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1st attempt at belly bacon

 
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JamesB
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Joined: 19 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02 09 4:22 pm    Post subject: 1st attempt at belly bacon Reply with quote

I thought I would show ya what I did about a month ago.

When shopping at the local Mexican Market, I saw fresh pork bellys in the meat case... Had to give it a try, so I picked up 10lbs of it. Looked around the net and various forums looking to see how much Tender Quick to use and found a lot of various opinions on the subject. I sort of took all of the amounts and decided to go about half way... So for 10lbs of belly, I used 7 oz of MTQ, 1/2 cup of fresh cracked black pepper and a little more than 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar. I ran the sugar and pepper corns through the burr grinder so they were fairly small and consistant granules, but not as small as the TQ. Rubbed the various pieces of belly and bagged them up and put 'em in the 38 fridge. I turned them once a day for 8 days.

Here they are fresh from the market and then rubbed up with cure and those two with maple syrup.




After 8 days in the fridge, rinsed and patted dry.


Put the cured pieces on the big ugly pit. 2 bottom pieces with fresh cracked pepper and the 2 top pieces with Sucklebusters Hoochie Mama. The little piece was just left plain.

Tried to keep the temps down and the smoke up, so I used the basket from one of my UDSs with some briquettes and small hickory splits.


Temps were a little iffy in the early going (I've got a plan for better control on the next attempt). They got up to 200 for a very short while, but I managed to get the temps back down to ~150 for most of the cook. Took them off at about 140 internal. They finished up a bit earlier than I wanted. here they are after 5 1/2 hrs, I was shooting for about 8 hours in the smoke.



Wrapped and ready to sit in the chill chest for a day or so.


I know your supposed to chill it several hours for the flavors to bloom (or what ever they call it), but I couldn't stand it no more... I had to try at least a piece, so I took the skin off the smallest slab, sliced then fried it in an old CI skillet... Over all, not bad... not bad at all really. Maybe a little salty. Next time I might back off on the TQ a bit, or leave the cure on it for 1 less day...

These are the slices from the small piece of belly. They were only about 2/3s as long as a regular bacon slice.



Got the rest of the bacon sliced up and most of it vac packed for later use. Slicing by hand sure ain't no fun. I'll be looking for a decent, economically priced slicer... Maybe Santa will bring me one.

Also had to have an obligatory BLT.


Over all, I'm impressed with the final product. Other than having to wait a week or more, it was a very easy process and I will be doing this again and again...
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AltoonaFlyer
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02 09 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like a great 1st attempt JamesB, that's one more than me Very Happy
Judging from your results, I might have to give this a try too!
Thanks for the pics.
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charleso
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03 09 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sure looks like some excellent eats you smoked up for yourself. Nothing like knowing you made it yourself.
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day_trippr
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03 09 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's some tasty looking bacon right there, JamesB! Yikes! Those fried-up slices and the sandwich look wonderful! Nice job!

Cheers!
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03 09 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks really good,

I prefer to never let my smoker temps exceed 100 degrees for belly-bacon. I usually smoke it for 24 hours or more and keep it fully raw.

The saltiness was probably from the long curing time you used, figure 1/2" of cure penetration per day (1/4" from both sides) and add 2 days just to make sure. You should also rinse the meat before smoking to remove any excess cure still on the outside. If you want pepper coated bacon, the time to apply it is while it is drying and the pellicle is forming.
1 TBS per each pound of meat is the accepted ratio of T-Q on whole muscle meats,
Another thing you could do, before smoking the slabs, slice off a piece to see how salty it is, if it has too much salt for your liking, a soak in cold water for a few hours will draw some salt out, but let it sit refrigerated overnight for the salt to reach equilibrium in the meat before smoking.
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Toga
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03 09 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice looking bacon James! I whish I could find raw bellys at a good price around here.
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03 09 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toga wrote:
Nice looking bacon James! I whish I could find raw bellys at a good price around here.


You can also often find it if you have Asian markets somewhere within a reasonable drive!

Trading Places wrote:

Randolph Duke: Exactly why do you think the price of pork bellies is going to keep going down, William?

Billy Ray Valentine: Okay, pork belly prices have been dropping all morning, which means that everybody is waiting for it to hit rock bottom, so they can buy low. Which means that the people who own the pork belly contracts are saying, "Hey, we're losing all our damn money, and Christmas is around the corner, and I ain't gonna have no money to buy my son the G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip! And my wife ain't gonna f... my wife ain't gonna make love to me if I got no money!" So they're panicking right now, they're screaming "SELL! SELL!" to get out before the price keeps dropping. They're panicking out there right now, I can feel it.
[on the ticker machine, the price keeps dropping]

Randolph Duke: He's right, Mortimer! My God, look at it!

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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03 09 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JamesB, those slabs look great. Now you got me wanting a BLT. I'm gonna keep an eye out for belly now. I would love to try one or two. 2/3rd's the size of regular bacon is perfect sammie size.
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JamesB
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03 09 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies and tips! This was definitely a learning experience. My first time using any type of cure. When I make fresh sausages I normally test fry a small portion, don't know why I didn't think to do so with the bacon... The larger slabs were not as salty as the small one I tasted first, but still just a bit more than I might like. I did rinse the slabs well, but didn't soak. I'll keep that in mind.

I realize now that I used a bit too much of the TQ and will cut back on that a bit next time. I did pat them dry and let sit uncovered in the fridge about 7 hours before smoking... So much to learn, but it sure is a fun process!

As for the smoking temps, as offset isn't the best tool, but I thought of all of my smokers, I would have the easiest time keep the temps down. I've got a better game plan for the next run, but I don't see 100 temps for 24 hrs on it. We'll see!
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04 09 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JamesB wrote:
Thanks for the replies and tips! This was definitely a learning experience. My first time using any type of cure. When I make fresh sausages I normally test fry a small portion, don't know why I didn't think to do so with the bacon... The larger slabs were not as salty as the small one I tasted first, but still just a bit more than I might like. I did rinse the slabs well, but didn't soak. I'll keep that in mind.

I realize now that I used a bit too much of the TQ and will cut back on that a bit next time. I did pat them dry and let sit uncovered in the fridge about 7 hours before smoking... So much to learn, but it sure is a fun process!

As for the smoking temps, as offset isn't the best tool, but I thought of all of my smokers, I would have the easiest time keep the temps down. I've got a better game plan for the next run, but I don't see 100 temps for 24 hrs on it. We'll see!


You can always smoke it for a few hours, refrigerate it, and toss it back in the smoke later. It does not need to be a constant time in the smoke.
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Mrs. K.A.M.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09 09 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One word, "Awesome" Very Happy
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