How to achieve a "clean" smoke flavor on bacon

Ok so here goes...neighbor and I have been making bacon like crazy. I have access to bellies and curing ingredients at work all the time. Our bacon comes out awesome just about every time but I recently gave some pink salt to a local restaurant owner and he made his own bacon as we'll and it just seemed to have a cleaner smoke flavor. More refined if you will.
Here's how we do it:
Landman black dog side box smoker
Dry cure per Bob's bacon recipe
Smoke low and long until bellies hit 150...usually 5-7 hours
Fire source: usually start with a couple briquettes and then continually feed apple or wood of choice.
Chill in bag in ice bath and relax in fridge for a couple days

How can we "clean" up our smoke flavor? Is it a poor practice to use wood the whole time? Should we light a couple briquettes and then use smoke wood on top of he briquettes?
Looking to really up our game and take our bacon to the next level.

Has anyone ever aged their bellies in the fridge for a couple days after washing cure off and before smoking?
 
Just want to add that we only use his smoker because of sheer capacity!
I love my WSM and I usually do something for us to eat on the 18.5 while we do bacon on his
 

John Sp

TVWBB All-Star
Steve - I have only made one (small) batch so far. I smoked mine with hickory in my OTG using the snake method. I was able to hold between 180 - 190 and pulled the bacon at an internal of 145. I think it was about 4.5 hours start to finish. I put one medium chunk of hickory on with the initial start-up coals and put one chunk about every four inches along the snake. In the end I was happy with the smoke flavor but wished it was a little stronger. Next time I will put a chunk about every 3 inches...

Did you ask the restaurant guy about his technique? Maybe he uses a different wood/smoke generation method we could all benefit from?

Regards,

John
 
Working on finding out more....I'll certainly post my findings but wanted to start the dialogue now as I am gearing up for bacon fest IX
 

j biesinger

TVWBB Platinum Member
most pro operations are probably using electric smokers because of how easy it is to produce long, consistent smoke. Fiddling around with a live fire has too much room for error and too labor intensive.

I let my bellies air dry in a fridge for 18 to 24 hr prior to smoking.

I hang 2 full sides in a double stacked wsm. I fill up a big can that has both ends removed, full of unlit lump. I add a small amount of lit lump to the top and then add foil packets of wood chips to the can. The can stays lit for about 3 hours and I replace the foil packs every 20 min. The temps in the smoker peaks around 175* and I usually have to put the bacon in the oven to finish it to 145*. It's about as clean as I can get the smoke flavor. It's pretty light, but clean. You could do a second can for another 3 hours if you wanted it a little smokier.
 

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