bacon bag cured, cold smoked and aged.

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by gibsorz, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. gibsorz

    gibsorz Smoke Blower

    OK so I am just starting this project now. But figured I would start the thread right away so that anyone who wants to follow can. The goal is to create a smoked, aged bacon, but since I do not have the capability to go by the old world techniques, I will be using new world technology. Featuring, refrigeration, AMNPS, and UMAi aging bags.

    Now today I picked up a 9 lb belly. Just looking at it, and from cutting it in half I can tell it is going to be quite a lean belly.

    For this formulation I am using cure #2 since I will be aging the bacon after smoking it and I'll aim for about 15-20% weight loss.

    Step 1: Day 1

    So today I applied 2% by weight of sugar, 2% by weight of salt and 120 ppm of Cure #2. Seeing as Cure#2 has 6.25% sodium nitrite, I just used the digging dog farm cure calculator to get my numbers.

    Here are the 2 slabs in their ziploc bags with the 2% salt/sugar and the cure #2. Tomorrow, once everything dissolves, I will be opening up the bags and added in a rub.

    Step 2: Day 2

    I added the spices today, the rub used bulk recipe is as follows

    125gm White pepper
    25gm Ground nutmeg
    25gm Ground mace
    15gm Ground cardamom
    200gm White sugar

    Here are the spices I ground for the rub. Then 1 slab rubbed to give you an idea of my heavy dusting. For the 9 lb belly, I used 100 grams of the rub.

    I returned the belly to the fridge in their ziploc bags. It will be there for 13 more days. I am using the 7 days for 1 inch rule. So it will be on cure for 14 days. Sugar penetrates meat at a rate of about .4 of an inch on each side per week. So my 2 inch slab will need 2.5 weeks for sugar to fully penetrate. Once it is done curing, I will be reapplying sugar and the rub for an extra week.

    Step 3: Day 14

    Remove the belly from the cure, rinse it of all cure and spice. Pat dry. I then dusted it with 25 grams of the rub. I used a mesh colander to give a light dusting as if the spices were icing sugar. Then I added about 1 Tbspn per pound of brown sugar to give it a moderate coating to allow the sugar to finish penetrating the meat. It will stay this way for a week in ziploc bags the fridge before I smoke it.

    Step 4: Day 21
    Remove the bacon from the cure and pat dry. If you want to do a test fry now is the time. I did not. The meat should be fully penetrated by the sugar so I did not soak either.

    Then wrap in cheese cloth / muslin or even a cut up game bag. Form pellicule however you do. Due to the current weather being around 50f and 80% humidity, I just left the bacon outside on the deck overnight. You will see that there is still a good amount of spices on the meet since I did not rinse.

    Step 6: cold smoke
    Time to apply as much cold smoke as you would like. I will be applying two trays of blended Cherry pellets in an amnps. Apparently by blending the pellets they burn for longer, and provide a thinner smoke. These two trays will be over the next 2-3 days.

    Going in for round 1 - I am hanging them from the smoking racks...would be easier if I had ham hooks, note to self get some.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Checking in for the long haul. Can't help with the photo issue. I had a problem with my iPhone for a while. Once the link for the photo was in the post I had to highlight it and then move the cursor to the end of the link before hitting the reply button.
  3. Interesting, I will be watching for results. CF
  4. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Would this be a pancetta style belly?
  5. gibsorz

    gibsorz Smoke Blower

    When I think of Pancetta I think of rolled dry cured, not smoked pork belly with salt and pepper as the seasonings. The only thing in common will be that it will be dried.

    I added a spice mix today with roots in the black forest region of Germany (south western). I am hoping that using this will get me close to the flavour profile that my grandfather used, he was from Northern Switzerland. The recipe was posted by SMF member BriCan. It is:

    125gm White pepper
    25gm Ground nutmeg
    25gm Ground mace
    15gm Ground cardamom
    200gm White sugar

    I only used a quarter of each ingredient because I grind my own spices and cardamom has a terribly short shelf life once ground.

    *edit. I used all that I made in the rubbing for the curing time and will need to make 50 more grams down the road. It will be about 150gr total of that rub.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  6. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Ok, just to clarify, 1/4 of those quantities you posted are for 9lbs? I so want to try this.. Please keep us posted..Thumbs Up
  7. gibsorz

    gibsorz Smoke Blower

    Yea I ground up that much...which totaled to just under 100 grams... as a guess on how much I would need using 1 tbspn per lb during cure and 1/2 tbspn per pound during the equalisation/smoke/age. In the end I used up all that I made in the curing rub. So I'll need to make about 50 more grams of the rub for the equalization/smoke/age time.

    Ground cardamom seeds do not maintain their flavour for long so I did not want to make a whole batch and have it be stale by the time I use the mix next.

    Next update will be 13 days from now(other than the odd photo edit) I am leaving it cure for 14 days. As the belly is just about 2 inches wide, with skin on it should take 12 days. But my schedule works better with 14 days because then my smoke days will all be on days off.

    The schedule for updates will be
    1) remove from cure January 2nd, and bag for equalization.
    2) January 9th, remove from equalization. Form pellicle.
    3) January 10/11/12 overnight smokes (Cherry wood).
    4) set to age, I'll probably age using one of them UMAi bags, it will likely take a month. Don't have the room to set up a true aging/curing chamber, and the humidity where I live is over 90% most winter days.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  8. gibsorz

    gibsorz Smoke Blower

    Next step is in so today I:
    1) removed the bacon from the Cure, rinsed it (no soak time), and then dried it off.
    2) made up some more rub, I used about 25 grams to dust it using a mesh colander like you would for icing sugar.
    3) gave it a coating of brown sugar (about 1 tbspn per pound).
    4) rebagged it and back in the fridge for another week. Photos will be in post 1 later tonight.
  9. whitegardens

    whitegardens Newbie

    Awesome, can't wait to see the result!
  10. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    So looking forward to the end results. When you say re baged for a week, did you use UMAI bags again?
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
  11. gibsorz

    gibsorz Smoke Blower

    Correction made for clarification, the bags used so far have been ziploc brand freezer bags. The UMAI bags will only come into play after smoking.
  12. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Thanks for the clarification. Eagerly waiting for the end results.
  13. gibsorz

    gibsorz Smoke Blower

    Update. Today I pulled the bacon from the sugar equalization. I then patted it dry (no rinse), wrapped it in cheese cloth, tied it and put it in a shady spot on the deck to form it's pellicule overnight for smoking tomorrow.

    Over the next 4 days the temperature range will be 30-50 degrees with an average of about 40. Relative Humidity is between 70-100% (the 100% will be very short) average around 85%. So the belly is going to stay outside from now to the end of smoke. The weather seems like it is going to hold like this until the end of January, if that's the case I might just age it on the balcony for as long as possible...if the rains come back then I'll have to use the umai bags because my understanding is you don't want 100% humidity when aging. Maybe if I run a dehumidifier near the bacon, it would get the air around the bacon to a low enough rH.

    Photos and step update to come later today on first post.

    Photo problem with Android is fixed I changed to a different browser (CM Browser)
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
    foamheart likes this.
  14. gibsorz

    gibsorz Smoke Blower

    OK so I smoked it...about 24 hours the last 3 days. Two things :

    1: being wrapped in cheese cloth it has taken on minimal colour. There is one of the two that has taken none whatsoever. A little concerned about that I fried up some which brought me to 2.

    2: wow this is too sweet. Next time I'll leave it in the cure for the full time instead of doing this as a 2 stage cure. If you like sweet bacon thus would be your thing. It's not mine. The smoke flavour fully took. So as a result. Into aging it goes. Due to the weather, no umai bag yet. It doesn't taste salty at all at this point. Hopefully the aging will mellow the smoke/sugar and intensify the salt.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  15. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Make sure and watch, you may have to cook the bacon low and slow, my experience has been sweet bacon burns really easy.

    Very informative, great post!
  16. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The bacon looks good but I am not surprised that it is quite sweet. Looking forward to seeing how it works out.

  17. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah after rereading the recipe and process, that's a bunch of sugar. I'm happy with initial sugar added using Martins calculator.
  18. gibsorz

    gibsorz Smoke Blower

    Yea lesson learned, it is still good, if drying works out properly, I'll just do like we used to. Eat the raw bacon, sliced thin, on crusty bread with butter, salt and schabziger (an unpasteurized, low fat, very hard, strong green cheese).
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  19. gibsorz

    gibsorz Smoke Blower

    It has been 4 days, the rain is back so I bagged the bacon to an umai bag. He is a picture of one of them.

    I also took off a chunk to see the inside, looks great. Baking a little too try now that it isn't fresh off the smoke.

    Baked at 325 for 45 minutes :

    I have to take back the complaint about how sweet it is, these 4 days alone, have mellowed the sugar alot and the salt is really coming through with the smoke and the rub. It is fantastic. It is still "sweet bacon" but it is in no way too much. It is less sweet than store bought maple bacon. If you were to switch the brown sugar in the recipe for maple sugar, that would probably give you the pronounced maple flavour you are looking for.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

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