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  #1  
Old 12-24-2011, 09:07 AM
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Default BACON (Extra Smoky)

BACON (Extra Smoky)

Bears Love Bacon!!!

The following is how I did this batch of Bacon, and can be adjusted to suit your tastes, except for the cure amount.
The amount of Tender Quick I use is what Morton's recommends.
If you are an experienced meat smoker, you can adjust your cure amount for the amount of fat in the meat you are curing, but you don't have to.
I have never had any salty flavor when using this recipe, let alone too much salt flavor.
I always check with Mrs Bear too, in case my old taste buds are burned out!!!
She always says "Just Right" and if you knew her, you'd know it's not because she's afraid to disagree with me.


I got the bellies without the skin (rind). I figure I don't eat the skin, so why should I waste cure & smoke on something I'm not going to eat.
I also don't hang my Bacon, so I don't need the skin on for extra strength for hanging. I lay mine on the smoker racks.

This one came out like the PA Dutch specialty butcher shops make theirs, only better!
In my book, there is no such thing as Bacon that is too smoky, unless it has Creosote on it.
I haven't gotten creosote on anything, since I stopped trying to use that other smoke generator, and started using Todd's little miracle AMNS & AMNPS.

First Day:
I cut each belly into 3 pieces that will fit in big zip lock bags, and weighed each piece individually.
Then I weighed out the right amount of Tender Quick (on paper plates) for each piece, and set them aside.
I rinsed each piece, dried them good with paper towels, and rubbed them good with 1/2 ounce (1 TBS) per pound of belly.
I also added between a tsp and a TBS of brown sugar with each pound of belly, after rubbing the TQ on first.
I don't mix TQ with anything prior to rubbing the meat, because I like to be able to see that I spread the TQ evenly first.
I then put each piece in it's own zip-lock bag, along with any TQ that fell off, because the cure was measured exactly.
I never throw away any cure that falls off, because that would change the amount of cure in the package.
I rub them on a dinner plate, so after I put the piece of Belly in the bag, I can scrape any that fell off, into the bag, with the piece of meat it was meant to be with.

I squeezed the extra air out, zipped them shut, and put them in the fridge. I kept the fridge between 37˚ and 38˚.

Calculating curing time:
The thickest place on any of these belly pieces was just under 2".
I calculate there being 4 "half inches" in 2 inches, so that gives me the "4".
Then to that 4 (days), I add 2 more days for safety, the way I was taught.
So that means the absolute minimum cure time by my calculations for these bellies is 6 days.
I then usually add another 2 days on my own, so that means I would cure these pieces for 8 days, unless I have scheduling problems that make me want to smoke a day or 2 in either direction.
The main thing for these pieces is NO less than 6 days in cure.
Every day, while curing, I remove the packages from the fridge & flip them over, and massage them a bit.
Moisture will accumulate in the packages. I leave that in, because some of it is curing juices, and at the end of the curing process, it will nearly all be gone through reabsorption.

On day 8:
I removed them from the fridge, rinsed them off in cold water, and soaked them in ice water for between 1/2 hour and 1 hour. Then I cut a couple slices, and did a fry test for salt flavor---Just right!

I dry them again with paper towels, laid them out on three smoker racks, not touching each other, sprinkled black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder on them, and put the racks in the fridge over night.

Smoking Day:
6:45 AM--------------------Preheat my MES 40 to 130˚.
7:00 AM--------------------Put meat in top 3 positions.
7:30 AM--------------------Fill my AMNS with Hickory Dust, light one end, and put it on the bars to the left of the chip burner.
7:30 AM--------------------Cut MES heat back to 120˚.
5:00 PM--------------------Bump heat up to 130˚.
7:00 PM--------------------After 11 1/2 hours of perfect smoke, my AMNS finally burned out.

I killed the power, opened the door, and took some pictures.
The 6 pieces of Bacon had internal temps that ranged from 116˚ to 123˚
Left the door open for awhile to cool down a few degrees.

Wrapped pieces individually with plastic wrap, and put in fridge for 39 hours.

Two days later, I unwrapped the pieces, took pics, and began slicing.
I only got one plateful sliced, and I realized I forgot to put in freezer for awhile before slicing.
They were not slicing very good, because of being too soft. (I had just sharpened the blade, too)
I put the rest in the freezer, and waited an hour and a half before starting to slice again.
After that, I'd slice a little, and bag a little, while giving the rest time to get hard enough to slice.
It seems two hours in the freezer works best for slicing IMO.
Finally I got it all sliced, vacuum packed & marked.
I kept one pack out for myself, and gave my Son a few packs to hold him over for awhile.
Then I froze the rest.

This was definitely a smoke that turned out Awesome!

Note: I realize Pork fat renders at a temperature somewhere down around 90˚, but this smoke showed little, if any of that.
When I bought the bellies, I had a total of 17 lbs, 2 oz of Belly.
After trimming some loose fat & meat off of them, I had 16 lbs, 14 oz.
The Belly pieces were sweating for at least the first 6 hours.
During the 12 hour smoke, with temps ranging between 120˚ and 140˚, my MES 40 window was steamed up the whole time (water loss).
The 6 Belly pieces were above each other, 2 pieces per rack, and there was no fat drippings on any from the ones above.
There was also no fat drips in the water pan, on my aluminum heat blocker, or in my AMNS.
When I removed the 6 pieces, after 12 hours of 120˚ to 140˚, the total weight was 16 lbs, 4 oz.
So a total of 10 ounces from just under 17 pounds was lost during the smoke.
I expected a lot more loss, and that 10 ounces must have been all water.


Thank you all for looking, and please enjoy the Views,

Bear







Two nice Fresh Bellies ($2.65 per pound):




16 lb, 14 oz of Belly, divided into 6 easy to handle pieces:




All rubbed & bagged for curing:




Smoking Away (Note moisture on window, without adding water to pan):




Hard to see in picture, but that's the way it smoked for 11 1/2 hours----Just Right:




Bacon Finished, and AMNS completely burned out----NICE COLOR:




Quick Taste Test-----MMMMMmmmmmm...............




Ready for Slicing, after nearly 2 days in Fridge:




First plate of sliced Goodness:




All Vacuum Packed, marked, and ready for freezer:
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  #2  
Old 12-24-2011, 09:11 AM
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Looks mighty good - Send me a slab of that bacon!!
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:46 AM
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So much better lookin that any of that stuff sold, even in the finest of stores.
Good job there Bear, I can almost taste the smokie goodness from here
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:30 AM
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Default

Fantastic job! Great tutorial as well. You got some bacon coming when they let me.
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:42 AM
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Thank You Very Much Uncle, Meat, and SmokinOB!!

You guys are Great !


Bear
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:54 AM
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Killer stuff Bear. We raised our first hogs this year on the ranch. Wowza!! We doing 20 this coming year. Fresh bacon rules the earth!
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:55 AM
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bears love bacon - so do crazy horses! looks absolutely outstanding, bear!
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  #8  
Old 12-24-2011, 11:27 AM
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Great looking bacon, and great post. Thanks for the pics!
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:05 PM
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Very Nice bacon..........
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Old 12-24-2011, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WaysideRanch View Post
Killer stuff Bear. We raised our first hogs this year on the ranch. Wowza!! We doing 20 this coming year. Fresh bacon rules the earth!


Thanks Scott!!
20 hogs----Lots of Bacon there!!!

Bear


And Thank You Tas, Mule, & ALX !!!!

Bear
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Old 12-24-2011, 02:36 PM
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Nicely done.. And the bacon looks good too... I have a hard time finding bellies here in the DFW area that are not $3+ a pound..
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Old 12-24-2011, 06:22 PM
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I have got to try this gig!...That is on speed!
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:09 AM
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Very pretty bacon!!!!
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:20 AM
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Great looking bacon Bear. Have you ever though about doing a true cold smoke on the bacon? I am going to give that a try next time and see which way I like it better. Points for sure.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:30 AM
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Cool

Now you done did it. You got me jonsin' for a BLT.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbranstner View Post
Great looking bacon Bear. Have you ever though about doing a true cold smoke on the bacon? I am going to give that a try next time and see which way I like it better. Points for sure.
Thank You Ross!!!
And---Yes I have, but IMO it takes longer to get nice color & flavor when cold smoking, so I've been thinking of cold smoking my next one over a period of 2 or 3 days. If I'm going to smoke a Bacon in less than 15 hours, I'm going to use a little heat---not much, but some.

But that's just my opinion.


Bear


Also---Thank You Becky, Ken, Slanted, and The Iceman!!!
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:10 PM
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Good lookin baco Bear! If you don't mind me askin, did the skin get left on throughout the cure, smoke and fry? I have a batch in cure right now and did not skin it prior. I'm wonderig if I need to fillet it off before smoke.
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  #18  
Old 01-04-2012, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Hot Rod Smoke View Post
Good lookin baco Bear! If you don't mind me askin, did the skin get left on throughout the cure, smoke and fry? I have a batch in cure right now and did not skin it prior. I'm wonderig if I need to fillet it off before smoke.

Thank You Hot Rod !!!
You don't have to remove the skin/rind.
Many guys leave it on, and then make some tasty stuff with it.
I personally order mine without the skin, because if I'm not planning on eating it, I'd rather not pay for it, cure it, or smoke it.
But that is just me.

If I were you, since it's already in cure with the skin on, I'd smoke it like that too. Then the skin will be easier to remove, and you can find out from some of these guys how to make something real good with the smoked skin.

Hope that helps,
Bear
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  #19  
Old 01-04-2012, 12:23 PM
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Great Looking Bacon Bear
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