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Thread: Bacon Season has arrived

  1. #1
    TVWBB Guru CaseT's Avatar
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    Bacon Season has arrived

    Well at least for me as I cold smoke all my bacon. Been in the 20's and lower at night and 40's during the day. Perfect for cold smoking bacon.



    Costco had bellies on sale so I grabbed a couple. Back on the 17th I started the curing process.



    As I normally do I used Digging Dog Farms universal cure calculator



    For those not familiar with the Universal Calculator the only number you need to enter is the weight of the meat in grams. The only exception to this is if you want to change the salt or sugar ratio. I use the defaults (shown in photo) as I've found it is what we like the best. Don't mess with the cure #1 default, that is the recommended amount per the GOV.

    I cut my bellies into thirds. Easier to weigh, fit into 1 gallon bags and fit in my fridge better for curing and aging.



    Weigh each belly. I write the weight, cure ingredient amounts and date started on all of the bags.



    I Vac pack mine for curing. I've been doing this for quite some time now and have never had an issue. I used to just use 1 gallon ziplocks. Had a few of those leak and haven't looked back.



    I air dry my bacon for 4-5 days prior to smoking it. Mine has been in the fridge air drying this week.



    Prior to air drying I season the slabs. I use white pepper. cracked black pepper and garlic powder.

    Tomorrow, Saturday the slabs will go into the smoke. I plan on smoking 18 hours straight. When time doesn't permit for that long of a smoke I will break it into 6-8 hour sessions with a rest in the fridge in between.

    Once smoked I will let the bacon age in the fridge for 5-7 days. Then I will cut each slab into thirds and package. I don't slice then package because I like to have the option of using it for other things besides just sliced bacon.

    I'll update the post once the slabs are out of the smoke.

    14.5" WSM, (4) Mini-wsms, Mini-Za Oven, Minitisserie, GOSM Big Block, 1967 Casa Q

  2. #2
    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Rich Dahl's Avatar
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    That's quite a process Case. I use Bob Cs tender quick process and have been quite happy with it. I do a maple syrup, brown sugar and cinnamon cure with the tender quick. Simple and easy, but I do like the idea of being able to control the salt that you have. Might look into that.
    Been really cold for this time of the year down into the teens and low twenties at night, It was 19 last night and instead of the 150 or so trick or treaters we got 8 last night, just too cold for the little ones.
    "Rescuing just one dog won't change the world, but it surely will change the world for that one dog."

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    TVWBB Honor Circle Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    Case, you make me want to be a better smoker!
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
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    Did 11 lb last week myself. My 4th belly this yr.

    I've gotten to be a fan of just real maple syrup with the cure. No extra brown sugar. I expect to be sampling 3/4 pound of it on Sunday morning. That's my wife and I bacon and eggs morning. Although I did snack on the scraps that were left after slicing the other day , i had to fry them up just because. Couldn't let that stuff go to waste.
    Last edited by MartinB; 11-01-2019 at 04:04 PM.

  5. #5
    TVWBB Guru CaseT's Avatar
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    Saturday was smoke day. Started the smoke at 5am, ended at 10pm. Ambient temps started at 23f, hit a high of 66f and ended at 34f. Used a 50/50 mix of cherry and cob pellets. The bellies are aging in the fridge until friday. I cut them into thirds and vac-pac Friday.



    Lighting the AmazeN expando tube. It burned 9 hours on the first load! That's a record. Longest I've had this tube burn was 8 hours.



    Into the smoker.



    Half way through time for more pellets



    Done! Nice golden light smoke.





    Resting in the fridge for 5 days, then vac-packed for the freezer
    14.5" WSM, (4) Mini-wsms, Mini-Za Oven, Minitisserie, GOSM Big Block, 1967 Casa Q

  6. #6
    TVWBB Honor Circle Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    I think it might be time for me to get on the bacon train!!
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

  7. #7
    TVWBB Platinum Member Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
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    I'm wanting to do this soon. I worry about the timing. I wanna start on a weekend and end on a weekend but I need to time my thaw and then have the time to smoke them when they are done curing. For some reason, that alone has stopped me from doing it. How critical is it to do exactly 7 days? can you go over? My other question is how important is the sugar if you are doing a cure#1 process? I know that it comes into play If you are doing a cure#2 style cure that would require bacteria cultures or what not to convert the nitrate into nitrite over time. I probably should just use Bob's method. I've got a rather ancient pork belly packed in the bottom of my freezer. It's probably a few years old (possibly 3 or 4 years?) but shows no sign of freezer burn. I don't know if I'd be wasting my time with it or not.
    22.5 WSM, 22.5 OTS, Smokey Joe, Genesis 1000, Slow N Sear 2.0, Smokenator 1000, Old Country Pecos, Thermapen, Smoke, Maverick ET-732, Igrill 2

  8. #8
    TVWBB Guru CaseT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin Dorsey View Post
    I'm wanting to do this soon. I worry about the timing. I wanna start on a weekend and end on a weekend but I need to time my thaw and then have the time to smoke them when they are done curing. For some reason, that alone has stopped me from doing it. How critical is it to do exactly 7 days? can you go over? My other question is how important is the sugar if you are doing a cure#1 process? I know that it comes into play If you are doing a cure#2 style cure that would require bacteria cultures or what not to convert the nitrate into nitrite over time. I probably should just use Bob's method. I've got a rather ancient pork belly packed in the bottom of my freezer. It's probably a few years old (possibly 3 or 4 years?) but shows no sign of freezer burn. I don't know if I'd be wasting my time with it or not.
    Dustin,

    Seven days would have been the minimum cure time for the thickness of the slabs that I had. 1/4 thickness per day (then I add 2 days on top of that). These were approx 1 1/4" thick. This batch cured for 16 days. Life got in the way. I probably wouldn't go more than 20 days before smoking. I also dry aged the bacon in fridge after the cure for 5 days. Then smoked 18 hours straight. Followed by another 5 day dry age in the fridge before packing. Note that the second dry aging step can be skipped, but in my opinion you get a better product. The first drying step can be as little as 6-8 hours. Like with fish you are forming the pellicle (tacky surface) and removing any leftover moisture.

    It all seems daunting at first but since it is spaced out its not horrible. The longest part of the process is letting the meat do its own thing in the fridge. Since you are cold smoking there is no worry about tending temps. As long as your smoke source is consistent there is no issue walking away and letting the smoker do its thing. With the AmaZeN pellet tube smoker I have no problem leaving for 6-8 hours while its chugging along.
    14.5" WSM, (4) Mini-wsms, Mini-Za Oven, Minitisserie, GOSM Big Block, 1967 Casa Q

  9. #9
    TVWBB Guru CaseT's Avatar
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    Finally packed and ready for the freezer. 18 packs total. For us that's enough for 8 months. Which puts us almost back into bacon season again!



    14.5" WSM, (4) Mini-wsms, Mini-Za Oven, Minitisserie, GOSM Big Block, 1967 Casa Q

  10. #10
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    Looks good.
    I slice before freezing, vacuum into layered packs like you buy at store. Thin packages defrost perfect in a couple minutes in microwave.
    Last edited by MartinB; 11-09-2019 at 09:08 AM.

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