Winter Break Bacon

CLasko

TVWBB Pro
Hey there everyone! Haven't posted in a while, but definitely lurking!

I'm a bit ashamed to say that I had never made bacon before. Over winter break I decided to give it a whirl. This first go was more of a test than anything. I bought about a 10lb belly from Costco, and divided it into 5lb slabs. My plan was to test 2 different basic dry brines from 2 different books, Rhulman and Bacon Bible. After getting brines together and rubbing each belly, Ruhlman seemed like not enough, and Bacon Bible seemed like way too much. I figured that it was a test run anyway, and most likely I screwed something up. :crazy: Anyway, I vacuum sealed each, and put them into my fridge and flipped each day for 8 days. Was going to do 7 but something came up and I let them ride another day. After 8 days, Rhulman really didn't have any liquid in bag and was still as floppy as first day. I decided to toss that one. The Bacon Bible had lots of liquid and had firmed up nicely. So I let that one air dry in fridge for a day. Then put into my WSM with some cherry wood, and then back into fridge to firm up for another day. After all that, I sliced and tested. Wow was it good!!!! I can't believe I've waited so long to give it a whirl.

Thanks for following along. Enjoy the pics!

After dry brining for 8 days and then 1 day air dry in fridge:
https://flic.kr/p/2idZhpp https://www.flickr.com/photos/119839169@N03/


After about 3.5 hours on WSM at 200* with cherry wood. Pulled at IT of about 150*:
https://flic.kr/p/2idVWAUhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/119839169@N03/


Cut slab so as to accommodate a slicer that was gifted to me:
https://flic.kr/p/2idVZbihttps://www.flickr.com/photos/119839169@N03/


Said slicer in action:
https://flic.kr/p/2idZiqchttps://www.flickr.com/photos/119839169@N03/


Quality control testing:
https://flic.kr/p/2idZmedhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/119839169@N03/


So good!
https://flic.kr/p/2idW1fNhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/119839169@N03/


Packaged up the rest:
https://flic.kr/p/2idYkCKhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/119839169@N03/
 

Jim Lampe

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
To be honest: I didn’t read a word you typed.
just looked at your photographs...

and, they are AWESOME!
Nice Bacon!
 

JimK

TVWBB Olympian
Nice job! It looks great! I have the same issue with my slicer, so I come up with 'short' bacon. It tastes just as good though. ;)
 

KToliver

TVWBB Fan
Looks amazing! I’m about ready to give that a try now that it is cool enough here in AZ.

What is the chance you might share that Bacon Bible brine recipe with us? I looked it up online and $24 is a bit steep for a recipe.
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Yeah, once you make your own bacon you won't go back to store bought. Yours looks excellent, nice work.
 

CLasko

TVWBB Pro
To be honest: I didn’t read a word you typed.
just looked at your photographs...

and, they are AWESOME!
Nice Bacon!
Haha Thanks Jim! I had posted mine and then saw yours, and thought to myself "I need to take a packaging class from him!" Yours looked way better!!!
 

CLasko

TVWBB Pro
Looks amazing! I’m about ready to give that a try now that it is cool enough here in AZ.

What is the chance you might share that Bacon Bible brine recipe with us? I looked it up online and $24 is a bit steep for a recipe.
5lbs pork belly
90g Kosher Salt
100g sugar
2 tsp pink curing salt (Instacure #1)

Seriously that's it. The only issue was that it seemed like waaaayyyy too much cure. I think total weight of the cure was near or over 200g. And to be honest, I used may 125-150g of it. I sorta dredged the belly in it and then put it into a ziplock bag. It wasn't until after I did this one that I found online calculators and it made me nervous about the amount of pink salt that guy uses. But I figured I wasn't going to be eating 20lbs of it in one sitting.
 

JimK

TVWBB Olympian
5lbs pork belly
90g Kosher Salt
100g sugar
2 tsp pink curing salt (Instacure #1)

Seriously that's it. The only issue was that it seemed like waaaayyyy too much cure. I think total weight of the cure was near or over 200g. And to be honest, I used may 125-150g of it. I sorta dredged the belly in it and then put it into a ziplock bag. It wasn't until after I did this one that I found online calculators and it made me nervous about the amount of pink salt that guy uses. But I figured I wasn't going to be eating 20lbs of it in one sitting.
Yeah, off the cuff, that sounds about double what most recipes I recall reading.
 

CLasko

TVWBB Pro
Yeah, off the cuff, that sounds about double what most recipes I recall reading.
For sure. It had me a bit freaked out at first, but then I was reading that even at that high of an amount a 150lb person would need to consume about 20-25lbs of that bacon in one sitting for it to have an adverse affect. I wish I was 150lbs. And as much as I even think I could eat 20-25lbs of bacon in one sitting, even I don't think I could accomplish that feat!

I've since found some other resources...i.e. the Marianski book and a few others which call for about 2.5g of pink curing salt to 1Kg of meat. That's what I'm planning on using from now on!
 

CaseT

TVWBB Gold Member
I have found that dry curing makes the best bacon, corned beef, etc. Weighing really is the way to go to get accurate consistent product. 2 tsp is way too much for 5# of meat. But *** you mentioned you would need to eat a ton of bacon. I almost always have little or no liquid in the bag after the curing process. I use a very simple process and initially all that goes on the meat is cure #1, salt and sugar.

I use universal cure calculator at Digging Dog Farms.

http://www.diggingdogfarm.com/page2.html

Type in the weight of your meat in grams ans you'll get the proper amount of each item. I cut full a belly like you got into thirds. They fit nicely into the gallon vac pack bags.

I usually cure for 12-14 days, minimum of 7 if the belly is 1" thick. After the curing process I will season the belly with what ever dry spice i want. Place on racks and into the fridge uncovered to air dry. This step I let go 5 days. Then its into the cold smoker for 18-24. This is followed by another 5 day stint in the fridge uncovered. Then package. I cut ea. third into thirds again and pack. Gives me the option of using the bacon sliced or cubed or whole depending on what I'm up too.
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
The cure#1 in both of those recipes is high. The salt seems way high in the barbecue bible version to me. It will definitely firm the meat up faster. The one that didn't seem as firmed up might have been fine. The bacon looks great though. I like the Marianski recipe. Don't use the one on their web page. It has a typo.
 

CLasko

TVWBB Pro
The cure#1 in both of those recipes is high. The salt seems way high in the barbecue bible version to me. It will definitely firm the meat up faster. The one that didn't seem as firmed up might have been fine. The bacon looks great though. I like the Marianski recipe. Don't use the one on their web page. It has a typo.
After looking at those online calculators, it seems like both the salt and sugar are through the roof! The best part of all this is having to do test batches and change the variables of that stuff to see what I (read wife and family) like best.
 

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