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Old 02-21-2021, 01:59 PM   #1
dfkoon
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Default Made Bacon - 1st time

This will take several posts, so give me a few to get all posted.
For those that didn't see my prelude: https://discussions.texasbowhunter.c...d.php?t=798887

I've watched a good number of folks here do bacon, so I thought I'd give it a go.

1st thing I discovered is pork bellies are more difficult to find in the city than out. I picked up 11# from La Michoacana that came to ~8.5# after skin removed. That came to about $5.50/lb. Then also picked up another 5.5# with the skin already removed from Central Market at $5.50 /lb. The belly from Central Market looked a lot thicker and just looked better than the belly from La Michoacana. 1st pick one from La Michoacana & 2nd pic is one of three we got at Central Market.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:01 PM   #2
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I tried 3 diffferent rubs for the bacon. A Honey cured recipe from Rytek, a maple/brown sugar rub, and a maple black pepper rub. As I was planning on cold smoking the bacon (and I did read a lot on the internet of folks that discouraged cold smoking in favor of hot smoking) I weighed the meat and the curing salt (Instacure/Prague powder #1).
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:02 PM   #3
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After the rubs, all of the bellies sat in the beer fridge for 9 days. The storm did catch me. I had my offset smoker rigged to try a cold smoke and the cold weather helped some.

Bellies soaked in water for an hour. Then sat in the fridge overnight (12 hours or so) on wire racks. I should've cooked some of each, but didn't. Thought the hour would be enough. I did the La Michoacana 1st.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:05 PM   #4
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I had the pellet tube smokers with hickory to use for the smoke source. Given that it was well below freezing I fired up the smoker with a small fire to get it above freezing. That was likely not needed. And as I had oak for the firebox, those had an off flavor. As the temperature approached 80 I stopped the fire box smoke.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:06 PM   #5
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The 2nd batch on the smoker (I only invested in 2 10 prong bacon hangers) was colder outside, did not use the fire box at all and the meat never froze and temperature never got near 80.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:08 PM   #6
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I got to try out my new slicer. Lesson I learned after the 1st one was to put the bacon in the freezer a few hours to really firm up. And don't cut too thick.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:11 PM   #7
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So the 1st slab with the honey cure, was a thick cut on the slicer and tasted (and cooked) more like ham than bacon. This was also half the belly I picked up from La Michoacana. It was the 1st in the smoker and exposed to the oak in addition to hickory. It smoked 10 hours. It was a bit too salty and bit too much smoke. It is dedicated to a future batch of venison-bacon burgers which Iím sure will be every bit as good as the other batches.

The 2nd slab which was also from La Michoacana belly had the same smoke but was the maple/brown sugar cure. I had it in the freezer for 3-4 hours. It cut much better and tasted much better. Maybe still a bit too much smoke.

Next day the Central Market bellies went to smoker. No oak in fire box as I had determined that the tube smokers would keep the temperature above freezing (it was 6 degrees outside). This was the best batch. I also cut the smoke down to 5 hours.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:12 PM   #8
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And seeming how I was already in the smoking mood I tried to smoke some cheese. The white cheddar smoked for ~2 hours while the yellow cheddar smoked for almost 5. They were both good. I favor the white though and plan it with some summer sausage.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:13 PM   #9
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Dang. Looks good. Now im hungry.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:15 PM   #10
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So, I still have the bacon bug. While we were at Central Market stocking up for the big freeze, we bought the last 3 pork bellies they had. New rub of just brown sugar & black pepper. This has been in fridge since Sunday 2/14. I think it looks better that the others at this stage...
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:15 PM   #11
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Will likely soak and dry on Wednesday and Smoke on Thursday (paying a little attention to outside temperatures).

And that's my story. A new hobby is formed….
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:43 PM   #12
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Do you think part of the reason the CM pork belly made better bacon had to do with the quality of the meat? If so, what was the difference in price-per-pound?
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisLadyHunts View Post
Do you think part of the reason the CM pork belly made better bacon had to do with the quality of the meat? If so, what was the difference in price-per-pound?
I do think the CM belly was higher quality. It was thicker and had more meat. It had already been trimmed of skin. It was also smaller pieces. The La Michoacana was the whole belly. I was impressed by the La Michoacana meat market. So I don't want to sound anti La Michoacana. In this case the CM just seemed better. But it is CM. After skin removal, they La Michoacana out to be just as expensive as CM. Both came in at $5.50/lb. The La Michoacana was $4.29/lb with the skin. After you remove the skin it was $5.49.

I had a good amount of feedback that costco and Berkshires has cheaper. And I know HEB does. But there weren't any near me that had bellies. HEB is a 45 minute drive.
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:54 PM   #14
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I've been toying with this for a while now. Looking good on your end.

I've bought the HEB trimmed pork bellies to smoke for snacks during BBQ cooks. They're great and ready to cook.

I've read a little about it and it seems most hot smoke.

Any idea why most prefer hot smoke?

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Old 02-21-2021, 03:00 PM   #15
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Once you eat bacon that is cold smoked at home, you will wonder what the heck the stores have been passing off to us and calling it bacon.

My SIL cold smoked some a few years back, it was my first taste of bacon made that way......oh my my my.

Looks so good.

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Old 02-21-2021, 03:02 PM   #16
dfkoon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slick8 View Post
I've been toying with this for a while now. Looking good on your end.

I've bought the HEB trimmed pork bellies to smoke for snacks during BBQ cooks. They're great and ready to cook.

I've read a little about it and it seems most hot smoke.

Any idea why most prefer hot smoke?

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
Fear of botulism. Hope I spelled that right. The cure helps but it's not 100%. I've been making sausage for a long time so I felt comfortable with it. If I'm still making bacon as the weather warms, I'll do some hot smoke too.
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:18 PM   #17
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Cold smoke makes much better bacon, but itís hard to time the right weather to pull it off. You need <40íF for 4-12 hours and really need low humidity...which doesnít happen often here, and you need to plan it 7-10 days in advance. Thatís why most people hit smoke. Iíve done both, prefer cold smoke, but usually have to settle for hot smoke bacon. Both are better than store bought, though.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:17 PM   #18
Mike D
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Iíve not tried cold smoke yet. I hot smoke
Mine to 125į internal and pull. Put in fridge for 24 hours, cut in 1/2 and slice. It definitely slices better when cold.


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Old 02-23-2021, 11:35 PM   #19
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That looks amazing. May have to attempt that soon
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Old 02-24-2021, 03:16 AM   #20
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I made bacon once. It really turned out great, and is neat to say i have done it. But for me the amount of work and the cost, its just not worth it to me to do on a regular basis. yours looks great!
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Old 02-24-2021, 05:25 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkoon View Post
Fear of botulism. Hope I spelled that right. The cure helps but it's not 100%. I've been making sausage for a long time so I felt comfortable with it. If I'm still making bacon as the weather warms, I'll do some hot smoke too.
Good to know. I cold smoke my sausage and jerky. The cure and smoke are there to protect. Just can't let it go too long as morning temps aren't very cold for the next couple of weeks.

Going to try some this weekend.

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Old 02-26-2021, 02:18 PM   #22
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So this is pics of the last cold smoke. It was in the 40s outside. Inside temperature didn't come close to 80. Used 2 pellet tubes in the firebox, a 20# bag of ice in the horizontal chamber and of course bacon hanging in the vertical box. I did crack the bag of ice and it lasted the 5 hours of smoke I did.
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Old 03-01-2021, 12:00 PM   #23
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That's what I'm talking about!!!!
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:03 PM   #24
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Looks like you did a great job!
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