Author Topic: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!  (Read 3152 times)

SmokedGouda

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2017, 11:18:51 AM »
It's been about 6 days in the fridge. I cut a few slices and gave it a try. The smokiness has definitely mellowed out. It's not bad, but it's too salty. My wife and a friend tried it and all 3 of us agree that it's too salty. Smoke flavor was good and the maple syrup came thru a bit, but the salt was the most powerful flavor. About 2 slices at a time is all we could each get thru.

I have many friends and family that wants to try it, but since I know it's not as good as it can be I'm not sure if I should give it out or not haha. I can get honest feedback (I hope) and get rid of it quicker so I can start another one if I do give it out. But I don't want people to hate it and then not want to try it the next time lol
Phil from NJ
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Libohunden

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2017, 12:00:38 PM »
I've only smoked 2 belly's for bacon and only eaten the first one I smoked.  I do plan on slicing up my second tomorrow.  However, my mom thought the first bacon was too salty.  But, my wife and I thought it was okay.  I did ask how to make low sodium bacon on one of these threads and I was told to soak it in cold water after it cooled off.  I didn't try that yet.  But, if the bacon I slice tomorrow is like that, I may give it a shot and see how that works.  You may want to give that a try and let us know if it makes a difference.
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SmokedGouda

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2017, 12:30:06 PM »
I did ask how to make low sodium bacon on one of these threads and I was told to soak it in cold water after it cooled off.

How would that work? Do I soak it before I slice it or after? I am going to cut the one slab now and maybe I'll wait to do the 2nd until I can look into that post you're talking about.
Phil from NJ
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Libohunden

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2017, 02:34:20 PM »
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SmokedGouda

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2017, 02:55:26 PM »
Great, thanks. I cut one slab down and packed into approx 8 oz portions. I also made some into bacon bits. I saved the bacon fat from the pan too, that'll come in handy later. I'll soak the second slab for an hour or so before I toss it in the freezer prior to cutting. Hopefully that helps a bit.
Phil from NJ
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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2017, 03:47:54 PM »
That looks great!!!
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SconnieQ

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #36 on: January 14, 2017, 10:47:44 PM »
If it's too salty, try soaking in plain water for an hour (or more) after the cure, and before drying/smoking, that should remove some of the surface salt which is the most prominent.
Kari from Madison WI "77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality"
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SmokedGouda

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #37 on: January 15, 2017, 12:01:31 PM »
I'll try that on the next batch Kari. I saw that before I started but Pork Belly always said he didn't think it was needed so I skipped this time.

I soaked the second slab in water for an hour and then tossed into the freezer so I can get it ready to slice. Which I'm going to do shortly.

I also tossed some of the slices from yesterday into the water and then cooked them after an hour of soaking. It helped a little bit cause they were not as salty as yesterday. Also the piece that I cooked longer was also not as salty as the others. So soaking here might have helped a tiny bit.

For my next batch of bacon I'll be using less salt, soaking after curing, and less wood. Plus whatever else I can improve based on the feedback others give me.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 09:31:50 PM by SmokedGouda »
Phil from NJ
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SmokedGouda

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #38 on: January 19, 2017, 12:11:04 PM »
I've given out some samples to friends at work and they have all loved it so far! None of them seemed to think it was either too salty or too smokey. I'll still work on dialing back the salt a little bit next time (I think I applied the cure a little too thick since I had like none leftover after using Pork Belly's recipe). Same thing with the smoke, I know 10 oz was def way too much.

All in all, I'd say this was a very successful first attempt at bacon. It tasted good and there is room for improvement!
Phil from NJ
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Pork Belly

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #39 on: January 19, 2017, 12:24:57 PM »
Quote
I did ask how to make low sodium bacon on one of these threads and I was told to soak it in cold water after it cooled off.

Water is not helping the bacon either in a wet brine to cure it or especially as suggested to you, soaking it after cooking. Wet brining meat to make bacon is mimicking modern commercial bacon that is brined and injected. Dry curing is old school technique and is an entirely different texture and flavor. 

I recommend using an EQ Dry cure method. By calculating your ratios you can go as low as 2 or 2.5 % Salt. That is far less than you get using a dredging salt box method. EQ calculators can be found online, I don't use them.

Dredging or "Salt Box" dry curing can also be modified to control salt levels. You don't need to cake on the dry cure, simply cover the rub in a modest amount of cure. It took me a few batches to find the right volume.

I have a friend that is on his third batch of bacon, he has had great results every time, because I showed him what a properly salted belly looked like. Somewhere in one of my old posts are pictures of dry cure on belly after slat boxing it.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 02:39:22 PM by Pork Belly »
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SmokedGouda

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2017, 03:30:02 PM »
Thanks Brian, much appreciated. I do think it was fairly caked on when I followed your dredging method, so next time if I follow that I will apply more lightly.

I'm guessing that DiggingDogFarm's calculator (http://www.diggingdogfarm.com/page2.html) will work for the dry cure. So I'll consider using that to make my cure next time too.

Is there a generally accepted range when it comes to the salt % desired? Looks like his default upon launching the page are 2% salt and 1% sugar. Based on those numbers and what I plugged in it says to use a little less than 12 grams of cure #1. Since I had very little cure mix left while I was following your amounts, it seems like I used close to 40+ grams. So it makes sense that it might be a little too salty. (Although so far only 3 out of approx 13 people who have tried it so far thought it was too salty.)

It's been a fun learning process and I'm looking forward to making my next batch sometime in the near future. Beef jerky is next up on the list though.
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Pork Belly

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #41 on: January 19, 2017, 04:12:28 PM »
2% as an EQ with a long cure time is 10 days or more is what I see often. I don't cure that way so I can't give you more accurate information than that.
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SconnieQ

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #42 on: January 19, 2017, 04:50:48 PM »
Nothing against PB's salt box method, but I think if you start with a cure where the ingredients are "measured", rather than just "what sticks", I think it is easier to make adjustments for taste. He is a pro, and knows exactly what to look for when dredging. I am not a pro, and don't make bacon everyday. Here's my method, which is measured, and works for me.

Maple Cured Bacon

I’ve noticed several posts on this forum about using Prague Powder #1 (Pink Curing Salt) vs. Morton Tender Quick. Morton Tender Quick is pretty much available at any basic supermarket. For most people though, Prague Powder #1 must be ordered. Either one will give you the same results, as long as you use each in the correct proportions. Use whichever cure is available in your area.

Here's my whole bacon process. Take from it what you wish, this is just what works for me. I'm sure others on this forum might have different processes or opinions on things. (I have a #1, therefore the on/off method for cold smoking works best for me. Those who have digital/programmable models will want to come up with a process that is a little more elegant for their cold smoke phase.)

Use either Prague Powder #1 or Morton Tender Quick cure (depending on what is available to you). I’ve tested the cures side-by-side, and I’ve found the results to be identical.

The maple syrup in the cure is optional. It can be omitted if you prefer.

CURE OPTIONS:

Prague Powder #1 Cure (per pound of belly)
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt (Morton’s)
1/2 teaspoon Prague Powder #1 (Pink Curing Salt)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Morton Tender Quick Cure (per pound of belly)
1 Tablespoon Morton Tender Quick
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup

If desired, go ahead and add your special twist with additional flavors to the cures like garlic powder, black pepper, etc., but your bacon will be delicious with just the basic cure.

PROCESS:

Prepare a batch of cure using the ratios above per 1 pound of meat. Rub the belly with the cure making sure to evenly distribute it over the entire surface of the belly. Place in a zip lock bag. Place in the fridge and allow to cure for 7 days per inch thickness of belly. Flip the bags once every day and massage the meat to ensure even distribution of the cure.

When fully cured, remove meat from bags and rinse in cold water, washing off all the excess salt and cure. Soak in plain water for 30 minutes to further remove excess surface salt. Dry with paper towels and place on a rack, set over a sheet pan. Place in fridge, uncovered, and allow to dry for 24 hours to form a pellicle.

Cold smoke phase:
Use 5-6 oz chips and/or split slivers of wood for fairly smoky bacon. Hickory, cherry, maple or any combination. Smoke using the cold smoke plate and a pan of ice for 5 hours (20 minutes full blast, 40 minutes off) keeping the ambient box temperature below 100 degrees.

Hot smoke phase:
After 5 hours, remove the cold smoke plate and pan of ice (water at this point). Dump out the water from the drip pan and slide it under the smoker (if you were using the drip pan that came with the SI for ice). Set smoker temp to 200, and continue to smoke to an internal temperature of 150 (will probably take about 2+ hours).

For more pronounced maple flavor, brush lightly with maple syrup immediately after removing finished bacon from smoker. Add a sprinkling of fresh cracked black pepper for maple/pepper bacon.

Cool 1 hour lightly tented with foil.

Chill for 24 hours or more, then slice to desired thickness.

PINK SALT NOTES:
1 tsp (5.67 grams) per 5 pounds of meat is what Martin (DiggingDogFarm) says (maybe this is for an equilibrium brine rather than a dry brine?), but when I have looked up other actual recipes, it is usually more like these amounts:
2 teaspoons for 5 pounds of belly: Ruhlman, Raichlan, Michael Symon
1/2 teaspoon per 1 pound of belly: amazingribs.com
2 teaspoons for 2-1/2 to 3 pounds of belly: Traeger Grills recipe

So you can see it varies a lot. I have also read that the MAXIMUM is 1 tsp per pound, but you would never want to use that much.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 05:01:17 PM by SconnieQ »
Kari from Madison WI "77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality"
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SconnieQ

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2017, 04:52:08 PM »
I'll try that on the next batch Kari. I saw that before I started but Pork Belly always said he didn't think it was needed so I skipped this time.

I soaked the second slab in water for an hour and then tossed into the freezer so I can get it ready to slice. Which I'm going to do shortly.

I also tossed some of the slices from yesterday into the water and then cooked them after an hour of soaking. It helped a little bit cause they were not as salty as yesterday. Also the piece that I cooked longer was also not as salty as the others. So soaking here might have helped a tiny bit.

For my next batch of bacon I'll be using less salt, soaking after curing, and less wood. Plus whatever else I can improve based on the feedback others give me.

I wouldn't soak in water after smoking. That would remove more smoke than salt in my opinion.
Kari from Madison WI "77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality"
SI Model #1 with "Libby the dog" poultry skin eating accessory
Weber Smokey Mountain (are we still friends?), Weber Kettle Grill (stop complaining WSM, I still have a chance)
Anova WiFi Precision Cooker (sous vide)

SmokedGouda

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Re: Merry Christmas! ... First Attempt at Bacon!!!
« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2017, 07:09:17 PM »
I wouldn't soak in water after smoking. That would remove more smoke than salt in my opinion.

Whoops, well a little too late for that haha. It's ok, I still enjoyed it and so did everyone I've shared it with. That just means the next batch will be so much better! The measured approach does seem like it would be better for me to go with since I'm so new to everything, so I'll do that next.
Phil from NJ
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