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Gut check my first try at Canadian and belly bacon

 
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Dr Obvious
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24 11 1:46 am    Post subject: Gut check my first try at Canadian and belly bacon Reply with quote

Having never done this before, I had some unexpected results. They may not be wrong, but I wanted to get the opinions of people who've done this before.

8 days ago, I got 3 lbs of trimmed pork loin and 2 lbs of pork belly dried and ready to cure. I mixed 1 tsp of Prague #1 (from this link) with about .33 cut of kosher salt and spread the powder/salt over both cuts. This was just to thin out the prague powder and make sure it got everywhere. Based on Harry's very useful post, I wasn't worried about total salt levels, and probably spread about another .33 cups of kosher salt over the meat, for a total of .66 cup of kosher salt.

I put each cut in a gallon sized ziplock bag in the bottom of my fridge. I would have liked to put them on a rack to keep them out of the liquid that would be pulled out, but didn't have room.

I flipped them every other day, and noticed that liquid was in the bag only for the loin, not the belly.

Today (after 7.5 days of cure) I pulled both out of their bags, and wiped them off. The loin had aprox 3 tbsp of liquid in the bag. The belly was very wet, with drops all over the bag, but no liquid pooled.

The loin was a rosy pink, basically the same color it was when I started. The belly was a little bit darker, but not very much. Nothing that set off any warning alarms.

Both cuts of meat smelled fresh (and salty), and both were firmer than when they went in.

I fried the loin first. As it cooked, instead of staying pink or red like I expected, it turned brown/grey (normal cooked loin color) with a pink hue. I don't have a camera available right now, so I can't get a pick. I tasted a small piece. It had the distinctive "pop" of salted or cured pork when I cut it with the side of a fork, and had the taste and mouthfeel that I would have expected.

Next, I fried a thin and thick cut piece of the belly. Both fried up as expected. There was some shrinkage due to moisture evaporation, but less than store purchased cryovac bacon. The color and oder of the fried belly was exactly the same as store bacon. Both had the taste and mouthfeel I was expecting.

So, my question is, do I have anything to worry about, or is this all to be expected? I didn't expect as much liquid to come out, since they were in a sealed bag, but I wasn't expecting the loin to change color that much when I fried it.

Appreciate the read. I know this is a long post.
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24 11 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always end up with more liquid in the loin bags than in the belly bags, it's just the way it is, I've not thought about it before as I only cure one style at a time and each style comes out the way that style comes out.

Thinking about it I wouldn't wonder if it is not all down to the fat content, when you fry the two pieces, look at all the liquid that comes out when the fat renders out of the belly, you don't get a similar quantity from the loin bacon.
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Oregon smoker
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24 11 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything is fine. I freaked when the loin basically looked like regular pork when pan fried and before smoking. The smoking will finalize the chemical process of curing and smoking meat.
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Dr Obvious
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24 11 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oregon and SoEzzy - Thanks!

Normally, I'd be happy to roll up my sleeves and just give it shot, but when you are dealing with meat that's been sealed in a bag for a week... :o
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24 11 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before smoking those pieces, give it a rinse in cold running water to get the exterior salt off the meat, and something I have found to be helpful is after it is rinsed, I let it rest in the fridge for a few days for the salt to reach equilibrium throughout the meat and for a tacky coating to form on the outside (referred to as a pellicle)

Doing this in a home refrigerator may not be the easiest task, but once the wife tastes what you created, it should be easier for you.,
try to use the bottom shelf, and have it way in the back on a rack with a drip pan underneath so it does not sit in it's juices.
I use what are called "Bacon Hooks" (they are designed to hang belly slabs) and I like to hang my cured meats in the walk-in cooler for a few days before smoking to accomplish the same thing. If you are lucky enough to have the proper weather, a garage rafter may be the perfect place to do this. But make sure the temps stay under 40F during the hang time.

The worst bacon you make at home will be better than most commercial brands. Try experimenting with different flavors too, I am digging my garlic-bacon right now.
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Dr Obvious
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24 11 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Harry, gave both a dunk and they are exposed in the fridge right now. Going to throw them on the smoker tomorrow with my Easter ham.
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Dr Obvious
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26 11 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After smoking each of them, they came out pretty close to perfect. Thanks for the help all.
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billr
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16 11 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:

Doing this in a home refrigerator may not be the easiest task, but once the wife tastes what you created, it should be easier for you., try to use the bottom shelf, and have it way in the back on a rack with a drip pan underneath so it does not sit in it's juices.


I can attest to this. Which is why I bought a second fridge.
Very Happy

I bought a couple of those gray restaurant bussing tubs, with lids. They're great for the air-dry phase.

You have a recipe for that garlic bacon? I've got another belly going into the curing bag this weekend...
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