bacon flavoring questions

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by stubborn, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. stubborn

    stubborn Fire Starter

    My first attempt at smoking some belly came out great!  Once my slicer gets here, I can get the slicing thickness correct and more consistent.

    The more I think about it, the more questions I have about attempts to flavor the bacon.  Here is a list of what I think I understand, and some of them seem to be going in opposing ways...

    1.  The purpose of the cure is to draw moisture out, correct?

    2.  The flavoring we add (syrup, honey, garlic/onion, whatever) flavors by being absorbed into the meat, right?

    3.  We soak the belly to remove the remains of the cure, and to reduce the saltiness.

    So... how are the spices flavoring the bacon if the cure is pulling the moisture out of the bacon?  And if the spices sit on the surface of the belly, aren't they washed off when the belly is soaked?

    [​IMG]I'm konfuzed...   Can anyone explain this in a way to get it through my thick noggin?
     
  2. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The main purpose of cure is to preserve the meat and make it safe for cold smoking for extended periods of time.  Cure will also fix the color of the bacon and some say adds flavor.

    If you intend to prepare a dry, dense bacon you need to use a dry cure method.  If brining you can let the bacon drain and dry in the fridge for a couple of days after removing from the brine.  This will help to firm up the belly, kind of like sit ups!

    I know salt moves into the belly pretty well.  I am not so sure about sugar and the other spices.  I am always trying to get a good sweet bacon but the only way I have found to do it is a couple of days prior to smoking I will cover the belly with sugar or syrup and let a nice crust or film develop on the bacon.  Smoke it and then let the flavors come together for a couple of days before serving.  I have noticed that bacon I remove from the freezer a couple of months after smoking has more sweetness and smoke flavor then the bacon I prepare right after removing from the smoker.

    Hope this helps,  you should get lots of advice about bacon questions!
     
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Solar gave you a good link for your curing question.

    Only other thing I will add is the flavoring part of your questions:

    This is only my experience, but the few times I have added things to my dry curing packages, other than brown sugar, such as  onion powder, maple syrup, garlic powder, black pepper, etc, I have not noticed much, if any flavoring from them.

    I now add Black Pepper, Onion powder & garlic powder to the meats, after curing. rinsing & drying, but before smoking. That seems to work much better for me.

    Bear
     
  5. stubborn

    stubborn Fire Starter

    That explained a bit, but I'll have to reread it without all the distractions later.

    If the cure isn't drawing moisture out, then why do we have so much liquid develop in the bags of curing bellies?
     
  6. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The salt/sugar and letting the belly drain pulls the moisture out.  During curing a good bit of that moisture is reabsorbed back into the belly.  What doesn't get reabsorbed gets tossed, no problem.   As long as it's good you are doing  the right thing, 

    Keep it up
     
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Your original question was:

    1.  The purpose of the cure is to draw moisture out, correct?

    Al answered your question in his first line.

    The main purpose of cure is to preserve the meat and make it safe for cold smoking for extended periods of time.  Cure will also fix the color of the bacon and some say adds flavor.

    It does draw moisture out, but that is not is purpose.
     
  8. alaskanbear

    alaskanbear Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Sure glad I read all these posts--Allows me to get my questions answered without even asking... LOL  THANKS guys!!!..

    Rich
     
  9. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I added turninado sugar to one batch and it was ok. I really don't have a sweet tooth so my last "Best" batch I just cured and smoked with maple and cherry and was floored. [​IMG]
     
  10. stubborn

    stubborn Fire Starter

    That's what I'm constantly telling our younger daughter about asking questions in school--"I guarantee somebody else is sitting there with the same question, or one related to it.  One of you has to ask to get the ball rolling."  She'll come home griping and complaining that the teacher "didn't explain"... then get pissed at me 'cause is ask if she asked any questions...  [​IMG]Kids!!

    I'm glad somebody else is getting something from this.  Part of it still seems contradictory to me, but I was too busy yesterday to ponder on it.  I'll keep working on it until I get my brain wrapped around it all.
     
  11. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Like Al and Bear I add spices after the cure.

     I'll cure with salt, sugar and cure #1,  rinse if needed, then add sugar or spices.  Then I let it dry in the frig uncovered for days till it really firms up some.
     

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