Bacon troubles

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by avas38, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The first thing you might do is stop making Bacon & trying to kill yourself, until you learned enough to be able to make Bacon safely.

    Very Very few people try to START with Bacon. Try some butts, ribs, chicken, chuckies, etc first.

    Then take the time to read a whole mess of threads on this forum, like most of us did, while you're still able to read.

    Bacon isn't hard to make, but when you're talking about "dredging" your Pork Belly in cure, you gotta do some more searching.

    I might sound nasty, but it had to be said.

    I have helped many people on here with a lot of different things, including Bacon, but you gotta do some research.

    My "Bacon" step by step shows exactly how to make Bacon with Tender Quick, but there are others that show how to make it with other cures.

    So do some other stuff first, then keep researching Bacon. Then write out a step by step plan of your own, and post it before you do it. That way people can review it and make suggestions, and maybe keep you alive.

    Sorry, I don't usually get rough in my posts, but you are scaring me.

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  2. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    like Bear says read up on the whole bacon making thing-It is really easy and twice as good--I just went to the beginings of the bacon threads and all the old pros are back there with alot of helpful info on there trials-heck some old pics that I forgot about too-yumm!! here at the asin market I can get 1-2# chunks of belly to play with different flavors-still go back to High mtn. though.
  3. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     no, with other cures the nitrite is bonded to ensure even distribution. think of a bag full of rocks and feathers both are the same size. shake the bag and see what happens.......the rocks and feathers separate due to their mass. the same with your own mix of cure, salt, sugar and other ingredients.....size has nothing to do with it.
     i think so, but only on a preference level. i've done my buckboards from 155 internal all the way to no heat at all. for me, i prefer around 125 but that may change for belly when i start doing them.
  4. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    >>>>>>>>>I was following the directions in the book "Charcuterie."  

    I went back and read my copy a little while ago. I love that book.

    I don't care for his bacon recipe. Seems like it has several scenarios.

    I apologize for yanking your chain about not soaking...they don't say to do it.

    But they did say to test fry it.

    They also are kinda back and forth about smoking or as you said "roasting".

    Two different things that they just don't make real clear.

    Anyway...I did a bunch of smoking before I started making bacon.

    Asked a lot of questions and read a bunch before starting.

    I think whatever recipe you must follow it exactly.

  5. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    I have smoked other things (chicken, salmon, trout, all sorts of pork and beef cuts) before with family on their equipment, I just now got my own smoker.

    The dredging step was taken directly from the book Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn. I assumed the book was written with safety in mind considering the topic and praise the book received. I did not make it up myself. I came to this site after I realized the technique didn't work to find help. I have been researching and have found useful recipes and tips, but have not figured out why (or if) this recipe doesn't work.

    I assume when I dredged (again following directions from Charcuterie) I got too much pink salt. The second batch was well cured, I think, but to my taste was not salty enough. I think I might have detected a slight off taste in the fat, but that could have been from a variety of issues (i.e., storage). I am just interested in troubleshooting these issues and finding out if the recipe in Charcuterie is safe and good. If it isn't I will look elsewhere.
    It is hard to follow the recipe in Charcuterie exactly, that is part of my problem there is too much variation. Do you have a recipe you recommend that utilizes pink salt? I can't really find a good listing of recipes on this site.
  6. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    At this point, I would guess that what you have is cure #1. If so, it's a pretty standard dilution of 4 oz of PP1 to 100 lbs of meat. It works out to  2 tsp of cure per 10 lbs of meat. To be safe I would contact the butcher supply and find out exactly what their recommendation is as far as curing. This is not something you want to be wrong about.
  7. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    It is this:

    "All pink tinted cures have the same sodium nitrite concentration, which is 6.25%. Prague Powder # 1, Insta-Cure, Modern Cure are all the same." So it is cure #1.

    I guess Ruhlman is wrong when he says to use 2tsp per 5lbs of belly here: ? I just found the post and reading it he does seem pretty lax about food safety.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  8. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    <<<<<<<<It is hard to follow the recipe in Charcuterie exactly, that is part of my problem there is too much variation. Do you have a recipe you recommend that utilizes pink salt? I can't really find a good listing of recipes on this site.  

    And then

    <<<<<At this point, I would guess that what you have is cure #1. If so, it's a pretty standard dilution of 4 oz of PP1 to 100 lbs of meat. It works out to  2 tsp of cure per 10 lbs of meat. To be safe I would contact the butcher supply and find out exactly what their recommendation is as far as curing. This is not something you want to be wrong about.  

    Honestly I just couldn't see how to use that tiny bit of cure #1 on such a large flat piece.

    Many do it tho.

    I use cure #1 making sausage for several reasons.

    1. Most recipes call for less salt than is in TQ.

    2. It mixes with a liquid that is mixed with the meat.

    I use TQ on the bacon because I like the idea of lots of it slathered all over the slab.

    Reread the link I posted about curing salts. Not enough or too much can be dangerous.

  9. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I just looked up the mix recipes from Charcuterie and I feel the dextrose cure is a little high on the Cure #1. On the other hand the granulated sugar mix although a little on the salty side is real close to what you want for the amount of cure.

    The maximum amount of nitrite allowed in a dry rubbed bacon  by the USDA is 200 PPM (parts per million),  For a 3 pound belly the granular sugar mix works out to 158ppm and the dextrose mix is 237.  I think 120 is the minimum allowed.

    For a 3 pound skinless belly I'd use;

    Salt              25 grams

    Brown Sugar 14 grams

    cure #1          3 grams

    I rinse off the belly after 5-7 days of curing. (it doesn't need soaking but you can) and let it dry in the frig uncovered to dry, then cold smoke it with no heat for 4-6 hours or longer, until it has good color.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  10. pops6927

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

    Just to toss a big ol' wrench right in the middle of this..... try WET curing  instead of dry curing ... mix up ½ cup to 1 cup salt, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup plain ol' sugar, 1 tbsp. pink salt, and 1 gallon of water.  Dump your meat in a bucket, cover it with brine, let it sit for 5 - 7 days in the fridge, don't flip it, don't massage it, don't examine it.. just let it sit and cure.  Make up multiple batches as necessary or partial batches to cover it in brine. Toss a ziploc gallon bag half full of water (push the air out) on top of it to weight it down first.  After it cures, dump the brine, fry test (you don't need to soak ("freshen") it either!), smoke and enjoy!

    Got two 16 lb. turkeys pickling as we speak... leave 'em alone for 6 days while we go on a cruise, no fuss no muss no flip no dredge no massage no foolin'...!  A smoker full of yum when we get home!
  11. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Heck yeah!!! I am sold on that!!

    Thanks Pops and have a great trip!!

  12. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Wow, don't kill yourself. We had a member a while back that thought that if 1 was good 2 is better and was sick as heck all night with nitrite/nitrate poisoning. Follow the directions right down to the letter with whatever brand you use and be patient. Did I say be patient, if I didn't say be patient be patient. Listen to the folks that have done this a time or two on here and be patient. [​IMG]
  13. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    Thanks for the recipe. I assume I should toss out the cure I made from Charcuterie and start from scratch measuring each item as I go rather than mixing it all together? Also, no problems will arise if I toss in some aromatics (garlic, herbs, pepper etc.), correct?

    That does sound nice. What is the difference in the end result between dry and wet curing?
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Exactly what Pops said (as usual) !

    If I was going to use any of the cure #1s, I would never do anything but wet cure on any solid meat! ---PERIOD!

    I do not believe John Doe can spread 1 ounce of anything over 25 pounds of meat evenly, or mix 1 ounce of cure evenly with 10 or 15 ounces of other things.

    That may be just me, but there it is.

  15. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    I was just at the store getting some belly and they had Morton's Tender Quick so I picked up a bag. My plan is to follow Bearcarver's recipe. I will also try using a brine sometime too. Sounds like both are good options.

    I do have a question, which might be better posed in the bacon thread, but I figure since I have your attention I will ask here. The TQ says to cure for 8 hours with 0.5oz TQ/lb of meat, but Bearcarver says to cure for nine days. With the emphasis on following the instructions on the package and recipes what accounts for the discrepancy (this is my just trying to understand the process)?

    I really do appreciate all the help.
  16. xjcamaro

    xjcamaro Meat Mopper

    I asked the same question about the package instructions when i got my first bag of TQ, i think those instructions are for quick tenderizing of meat before grilling/baking, not curing. If you follow bears instructions with the TQ, im positive that you will end up with a nice slab of bacon come a week and a half from now.

    Just make sure you have a good accurate means of measuring the TQ per lb of meat.

    Are you adding brown sugar to your bacon? If so, i recommend (from experience) rub the meat with the TQ first, then rub on the brown sugar. I think its safer that way, but i have also mixed the two together to rub it all on at once. The better way is to do them seperately.
  17. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    Thanks for the answer, that makes sense. The instructions say he added brown sugar after, so that was my plan. Reading the recipe, it doesn't seem like the amount of brown sugar is too important? Also, if I wanted to include some other flavorings is that a problem? I generally like garlic, bay, pepper and some herbs in my bacon. I noticed that Bearcarver added spice powders before smoking, but would fresh aromatics in the dry rub work safely (if this is too much deviation I can save it for another day)?
  18. xjcamaro

    xjcamaro Meat Mopper

    Someone else might want to chime in on that one. The only thing i ever added was the equal amount of brown sugar. I dont even put any spice on mine before smoking.

    You might be better off rubbing your aromatics on after the curing process is done and after you dry the meat, but before you stick it in the fridge to sit overnight before smoking. Just my thought.
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    In the beginning (my Bacon Making beginning), I used to add the CBP, Garlic Powder, and Onion Powder with the cure. It tasted like I never added it. So WJC is right.

    First rub the TQ on. That way you can get it distributed all over---No confusion which is which. Then add your Brown Sugar. It doesn't matter if the Brown Sugar is distributed as evenly as the TQ. Do one piece/bag at a time, and put anything that falls off of each piece along in with that piece in that bag. Then like XJC said, after you pull it out of cure, rinse it, test a couple slices in the frying pan, dry it all real good with paper towels. Then put any other seasonings you want to add (like CBP, Garlic powder & Onion powder). Then put it in the fridge over night to dry & form some pellicle. I do that last part on my smoker racks, in my extra fridge (uncovered), but if you don't have an extra fridge, just put it in the smoker at about 130˚ or so WITHOUT smoke before you start putting the smoke on. If you're going to cold smoke, you can also put it in front of a fan to dry it for an hour or two to dry & form pellicle. That pellicle will make it tacky, and will take the smoke without getting greasy.

    If you're using my step by step, everything should be explained, but you can always ask me anything (or others). I'm going to make a new step by step sometime, because I like putting some heat on more than that semi-cold smoked one I posted. I like running the smoker from 110˚ to 160˚ gradually better, and pulling it anywhere from 110˚ to 130˚ internal temp.

    Just remember--If you cut it in pieces like I do, you have to weigh each piece separately. Then calculate the TQ you're going to need exactly for each piece. Then make sure that piece gets all of the amount designated for it.

    1/2 ounce of TQ per pound of meat.

    Examples --

    A 3lb 8 ounce piece gets 1 3/4 ounce of TQ.

    A 2lb 4 ounce piece gets 1 1/8 ounce of TQ.

    You could try fresh aromatics any time you want--with the cure or before forming the pellicle. It certainly wouldn't hurt anything. Just do the TQ cure first, and use the exact amount needed. And make sure any TQ that falls off goes in that bag with that piece of meat. I repeat that a lot, because I feel it is very important.

    I hope this helps,


    PS: Don't wait until after you do something to ask questions.  [​IMG]
  20. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    I don't think the aromatics would have time to penetrate in one night. Hopefully someone else has some thoughts on the subject. Thanks for answering this Bear, I'm going to try some fresh aromatics with the cure this time around since it seems safe. I have to buy my belly pre-cut and frozen. As soon as it is defrosted (its in the fridge, no worries) can I weigh out the TQ apply ithe appropriate amount to each belly and put the bellies in a single covered pyrex dish rather than separate bags to cure or should I keep them in separate dishes/bags?

    Another series question has popped up from my research on curing:

    I was poking around online looking at different recipes so I could get a better grasp of pink salt utilization and safety. I understand that the amount to use for a dry cure per 5lbs of meat is .1oz or 1tsp of pink salt. Searching online I see a variety of ranges from 2tsp/5lbs (Ruhlman's blog) to Ryteks book which recommends a cure of 4tbsp of pink salt/ 1c salt/ 2 c honey for 10-15lbs (is this some form of psuedo brine? even so compared to Pops it has a far higher pink salt/liquid ratio) and many people using both of the cure mixtures from the book Charcuterie without issue.

    I understand you can use too much cure #1 which can have a variety of negative effects on health, but I am a little confused. Are all these recipes unsafe even though they seem to be tried and true? If so how can you tell if a recipe is safe or if it isn't?
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011

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