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Stupid bacon questions

 
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mbellot
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Joined: 16 Aug 2010
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Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Thu Aug 01 13 12:02 am    Post subject: Stupid bacon questions Reply with quote

Trying my hand at bacon for the first time, so I have some (probably) stupid questions.

I'm using a variation on Harry's Honey recipe. For a 2lb test piece I've got:

2 Tbsp Morton TQ
2 Tbsp Sugar (regular white sugar)
1/4 c. Maple syrup

So, for the questions...

1. I've seen people talk about flipping the bacon once per day while curing. Is this really critical? I've been insanely busy the last couple days (FIL had a stroke, MIL is also sick) and have forgotten to flip it. I'm hoping it's "recommended" and not truly necessary to flip once per day.

2. Cold vs. hot smoke. I've helped my brother with a couple hot smoked slabs, but am interested in trying cold smoking. Is there a nominal length of time that works well? I've seen everything from a couple hours to over a day, so narrowing that down would be helpful.

3. Removing the skin. I didn't remove the skin prior to shoving it in the vacuum bag with the cure. Can I remove it after curing but before smoking, or should I leave it on until after I'm done smoking?

Thanks!
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GF
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Joined: 30 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01 13 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mbellot, I'm no expert so take it FWIW.

I wouldn't sweat flipping, it's too late anyway.(hope your in-laws are ok.)

I've cold smoked bacon mostly, 12 hours doesn't seem too long to me. Do whatever you can get the time for and judge it from there.

I'd remove the skin after, It'll be a real PITA to try and skin it with all that syrup or all wet.

Good luck, I'm sure it will be better than what you can buy.
You can always tweak your recipe after a test batch. Very Happy

Best wishes for the in-laws health.
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01 13 9:24 am    Post subject: Re: Stupid bacon questions Reply with quote

mbellot wrote:
1. I've seen people talk about flipping the bacon once per day while curing. Is this really critical? I've been insanely busy the last couple days (FIL had a stroke, MIL is also sick) and have forgotten to flip it. I'm hoping it's "recommended" and not truly necessary to flip once per day.


It's a recommended not a necessity, if you covered the meat well on all sides with the cure, the juices that flow out and surround the meat also get distributed when you turn it.

Quote:
2. Cold vs. hot smoke. I've helped my brother with a couple hot smoked slabs, but am interested in trying cold smoking. Is there a nominal length of time that works well? I've seen everything from a couple hours to over a day, so narrowing that down would be helpful.


I like to do sliding scale, start off at 100 - 110° and smoke 2 or 3 hours, then go up by 10° and go another 2 or 3 hours, then up by another 10° and carry on cooking until you get the meat up to 150 - 155°.

Quote:
3. Removing the skin. I didn't remove the skin prior to shoving it in the vacuum bag with the cure. Can I remove it after curing but before smoking, or should I leave it on until after I'm done smoking?

Thanks!


Personally I like the rind on my bacon, but my wife objects if there are nipples on the bacon... I find it gives me something to chew on throughout the morning! Wink

So you take it off or leave it on, and smile at the family when they ask what the bumps are on the outside of the bacon!
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mbellot
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Joined: 16 Aug 2010
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Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Thu Aug 01 13 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys!

Since it was about three days before I flipped (last night), I'm going to wait three days again on the "new" side. Then I'll try to get on an every day routine. Very Happy

GF - I'm still tinkering with the cold smoke generator ideas, but thanks for a target time.

SoEzzy - Interesting method. I would imagine it takes a good long time to get to 150 since you're keeping the smoker temp and meat temp near equilibrium.

In-laws are mending. MIL faster since it was a cold or something. FIL is in rehab for the foreseeable future, but he's an ornery old cuss so I'm sure he'll pull through OK.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01 13 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I prefer cold-smoking so my bacon is stays raw.

This is for a few different reasons, I am doing this commercially, and yield is a huge factor for me, Plus, if you are smoking hot enough to melt the fat, you are going to have a messy time slicing.

After the slabs get smoke I hang them unwrapped for a day or two in the cooler to lose some moisture content, firm it up for slicing, and to concentrate flavors too.

Time to cold smoke? enough time to get the color/flavor you want.

My customers prefer a real smoky flavor in my traditional and peppered bacon, so I hit my bacon hard and long with Red Oak.
Now on my more delicately flavored bacon such as the honey or maple varieties, I use Maple wood, and keep it lighter.

I have always cold smoked, except for the one time my temp controller was incorrect, it got a hot smoking, and I was not pleased with my results at all.
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mbellot
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02 13 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Harry, your posts are what prompted me to look into cold smoking as an alternative. I have maple chips and "sawdust", sounds like that might go well with the maple bacon.

Slicing the hot smoked bacon wasn't a big problem. Between a long chill in the fridge and a decent deli slicer the mess was tolerable.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02 13 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you decide to use cure #1 for future projects,

I use 1.4 grams of cure per each pound of meat, and .75 TBS each of salt and sugar.

I just got some very dark amber wildflower honey from a local producer and I am anxious for my next belly delivery now
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Briney Dave
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06 13 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

how many days is just too many for curing and do you wipe the salt mix off before the pit or let her ride???
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ComradeQ
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06 13 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Briney Dave wrote:
how many days is just too many for curing and do you wipe the salt mix off before the pit or let her ride???


I left it in the cure for two weeks once without any noticeable issues. Not sure about "overcuring" bacon but as long as it is washed well it shouldn't be a problem. How long has it been in the cure?

Also, as I just mentioned, wash your bacon thoroughly after curing. If you have done a salt heavy cure you may need to soak your bacon for a while to reduce the saltiness. You can always slice a small piece and fry it to test if you wanted to see how salty it is. Make sure you dry completely and, if smoking, lay it uncovered on a rack in your fridge or in front of a fan for at least 3-4 hours or better yet, overnight. This allows a "pellicle" to form on the surface of the meat that makes for more even and better smoke absorption.
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ComradeQ
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06 13 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
I just got some very dark amber wildflower honey from a local producer and I am anxious for my next belly delivery now


I bought some really dark honey from Saskatchewan when I made my last honey bacon. I was amazed by how deep and dark it was, darkest honey I have ever seen. After I added it to the curing bacon I stupidly realized that it was mixed with Saskatoon Berry extract! Needless to say, the resulting bacon was pretty good, sweet and perfect for pancakes and waffles. Not a horrible mistake in the end ...
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Briney Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10 13 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh man, now I have to get a couple new bellies to cure up: I did not wash off the salt as I had followed a set of simple directions from a google search (I was caught off guard by the belly showing up with some other meat I was bbq for a friend)

so the thin sections were a bit too salty for my taste but over all it was pretty darn good
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