First Try at Smoked Bacon - PR0N
A couple of weeks ago I picked up 10 lbs of pork belly. I trimmed it up, cut it in half, and used Cowgirl's curing recipe #1. I put each half in a 2 gallon ziplock, put in the fridge and flipped every day.
At the end of seven days I noticed the bellies weren't very firm so I fried up a sliver and it tasted half like bacon, half like a pork chop. I decided to cut the halves in half again to allow the cure to penetrate better. I re-salted and put them back in the fridge for four more days. After a good rinsing, I put them back in the fridge overnight to form the pellicle. I then rubbed cracked pepper on, but a lot of it fell off during slicing.
I smoked them in my BWS Party. I used the Amaz-n-Smoke tray with a mix of hickory, cherry, and apple pellets. I placed the tray in the ash pan, but the airflow wasn't good enough for a good smoke output. I put the tray in the charcoal basket which allowed better airflow under the tray and plenty of smoke.
The pellets burned for six hours (I lit both ends). The temp averaged about 80F and crept up to 99F at the end when the sun hit the smoker.
I pulled the bellies and put them in the freezer to firm up for slicing. I sliced at about 1/8" thick on a meat slicer. It worked pretty good, but the meat has to be kept nearly frozen. I vacuum packed eight bags with 24 slices each, and two bags of chunks to put into red beans.
I just fried some up and it is real good! It is a little on the salty side. That may be from the second round of cure, or it could be because I didn't soak the bellies in fresh water after curing.
Here are a few pictures.
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