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First try at making Bacon

SoCal_GrillerSoCal_Griller Posts: 403
edited July 2012 in EggHead Forum
I just got back from Whole Foods where I scored a 4.5 pound pork belly.  I received my pink salt a few days a go so I now have all I need to start the curing process.  Well, Im running out to by the kosher salt and sugar for the basic cure as described in the book Charcutrie.  I do have a question for the experienced makers of bacon.  I have been reading about the process online and came across one person who claimed that the bacon came out way to salty when following the recipe in the book.  When you make your cure, do you follow the recipe to the letter as described in the book?

1 pound kosher salt
8 ounces sugar
2 ounces pink salt

I will take pictures and post them as the project progresses.
Simi Valley, California

Comments

  • bigphilbigphil Posts: 1,378
    this is on my to do list be great if you could post your whole process thanks 
    Large Big Green Egg , XL Big Green Egg . BBQ Guru, Weber Kettle, Weber Q grill for road trips.
  • travisstricktravisstrick Posts: 4,561
    Search the forum, there was a thread that beat the bacon horse to death and then some not too long ago. I think Stike was involved and maybe Irish Devil.
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • AleBrewerAleBrewer Posts: 555
    yes....make the cure as the recipe calls for. You really need to have the proper ratio of cure to salt.

    I always test fry a piece of bacon before I smoke it. If if it's too salty for you, you can soak it in cold water....change the water every 1/2 hour. Test for saltiness again.
  • JohnMcJohnMc Posts: 75
    I tried and it looked wonderful. Cooked it and the salt gagged me. Think I missed a step re washing off or soaking. Very pretty bacon, just had to look at it instead of eating it. Will try again soon.
  • AleBrewerAleBrewer Posts: 555
    Yeah....you definitely have to at least rinse it off. I usually end up soaking for a bit too. 
  • imageThanks for the advice.  I went ahead and followed the recipe, dredged the belly in about one half a cup of the cure.  Added Jalepeno and garlic and its in the fridge.

    imageimageimage
    Simi Valley, California
  • OK I need to figure out the picture thing and repost :(


    Simi Valley, California
  • The pork has been in the cure for Seven days and I wasn't sure if the cure had finished its work since I have never cured anything before.  In the book Charcuterie, it says the curing is done when the thickest part is no longer "squishy".  

    Sounds like a reasonable test until you'r staring at a pork belly in a plastic bag, skin on one side and curing liquid every where, you press your finger into the meat and ask your self "Is it squishy"?  answer:"Yeah, well kind of, well its firmer than it was.  Not sure".  The wife asks eagerly is it cured yet?  Me, mustering up my confidence replying unwaveringly:  "Im not sure"  

    Off to the Egghead forum I go and ask for the technical definition of "Squishy".  After a few minutes and a few more comments I receive the long sought answer to the question:  42  (OK Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy Reference).

    The answer is ( from stike):
    "should feel firm, but it should still give.  if it is like a bag of worms, then it's too soft."

    Armed with my new knowledge, I pulled the belly from the cure, soaked in water for an hour.  Smoked the Bacon indirect @ 200-220 Dome for a little over four hours to get to 150 Internal temp. Cut off the skin and let it cool down.  Sliced up a few pieces and put them into the frying pan.

    Result:  A little on the salty side.  I cured it with Jalepenos and was surprised that the bacon itself has some heat to it, spicy bacon.  Interesting.  Not bad for a first attempt, will definitely do it again, maybe a sweet one next time.

    Trimmed and ready to go...

    image

    Making the cure:  First the Pink Salt.
    image
    Followed by the Kosher Salt:
    image
    Then the Sugar...
    image
    Dredged with the cure:
    image

    Added Jalepeno and garlic to the cure, then into the bag.
    image
    Fast forward the end result...

    Coming off the smoker.
    image
    image
    image

    Thanks to everybody on the Forum for the inspiration and advice...
    Simi Valley, California
  • I am doing my first bacon this week as well.  I used the exact same recipe from the same book and I am now on day 7 wondering what is going on.  I haven't had any liquid come out of the belly into the ziploc bag.  It doesn't seem to really have firmed up at all either.  I made the same amount of cure as above and then the recipe called for 1/4 cup to dredge a 3-5 lb belly in.  Mine was 3.8 lbs and I used 1/4 cup.  Any ideas on what could have gone wrong?  Do I need to give it more than 7 days in the bag?  Thanks!
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