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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 11-06-2013, 08:11 AM   #1
Shagdog
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Default Pork Belly to my belly (pr0n heavy)

So... Me and my buddy are a little bacon crazy, and with winter coming decided we better stock up. We planned a Saturday morning trip to the Chicago meat packing district to load up on belly. We decided to try a new (to us) place called Grant Park Packing. This place was amazing. Everything a pork aficionado could hope for. They specialize in pork, and break down hundreds of pigs a day, so you know what you get is as fresh as possible.



Here is the giant room full of guys breaking down pigs -



The "retail room" was just another workspace with some long Stainless tables, piled high with pork parts -



Prices were smokin'. 1.89 a lb for bellies. We picked through what was out, but our target was 120lbs, so the pickins we a bit slim. We asked a guy if they had and big ol thick bellies. He went in the back and started finding us good ones from the carving room. Great service! He kept bringing more bellies out, asking if they were good. Ended up with about 60lb of really thick belly, and took another 50lb of more standard ones from the counter. Hams and whole loins were both under 2 bucks a lb as well, so I picked up one of each as well..

Here's my half of the belly -



I cured these using a few different flavors. All of my bacon starts out with the same cure -
8oz kosher salt
4oz white sugar
4oz brown sugar
1 tbl Pink Salt

From there, all bets are off. You can throw about anything in there and try some different combos. I did a pepper bacon with ancho chili powder, cayenne, black pepper, garlic, onion, and about 1/2 cup of sirracha slathered over the bellies. I did a basic maple syrup and black pepper, an Italian - Oregeno, basil, pepper, onion, garlic, and a few of my standard garlic, onion, pepper, allspice, chili paprika. I used vacuum bags and sealed them with the sealer (no vacuum) to keep leaky bags to a minimum. Worked great!



I also took my first stab at Canadian bacon. First I trimmed all of the fat off the loin, and then cut it into sizes that would fit Gallon ziploc bags, as fridge space was at capacity. Then I mixed up a brine.

Here's my recipe for that -
  • gallon water, divided
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pink salt (aka InstaCure, Prague Powder)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns









Everything went into the fridge(s) for a week. Bacon got 7 days, canadian got 5, but next time I will probably go longer with the canadian. I didn't feel like it got enough penetration. Good flavor, but mild.. Going to need to tinker with that one... Anyway


Oh I also bought this ham (the ham on the left, I already had the ham on the right)- But it is still curing so I'll do another thread on that later...





Saturday night I pulled all the bacon and dried it. For the pepper, after I dried it with a paper towel I rolled it in peppercorns before putting it in the fridge to dry out.





next morning it was onto the smoker.. Immediately I could see it was going to be a loooong day -






Not much was fitting, so I fired up a second grill





It still took me all day to get these done, but well worth it. All were cooked at 225 with hickory smoke until they hit 160 internal temp.















I packaged up all the bacon and dropped it off with my Sister in law. She works at a butcher shop, and slices all my bacon for me, at a fee of... some bacon. Works for me!


Here it is back from the slicer - Pans are 12 x 24 and stacked 3 high








QC check while bagging!








And finally, all bagged up and ready to freeze






I also cure and smoke all my trimmings and bag them for use in soups, beans, etc






Overall, this was a fun and challenging experiment. I'm not making this much again until I have a dedicated meat curing fridge, as space was the biggest challenge. The pepper bacon seems to be the big hit. The flavor on that one is farking incredible. Wish I would have made more than 15lbs of it. Final weight in bacon after water loss etc was 35lbs full strips and 10lbs chunks. Not a bad yield for 110 bucks in belly and 10 bucks in charcoal. Thanks for lookin'
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:15 AM   #2
daninnewjersey
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Wow......impressive doesn't cover it....
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:18 AM   #3
sliding_billy
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I think I just had a "moment."
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:19 AM   #4
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Heck ya' that looks great!
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:23 AM   #5
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Where do I place an order????
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:23 AM   #6
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you did a great job.
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:24 AM   #7
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All that porky goodness brought a tear to my eye! Fantastic job!

Ya know... It's not good for you and you family to eat too much cured meats. In the interest of your long term health let me take some of that off of your hands.

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Old 11-06-2013, 08:26 AM   #8
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ha ha. You're probably right, we're all going to end up with gout. If you're in the neighborhood, Ron, swing by, happy to hook you up with a couple lbs!
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:31 AM   #9
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I'm speechless!
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:50 AM   #10
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WOW That is quite a haul Looks really nice Enjoy
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:53 AM   #11
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Looks like it all worked out for you! I should have taken you up on your offer!

Next time, come on over and use my smokehouse and you will be done much faster! Great job!!!
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:01 AM   #12
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Awesome post, thanks for sharing! On my way to find some pink salt now...
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:02 AM   #13
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Oh, how did the canadian bacon turn out?
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:08 AM   #14
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Thanks, Chris!

It is really good. A little milder than I would have preferred though. I think I'll probably bump up the brine, spice wise, and let it soak a few more days next time.
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:08 AM   #15
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Loss for words right now. What an awesome thread. Hope I can find it when I am ready to try some pork belly and Canadian bacon!
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