out of this world.
    mushroomboots likes this.