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Casey3115 11-19-2012 05:48 PM

First try at bacon. Hope I didn't blow it!
 
6 days ago I bought a 5lb piece of skin on pork belly and gave making bacon a go. I made a dry rub type of cure which included 1tsp of pink salt. I didn't have large enough zipper bags so I put it in a glass casserole dish and just covered with plastic wrap. The next morning there was lots of liquid in the bottom of the dish which I then dumped out and proceeded to flip the belly. I have not removed anything since (hasn't been much since) and have flipped it every day. I was just reading through some posts now that I am getting ready to prep this thing for a cold smoke tomorrow and noticed in a few posts that people say not to remove the liquid and 1 post even went so far as to say it was very important to the process.
Did I mess this thing up?
Also I have read differing suggestions on the next steps here. Some people say to just rinse it off really good and then dry it and leave it in the fridge over night. I have also read to soak it in water and change the water every 2 hours and do this for 8 hours. Seems like you would not only be removing the saltiness but the flavors that we tried to add. Any thoughts?
Thanks

IamMadMan 11-19-2012 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Casey3115 (Post 2276029)
6 days ago I bought a 5lb piece of skin on pork belly and gave making bacon a go. I made a dry rub type of cure which included 1tsp of pink salt. I didn't have large enough zipper bags so I put it in a glass casserole dish and just covered with plastic wrap. The next morning there was lots of liquid in the bottom of the dish which I then dumped out and proceeded to flip the belly. I have not removed anything since (hasn't been much since) and have flipped it every day. I was just reading through some posts now that I am getting ready to prep this thing for a cold smoke tomorrow and noticed in a few posts that people say not to remove the liquid and 1 post even went so far as to say it was very important to the process.
Did I mess this thing up?
Also I have read differing suggestions on the next steps here. Some people say to just rinse it off really good and then dry it and leave it in the fridge over night. I have also read to soak it in water and change the water every 2 hours and do this for 8 hours. Seems like you would not only be removing the saltiness but the flavors that we tried to add. Any thoughts?
Thanks

When you dumped out the liquid you also dumped out some of the curing agent. Hopefully enough was absorbed into the meat to fully cure it.

I soak my bellies after curing and change the water several times before putting into the refrigerator to dry for preparation for smoking.

Yes you are washing out the saltiness and some of the flavors of the dry spices. I add my pepper, maple, or other flavoring before I cold smoke.

Casey3115 11-19-2012 11:46 PM

Great. Thanks for the reply. I will rinse it better than planned I think. I can add back some flavor before smoking. I really hope I didn't pour out a significant amount of cure. That is a scary thought.

seattlepitboss 11-20-2012 11:37 AM

If I were you I'd rinse off, dry off and start over. Nearly all of your cure was in that liquid.

seattlepitboss

thirdeye 11-20-2012 06:33 PM

Curing methods and techniques often look really simple, but you will discover that paying close attention to those steps can make a finished product that is much better than when you sort of do it on-the-fly. (The same can be said for brining foods, making pickled veggies, home canning, smoking fish etc.)

Back to your question.... Yes, the liquid which came from the slab is important, but so was the amount of salt and curing agent you used, the amount of spices, as well as the temp of your fridge. I would bet your bacon is not ruined, it just received a lighter cure because you poured off the liquid. Your next batch will be much better. This batch might resemble side pork, which is belly that is not cured. I would do a couple of things... first make sure it passes the color and smell test. It should not be greenish or have a funky smell. If you pass the first test, I would slice off a couple of test slices and fry it, paying attention to saltiness and other flavors. If it's not overly salty, you may get by with a short soak-out, followed by an overnight rest in the fridge before smoking. If it's kind of bland, you may elect to add some black and white pepper to the inside face (opposite the skin) before smoking. Following smoking, test fry a couple more slices. If the saltiness is too light, you might make a mental note to add salt before frying.

There are an unlimited number of curing methods out there and even though it sounds corny, the best advice is to start with one that will deliver proven results.... and if you tickle anything start with the spices.... leave the salt and curing agent amounts alone.


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