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Old 08-19-2011, 12:56 PM   #1
Mikey063
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Default Bacon advice

I have 2 rashers of pork belly currently brining. They have been in the brine for 2 days. I plan on letting them stay there for a total of 6 days. Then I will be drying them, and doing a dry cure after that.

My question is. What is a good dry cure(without nitrates)? Plus should I do the vacuum seal method, or just put it in a large plastic container?

This is my first attempt at making my own bacon, and I really do not want to screw this up. Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:00 PM   #2
don24
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just my two cents and im sure someone will correct me if im wrong and i probably am. but i thought the nitrates have to be there due to the long low temps 160 -170 needed to make bacon and not create botchulism( i know thats spelled wrong)
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Old 08-19-2011, 03:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey063 View Post
I have 2 rashers of pork belly currently brining. They have been in the brine for 2 days. I plan on letting them stay there for a total of 6 days. Then I will be drying them, and doing a dry cure after that.

My question is. What is a good dry cure(without nitrates)? Plus should I do the vacuum seal method, or just put it in a large plastic container?

This is my first attempt at making my own bacon, and I really do not want to screw this up. Thanks in advance.
Hmmmm. Why don't you let us in on the procedure and recipe you are following. Generally bellies aren't brined, they are either dry cured or pickled (which is a wet cure, often injected in addition to being submerged.) I'm thinking you might already be curing even though your source is calling it brining. Although... your nitrate question doesn't fit into the puzzle as nitrites/nitrates should have gone in the liquid you have.

If you are going to hot smoke it, you don't need nitrate/nitrite, but you won't get the same texture or color of traditional bacon.

Anyway, we can get you on the right track. I have two bellies curing right now that I will smoke Sunday or Monday.
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Old 08-19-2011, 04:10 PM   #4
Mikey063
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I found the info on this forum. Lots of good info. I am using the Wet-Cured(Brined) method, with the dry cure after. Granted nitrates would be good, but the wife wants them without.The site/forum I got it from has alot of info.http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?...1#entry1404534
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Old 08-19-2011, 04:18 PM   #5
Mikey063
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Oh one more thing. I made some bacon rum. I took some high quality bacon 3 pieces and added them to a mason jar full of good rum. I then froze the jar to get the fat solidified then removed the fat. Now the rum is in the cupboard, in 3 weeks I am going to drink it.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:12 PM   #6
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That's definitely an interesting approach. Stinkycheesman mentioned this ratio for the brine:

"Best ratio for brine: 3/4 quart salt to 1 full quart of brown sugar, per gallon of water."

I've never seen anything that heavy handed, and at first I thought it was a typo. Usually it's 3/4 to 1 cup of salt per gallon of water. This might be one of the reasons they are not using nitrates???

It's too bad he is so top secret on the details of his curing step. When he said "you're on your own", it makes me wonder why he started that thread in the first place.

Keep us posted on the outcome.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:39 PM   #7
Mikey063
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Yeah it was a bit confusing. I did go with Chris's recipe
Quote:
So I went with Matt's brine recipe above but bumped it up quite a bit, as my experience with a few other brines (notably the duck ham from Charcuterie) suggests that these flavors will carry through the dry curing and the smoking. So I added 2 T black pepper, 4 bay leaves, 4 cloves of garlic, 12 juniper berries, 12 allspice berries, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 giant shallot, and a few sprigs of sage.
I also added about 1/2 cup of maple syrup.

Chris went on further to say.
Quote:
Dry cure:
50g kosher salt
60g turbinado sugar
40g ground tellicherry peppercorns
8g pink salt

I also vacuum-sealed them for the dry cure for the first time. I'll open, dry, and smoke them according to feel. More soon!
Judging by his pic of his bacon, it looked great. I might add some curing salt to that part.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:35 PM   #8
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Default "Secret La Laiterie Brine"

Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdeye View Post
That's definitely an interesting approach. Stinkycheesman mentioned this ratio for the brine:

"Best ratio for brine: 3/4 quart salt to 1 full quart of brown sugar, per gallon of water."

I've never seen anything that heavy handed, and at first I thought it was a typo. Usually it's 3/4 to 1 cup of salt per gallon of water. This might be one of the reasons they are not using nitrates???

It's too bad he is so top secret on the details of his curing step. When he said "you're on your own", it makes me wonder why he started that thread in the first place.

Keep us posted on the outcome.
I agree about heavy handed, I did find the "Secret La Laiterie Brine" on their own web page.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Jennings;
Day 2 - Make The Brine



Ingredients

- 14 cups cold to tepid water

- 3/4 cup kosher salt

- 1 cup brown sugar

- 2 Rosemary sprigs

- 4 teaspoons pink peppercorns (white or black will also do)

- 2 cups ice cubes



Directions

1) In a large pot, bring 14 cups water to a boil.

2) Remove from heat and add 3/4 cup salt, the brown sugar, rosemary sprig, and 2 teaspoons peppercorns, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved.

3) Add ice cubes and chill until cold.

4) Submerge your pork only once the brine is completely cooled.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamMadMan View Post
I agree about heavy handed, I did find the "Secret La Laiterie Brine" on their own web page.
Thanks for finding that, I knew it had to be a typo. 3-1/2 quarts of water, 3/4 cup salt and 1 cup sugar.... Okay, that sounds more realistic than the info that listed a quart of salt from the other forum.


Hey Mikey063, which brine recipe did you follow??
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:42 AM   #10
Mikey063
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I did
1 gallon of water
1 cup of salt
1 cup Maple Syrup
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of black pepper
2 sprigs of Rosemary
4 garlic cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
4 Bay leaves
12 Allspice berries
12 Juniper berries
some Sage leaves (3 or 4)
2 Medium Shallots

I brought it all to a boil, then allowed it to cool completely, then added meat to a large plastic container covered with the brine and sealed it. Placed inside of fridge to rest.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:53 AM   #11
Mikey063
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamMadMan View Post
I agree about heavy handed, I did find the "Secret La Laiterie Brine" on their own web page.
That brine was for pork blade steaks, so I am unsure if it is the same for bacon.
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey063 View Post
I did
1 gallon of water
1 cup of salt
1 cup Maple Syrup
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of black pepper
2 sprigs of Rosemary
4 garlic cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
4 Bay leaves
12 Allspice berries
12 Juniper berries
some Sage leaves (3 or 4)
2 Medium Shallots

I brought it all to a boil, then allowed it to cool completely, then added meat to a large plastic container covered with the brine and sealed it. Placed inside of fridge to rest.
Glad to hear that. Be sure and give us the follow up details.

I have two bellies in a dry cure that Mrs~t~ has been turning for me (I'm out of town) and she will rinse and soak them tonight, then rack in the fridge until I smoke them Sunday night or Monday. If I would teach her how to run the smoker, I could have a BLT the minute I got home..... Uh, on second thought, I better keep some things a secret.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:39 PM   #13
Mikey063
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I still plan on doing a dry cure during the resting phase in the fridge. That will be about 2 days or 4 days of that. Then it is time to cook. I will probably be smoking on Thursday or Friday. I will take pics of course. Whether they turn out good or bad. This is my learning phase.
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:13 PM   #14
Mikey063
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Well I took 2 of the 4 pork bellies out of the brine/cure. I decided to do a partial dry cure with these(read experiment) I did a maple sugar rub with just 6grams of pink salt, then I vacuum sealed them. I completely forgot about the skin. The bellies still have the skin attached. I tried to take them off now, but it was a pain in the behind to do, so I left it on.

I am unsure of the results of leaving the skin on, but the other 2 larger pork bellies do not have the skin on. Plus the other 2 are from a different pig. Thicker and looks like a bit more fat. The 2 I took out were very thin, approx 1 inch thick. The other one is 2 inches thick.
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:34 AM   #15
captndan
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Not sure about this brine thing for bacon. I use Thirdeye's method and it never fails. If it ain't broke fix it till it is.
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