First time bacon - need some help

BrianCal

TVWBB Super Fan
Ok, so I decided to take the plunge. Read a ton of recipes here and elsewhere, watch a lot of YouTube videos.
Found what seemed a pretty simple recipe, 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon pink salt #1. Also a thin coating of real maple syrup. Was about a five pound belly, about an inch thick. Cured for 6 days. Rinsed it (I thought) pretty well, air dryed it overnight in the fridge.

Smoked it mostly between 175-200, with a little over/under variance. Was taking FOREVER to get to 150, stalled at about 130 for like two hours.

The results? Meh. Not great, not terrible....was pretty salty, and some parts of it were pretty dried out, so was a little tough when cooked. Almost bacon jerky. Tried cooking it both in a frying pan and in the oven.

Thoughts, suggestions?

My next try I think I will go shorter on the cure, and back off on the salt. But was hoping the more experienced folks here could help me learn for the next one
 
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Anne M.

TVWBB Super Fan
Since I am imperially challenged, I am not going to say much about the amounts, just that weighing is better than volume amounts.
5 days in the cure is definitely not too long. I wouldn't shorten it. In the end, you will get an equilibrium, you do need to give the nitrite time to do its work!

OK, I am going to say something about the amounts anyway:
I generally use 1.5 - 2 % salt. Sometimes I rinse, sometimes I just wipe of the salt.

I would give the bacon a bit more time. It does get better over time.
I only cold smoke mine.

For this one, use it in soups and stews.
Or try soaking a piece and fry after the soaking. It might help
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
Brian, I'm with Anne on using weights. I measure everything in metric. You'll need a scale that can measure at least 10ths of grams. Here's the one I use:

AWS-600 Scale https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000O37TDO/tvwb-20

I use a regular kitchen scale to weight the meat. All this is just addressing your salt level. I use 2% salt (2%of the weight of the meat) for bacon. I used 1.5% salt for sausage. These are probably on the low end for some. What you could do with your recipe is just soak it longer and that will draw out some of the salt.

I think the biggest thing is that stall at 130. That's a little weird. You probably wound up rendering a lot of fat. You don't necessarily have to cook it to 150.

Try slicing the bacon thinner, maybe.
 

BrianCal

TVWBB Super Fan
Thank Annie, thanks Dustin. So the belly was about 5.5 lbs, makes it 88 ounces, that would mean 1.75 ounces of salt. Will try that, and the longer rinse. And yes, the stall was weird, in everything I read there was nothing at all about a stall.

What are your thoughts on fat side up vs fat side down? Also, I like the feedback on temp. Everything I read in advance said 150, but when I looked it up during the stall i was seeing some lower temps.

Going to do a smaller piece this time, until I get better at it no sense doing big cuts.
 
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Bob Correll

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I'll throw in my 2 cents.
Don't go less than 7 days in the cure.
All that stuff you put on it gets washed off with very little, if any, taste left.
Rinse really well if it was too salty.
Add any flavors you would like before smoking.
140 F internal is plenty.
As it's been said, weigh the cure and salt using a calculator for the amount per pound.
Make sure it's a quality pork belly to begin with, like Costco sells.
 

BrianCal

TVWBB Super Fan
Thanks Timothy. I may try that Amazing Ribs method. The other thread is pretty confusing, and I dont have Tender Quick
 

Bob Correll

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Thanks Timothy. I may try that Amazing Ribs method. The other thread is pretty confusing, and I dont have Tender Quick
Brian,
I fully understood that you don't have TQ, that's why I didn't mention it, but please explain what was confusing.
 

MartinB

TVWBB Super Fan
I just use tender quick....and pour 1/2 cup maple syrup in bag.

The taste is somewhat subtle to eat...but boy it smells great mixed with smoke. Now put some of that chewed bacon in your cheek and suck on it...you will teally taste that flavor come out of it.

Too much sugar makes it hard to cook...turns black on edges.

But...#1 thing for making good bacon...imo...is a meat slicer. Unless you want slabs o ham. Slice it thin...cook it right..it will be wrinkly and crispy.

As far as stall....you dont want to take bacon to 150, into stall. The stall is when meat contracts and squeezes moisture out. Bad. Also youll melt your...fat...which is what bacon is. Bad.

Use time -temperature pasteurization chart. Youll find no need to go over 135-140 if go low temp like 175 ish. But, if you even made an attempt at curing...its all extra protection

The meat in a belly varies. Imo, best bacon comes from the part looking like classic parallel layers of fat and meat. That's really only about one-third of a normal belly.
 
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BrianCal

TVWBB Super Fan
@ Bob.....The thread itself, i didnt mean to make it sound like your post or recipe was, but re-reading it sounds that way, my apologies. But it goes to 51 pages, as a newbie it was info overload.
 

Bob Correll

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
@ Bob.....The thread itself, i didnt mean to make it sound like your post or recipe was, but re-reading it sounds that way, my apologies. But it goes to 51 pages, as a newbie it was info overload.
No problem, I understand now.
The many pages are just responses, and have no bearing on the method.
Good luck with your next batch, I'm sure it will be good.
 

Tony-Chicago

TVWBB Fan
Great advice so far. I wonder if your therm is off. Maybe it got to stall temp but read 130 instead of 155. Explains the symptoms and result...
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
I've seen lower temp stalls before. I'm not sure what causes it or why. Generally it's not that low. You definitely don't have to read all of the posts. I did just because I find it entertaining. I've done the cure#1 route and the tenderquick method. I use cure#1 in sausages so I'm very used to measuring it out. The tenderquick method is very simple if you aren't used to that and works very well. Whatever method you use, before you smoke it, cut a small piece off and fry it up to test the salt level. If it's too salty, let it soak for an hour changing the water out occasionally to pull out salt.
 

Bob Correll

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Just to add to the good advice Dustin gave about testing it.
I'd test cook the second slice, not a slice from the outside because it will probably be more salty.
 

Anne M.

TVWBB Super Fan
Just had a look and I think I know what you mean and what happened (I use the book, same as you)
I think there are 3 methods mentioned in the recipe. I looked at this one, just to make sure we are on the same page: https://www.meatsandsausages.com/hams-other-meats/bacon-cured-smoked
Line 6 shouldn't be having a 6 in front. Its the start of the recipe for brine cured bacon.
Similar to line 13.
Does that make sense?

Think they copied and pasted and didn't do a very good proof read (it happens to me very often when I try to copy and paste recipes from the internet into either "pepperplate", or "copy me that"
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
I can't figure out the calculations. 150g salt and 68g sugar (75g is what it should be based on percentage) seem to be the amounts for 5 kg of meat not 1kg. I just can't figure out where they get 7.8g cure#1. It should be more like 3.2g if that was 1kg of meat or it should be 16g for 5kg of meat(based on 200ppm). They are doing an "overhaul" which they never really explain that process. Anyway, I agree with you, I think they copied and pasted and something got lost. Earlier in the chapter of the book this recipe comes in they give better numbers for how much cure#1. They lower it to 180ppm for skin on slabs which is interesting. I found a similar mistake even in the book on their pastrami dry cure recipe where they give 2 different amounts of salt, one of which is WAY too high. I think it's a typo.
 

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