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A-Z Curing pork bellies? Need info

 
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Smokin Mike
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20 14 6:13 am    Post subject: A-Z Curing pork bellies? Need info Reply with quote

I've gone through this entire section but didn't see any sort of tutorial on curing pork bellies. I'm looking for some sort of guidance on the procedure, cure proportions, the cure time, and any other pertinent details that may be important. I've been scouring the internet also but there's lots of folks that don't use a curing salt, some that do, and on and on.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21 14 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My preferred ratio's per each pound of meat are:

0.75 TBS Salt
0.75 TBS Sugar
1.4 grams of cure #1

Expect 0.25" of cure penetration per each 24 hours, from all sides.
I do not brine, or inject, I use my cure formulation as a dry rub.

This formula remains the same for any variety of bacon that I do, be it Honey-Cured, Maple-Cured, Peppered, Garlic or Traditional
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Smokin Mike
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21 14 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response Harry. If I may pose a couple of other questions.

(1) White sugar, brown sugar, turbinado... or does it matter?

(2) Is there a weight equivalence of the salt and sugar? I'd probably go for Kosher salt but a TBS of that vs. table salt is a bit different.

(3) Looks like most of you guys are cold smoking after the cure. Do you think that delivers a better or more authentic product vs hot smoking to 150* ?

I'm sure I'll have more questions. Thanks again for taking the time to help me out.
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Smokin Mike
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22 14 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I picked up some belly meat yesterday and decided to go for it. I used Kosher salt and white granulated sugar. For the first go at it I'm going to keep this simple. If it works out then the next time I'll jazz it up a bit with some flavorings.

I did make a rookie mistake though... on one of the slabs I thought I'd take off the rind. Bad mistake. I'm not sure what I'm going to end up with but it probably won't look like a slab of bacon. Rolling Eyes
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23 14 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like to use HiMountain Buckboard Baron cure, (when I'm feeling lazy), the pack does 25lb of meat, and that's normally about 2 full pork belly's.

Rub the cure all over and put them in a nonreactive vessel, in the bottom of the fridge, turn them every day for a week and a day.

Rinse in running water, rub them to get off any excess salt, allow 24 hours to air dry.

Smoke starting at 110° give it an hour or two, raise the temperature to 120° smoke on another two or three hours, raise it by 10° until you finish it at 150° for two or three hours.

Allow to cool completely, next day, chill in the freezer for 45 - 60 minutes, then slice on the slicer!

When I'm not being so lazy, I make up a cure with Tenderquick sugar, honey or molasses, and some black pepper. Everything else is the same.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23 14 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokin Mike wrote:
Thanks for the response Harry. If I may pose a couple of other questions.

(1) White sugar, brown sugar, turbinado... or does it matter?

(2) Is there a weight equivalence of the salt and sugar? I'd probably go for Kosher salt but a TBS of that vs. table salt is a bit different.

(3) Looks like most of you guys are cold smoking after the cure. Do you think that delivers a better or more authentic product vs hot smoking to 150* ?

I'm sure I'll have more questions. Thanks again for taking the time to help me out.


Type of sugar really doesn't matter, I prefer white.

I do not weigh the salt & sugar,

I prefer cold smoking, never getting it above 100 degrees, It increases my yield and presents what I consider a superior product compared to cooking it in the smoker.
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Smokin Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23 14 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks SoEzzy! I'm not so sure I can dial in temperatures that precise in my modified offset. Plans are underway for a vertical cooker that should (in theory) allow better temperature control. Until then I'm going to come up with some kind of coffee can or pipe smoke generator and see if I can get smoke to circulate through the cooker and cold smoke the bacon slabs. I'd like to try your method one day just to compare the differences.

Harry, Thanks for the reply. I suppose I'm overthinking things like I usually do. It's a damn sickness, I tell ya. Laughing Ok, so I got these two slabs under cure now. I can't believe the amount of liquid that's emerged in only 24 hours.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25 14 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokin Mike wrote:
I can't believe the amount of liquid that's emerged in only 24 hours.


Thats part of the Curing & preservation concept.
Removing liquid is a integral part to food preservation, the less water activity a product has, the less of a chance it has to spoil or grow dangerous bacteria.
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Smokin Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06 14 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, so I cured my belly for a week. I let it dry out in the fridge for a couple of days then plastic wrapped it. I didn't have any way to cold smoke it last weekend but over the course of the last few days I was able to wing together a cold smoker. You can read about that here; http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=66159

So, I hickory smoked the belly for 10 hours yesterday and let it rest in the fridge overnight. I really like what the smoke did to it but the bacon is a bit salty. Next time I need to de-salinate a little better. I only gave the slabs a good rinsing after the cure. I may have to soak and change the water to see if that helps. Any suggestions on that would be appreciated.

Overall, I'm pleased with the results. My bacon isn't quite ready for prime time as I see opportunity for some improvement but I consider it a good start and there's not anything in particular that would dissuade me from trying again. Once I get the basics down I can move on to some different flavorings and what not.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07 14 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokin Mike wrote:


So, I hickory smoked the belly for 10 hours yesterday and let it rest in the fridge overnight. I really like what the smoke did to it but the bacon is a bit salty.

.


What was your ratio of salt and sugar per each pound of meat?
And did you use Cure #1 or tenderquick?
If you used tender quick and more salt, the extra salt should have been omitted.
My guess is that there was too much salt/LB or the cure time was lengthier than it needed to be.
What products and ratio's did you use?

After smoking, I like to let my bacon rest for 48 hours before slicing and consuming, I believe it allows the flavors to blend better
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07 14 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seeing as you are only doing small batches, you can also rinse in, (just) running water, I do this and for 4 - 8 hours, it does help pull the excess salt out of your bacon.

By (just) I mean a trickle of water in, a trickle of water out!
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07 14 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry, I used the Charcuterie basic dry cure.

1 lb. / 450 grams Kosher salt
8 oz / 225 grams granulated sugar
8 tsp (2 oz) / 56 grams cure #1

I coated and dredged the slabs and shook off the excess.

After the cure I did a rinse. It wasn't an extended amount of time or anything... just a basic rinse.

SoEzzy, I was thinking of doing something similar, maybe a rinse and soak several times. Let me see what Harry says about the cure mix and I'll go from there.

Thanks guys!
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07 14 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokin Mike wrote:
Harry, I used the Charcuterie basic dry cure.

1 lb. / 450 grams Kosher salt
8 oz / 225 grams granulated sugar
8 tsp (2 oz) / 56 grams cure #1

I coated and dredged the slabs and shook off the excess.

After the cure I did a rinse. It wasn't an extended amount of time or anything... just a basic rinse.

SoEzzy, I was thinking of doing something similar, maybe a rinse and soak several times. Let me see what Harry says about the cure mix and I'll go from there.

Thanks guys!


What weight of belly is that intended for?
There is enough cure#1 in formula to cure 40 pounds of meat
( I did the math )

You need to be very precise when curing meats, too much cure can create a situation where the meat can be toxic, too little cure can create a situation where deadly bacteria can
get a foothold and grow.

When I am curing our meats, I mix my salt, cure, and sugar for each belly individually according to their individual weights.

The active ingredient in cure #1 is so potent that ingesting as little as 1/3rd of a teaspoon of it is toxic enough to kill an adult male.
Luckily cure #1 is only 6.25% active ingredient bonded at a molecular level with salt and a colorant added so it is not mistaken as table salt.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07 14 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry, I didn't use the entire batch. There's still a gracious plenty left in the jar. According to the Charcuterie book, one 3 to 5 pound belly, skin on, requires 1/4 cup (50 grams) of the mix. I had a 5 lb. belly which I cut in half and used the dredging method and prescribed dosage of cure described in the book. I had a couple of slices this morning and I'm still here. Laughing Ok, I know it's not funny but seriously I was doing it by the book.

Next time I do this I'll run with your proportions to see if it improves things.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08 14 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My guess is that you used to much of that curing mixture, and that resulted in your salty bacon,

I would stick with mixing only what is needed per each piece of meat to be cured,
that way you guarantee that you are not using too much or too little, and you do not end up with bacon that is either too salty, or worse yet not properly cured and you end up getting injured from it.
Frying bacon with too much cure causes some nasty compounds to be created.

the salt sugar ratio is not as critical as your amount of cure per each pound, and there are 2 options for measuring cure in small amounts, I use a digital reloading scale, and sometimes I even use Morton's Tender quick instead of salt, and omit the cure because tenderquick has it bonded to the salt at a molecular level already
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