Bacon Questions

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by jkc64, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. jkc64

    jkc64 Meat Mopper

    I have read lots of great info here and have some great ideas for lots of food. I have searched and cannot find these answers.

    Pros vs Cons of each method

    hot smoke vs cold smoke?

    Skin on vs skin off?

    I have read all the posts of how everyone preps and smokes but cannot find any comparisons between the different methods. I guess there is no real con to bacon I am just interested in the different characteristics of each method.

  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You asked some loaded questions.  Kind of like which child do you love more?  Sure as tooten if I offer my opinion someone will come along right behind me and point out just how wrong I am  [​IMG]

    Generally   Brines tend to be more fool proof, reliable and easier for newbies.  I prefer dry cure because I like a denser, firmer bacon but dry cure is a bit more difficult and time consuming.

    Cure 1 or Tenderquick  Oh Boy,  that's  a pretty hot subject.  I like Cure 1 because I can control the amount of salt a bit better.

    Cold or hot smoked?   I never hot smoked bacon, always cold smoked it.  I know a lot of people that will hot smoke but when I cold smoke I can let the bacon bathe in the smoke for days, developing a nice deep smoke taste and rich color.

    Rind on or off.  That normally comes down to what kind of belly you can find.  I always get the rind on and leave it on until after smoking.  Several reasons, it is easier to remove after smoking and the rind makes it easier for me to hang in the smokehouse.  Remember to use the proper amount of cure for rind on or rind off bacon when dry curing.  If brining you don't have to make an adjustment.  
  3. jkc64

    jkc64 Meat Mopper

    You are correct, I read that thread. I am not looking for a wrong or right just what are the differences. Sounds like you get more smoke with the cold method vs the hot method unless you bring it up to the 150ish IT vevy slow. I haven't seen any posts as to a different method for dry cure with the skin on. If you could point me to some info on that it would be great. I plan to brine to start with and I have cure #1 right now and haven't seen TQ anywhere yet. The local butcher supply that carries A.C. Leggs and some different casings I didn't see anything except #1.

    Thanks for the info.
  4. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    [​IMG]   I think Al 's got it covered
  5. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

  6. jkc64

    jkc64 Meat Mopper

    Thanks for that link looks very usefull and won't hurt my brain so much checking my math.
  7. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    On method, as long as each is done correctly, there are no real cons to either.  They are a little different but accomplish the same end result. About the only pro for brining is two things: 10 you control the salt level, and 2) less maitenance - no turning or flipping every day.

    hot smoke or cold smoke; again, 2 different ways to reach the same result.  Cold smoking you are not cooking the meat, you are smoking for flavor and reduces the rendering of the fat, which is good; the other is it reduces the rendering of the fat, which is bad; depends on what you like!  Cold smoking you are not getting the meat to a 'cooked - safe' temperature, but the curing reduces the risk, as well as smoking process, of pathogens forming, keeping it safe to store and freeze.  However it MUST be cooked to min. 146° F to be safe to eat.  In doing so, like in a frying pan or baking, broiling, etc., you render out excess fat; what's left in the pan.

    In hot smoking, you are doing that function in the smoker instead, by bringing it up to 146° min. before pulling it, usually at 200° - 250° range smoking it.  Then, you can eat it as is or cook it in oven, frying pan, broiler, grill, etc. and have less fat rendering from it as much has already rendered out.  

    Either method you want to bring it to a cooked - safe-to-eat state in the end.

    I cook mine in the smoker, esp. for my sons, because they love it and I know they will munch on it immediately so it'd better be cooked, lol!

    Skin on vs. skin off - again, your preference.  If you like the rind, leave it on, it is a treat to chew on it and get all the smoky goodness.  If you don't want to do that, then by all means, remove it.  Now, two methods; before you cure, brine and smoke, or after.  It is a lot more difficult to remove the skin before any processing, but it can be done but you have to be careful not to remove more than the skin. 

    After curing and smoking it is far easier to remove the skin-- work your knife around the edge, then scrape it down the hardened skin or sometimes you can even just use visegrips and pull it off cleanly.  Now, what about all that smoke on the skin you're throwing away?  Believe it or not, there's more than enough surface area on all other sides to make the bacon smokey by all means.  And, in fact, that is the way you've eaten it for years out of the package.  I strongly recommend de-rinding it after it is out of the smokehouse and still hot to warm myself, I've done thousands and thousands of bellies that way and no complaints from customers whatsoever.

    Hope this answers your questions!  Thank you for asking!
  8. I MUCH prefer dry cured bacon!!!! Wet brined, water-logged bacon sucks! It likes to steam, rather than crisp-up easily. It's messier, it requires more ingredients. Dry cured bacon just tastes better to me too.

    Cold smoked all the way! It just tastes better! Hot smoked bacon can have a 'funky' taste! IMHO!

    I prefer skin-off for dry curing, and unless you have a good use for the skin, it's usually a better bargain and less work to buy skinless.

    I do sometimes get skin-on bellies and remove the skin for some sausages that I make or for making pork rinds.

    Morton Tender Quick has gotten quite expense, Cure#1 is a better deal.
    The thing about Tender Quick is that it's conveniently available at many supermarkets.

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  9. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    Smoked rind goes in the beans!
  10. Yup, smoked rind is pretty good, but I usually use smoked pigs feet in my beans!!!! :biggrin:
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  11. jkc64

    jkc64 Meat Mopper

    This is what I love about this site, If you can ask the question correctly you get great info, the hard part is asking the question properly.[​IMG] Thank to all for the answers!
  12. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Trust me, sometimes the way you ask or answer a question is more important then what you ask or answer.

    Keep the questions simple and we can help,  they get a bit too complicated you are on your own!  Hehe
  13. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Some very good info here from all party's.

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