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CYvilEng 03-03-2013 09:03 PM

Bacon in progress
 
Earlier in the week I started a thread about a ham I started and there was a sneak peek of bacon. I started the bacon this weekend. My wife was the photographer and she wraps up the meat in saran wrap.

The belly is from a Berkshire pig. I picked it up last Thurs and it was slaughtered the night before. It is about 12 lbs. We are making 3 flavors of bacon, maple, herb, and special. We call it special because it's yummy and I don't have a better name for it. I got the recipe from cowgirl's blog.


https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Z...228_213220.jpg
This is the belly waiting with the ham.


https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Z...302_200133.jpg
The belly has been cut into 3 pieces.


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-4...302_194837.jpg
The 3 spices have been prepped. Special on the left, maple in the middle, and herb on the right. We got maple sugar to use in the maple bacon. The stuff is really good. We got it at Trader Joes.


https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-O...302_200329.jpg

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-C...302_200319.jpg
The maple slab getting rubbed down.


https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-T...302_200725.jpg

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-R...302_200755.jpg

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-z...302_200915.jpg

The special bacon is ready to cure.


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-H...302_201320.jpg

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-W...302_201327.jpg

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-B...302_201351.jpg

Herb bacon is all set.


https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-B...302_202100.jpg
The slabs are all wrapped up and ready to go in a bag.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-J...302_202755.jpg
Last step in the process. The belly pieces are in bags ready to go in the fridge for 10 days.

I'm planning to cold smoke for 8-12 hours after the meat has cured. I post more pictures as exciting events happen.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

HookedOnQ 03-03-2013 09:57 PM

Looking great. All this bacon pron has really got me wanting to try doing some bacon of my own

robd71 03-03-2013 10:17 PM

How long do you cold smoke the pork belly for?

Gasket 03-03-2013 10:41 PM

Mmmm, Bacon.

Pyle's BBQ 03-03-2013 11:54 PM

Looks great. How cold is the fridge? Does it matter? Would it make sense to vacuum seal the belly, if you have a sealer?

CYvilEng 03-04-2013 07:06 AM

Re: Bacon in progress
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by robd71 (Post 2392537)
How long do you cold smoke the pork belly for?

I'm planning on 8-12 hours over a few evenings.




Quote:

Originally Posted by Pyle's BBQ (Post 2392661)
Looks great. How cold is the fridge? Does it matter? Would it make sense to vacuum seal the belly, if you have a sealer?

The fridge is currently running at 39F. I have it at that temp because I read that the ham will cure slower below 38 and above 40 there is a chance of spoiling.

I don't have a vacuum sealer but I think it would work well. It might eliminate the need to flip it everyday since there wouldn't be an air pocket.

sent from my phone

GMDGeek 03-04-2013 10:17 AM

My wife told me - No bacon until you make me chicken

CYvilEng 03-15-2013 12:41 PM

I got the bacon out of the saran wrap and bag a couple days ago. They were curing for 8 days and they were very firm. I don't like soaking the bacon in water at the end to remove the saltiness. I went to the effort of adding all the spices so why soak it and remove it all from the outside. Last time I made bacon I used 2.5% salt and it was pretty salty and had to soak it. Most people commented that it was a little salty but they expected it eating bacon. I made these with 2% salt, so we'll see how it turns out.


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-d...311_212456.jpg
Maple bacon


https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-3...311_212512.jpg
Herb bcaon


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-k...311_212537.jpg
Special bacon

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-z...311_212635.jpg
The three amigos ready to go back in the fridge.


https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-z...311_213336.jpg
Just chillin in the fridge.

After curing I put them in the fridge to form the pellicle. Normally, I would have smoked them the next evening but it snowed a lot and I didn't want to go out knowing it was to be almost 50 the next day.


Yesterday I smoked the bacon.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-P...314_101921.jpg
Here's the rig all ready to go.

I cold smoked the bacon for about 9 hours. I used about 1/2 hickory, 1/4 maple, and 1/4 cherry pellets. As I'm writing this I it sounds a lot like the "pitmaster blend" from amazen products, which I have a bag of. I guess it was a good idea or popular at least.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-o...314_212208.jpg
Maple bacon


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-X...314_212330.jpg
Herb bacon


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8...314_213036.jpg
Wrapped back up and in the fridge. I got too anxious and missed a pic of the special bacon.

I let the smoke mellow for a day or two then slice and package. I'll probably slice it up on Sat and Sun. I get bored pretty quick slicing it so I like to spread it out a little.

Thermal Mass 03-15-2013 01:16 PM

Thanks, I have been wanting to make some belly!!
Looks awesome!
Side note: I was at the store day before yesterday and all but the sale bacon was $6.99/lb!! Are you FARKING KIDDING??
What did you pay for the belly, if you don't mind??
Thanks again for the great thread!:cool:

CYvilEng 03-15-2013 02:04 PM

Re: Bacon in progress
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Thermal Mass (Post 2408666)
Thanks, I have been wanting to make some belly!!
Looks awesome!
Side note: I was at the store day before yesterday and all but the sale bacon was $6.99/lb!! Are you FARKING KIDDING??
What did you pay for the belly, if you don't mind??
Thanks again for the great thread!:cool:

I got this belly for $4.25/lb. It's a bit more expensive than regular confinement hogs, however I can't find any belly anywhere for a better price. I have a friend in Chicago that gets it for less than $3/lb.

I think the problem is the butchers here are selling it at high price cause they can just cure it and sell as bacon and make more money. My normal butcher sells sliced bacon for $4.99 but belly for $4.49. There's no way that even covers the labor to prep and slice slab. I'd like to ask them sometime if they'll slice my bacon for $0.50/lb.

sent from my phone

Thermal Mass 03-15-2013 02:22 PM

Thanks, I just called the shop I get some of my stuff from.
Right now, $2.66/lb.
Really looking forward to getting going!

Still can't believe they are getting $7 for the chit in the meat isle...

CYvilEng 03-15-2013 02:32 PM

Re: Bacon in progress
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Thermal Mass (Post 2408758)
Thanks, I just called the shop I get some of my stuff from.
Right now, $2.66/lb.
Really looking forward to getting going!

Still can't believe they are getting $7 for the chit in the meat isle...

At that price, if you have the stuff to do it and you already wanted bacon, there's no reason not to do it!

The best part is no matter what you do to it, the bacon will still turn out better then the store bought stuff.

sent from my phone

CYvilEng 03-20-2013 01:47 PM

The bacon sat in the fridge for a couple days so it was time to slice. We needed bacon that evening for dinner so I sliced off about 10 pieces with my trusty knife and my wife says "why don't we borrow your dad's slicer, it'll be quicker". Once again she was right. It's not fancy and it's older than me but it sure worked quickly. It look longer to get the bacon semi frozen than it took to slice it.



https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-M...317_210442.jpg
Here's an action shot. Now that I see the picture maybe I'm a bit close to the blade :tape: Maybe this piece should have been chopped up for pieces.


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8...317_210456.jpg
Here is some of the sliced bacon ready to be packaged. You can ignore the safety guard stuff for the slicer in this pic :wink:


We got a vacuum sealer earlier in this day. I mainly justify the cost of it to save the ham that I am also working on, but it is also perfect for the bacon. There were some lessons learned for the bacon though. The main thing was to make sure the length of the bacon will fit nicely in the bag before slicing. It is very easy to trim an inch off the bacon slab before it is all sliced. Also make sure you have enough bags or rolls. The vacuum thing came with a 10ft roll of stuff. That sounds like a lot but I guess it will only work for less than 8 lbs of bacon the way we were packaging them. We had to stop slicing because we were out of vacuum stuff. I ordered a bunch of discounted bags and rolls from an online retailer that I found from another site. They should be here later in the week and I will get some more pics and I'll get some pics of the vacuum sealing too.

LM600 03-20-2013 01:57 PM

Boom!!!

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Home Cured and Smoked Bacon....life will never be the same!

When you run out, and you will, and you have to buy that store stuff, you'll be bitchin' and whinin' like a schoolgirl with a skinned knee!!!

woodbutcher1 03-20-2013 02:17 PM

Nothing wrong with that. Have you fried a couple of strips for a taste test ?
How was it, salt wise ??


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