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Discussion Starter #1
I decided a while back to cure our own bacon. Here's our smoker in a full tilt smoke session from this morning

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I start my process on a Wednesday. That's when I order my pork belly. It comes in on the following Friday like this

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When I start to break it apart, it looks like this

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For 25 pounds of belly like this, I mixed up 3 pounds of rub

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The belly produces a lot of liquid while it is curing.

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Ready for the smoker

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Done deal

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I'll be addng more pics as I can. Slicing bacon is awesome.
 

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Mmmmmm You are making me hungry!
 

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Hogs raised right, and processed right are SO much better than what you can buy in the store. I have a friend that raises hogs on non-GMO grains and healthy foods, and the taste difference is unbelievable, between those and store bought. The bacon smells fresh cooking, and the drippings are great to save and use for cooking later!

You are going to enjoy that bacon!!!
 

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Hogs raised right, and processed right are SO much better than what you can buy in the store. I have a friend that raises hogs on non-GMO grains and healthy foods, and the taste difference is unbelievable, between those and store bought. The bacon smells fresh cooking, and the drippings are great to save and use for cooking later!

You are going to enjoy that bacon!!!
I'm not certain you can even buy good bacon any more.
 

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Great post, Bubber. I am intrigued now, and hope that you provide complete details later. I am interested myself, and have a lot of questions.
I want a sample! :munch:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I wish that I could get local/non gmo belly, but the only place that I have been able to find it wanted $14.00 per pound and I just can't do that. The bacon that they sell is $12.00 per pound, so they clearly don't want to play. I'm currently paying $2.09 per pound at Publix. If anyone has a source for belly that I could contact, please let me know. The biggest mistake that I ever made was telling anyone that I was making bacon. :laugh: Everybody wants it! :lol: It is very good, I must say.

My cure is derived from Rhulman's dry cure base.

1 pound/450 grams kosher salt
8 ounces/225 grams sugar
2 ounces/50 grams pink salt

I make that up at a 5% by weight ratio, then add dark brown sugar and crystallized maple syrup to make it a 2 to 1 sugar to salt combination.

The pink salt mentioned above is the nitrate in bacon. By law, bacon has to have nitrate in it as a cure. If you buy nitrate free bacon. what you are getting is bacon that has nitrates from sources like celery. It isn't nitrate free, it just comes from different sources.

I'm by no means an expert, but feel free to shoot questions my way. I love doing this and will answer what ever questions that I can.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I too make bacon. I like a wet cure.

For my cold smoke, I capture smoke from my egg but little heat, not shown I have two meat thermo's one in the meat one in the box capturing air temp.
You are more hard core than me. Kudos to you sir!

Care to share your cure?
 

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You are more hard core than me. Kudos to you sir!

Care to share your cure?
I make it up each time. Basic is:

1c salt
1c sugar (I use brown)
1T pink salt
1g water
Boil.

Add what ever flavor you want, maple extract is the best, but any aromatic or what not,,, 10 days in the drink. Smoke just to cure: cooking happens in the skillet.

I need to do more. It does not hold as well w/o preservatives so I'm always looking for a reason to make a few pounds.


Blah blah blah
 

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When I get the local bacon, I freeze it also, in 1-2 pound packages. And here is a tip, for those that might not know it yet......

You do not have to thaw it completely to use it, unless just wanting slices for breakfast. I pull it from the freezer, let stand 3-5 minutes, then cut off as much of the ends as needed, in slim strips. Can fry those up to use in breakfast tacos, seasoning for beans, and any place that says to crumble the bacon (as now it is "pre-crumbled"). Once you have cut off as many 1/2" sections as needed, just pop the remainder back in the freezer! It slices easier being mostly frozen, and no danger of having some in the fridge that goes bad before it is completely used up. Just be sure and label that the package has been cut, before putting it back in the freezer, so that you save uncut packages for using whole, and continue to use on the already cut package for everything else! :good2:
 

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I have never tried baking bacon, now on my list.
If I need to cook more than 6 pieces I throw it into a 4-6 quart pot. Cooks fast once the grease starts covering the bacon and hardly any mess on the stove top.
 

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Another tip. Bake your bacon. I put it on a wire rack in a pan like this:

View attachment 32545

Put it in a cold oven and set the temp to 400*. Check it in 20 minutes and bake until it is as crispy as you like. You get great bacon and no messy stove.
I've heard others suggest this, but figured the grease would just splatter in the oven. I hate cleaning the oven, more than I hate cleaning the stovetop and surrounding area. Does the bacon make a mess of the oven, or with it baking, does that keep it from splattering? :unknown:

I know some used to swear by using the microwave to cook bacon. Made a mess of that too, hence my hesitation of the oven.
 
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