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pork bellies cont.

Pork bellies will be ready for the smoker on Monday. It will be 7 days of curing. I did two different types of seasoning. Getting ready to sink my teeth into this. Couple of questions, firstly I had read of different ways to rinse the brine off of the belly, some say just rinse real well and then pat dry and leave out for about an hour to dry( it should be sticky by then and the smoke will adhere to the meat better) other method is to soak the whole belly in water for an hour or so. I am in a quandary, I don't want an over salty taste. Second question is regarding how to smoke, do you just sprinkle in chips or chunks in the lump, ( I am concerned  that there won't be a steady enough flow of smoke, or should I use a smoke box and load it up so that hopefully the burning lump will be in contact with the smoke box. I really do appreciate those of you that have given me suggestions along the way. Look forward to hearing from you once more. My wife has been asking about these slabs of meat in our fridge, so far I am telling her, she is just going to have to wait and see. This baby has got to turn out, or I will have a little bit of explaining to do, about taking up real estate in the fridge.
Thanks in advance.
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Comments

  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,143
    I soaked mine in cold water after an initial rinse for about 30 minutes.  it was a little salty for my taste, so you may want to soak it an hour and change the water at 30 minutes.  you can go longer on the dry out time an hour at minimum I don't want to look but i think 3 is recommended.  as far as smoke i mixed chunks of apple throughout like when you do a pork butt or other low and slows.  let it clear up and i ran a real small fire kept it about 180-190 dome for about 4 hours until a internal of 150 was reached.  (I cut off a few test strips after air cooling couldn't wait).  let it rest in the fridge and chill 24 hours then I sliced and put into 3/4 pound portions in foodsavers.  best bacon you will ever have
  • Thanks U. I am really looking forward to seeing how this will turn out. Did I say I can't wait??  :P
  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,143
    Thanks U. I am really looking forward to seeing how this will turn out. Did I say I can't wait??  :P
    haha, I hear ya I want to make another run but the wife says we need to use what we have so lets just say we have been eating bacon for nearly every meal for the past couple of days.  I'm going to grab a whole belly either tomorrow or Monday (last time I did 5 pounds a whole belly looked like about 15) next time and do a few different flavors.   You're gonna love it.
  • Tell your sweetheart that you are going to have a selection of flavours, and that is why you need to get another belly going. Never know she might go for it. I paid $29 for a 6 lb bell up here in the great white north. What are bellies going for where you are. Don't know if I will be saving a ton, but hopefully the flavour will off set that.
  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,143
    I got mine at a mexican grocery store it was $2.50 a pound, skin on.  Save a ton over the cheap stuff done at like $7 a pound.  It was decent I am sure there are better bellies than what I got but I guess I don't really know what to look for in a "good belly".   I can't express how happy I was, I gave it to employees, to my buddy who's wife is vegetarian everyone said it was fantastic.  I am overly critical and thought it was a touch salty.  I did a thread on it here

  • check out Billy Ray's bacon thread. He and I did a cold smoke this weekend and I liked it MUCH better than taking it to 150. I have my 3rd belly going in the cure tonight and I'll cold smoke for sure this time. Finally got the rig all figured out.

  • I soak for at least an hour after rinsing.  I have one curing right now and plan on soaking for two hours this time.  Enjoy!  Nothing like home made bacon!
    Simi Valley, California
  • we have had best results with 1 hr soak, but have not gone any further. We'll do 1 hr again on these but the soak is a good thing so find your sweet spot

  • Ok today is the day for smoking the bellies. I have rinsed them and they will soak for an hour. I will then put them out to dry for 2-3 hours as suggested. Not a great day for trying to maintain a low temperature, it is quite windy outside today. But we will go for it. I will post some pics later. Can't wait to slice off a piece or two and see what it tastes like.
  • So for cold smoking what is your set up if not using two eggs? I know Christmas is coming but don't think I can swing that one ;).
  • billyraybillyray Posts: 1,112
    So for cold smoking what is your set up if not using two eggs? I know Christmas is coming but don't think I can swing that one ;).

    It's easier to ask forgiveness, than permission. :))
    Felton, Ca. 2-LBGE, 1-Small and waiting on a mini
  • Wellllllll here is the run down of my first attempt. Purchased a 6 pound belly, cut it in half so that I could try two types of seasoning. It cured for 7 days. I rinsed the bellies and then let them soak for 1 hour. I changed the water half way through. After that I pat dried then and then I placed the bellies on a cookie rack and put them in the fridge for 2 hours. Got the Large Egg settled in at 190 indirect, and used cherry chunks for smoke. It took just over 4 hours to reach 150. Let one cool on the counter, when it was cooler to handle I cut off the rind. Sliced this piece right away, it was hard to cut thinner slices. so after I was done with that piece I put the other slab in the fridge over night. Sliced it up first thing in the morning. Way easier to slice when cool.
    Ok so tonight I just fried up a couple of small pieces. Very flavourful. Both my wife and I liked the taste. One thing I was wondering, could I order the next belly without the rind? Would it cure any differently?  With some shrinkage and the rind being cut off, I was down to just over 3 1/2 pounds. So right now I figure I am around $8 a pound. A 6 pound belly cost me $29 . Any Canucks doing this, and if so how have you curbed the cost of the pork belly. So far we like what we have tasted but the price has me wondering if I should do it again. Here are some pics.


    IMG_2575.jpg
    1936 x 2592 - 2M
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    2592 x 1936 - 2M
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    2592 x 1936 - 2M
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 10,740
    Looks like some killer bacon.  Most of the store stuff is injected with brine and has zero rind from smoking.  Nice job.  A got some good leads on good quality belly, but price is yet to be determined.  Hope it's less than bacon, which is around $6 a pound for anything decent around here.  We do this because we can (I keep thinking).... Not everything is gonna be cheaper....
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    No City.

  • I hear ya nola. I was thinking if I could order it without the rind, I wouldn't be paying for that weight. Do ya think it would cure and taste the same as a belly with rind on? :-?
  • billyray said:
    So for cold smoking what is your set up if not using two eggs? I know Christmas is coming but don't think I can swing that one ;).
    billyray........I hear you!
    It's easier to ask forgiveness, than permission. :))

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 10,740
    I hear ya nola. I was thinking if I could order it without the rind, I wouldn't be paying for that weight. Do ya think it would cure and taste the same as a belly with rind on? :-?
    Probably cure faster - the skin is a barrier, plus it would be thinner.  I'm certain it would taste the same.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    No City.

  • I was leaning towards a shorter cure and smoke as well without the rind. Might try that next time and compare the results.
  • i usually have a choice (Tony's Meat Market for any Denver folks) and have found it really makes no difference in end product...have no idea on affect on cure time as all of mine have been different by a day or two on either end of suggested 7 days....we say it with butts and briskets, and the same goes for curing...each piece of meat is different.
  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,143
    i removed the rind pre cure on mine.  it finished in 6 days.  so not a lot difference.  Removing it before hand was a hassle,  I par froze it, and watched several youtube videos about 1/2 way through I got the hang of it.  My next one I was going to first order rind off and if they didn't offer it I was going to cure rind on because they said it was easier in everything I read.  Great looking bacon though.

    What flavors did you use in the cures?
  • ive done savory with garlic and black pepper, maple, floral herbs-lavender, tyme, stronger aromatics like juniper....lots i guess. My favorite if the Maple Smoked bacon recipe from the Ruhlman book.
  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,143

    ive done savory with garlic and black pepper, maple, floral herbs-lavender, tyme, stronger aromatics like juniper....lots i guess. My favorite if the Maple Smoked bacon recipe from the Ruhlman book.
    awesome, i bought Ruhlman's book after my first batch I did garlic black pepper i found on thirdeye's blog.  playingingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com.  It was good.  I think I am going to play I want to try a spicy one with hot peppers and I bought maple at my local shop to do some smoking with too.  Its been a lot of fun and I like to see others enjoy as well
  • Mighty_QuinnMighty_Quinn Posts: 1,878
    edited December 2012
    if you"re brave enough to try hanging and drying for a few weeks, the pancetta from the Ruhlman book is awesome.image
  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,143
    i am daring enough.  but I have humidity worries.  i live in the desert.  also, i have ran it by the wife and she says no hanging meat in the house. but i will do it I just need to find my loophole and once i do the first batch I know she will be game.
  • its pretty dry here too...that one hung at 65* in a basement crawlspace...not sure of humidity, but definitely below 30%. i don't think that's as big of deal for smallish pieces of meat that don't have to dry for long periods of time...now for a big country ham or something like that, there's no way i would try that without at least close to the ideal conditions...
  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,143
    your in colorado right?  its a lot like that here but hotter (I grew up in the eastern plains of CO).  Maybe I should get this going while we still have the heat and ac off and the house is running around 65/70 all day.  Wont try it in the summer when 115 is common and 100+ at midnight is not out of the question.  
  • yup, denver area. where are you now? that's hot.
  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,143
    St George UT (100 miles northeast of Las Vegas) in the southwest corner.
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