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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 11-22-2012, 12:14 PM   #16
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way to go
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Unread 11-25-2012, 08:09 AM   #17
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OK, so it's been a few days but I finally got the time to vac-pack everything and get the rest of the pics up.

Here are the bacon pieces after smoking and chilling in the fridge over night.



Slicing was easier than I thought it would be, thanks to my new 12" Victorinox slicer. I wasn't able to slice very thin, but I like it thicker anyway and that's what my boss wanted too.



Gratuitous mound o' bacon shot:



I fried up a piece of regular and hot to see what they taste like- they were both pretty good but I think I like the hot a little better.

The smoke flavor was prominent but not over powering. There was very little salt, which is likely due to the extra long soak. I couldn't really taste the maple flavor at all, so I decided to add some to each bag before vacu-packing.



Overall, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, considering this was my first time curing and cold smoking anything.

Home-made is definitely far superior to store-bought bacon- the texture is soft and almost creamy compared to the gritty, rubbery texture of mass-produced.

Some things I would do differently next time- make sure I have the day off for the smoke. I had a lot of other things to do and I couldnt monitor the temps as closely as I'd like to. I had a couple of big flare ups where the temps in the smoker got ove 300*.
I'd also like to do more glazing with the syrup to get more maple flavor into the meat. The 2 applications I did just weren't enough.

And definitely not soak more than 1 night.

Anyway, thanks for lookin!
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Unread 11-25-2012, 08:35 AM   #18
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Fine dang bacon!
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Unread 11-25-2012, 07:03 PM   #19
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Oh ya that looks good
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Unread 11-25-2012, 08:17 PM   #20
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I picked up a Globe slicer awhile back, not running and in dire need of some TLC. I tore it down, cleaned everything (the basic problem was the guy used vegetable oil on the slides and it got all sticky - NEVER lubricate with vegetable oil, always use food-grade mineral oil) and put all back together. Makes slicing bacon and ham a treat. I have discovered that home-cured ham tastes (to me) way better if it's sliced really really thin. Melts on the tongue, yum.

Anyway, I did up packages of 8 slices of bacon in Foodsaver bags and froze them. On a recent road trip I brought several bags along in the cooler. Sure was nice to be a thousand miles from home camping somewhere in the heartland and cooking my own bacon!

I'll try the recipe. I doubt the maple syrup does much. And poblanos really really vary in heat. Some are much stronger than others. You probably got some mild ones. Next time use just one minced serrano. About the same amount of heat as you should have gotten, way better flavor IMHO.

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Unread 11-28-2012, 12:52 AM   #21
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Awesome looking bacon!

I have 21.5 pounds of belly curing right now myself... Xmas gifts. One of my cures is Chipotle Honey...along with some ancho chili powder:

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Unread 11-28-2012, 08:31 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sub-80 View Post
Awesome looking bacon!

I have 21.5 pounds of belly curing right now myself... Xmas gifts. One of my cures is Chipotle Honey...along with some ancho chili powder
MMmMmmMmM, that sounds really good. Wifey is already making suggestions for "...when you make your next batch..." I wasn't planning on making more for quite a while, but we're going through it pretty quick.

I might have to try that next time.
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Unread 11-28-2012, 08:38 AM   #23
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All you bacon pros out there: Is it better to season your bacon during the cure using dry chile powders or during the smoke with a mop? Also, when you rinse off the cure, how thorough should you be? I was pretty thorough and got off most of the seasonings and spices- I think this may have resulted in a weakened flavor. Or, maybe it was the extra day of soaking. Or both?
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Unread 11-28-2012, 09:22 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean "Puffy" Coals View Post
All you bacon pros out there: Is it better to season your bacon during the cure using dry chile powders or during the smoke with a mop? Also, when you rinse off the cure, how thorough should you be? I was pretty thorough and got off most of the seasonings and spices- I think this may have resulted in a weakened flavor. Or, maybe it was the extra day of soaking. Or both?
Excellent question...and one I'm searching for the answer myself.

This is my 2nd attempt at chipotle/honey bacon. My first attempt was good...but not as spicy as I'd like. The thing is, it tasted great on the taste test (prior to soaking)...but a bit too salty. So I soaked. The saltiness was reduced to a good level, but the chiptole flavor was also reduced to where it wasn't strong enough.

I think it comes down to being careful with how much salt you use to begin with. I'm not going to soak the chipotle-cured bellies this time to see what happens. I also added some dried spices this time to kick it up some more...the ancho and dried chiptole pepper (along with the chipotle in adobo)...

I'll let you know how it goes....it's all trial and error!
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Unread 11-28-2012, 09:36 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean "Puffy" Coals View Post
All you bacon pros out there: Is it better to season your bacon during the cure using dry chile powders or during the smoke with a mop? Also, when you rinse off the cure, how thorough should you be? I was pretty thorough and got off most of the seasonings and spices- I think this may have resulted in a weakened flavor. Or, maybe it was the extra day of soaking. Or both?
Your question was timely...I emailed Michael Ruhlman about the same thing...he responded this morning...

His response was brief but to the point..."only soak if too salty".

So...I guess if you are wanting spice...add enough during the cure (that is trial and error)...and be careful with the salt. Try to get it where soaking won't be necessary. I personally hate the idea of a belly getting all happy in chiptole and ancho for 6-7 days...only to wash it all (or much of it) away later.
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Unread 11-28-2012, 10:02 AM   #26
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The cure and excess salt should be rinsed off well. The extra seasoning will flavor the bacon surface but won't penetrate like the cure. You will want to re-season prior to smoking to get the pepper/spice/whatever flavor on the outside of the bacon. YMMV!

My son salt/sugar cures (no Cure #1) with herbs. He likes the results but, since he does not use pink salt, he hot smokes his bacon after the 10 days of cure. He rinses and then re-seasons with the herbs.
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Unread 11-28-2012, 10:31 AM   #27
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I do all my flavoring with the curing process. All I add when smoking is cracked black pepper all over the surface.

Nice looking bacon there! It's been a while since I've gotten bellies to cure and I've been using store bought bacon, which, no matter how good it is, doesn't ever seem to match home-made.
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Unread 11-28-2012, 10:33 AM   #28
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Great information. Thanks to all!

I guess what it really comes down to is sampling the bacon after rinsing off the cure to see where the salt content and flavor is at.

Next batch I will cut a slice and taste it before I decide if I will soak or not and re-season as needed before smoking.

Also, perhaps I will invest in some dry honey powder, maple syrup powder and some quality chile powder since using straight syrup, while tasty, becomes very sticky after cooking the bacon.
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Unread 11-28-2012, 11:19 AM   #29
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I recieved another response from Ruhlman...

Put the desired flavors in the cure....and yes, soaking will take some of those flavors away...so again, it a comes down to using the correct amount of salt for the cure (so you don't have to soak).
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Unread 11-28-2012, 12:33 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr View Post
I do all my flavoring with the curing process. All I add when smoking is cracked black pepper all over the surface.

Nice looking bacon there! It's been a while since I've gotten bellies to cure and I've been using store bought bacon, which, no matter how good it is, doesn't ever seem to match home-made.
I've never added anything post-cure...except smoke...do you think the pepper makes a big difference at that point?

I've wondered if I should add anything post-cure....I just never have.
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