Bacon made easy

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
Bob,
Well I bought a bag of Tenderquick. I figure I gotta try your bacon recipe or I'll never be a true member of the forum. It's a rite of passage. I wound up with a 3 lb section and a 2 1/2 pound section. I'm using your method on the 3lb and I'm using cure#1 on the 2 1/2 pound section. We'll see which I like better. So far I gotta say it's a lot easier to feel confident I got the meat coated evenly with the Tenderquick. It's the thicker section also, so I think it's going to turn out awesome. With the other one I went with percentages. I did 2% salt, 1.5% dark brown sugar, and 0.25% Cure number #1. If I had to do that part over again I'd probably go with regular sugar just so the grains of my cure are roughly even and mix better. There's a much higher risk of not getting the cure evenly on the meat. Hopefully, it will even out once I draw out some moisture and flip the meat a few times.

I'm making the Bob Corell bacon and I've made some batches of #5 sauce. I guess I better make some Butt Rub for Jane and put together a Heatermeater;).
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
Well I'm close to the end of my 7 days. I've been flipping every day. The Tenderquick section firmed up pretty well. The cure#1 section that's actually thinner and smaller is still getting there but it is getting there. I've finally read through the whole thread. I have a few questions. Will the bacon shrink any during the smoking process? The long end of belly sections are pretty darn long. It looks like I'd want to cut there to cut against the grain. Does cutting against the grain matter all that much? I think if I cut the other way my slices will be too short. I've thought about buying a cheapo slicer. Is that even worth messing with compared to a knife?
 

Bob Correll

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Well I'm close to the end of my 7 days. I've been flipping every day. The Tenderquick section firmed up pretty well. The cure#1 section that's actually thinner and smaller is still getting there but it is getting there. I've finally read through the whole thread. I have a few questions. Will the bacon shrink any during the smoking process? The long end of belly sections are pretty darn long. It looks like I'd want to cut there to cut against the grain. Does cutting against the grain matter all that much? I think if I cut the other way my slices will be too short. I've thought about buying a cheapo slicer. Is that even worth messing with compared to a knife?
You can always cut the long pieces in half before or after slicing, or in half before slicing.
It shouldn't shrink much.
Personally, I'd hold off on a slicer until you decide if you'll be making more bacon, or plan to use it for other things, like beef roast, ham, etc.
I like to slice off as needed with a knife.
7 days is a minimum guide for curing, go longer if you feel the need, it will not compromise the results.
 

MartinB

TVWBB Pro
Id say get a slicer
It will make a world of difference in bacon
Its great for thin sliced lean pork loin
Its great for pastrami

And a brisket flat leftover out of the refrig, can be so hard with cold congealed fat, its either that or fight it with electric knife.

Its hassle to get out, sanitize, clean, but when thars slicin to be done, thar aint no substitute. 10 lb of bacon is about 160 slices.....do you really want to try and do that by hand holding a cutting board against the edge of a knife blade to make a straight cut? a lot of people simply convince themselves that they like thick bacon at that point....

Technically speaking, if you use a lot of cheese or lunch meat, like daily for work lunches, you can buy bulk unsliced and slice it yourself and save enough money to pay for a good slicer over time.

Some make the chef's choice or light duty chinese slicers with short carriage distance work by bending the bacon in a U. Some just feed it completely through the blade by hand, which is a little risky.

I recommend finding a commercial grade or light comnercial slicer on Craigslist or ebay. these will have a 1/3-1/2 horsepower motor and a long carriage glide of 9 1/2 or 10 in. Finding a place to keep them can be a problem, which is why they sell for cheap used. $200 for a 90 lb $5000 slicer. Mine's on the shelf in the garage . It weighs 40 lb, but I'll bring it inside when I need it. Wipe it down with sanitizing wipes, and start cutting. A good used slicer, is a lifetime purchase. Its sellable for what you paid too, all you can lose is shipping $.

But regardless of what kind...you WILL be thrilled to slice some meat easy and thinly and uniformly. You will not regret the purchase.

 
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Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
Ok, I went an extra day with the cure just because I didn't have time last night. My plan is to get the chunks out tonight and rinse them. I'm going to air dry them tonight and smoke them in the morning on the WSM using the snake method and apple chunks. I'm selling out here because I'm going against my strong belief that real men smoke with nut woods. There was some liquid in the bag. I don't if it got reabsorbed or what but it's gone. The meat feels like a well done steak. There's one area of my smaller section that doesn't feel solid but I think it's due to the structure in that section being week. I'm not worried about it. I'm going with my slicing knife this time and partially freezing the bacon.
 

MartinB

TVWBB Pro
Should be great.

I made it thru maybe 1 lb by hand before deciding to get slicer. 3 lb before actually getting it.:)
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
Should be great.

I made it thru maybe 1 lb by hand before deciding to get slicer. 3 lb before actually getting it.:)
That's probably what's going to happen. I probably won't slice all of it. I may refreeze some. I pulled them out of the bag and rinsed them just now. I've got them in the fridge drying out. I've got some issues with one of the sections:



The one on the left has these weird seams that opened up that I couldn't see before I cured it. It seemed thicker than the rest of the slab and I probably should have known something was up. That's going to be weird when I got to slice it. Parts are going to slough off potentially. I guess that's another lesson learned. I'm probably going to have to slice across the narrow end to make it work and that seems to be with the grain. Oh and I was joking about the nut woods although I normally tend to gravitate to pecan, oak, and hickory. That's a jelly roll pan to give some size perspective. The left is the one cured with Tenderquick. It does have a slightly darker color then the right. It's bright pink on the areas that got exposed.
 
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Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
I bought it from my butcher a long time ago. It was just cryovacced so I'm not sure of the source. I did some trimming of surface silver skin, but I didn't go crazy with it.
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
Well, I finished making the bacon and slicing it. I did a good job on slicing one section and then the fatigue set in and I didn't do so well on the other. It is thick cut, but I know how to cook it so it turns out good. I'm definitely going to get a slicer before I make another batch. I found some 5 lb hunks of belly at the grocery store for 3.99 a pound. I waited til the expiration date and 4 were still there marked down to 2.40 a pound and I bought them all. I'll post some pictures tomorrow.
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
Ok. Here's some pictured of my bacon cook. It turned out really well. I'm definitely going to do this again.


Uncured bellies.


Here's a future belly I got on sale. These were 2.40 a pound. I'm a little worried that they are smithfield and might be enhanced or something, but we'll see.


Bellies on the WSM 22.5 early saturday morning. I got them on around 7a.m.

My woefully inadequate snake. This is longer than the last one I made for sausage. However, the outside temp was a lot lower so instead of getting 150 out of the single row and 180 out of the double row I got 130 and 150. This cook took FOREVER. I had to add to the snake twice and I finally got the bacon off at 3pm. The larger chunk just would not roll over to 145. It got to 144 and stayed there for an hour so I pulled it.


Here's a section before slicing.


I wound up cutting it in half and going lengthwise. These slice are perfect for BLTs.


Slice


This is the bigger chunk cured with TQ. I did ok but since this section was so weird a lot of this part wound up as lardons. I also was fatigued and didn't chill this part in the freezer long enough.


Here's some I fried up. It turned out great.

We sampled both sections, the one with cure#1 and the TQ one last night. Both turned out really tasty. It was more or less a tie. The TQ one was a touch saltier but that can be fixed with a longer soak. I just rinsed both. I could taste no difference as far as the brown sugar I put on the cure#1 section. I agree with Bob's assessment that anything you put on ahead of time really won't translate as much into the final product. When you weigh everything as far as ease of use, taste, safety, etc, Bob's method wins hand's down. Thanks for the excellent recipe, Bob!
 

MartinB

TVWBB Pro
Looks good.
No need to stress about temperature

First, its already cured. It doesnt have to reach pasteurization conditions.

Second, pasteurization is time and temp.
145 F for 3 minutes gives 5 log reduction
140 F for 9 minutes
137 F for 18 minutes
135 F for 36 minutes

When slow smoking, temp rise is so slow, its fully pasteurized at lower temps than hot cooking, on top of being cured already.

No need to ever go over 140, imo, if cook low temp. You are losing fat....melting your bacon. Check the drip pan.

The lower you cook, the lower your pasteurization temp will be. I stop in 135-140 range, confident its fully pasteurized, on top of being cured. Depending on how slow temp rise is, start timing at some point, but go by chart, not just 145F.
 
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Bob Correll

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Congrats on your first bacon Dustin, it looks great!
Good info from Martin. Years ago, with no real guide, I cold smoked bacon and hams.
No clue what the heat temp was, probably a little above 100F, and no clue of the finished meat temp, I just smoked it until it looked the color I wanted.
 

Dwain Pannell

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Just got back from Costco and put another belly on cure (cut in half = 2 slabs). For so many times I can’t count....Thx again Bob!
 

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