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Use By Date on Bacon?

chef jimmyj

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I ran into into an interesting situation regarding Use By Dates. I had planned on making a batch of ABTs today. My wife got the Peppers and Cream Cheese this passed weekend. When I enquired about the Bacon, she told me she already had 2 packs. When I went to assemble the ABTs, Bev asked which bacon I wanted. To my dismay, the choices were the Bacon that expired in September or the Bacon that expired in April.:emoji_astonished: Nervous about either one, I cut open the the pack from September and as expected it had spoiled. I then opened the pack from April, expecting far worse, I sniffed cautiously. I was befuddled so I took a deeper smell of the Bacon. It smelled GREAT! Since I was still skeptical, Bev cooked a slice. It tasted great too. I had to wonder how Bacon 2 weeks out of code was spoiled but Bacon 6 Months out of code was fine? They both were refrigerated the whole time. So what was the difference? I discovered the Bacon from Sept, was Cheap bacon and injected with Cure and Smoke Favoring. The April Bacon was a Premium Brand, Farmington Signiture, although injected with Cure this Bacon was actually Hickory Smoked! That had to be the difference. The Real Smoke on the Bacon added to the preservation allowing it to still be good 6 Months after the Use By Date.
While I would not intentionally not Freeze Bacon, it would seem Hardwood Smoked Bacon, has a longer Shelf Life. But I guess WE already knew that...JJ
 

foamheart

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ChefI bought sow belly on sale last weekend and when back at home I noticed the "Suggested use date" was April 2017. I called the local butcher and got schooled. First my belly was fine, it had been frozen the entire time which I believed after thawing and smelling. This is what I was told by the butcher about dates.

First and foremost the is no legal reason for them to even stamp the package, it is the vendors option 100%. So why do they I asked, to which I heard, to keep the government from thinking about making it a legal requirement. LOL

The "Suggested Use by Date" is a courtesy to the customer.

From personal observation if something doesn't sale, they can freeze it meat and later pull it out and re-stamp it with a new date.

Bacon is my pet peeve. As you say the injection bacon now rots in short order. Also have you noticed that the cheap bacon has changed from a 1 lb package to only 12 oz.? On sale 2 packages for 7.00, you are getting a pound and a half of bacon, and the price is 4.67/lb. vice 3.50 which your mind automatically deduces because its the same package size as the old 1 pound packages used to be?

Oh and BTW the pieces of sow belly (almost 2 years old), on sale were beautiful, wish I would have bought a case! Got one curing, I'll show ya when its done.

EDITT:: BTW I generally buy my bacon on sale and buy 10/12 packages at a time and freeze 'em. I have seen no problems so far.
 

bradger

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That could deffentaly do it, unless there was a temperature difference between where you kept them
 

chef jimmyj

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The packs were bother in a Crisper Drawer together. That's were Bev keeps Bacon, Hot Dogs and such. The Use By Dates were original and unaltered. The one pack of Bacon was over 6 months old...JJ
 

noboundaries

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One of my kids once got me a "bacon of the month" membership once from a place in the upper Midwest. It always arrived in a box packed with cold packs, but summers in Sacramento can reach over 100-115F. I opened one box and the bacon was warm. I called and they said the cured and smoked bacon would survive up to six weeks at room temp in the sealed vac-pac. It went right in the fridge and was fine. I wasn't tempted to test their claim.
 

S-met

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Two really important points:
1st, I rely on senses. I know that it is not perfect nor necessarily "safe" as some bugs fall outside of sensory detection. But it rarely does me wrong with uncooked/raw foods.

2nd, you may know how "you" handled the product, but you have no idea how it was handled prior. How long the packing box sat on the loading dock, how many times it sat in someones cart, how many hot/cold cycles it's gone through. Someone may have ruined it long before you touch it.
 

cmichini

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Being on this forum, I'd suggest one thing - Stop purchasing commercially made bacon & do it yourself. That will ensure you have fresh, edible bacon 24/7/365.

With fresh pork belly, cure #1, salt, brown sugar & a smoker (or even an oven) you can produce your own bacon, vastly superior to store bought & always on hand and ready to go.

I use a Food Saver and vacuum seal 6-7 oz. packages and keep them in my freezer. I just found 2 small packs that were from November 2018, which made great bacon cheeseburgers a week or so ago.

I got the book 'Charcuterie' a number of years ago & the first thing I started was my own bacon and can't remember buying any from a store since.
 

sawhorseray

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Stop purchasing commercially made bacon & do it yourself. That will ensure you have fresh, edible bacon 24/7/365. .
I agree 100%! I've been smoking my own bacon for about 15 years now. It tastes better than store-bought, it's less expensive, can slice as thick as I like, never had any go bad. A commercial operation just can't take the time or pay attention to detail the way we do. RAY
 

chef jimmyj

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I have made Bacon many times. Unfortunately Pork Belly is hard to come by locally. The local stores don't even carry Flank Steak and Skirt because they don't sell. The fastest moving Pork is Butts and Loins, with their associated steaks and chops...JJ
 

sawhorseray

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You can make Buckboard Bacon from the fat cap of a porkbutt Jimmy. I've made it a couple of times in the past and it's great, can't tell the difference from belly bacon. Here's a recipe from my dear departed friend, Chuckwagon, aka Barry Byner. See if it works for you if you like. RAY

"Buckboard Bacon" is made from pork butt (shoulder), rather than pork belly. Many people prefer its texture and thick-sliced portions. Note that a ham is normally pumped with 10% brining solution. Because of its composition, pork butt (shoulder) loses about 4% more solution than ham during its curing period. To compensate for the loss, pork butt is usually "stitched" with 15% solution. (e.g. pump 4 lbs. of pork with 6 ounces of brine). A typical brine for use with pork butt may be made up with the following ingredients:

5 quarts ice water @ 38°;F.
3/4 cup of salt
1 cup powdered dextrose
4 tblspns. Prague Powder #1
1 quart of ice cubes or chips
"butcher`s grind" (coarse) black pepper

Stir the salt, dextrose, and cure, into the ice water. Add the quart of ice to bring the temperature down. Weigh the appropriate amount of brine on a scale and inject it into each shoulder. Make several injections on each side with short shots of solution. Place the butts into the remaining solution (with ice) in large zip lock type plastic bags or a deep lug. The liquid must cover the meat. Allow 4 lb. butts to cure for three days and larger butts up to six days. Following curing, rinse the butts and place them in fresh, cold water for a few hours. Finally, hang them up and pat them dry. Using plastic gloves, rub the meat with fresh, cracked, black pepper.

Preheat your smoker to 130°;F. (54°;C.) while you place the butts in cloth (not plastic) smoke-netting called "stockinettes". Hang the butts in the smoker with the damper wide open, maintaining the smokehouse temperature for 3 to 3-1/2 hours without smoke. Increase the temperature to 170°; F. (77°; C.) and introduce hickory smoke while maintaining the smokehouse temperature until the internal meat temperature (IMT) reaches 140°; F. (60°; C.). Discontinue the heat and allow the meat to return to room temperature before placing it in a cooler overnight. This "prep cooking" IMT will ensure the destruction of any possible trichinella spiralis. The bacon will be "fully cooked" later as you cook it in your favorite black skillet or griddle.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
 

oldsmokerdude

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I agree 100%! I've been smoking my own bacon for about 15 years now. It tastes better than store-bought, it's less expensive, can slice as thick as I like, never had any go bad. A commercial operation just can't take the time or pay attention to detail the way we do. RAY
Making bacon (no pun intended) has been on my list of things to try for a while now. I've got the materials on hand and ready to start. One of my considerations is slicing it once complete. Do you need to have a large "commercial" slicer to finish the process?
 

cmichini

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No need for a commercial slicer, at least not for me. LOL

I have routinely cut by hand. I don't have tons of different knives so I've used an 8" chef's knife, a longer slicing knife (maybe 10" or so). With a little practice, pretty even slices are easy. And if one is a little thicker - well, I can think of more disastrous things than thick bacon on my plate.

The end of each slab can be a little more difficult as there's not so much to hold on to. When I get to the end, I slice in half and do half slices so I can get relatively even cuts. Oddly enough a short slice doesn't taste any different than its bigger brother - he just needs more reinforcements to quell your hunger.

Ray's got a great point about buckboard bacon, which I just recently learned about here, so I may try it. However, I just finished putting up 11 lbs. of bacon so my freezer is rather full at the moment.

But I'd definitely encourage anyone on the fence to give bacon a try. It's dead simple and yields a product that will ruin you for store bought (in a good way).
 

chef jimmyj

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Slicing depends on what you like. You want Commercial Thin? You need a slicer. Anything else depend on a quality Slicer, 12",6 and the ability to wield it. Me, I have a Waring 7" Slicer but I cut about 3/8 to 1/4" by Hand. Take a look at Victorinox Slicers...JJ
 

HalfSmoked

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make Canadian bacon with the loins.

Warren
 

chef jimmyj

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Thanks for the suggestion Warren. But with me Bacon is all about the Fat. Bev knows to go through the packs to pick out the Fattiest pack. When the fat gets golden brown and when eaten melts in your mouth, that's what it's all about. I hate lean bacon...JJ
 

HalfSmoked

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Got Ya can't say I completely disagree.

Warren
 

HalfSmoked

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Thanks for the like JJ it is appreciated.

Warren
 

Fueling Around

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I freeze store bought bacon well before the "use by or freeze it date" on the package. Once opened the unused doesn't stay in the fridge more than a week.

Love home made thick slice bacon for a side with eggs and hashbrowns, but at $3.99 per pound for fresh belly is hard to justify for wrapping turds or prawns when I can get store for $2.67 per pound on sale.
I'm not a fat lover so have to dig through the case to get my preference cuts.

My slicer is a 40 year old home model Rival brand. I cut my cured belly in half with the grain so it fits the slicer.
 

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