Cold smoking bacon with a mailbox

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by akdutchguy, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    Is there a limit to the length of hose from the mailbox to the smoker?

    My first batch of bacon got way over smoked in my uds. I used my amazen tube with pit masters blend. I put it in the from with some bacon and cheese. Smoked for 6 hours. The first test fry was not edible. It was way bitter. I like smoke but I couldn't do it. I soaked for two days changing the water out regularly. It turned out better. We finished it off. I just pulled 2 bellies out of pops brine and am letting it rest. I bought a mailbox and some hose. I'm hoping with the longer travel time the smoke will cool more and not have the creosote taste. I have 20 feet of vent hose and was wondering if you can get it too long where friction overcomes smoke pressure. I guess I can adjust as I go. I just don't want to ruin more bellies.

  2. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Smooth stove pipe will work much better and be more efficient. The longer the run the cleaner and smoother the smoke will be. Start with 3 or four sections of pipe and you will see. Place it so it is on a slight incline to your food box. 

    akdutchguy likes this.
  3. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Following,,, first bacons myself dry brining and I have the MES 30 with mailbox mod also that I was going to use,,, not a long stretch on mine,,, MR T knows,,,  Yep the longer the better.. I just have no room for a longer tube right now on my cart that my MES is sitting on. 

    I was going to go with corn cob pellets on my smoke

    Good luck and let us know

  4. smokinal

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

    Sounds like Mr T has you covered!

    Let us know how it turns out.

  5. essexsmoker

    essexsmoker Smoke Blower

    I'm gagging to try this too.

    I want to cold smoke mine.

    On a calculator I found it says taking the skin off require more cure? Surly you get better penetration with skin off and therefore need less?

    Is there any benefit in taking the skin off beforehand? Most sites seem to say not.
  6. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    The slaughter house we take the pigs to always skins them out so I've never done it skin on. Will see if I can pick up some smooth pipe. I would like to get some smoke on this weekend because I am really low on bacon . I'm debating in trying a batch with corncob, or stickicking with pitmasters
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Skin on requires more time to cure than skin off.
  8. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Try both, each produces good results. Keep good detailed notes including the color and density of your smoke.

  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    AKDutchguy, evening...   The TUBE smoke generator produces a lot of smoke...  When laid on the horizontal, try filling it half way up the tube to reduce the smoke....   or get the AMNPS maze smoke generator....  it produces less smoke than the tube....   OR pull a MrT trick...  Grind up the pellets in a blender / food processor into a fine dust...  burn the dust....  try it in a half full tube as mentioned above or it works well in the AMNPS...   it produces a colder smoke and less smoke than the Maze with pellets.....

    Anywho, keep notes...  there are so many variables that when you find the magic combination, you will want to know exactly how you accomplished that magical feat....

    Good luck......
  10. essexsmoker

    essexsmoker Smoke Blower

    Just checked page again and now it's giving the same amount of cure for skin on or off. =/
    Will have to try it on my pc when I get home.

    How much longer does it take skin on?
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The only calculator to use for dry rub curing is this one:

    If you don't want to weigh the meat, etc, then use this method:

    How many days to add is a tough one. Usually the meat will re-absorb any moisture it produces during the cure. I'd have to say once that happens I'd add a few more days and call it good.
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    FWIW, the USDA regulates COMMERICAL bacon makers.....  You need not follow commercial guidelines, but I highly recommend it...

    Brine cured bacon max. allowable ingoing nitrite

    skin off -- 120 Ppm

    skin on -- 108 Ppm

    Dry rubbed bacon max. allowable ingoing nitrite

    skin off -- 200 Ppm

    skin on -- 180 Ppm

    There is a 10% reduction of nitrite with the skin on.....

    NOW, this is for commercial processors...   You can do what ever you want...

    ALSO, nitrate is not allowed in commercial bacon....  the same goes where you can do what ever you want

    Regardless of the curing method used, restricted ingredient calculations for bacon are based on

    the green weight of the skinless belly. For rind-on bacon, e.g., where the skin is sold as part of

    the finished product, a restricted ingredient conversion calculation is necessary. Nitrate is no

    longer permitted in any curing method for bacon.

    ! Ingredient Limits

    < Pumped and/or Massaged Bacon (rind-off): An amount of 120 ppm sodium

    nitrite (or 148 ppm potassium nitrite), ingoing, is required in pumped and/or massaged bacon,

    except that 100 ppm sodium nitrite (or 123 ppm potassium nitrite) is permitted with an

    appropriate partial quality control program, and except that 40 - 80 ppm sodium nitrite (or 49 -

    99 ppm potassium nitrite) is permitted if sugar and a lactic acid starter culture are used. 550 ppm

    sodium ascorbate or sodium erythorbate (isoascorbate), ingoing, is required in pumped and

    massaged bacon, in addition to any prescribed amount of nitrite.

    < Immersion Cured Bacon (rind-off): A maximum of 120 ppm of nitrite or

    equivalent of potassium nitrite (148 ppm) can be used in immersion cured bacon. Note: the

    calculation method for nitrite in immersion cured bacon is the same as that for nitrite in other

    immersion cured products. Refer to pages 21-24.

    < Dry Cured Bacon (rind-off): A maximum of 200 ppm of nitrite or equivalent of

    potassium nitrite (246 ppm) can be used in dry cured bacon. Note: the calculation method for

    nitrite in dry cured bacon is the same as that for nitrite in other dry cured products. Refer to

    pages 24-27.

    < Pumped, Massaged, Immersion Cured, or Dry Cured Bacon (rind-on): The

    maximum limit for ingoing nitrite and sodium ascorbate or sodium erythorbate must be adjusted if

    bacon is prepared from pork bellies with attached skin (rind-on). A pork belly's weight is

    comprised of approximately 10 percent skin. Since the skin retains practically no cure solution or

    cure agent, the maximum ingoing nitrite and sodium ascorbate or erythorbate limits must be

    reduced by 10 percent. For example, the maximum ingoing limit for nitrite and sodium ascorbate

    or erythorbate for pumped pork bellies with attached skin would be 108 ppm [120 ppm ! 12 ppm

    (120 × .10)] and 495 ppm [550 ppm ! 55 ppm (550 × .10)], respectively.
  13. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    Thanks Dave. I have the maze also. I think I will try it on this batch. The last time I used it I had a momentary lack of genius. I ran out of discs for my bradley. The wife wanted ribs I threw the maze in the smoker and put it in at 220 and went to play with the kids. Checked on things about 2 hours later and couldn't get the door open. Apparently the little maze went inferno and melted the door seal and melted the thermo switch. I should have taken a pic they were the most beautiful Cajun blackened ribs you have seen. The only down side it smelled like a tire fire.

    How long do you smoke for with the maze? Do you recommend still using the mailbox

  14. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    The time anything is smoked depends on the color and density of the smoke. For instance, I smoke my bacon for approx. three days with a very light smoke. Perhaps the following will help.  Mr. T's "Sugar Cured Bacon"  - Understanding Smoke Management - updated 12/08/14

  15. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    So the bacon is done curing and aging. I'm going to try to cold smoke them tonight. Couple questions. I have 2 options in pipe. I have a 20 foot flex aluminum dryer duct or a 5 foot rigid duct. The rigid is galvanized. Wasn't sure if it would be safe to use being low temp. Home repot only had galvinized. I would perfer the rigid if it isn't going to kill me. Second question: do I need to turn on the heat in the bradley to keep the draft going? I'm not sure how low I can put it.
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    if  you can get a continuous rise in the flex or rigid pipe, the heat generated by the smoke generator "may" keep the air flow moving...   If not, a periodic "turn on the heat" to get the flow going, then turn it off...  My MES has a dimmer switch on the element and I can control the heat to about 30 degrees above ambient and from 100 upward...  At times, I have to turn the element on and off to keep the temperature correct...  at least until the meat gets up to temp and the extra thermal mass helps a lot...

    The longer flex duct will produce the cleanest smoke...   If possible, try it... if not, the shorter rigid duct will do...  Cold smoking using zinc galvanizing isn't a problem...   NOW, if it catches on fire, and develops a yellowish powder inside the duct, you have just ruined all the meat...
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  17. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Personally, I would use both, rigid out of the product chamber, flex out of the mailbox. As for the draft, Dave is correct, an incline is needed from the mailbox to the food chamber. This is where the fun begins. You need enough incline to allow the smoke to rise but also, you want it low enough to allow it to cool along the way. Too steep, the cooling effect is diminished, too low, the draft is lost. Suggest experimenting before introducing a food product to the food chamber, it’s all fun.

  18. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Smoking for only 6 hours should not cause the bacon to have become this bitter. My bacon is smoked for a total of 36-48 hours. The issue here is almost certainly the quality of the smoke.

    As Dave mentioned the AMNTS produces way too much smoke for most cold smoking and the AMNPS is a much better option as the smoke production is more controlled. You can try only half filling it or even grinding the pellets as Dave suggests - and this does work - but if you do have a maze generator now I would probably stick with that.

    You are looking for a good steady flow of smoke through the smoker to minimise the amount of tar condensing out and being deposited on the food. This is probably what caused it to be so bitter. Did you see a good flow of smoke exiting from the top vent of the UDS? If not then the vent may either be too small or there is insufficient draw. To assist this you could either make a flue extension for it or use some help from a small fan.

    Was it cool outside and when you opened the lid of the UDS was there a lot of moisture inside? If so then the moisture can also drip back onto the bacon further increasing the bitterness.

    Do not get too hung up by the length of the pipe. Providing the smoke quality/quantity is good and it is sufficient in length to cool the smoke to ambient temperature before it hits the chamber then it is long enough. You are looking to condense as much tar out of the smoke as possible however with the amounts of smoke you should be creating then this does not need a very long length of tube. As has been mentioned an inclise in the flue will help improve the smoke draw.

    Dave also makes a good point about the temperature of the meat too. If it is put in cold then it will cause more tar from the smoke to condense onto it than if it is at the same temperature as the smoking chamber. Leave the bacon out of the fridge to allow it to get up to the temperature of the smoker before you switch on the smoke. The bacon has been cured with salt and Nitrite and so it will not hurt to raise its temperature while it smokes.
  19. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This is probably a silly question but when you did your test fry did you cut off the outside slice and then sample a slice from inside?. the outside slice will almost always taste over smoked and if there has been tar deposited it is likely to taste extremely bitter.
  20. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I never get bitter bacon when cold smoking it. I also smoke for a long period of time. I use the AMNTS, and either cherry-pecan pellets or cob. I smoke 6-8 per day. Rest in fridge overnight then smoke again, and repeat until I get the color I want. Usually 18-24 hours total smoke time.

    Depending on the ambient temperature I either have the tube directly in the smoker or I pipe it in via the mailbox mod.

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