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Old 02-07-2019, 10:28 PM   #1
dpg481
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Default Who makes their own bacon?

I know its probably just a fad thing, but there is a lot of buzz going around about the cancer causing effects of nitrates in cured meat like bacon, ham, and lots of different raw smoked sausages like we all love. I was doing some reading today about making your own bacon the old fassion way without using pink salt or tender quick. It seemed that it would be very simple but just take some time and fridge space for a week or so. Do you folks have any experience making a more natural bacon? From what i could tell you combine salt, sugar and molasses as the cure and omit the pink salt.


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Old 02-07-2019, 10:41 PM   #2
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I know some people that do it and I believe they cold smoke theirs with hickory.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:06 PM   #3
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I make my own bacon . I use the pink cure . Itís only like a teaspoon per 5 lbs.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:15 PM   #4
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I never have but I would like to
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:38 PM   #5
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I’haven’t bought bacon in years. It’s extremely simple. Salt, sugar, flavor if you want it, time in the fridge, smoke to temp, slice. Simple. Not going to say it’s anything mind blowing, just tastes like normal bacon unless you have some flavor in it you prefer. Its slightly cheaper than buying bacon (yes I’ve priced it all the way out) and I enjoy making it.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:31 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hunteraudit View Post
Iíhavenít bought bacon in years. Itís extremely simple. Salt, sugar, flavor if you want it, time in the fridge, smoke to temp, slice. Simple. Not going to say itís anything mind blowing, just tastes like normal bacon unless you have some flavor in it you prefer. Its slightly cheaper than buying bacon (yes Iíve priced it all the way out) and I enjoy making it.
So you smoke it till it's done or almost done at 165? As mentioned above, I have read you can cold smoke it and then it will cook on the stove after it's sliced. Does cooking it during the smoking process have something to do with you not using the pink cure?
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:59 AM   #7
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Brown sugar and kosher salt, that’s it
Pork belly’s are $2.99 at HEB, makes the best bacon
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:18 AM   #8
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This was our first attempt last week. Sat 11 days in the fridge with the cure/seasoning and smoked with pecan to 150F IT. Very happy with the flavor!
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:29 AM   #9
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Yeah I bring it up to temp in the smoker to improve the shelf life. I actually cold smoke it for about 4 hours or so and then hot smoke for another 2 hours, I like lots of smoke on my bacon for the flavor. Keep the temp low and don’t render the fat, stopping right at 165. Even if a little of the fat starts rendering, it’s not a big deal. Obviously when you fry it up on the stove, it’ll be cooked. You don’t have to hot smoke or use pink salt. The kosher salt and time in the fridge is what cures it. Just be sanitary about it, fry it all the way through and you’ll be fine. I don’t have anything against pink salt, helps with the color and botulism. I think nitrates are unjustly getting a bad rap.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Leemo View Post
Brown sugar and kosher salt, thatís it
Pork bellyís are $2.99 at HEB, makes the best bacon
I canít ever find em at my H-E-B here in San Antonio, gotta go to Costco for em.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hunteraudit View Post
I canít ever find em at my H-E-B here in San Antonio, gotta go to Costco for em.


Heb here will order them for me. I normally get mine from a Mexican meat market or a brooks hire brothers


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Old 02-11-2019, 07:19 AM   #12
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I found that costco has pork belly for 2.99lb. I just bought one 10lb slab to start out with. I cut the slab in half and made two batches of cure consisting of 1/2 cup of kosher salt, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and a good helping of course pepper. Coated the meat all around real well and stuffed each slab into a 2 gallon bag. From what I have seen there is no defined time period for cure time. Most people leave it in the fridge for about a week where they flip it over once a day to let the cure work in best. The best i can tell is when the meat stops expelling its liquids firms up its ready to come out and get ready for the smoker. Here are some pics of the process I took, its been pretty easy so far. I also ordered a couple meat hangers off amazon I can use to hang these in my cold smoker. Yall wish me luck.

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Old 02-11-2019, 08:08 AM   #13
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I found that costco has pork belly for 2.99lb. I just bought one 10lb slab to start out with. I cut the slab in half and made two batches of cure consisting of 1/2 cup of kosher salt, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and a good helping of course pepper. Coated the meat all around real well and stuffed each slab into a 2 gallon bag. From what I have seen there is no defined time period for cure time. Most people leave it in the fridge for about a week where they flip it over once a day to let the cure work in best. The best i can tell is when the meat stops expelling its liquids firms up its ready to come out and get ready for the smoker. Here are some pics of the process I took, its been pretty easy so far. I also ordered a couple meat hangers off amazon I can use to hang these in my cold smoker. Yall wish me luck.

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Old 02-11-2019, 08:21 AM   #14
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I use pink salt in a wet cure. I have 2 curing right now to go on the smoker on Thursday.

For those in the Austin area, H-mart always stocks pork belly (and sells pork fat by the pound for adding into sausage)
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpg481 View Post
I know its probably just a fad thing, but there is a lot of buzz going around about the cancer causing effects of nitrates in cured meat like bacon, ham, and lots of different raw smoked sausages like we all love. I was doing some reading today about making your own bacon the old fassion way without using pink salt or tender quick. It seemed that it would be very simple but just take some time and fridge space for a week or so. Do you folks have any experience making a more natural bacon? From what i could tell you combine salt, sugar and molasses as the cure and omit the pink salt.


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I made my first this winter. I did use pink cure. I would like to do it without but you need to be prepared to have it sit for twice as long. The Pink cure speeds up the curing process. So yes you can do it without pink cure but be prepared to babysit it for more than a month.

As for those that smoke it up to 165 not sure why you cook it then freeze it and then fry it but to each his own. How does that make it better? I only cold smoke mine just like I do my fresh sausage, dried sausage and summer sausage.

Anyway I used a dry cure it is very easy to get it over salty, gotta cure it for a few days take out rinse it and sample a piece.

Good luck there are lots of different ways to cure it btw the way.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:33 AM   #16
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:49 AM   #17
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I made my first this winter. I did use pink cure. I would like to do it without but you need to be prepared to have it sit for twice as long. The Pink cure speeds up the curing process. So yes you can do it without pink cure but be prepared to babysit it for more than a month.

As for those that smoke it up to 165 not sure why you cook it then freeze it and then fry it but to each his own. How does that make it better? I only cold smoke mine just like I do my fresh sausage, dried sausage and summer sausage.

Anyway I used a dry cure it is very easy to get it over salty, gotta cure it for a few days take out rinse it and sample a piece.

Good luck there are lots of different ways to cure it btw the way.
Thank you for the info. Im with you on the smoking it till its cooked. I think that would come in play if you were smoking the bacon on a warm day, where in that case I would use the pink cure or tender quick. I plan on cold smoking mine on a cool day where I wont be worried about bacteria growth.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:50 AM   #18
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dry brine here. It can be done without the cure. Won't have the good color to it and won't keep as long. I do it few times a year and give away some.

p.s. I never ever cook it... doesn't make sense to me either. Only cold smoke then slice and freeze.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:22 PM   #19
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dry brine here. It can be done without the cure. Won't have the good color to it and won't keep as long. I do it few times a year and give away some.

p.s. I never ever cook it... doesn't make sense to me either. Only cold smoke then slice and freeze.
You sir are living right!

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Old 02-11-2019, 08:26 PM   #20
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That bacon strip looks good, I haven't done it but will love to learn how to make it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:50 PM   #21
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Got my mouth watering
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:08 PM   #22
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No way I could get into making bacon. My Cholesterol would be thru the roof.

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Old 02-13-2019, 04:45 PM   #23
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I am going to try it. Costco pretty close to me. Last time I was there I saw the pork belly 2.99# What I am afraid of is I will like so much better than store bought I maybe making bacon forever.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:41 PM   #24
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I am going to try it. Costco pretty close to me. Last time I was there I saw the pork belly 2.99# What I am afraid of is I will like so much better than store bought I maybe making bacon forever.
It was 2.99 last weekend there and has been for the last year or so since i first started buying it for making smoked pork belly burnt ends.
On another note, its day three and the slabs are firming up nicely and have completely changed colors to an nice looking mahogany. Someone posted here it could take a month for the process to finish, but from what i have found on recipies guys are doing this same cure for 4 to 7 10 days depending on jow much liquid continues to come out of the meat. I did drain the bag juice today and it was substantial. I will update yall when i think the slabs are ready.


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Old 02-13-2019, 06:59 PM   #25
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curing process does not take a month... most people will stop at 7 days which is the minimum I would do it. I normally go 14-17 days. Never drain off the liquid... thats where all the curing comes from. Only drain when your ready to start processing.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:04 PM   #26
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curing process does not take a month... most people will stop at 7 days which is the minimum I would do it. I normally go 14-17 days. Never drain off the liquid... thats where all the curing comes from. Only drain when your ready to start processing.
Well the liquid is down the drain already. The old timers didnt have zipper bags and just left the meat with salt on it and the liquid dripped away. Im still in, but thanknyou for the contribution and help brother.

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Old 02-13-2019, 07:08 PM   #27
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I do about twice a year. Which reminds me I need to go to Costco and get a couple pork bellies. Iím way low. I used TenderQuick and then add flavorings when I am ready to smoke. Usually just coarse grind black pepper.


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Old 02-13-2019, 07:18 PM   #28
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Interesting. I'm got to try this.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:19 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by dpg481 View Post
It was 2.99 last weekend there and has been for the last year or so since i first started buying it for making smoked pork belly burnt ends.
On another note, its day three and the slabs are firming up nicely and have completely changed colors to an nice looking mahogany. Someone posted here it could take a month for the process to finish, but from what i have found on recipies guys are doing this same cure for 4 to 7 10 days depending on jow much liquid continues to come out of the meat. I did drain the bag juice today and it was substantial. I will update yall when i think the slabs are ready.


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Looking good! I donít drain it. I have a theory those juices have a lot of salt in it and helps with the curing and flavor when I make different flavored bacons. Iíve never let mine go longer then 9 days, not saying you canít, just never saw a need for it. Definitely have never needed to go a month lol.

The discussion on hot smoking got me thinking; I really donít know why I started to hot smoke it. Most likely because thatís the way I was taught. So I opened up my book on charcuterie and the author here recommends a hot smoke on bacon. I also like to eat it without frying it sometimes. So taking it to temp before freezing allows me to do that.

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Old 02-13-2019, 11:14 PM   #30
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That is a bible for the meat loving man for sure. I love that cover.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:45 PM   #31
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I've done several large batches with and without cure. I prefer dry brine with cure #1, 1/2 cup sugar and salt per 5# of meat. Rinse after 7 days in the bag, flipping every day. I have a strong preference for cold smoked bacon, but if we don't have cold enough weather I smoke to 140' and let it rest overnight. Buying a good slicer made all the difference in the world. Yes, you will become a bacon snob and store bought bacon just won't ring your bell the same any more.

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Old 02-15-2019, 07:03 AM   #32
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I think it is too expensive. You can buy a high quality bacon in any grocery store, there is no need to do it at home!
They why hunt or fish or even get you butt out of bed. We do these things because we like too. Take care.

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Old 02-15-2019, 12:05 PM   #33
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The hogs I get never have enough fat on their bellies for this.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:16 PM   #34
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probably not the best thread to be reading through when the thoughts of lunch are starting to creep into my mind
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:58 PM   #35
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Its very very simple.
I get pork bellies at Costco or Sams.
Kosher salt, Course ground pepper, Brown sugar, and some Maple syrup (real stuff, not the walmart crap).
No cure salt in mine...ever. This is the whole reason I make my own.
In the fridge for 7-9 days. Flip once a day.
Smoke it.
Slice it.
Fry it in a old cast iron skillet and enjoy.
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Old 02-17-2019, 09:48 PM   #36
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Well after 7 days in the fridge it was all I could stand. Pulled the slabs out and gave them a good rinse. I am going to let them sit in the fridge tonight the its time to fire up the cold smoker tomorrow evening.

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Old 02-17-2019, 09:51 PM   #37
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you'll need to soak them in ice water or it will be salty.
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Old 02-18-2019, 10:58 AM   #38
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Quote:
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you'll need to soak them in ice water or it will be salty.
Ok i will let them soak today, how long should i let them sit an soak? Thanks again brother.

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Old 02-18-2019, 11:03 AM   #39
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Or you can just buy uncured bacon.
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:00 PM   #40
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Or you can just buy uncured bacon.
Yea probably way cheaper and you dont have to lift a finger

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Old 02-18-2019, 08:54 PM   #41
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We use pink cure as well. Doesn't take much. Easy way to make it the way you want it.
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Old 02-22-2019, 04:44 PM   #42
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So after well into a week to cure and a few more days in the fridge to dry it out its time to cold smoke. I looked at the forecast and it looks like today is the coolest day of the weekend so its time to roll smoke.

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Old 02-22-2019, 06:04 PM   #43
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ya forgot to add the pepper layer... Looking good though!
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Old 02-22-2019, 06:07 PM   #44
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btw..... what you buy in the store is a lot of water weight. You end up with a piece of bacon 1/3 the size you started cooking with. This home made bacon you will have very little shrinkage... maybe 10%. Because of that it needs to be cooked a little lower heat and a little longer too. You can't compare store bought if you've had home cured.

p.s. someone asked how long to soak in ice bath. I used to soak and every 30 minutes cut a piece to fry up and taste. Now I just let it soak for an hour and it comes out to my liking.
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Old 02-22-2019, 07:03 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuckRage View Post
btw..... what you buy in the store is a lot of water weight. You end up with a piece of bacon 1/3 the size you started cooking with. This home made bacon you will have very little shrinkage... maybe 10%. Because of that it needs to be cooked a little lower heat and a little longer too. You can't compare store bought if you've had home cured.

p.s. someone asked how long to soak in ice bath. I used to soak and every 30 minutes cut a piece to fry up and taste. Now I just let it soak for an hour and it comes out to my liking.
My wife and kids are cool.without the pepper so i left that step out. Im pretty sure I let the meat set in the ice bath for just over an hour. Im just going to smoke it untill im ready to go to bed around 10 or 11 tonight.

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Old 02-23-2019, 12:24 AM   #46
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This thread got me hungry so I bought a belly at Sams and have it curing now...day 3. Its getting firm and plenty of liquid. I used salt, course pepper, brown sugar, cayenne and a little bit of honey....

First time I've ever made it so I hope it turns out!!! I'll cold smoke it when its done curing, slice and freeze....

Appreciate all the help!!!
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Old 02-23-2019, 02:03 PM   #47
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I bought a pork belly from Costco. The adventure begins. I cut it in 3rds, added cure #1, salt, sugar to each then black pepper in one, cajun seasoning in one, and sweet and smokey rub in the other. headed to the fridge for 14 days turning and messaging each day. Stay tuned.
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Old 02-24-2019, 11:58 AM   #48
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Its on the griddle and smelling great. Im ready for a morning bacn sandwich.

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Old 02-25-2019, 05:26 PM   #49
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I've made it twice and it turned out pretty dang good. It's a long process but worth it.

As far as nitrates, don't worry about 'em, you get WAY more nitrates eating green veggies than from bacon. Plus they've never been shown to cause problems in in vivo studies! Eat away!
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:40 PM   #50
dpg481
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: hunt county
Hunt In: cass/hunt county
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I ended up slicing all of the bacon by hand on this run. My Hobart slicer has seemed to have grown legs and is now gone from my dad's storage building. I was looking at some of the less expensive slicers, but the tray is not long enough to put the bacon slab on it. I ended up with about 75 thick cut slices and a sore hand.
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