Another try at bacon (or shall I say salo)

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by laszlo, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Hi guys,

    Here is my another attempt at smoked bacon, although it is not quite the bacon most people think of on this forum. First of all, I eat my finished bacon raw, or better to say I never fry it. After bit of a googling around I found the English term for it - salo.

    Salo was the stuff I remember gorging on. The wikipedia has pretty good article on salo, although in my opinion there are few mistakes there - it claims that it is mostly smoked in southern parts of Europe and unsmoked in north - from my personal experience it is other way round. Also it claims that it is rarely made from bellies - again I remember that one that was streaked with meat was sought after. Actually, some guys would not make one unless had three equal layers of meat and fat (hence the jargon name "adidas" belly). The minimum thickness was at least one inch, two inches were considerd ideal.

    Anyway, here we go. Ordered some bellies from my butcher - ended up taking home ~8lb of meat. I'd prefer belies thicker than I've gotten, but I didn't have enoug time to shop around, although they had 1.5inch thick 2lb bellies in local supermarket meat section - I'm staying clear from that stuff as I don't trust the meat quality.

    After trimming I've ended up with 3 pieces ~2.5lb each:


    And another pic:


    Prepared dry cure: salt, sugar, garlic powder and cure #1.


    And here they are before rub, cure amount divided according to the weight of each slab:


    Into ziplock bags and in fridge for 10 days, turned over twice a day. After 10 days of curing, rinsed well and soaked in iced water for 15 min. Put homemade hooks in and hang them in draft, assisted with fan. The pellicle formed in 2 hours.


    Fired up AMNS loaded with mesquite dust. On the the top shelf went few pieces of New Zealand made havarti and Italian provole cheese.


    Bacon stayed in smoker for two days and nights, cheese lasted only one AMNS load (8 hours). It made dint in my dust supplies.

    On Sunday night, I've zapped the bacon with hour of heavier smoke from oak chips to get nice dark color.


    And few pics of finished (still warm) product:



    All three pices were cut in half, one piece always resides in fridge redy to be eaten, the rest awaits their fate vacuum sealed in freezer. I can tell you they will not last very long. Kids love my salo and few friends also discovered great taste of this humble delicacy.

    It is consumed sliced thick (or thin for some heretics), always with bread (rye preferrably) and all possible combinations of whatever pickles or fresh vegetables are on hand. Yum!

    Cheese is still maturing in the fridge, looks great, hope it tastes OK. I've smoked havarti before and I like it because it is still soft after smoke, whereas cheddar tends to dry out too much and becomes crumbly.

    Cheers to all and happy smoking.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    It sure looks pretty! How is the Chew? Tender or does Grandma need extra POLYGRIP? I'm a big fan of Lardo, but never had it meaty...JJ
  3. Looks Great! I never heard of eating it raw. Learn something new everyday,which makes this forum a must.The next time I'm making bacon, I'm going to slice a thin piece(heretic that I am) and take a nibble out of one.Thanx for posting.
  4. tjohnson

    tjohnson Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Where's the pig fat?

    That's some of the leanest bacon I've ever seen!!

    Fantastic Color

    How's the test fry?

  5. smokinal

    smokinal Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Awesome looking bacon!  [​IMG]
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver OTBS Member

    Looks Great !!!

    Nice color!!

    Any pics of some slices----I know---PITA, but we love to look at it all the time !!!   [​IMG]

  7. Looks great, love seeing all the bacon making going on...  I really hope to be able to try it once i get a little more under my smoker...  Motto in our house "CAN NEVER HAVE TO MUCH BACCCON lol"
  8. roller

    roller SMF Premier Member

    There is no fry test....The bacon look great but I like mine crispy....I am interested in the part about leaving it in the smoker for 2 days. What does that do for it ?
  9. When I did my winter bacon project last year I did the bacon using cold smoking method using a-maze-n smoker. I would keep it in there until I got a good color change, one time that took 56 hours!  I think maybe because it was sooo cold.  THis year I'm going to try a run using a little heat, seems as though those who have a little heat in the smoker get a nice color change earlier...
  10. pops6927

    pops6927 Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did you check to see what internal temp it got up to?

    By the State, we were required to get our bellies to minimum 133° F.  Of course I would *never* test taste raw bacon (and I'm selling the 1000 Islands bridge at a good price, too!) LOL!   Probably ate more raw than I did fried!).  On the meat counter or in a meat shop, you do some things what others would consider strange - eat raw beef - slicing sirloins and sample some trim - yum!  Raw calves liver, raw oysters and clams, veal eyeballs, lean pork (trich is in the fat, not the lean), etc.  one of the strangest customers I had was an elderly lady who had thick grey hair with live spiders crawling out of it who always had to sample our pan sausage raw - not just a tiny bit, more like an ounce or two before she'd buy it.

    My only concern is that you don't get it more than 133° or that you don't use certified pork (frozen at below zero 30 days or longer) you risk harboring trich that could survive your smoking and infect you with their worms, an ugly disease.  Take some minimum precautions to stay healthy!
  11. smokinal

    smokinal Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Pops, I thought the cure#1 killed all the pathogens. I have been curing & cold smoking BBB for 11-12 hours. It stays below 100 degrees the whole time. Of course I cook it on the stove before eating it. Is this unsafe?
  12. My Italian friend Bruno sometimes gets a piece of lardo and always invites me to do some tasting - I like it a lot, but I always (jokingly) remark that it would benefit from being smoked. I don't know if I can generalize, but it seem the lardo is never smoked. Bruno in return always jokes how we  bloody Barbarians (anybody living north of Italy) like to smoke everything.

    As for being chewy - I guess I can admit is is the texture is chewy a bit, especilally when meat streaked. Pig fatback made salo is usually smooth, almost buttery.
    Mine took 48 hours with AMNS and even after that the color wasn't there. From memory, the salo was cold smoked for 7+ days. Unfortunately I don't have such a time luxury at the moment, so to get bacon colored I use oak chips and chunks on electric heater. That of course increases smoker temperature, but I'm making sure that the temp is below 160*. At that stage I'm not really concerned about IT, just watching the bacon and stop the process when happy with the color. It doesn't take long at all.

    Next time I'm planning on using pellet AMNS, that should increase the smoker temp compared to dust AMNS and I'm sort of expecting that the color change will be happening quicker and may even be possible to get rid of electric stove finishing step. Only way to find out...
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  13. Pig fat? I'm having really hard time to get my pig fat the way I like it. My butcher refuses to cut off pig fatback as it is part of loin chops cut. Even if he did agree, the butchered pigs seem to be in 120-160lb range and there is not enough fat layer on them. Nowhere near the minimum of 1 inch thickness I'd like to see. Also people demand lean pork cuts, so the pig breeds are good for lean meat production, not as good for bacon makers.

    My friend Bruno grows his own pigs (and I'm always invited at the time of slaugter to help with cleaning and sometimes butchering), but unfortunaly for me again, all of his pigs ale butchered at 20-60lb size. Lots of ethnic group guys buy them at this size for making whole pig roasted on the spit.

    With this last batch I had only two options - get thin and lean bellies and make at least some bacon or end up with NO bacon at all. The secon option wasn't really considered - there HAS TO BE bacon in my house. No but's or if's. [​IMG]
    "Leaving it in the smoker for 2 days" - oh well - the wording is not good here - I can see now where you are coming from. What I wanted to say is that I smoked it with AMNS (two sided burn during day, one load will last 6-7 hours) for 2 days, with ocasional breaks to reload. Overnight smoke is with AMNS lit on one side only - it lasts 12-13 hours.

    Sorry for confusion.

  14. pops6927

    pops6927 Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cure #1 preserves the meat from pathogens but doesn't kill parasites such as the trichinosis worm; from Wikipedia:

    Trichinosis, also called trichinellosis, or trichiniasis, is a parasitic disease  caused by eating raw or undercooked pork  or wild game  infected with the larvae  of a species of roundworm  Trichinella spiralis, commonly called the trichina worm. There are eight Trichinella  species; five are encapsulated and three are not.[1]  Only three Trichinella  species are known to cause trichinosis: T. spiralisT. nativa, and T. britovi.[1]  The few cases in the United States are mostly the result of eating undercooked game, bear meat, or home-reared pigs. It is common in developing countries where meat fed to pigs is raw or undercooked, but many cases also come from developed countries in Europe and North America, where raw or undercooked pork and wild game may be consumed as delicacies.[2]

    Cooking it on the stove kills the trich worm as does freezing for 30 days at below zero.. if neither of these occur then you can be in danger of contracting trich.
  15. Not all is lost.

    pasted from government website:



    Last reviewed February 2009

    Australian Situation

    Trichinella spiralis is not present in Australia.

    A different, distinct species, Trichinella pseudospiralis, has only been detected in two carnivorous species of marsupials in Tasmania, quolls and Tasmanian devils.

    Abattoir monitoring and surveys on mainland Australia have remained negative for Trichinella spp. Extensive monitoring of pig and horse meat for Trichinella spp continues to have negative results. Australia's domestic pig population is also recognised as free from T. pseudospiralis and other Trichinella spp.

    For general information on managing animal health in Australia, please consult the latest edition of Animal Health in Australia.

    This disease is nationally notifiable in Australia. Please consult the National Notifiable Disease List for further information.


    As far as I know USA do not have policy regarding trichinellosis in pork production.

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