Calling all Bacon Pros...

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by herms, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. I have some questions and will also be sharing some pictures of my first attemp with a 15lb pork belly.  I split the belly into 3 5lb sections mixed up pops brine.  One plain, one garlic CBP and 1 with a syrup of maple brown sugar and vanilla extra boilled down and added.  I have them in the fridge which is holding steady around 34F as it has been pretty cold in SE SD lately so it may have dipped a little lower than that but, nothing like last year.

    First the questions. 

    1. The bellies have been in since Wed. the 18th do I need more time for the cure or what do you guys normally do for your duration? The thickest part was about a 1/8 over 2 inches with rind still on.

    2. Either tonight or when they have been cured long enough take out, do a fry test.  If to salty soak in water and repeat.  Once happy wipe off and place in fridge uncovered for pelicule/ sticky to form.  How long does that normally take? 24hrs?

    3.  I am using a old smoker that does not have a draft or air vent on top so I off set the lid to allow for decent air movement.  The issue I am worried about is I am using a AMAZN pellet smoker and it is going to to be below thirty this weekend do I need to worry about the temp of the meat getting below 32F?  POssible solution is a can of sterno below the smoker?  I do not have a hotplate I am planning on doing this in my garage. 

    4.  I am planning on using apple pellets mixed with a little hickory to make it last longer.  How long of a smoke do you guys suggest with the low temps I will be dealing with? 

    Any and all suggestions are more than welcome with this adventure. 

    PICS to come soon!

  2. alblancher

    alblancher Group Lead OTBS Member


    I'm going to let someone more familiar with Pop's brine answer those questions.

    You want to keep the meat above freezing when smoking  I would shoot for 40 degrees or a bit higher if possible.

    If properly cured you can smoke bellies for a couple of days if you wish.  Most of us smoke to color. 

    If using a good smoke generator you can actually use a card board box with some holes cut in the top.  Maybe wrap a couple of towels around it to help retain the heat.

    The pellicle is probably better formed with moving air and should not take more then a couple of hours.  You can tell, the surface will be dry and slightly tacky

    Hope this helps,  look forward to your Qview.  

    BTW your first Qview may be held for approval.  If it doesn't show up right away send me a pm or something and I'll see about getting it released

  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now bacon is a really good thing to get into. You never buy bacon froma store to eat alone again. We use cheap bacon on fatties and things like that. Now to answer your questions I would say you need to hang your baconto dry for maybe 2-3 hours and then go into the smoker with them. Now for the smoking time thats up to you and your taste. The more smokey flavor you like the more you smoke it. Nolw for your smoker you really need to vent to smoker. If not you will get stale really yucky bacon and you don't want that. I personally liuke to smoke miune for maybe 8-12 hours dependng on the time I have. So you shoukld have it from there and if you have anymore questions then ask. Thats what we do here.   
  4. At risk of hijacking the thread, here's a quick, but dumb question.

    Is the pork belly any different from side pork?  I've seen side pork in some stores, but don't remember seeing anything labeled pork belly.
  5. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Guest

    When I did my first one with Pops brine I did 10 days and could of gone another day or so.

    As for the temps a steno should do the job keeping the temps above freezing. I use the hotplate method.

    I dont think you will have a issue with salt but if you do just soak in fresh water changing it every few hours.
  6. MOrmon Im pretty sure side pork and pork bellies are the same thing.

    As far as needing to vent and my improvised smoker not having vents could I just use a cardboard box as the "lid" and make some holes in it?
  7. alblancher

    alblancher Group Lead OTBS Member

    Anything that will prevent stale air.   Stale air is bad air.
  8. At the fear of looking totally dumb I would say yes they are both the same

    This is what I start with, where I come from we call these Middles -- cuz they come from the Middle [​IMG]


    Depending on how we cut denotes a short belly  (top of the knife) and a long back  (blade side)


    Full belly (top of the knife) and short back (blade side of the knife)


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