Double Smoked Berbere Side Bacon

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by disco, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One of the pieces of meat my brother brought me from Love's in Vaigreville was a nice piece of side pork (I believe Americans call it the belly). I was out of side bacon so I pulled it out of the freezer.

    I started by taking the skin off.

    I weighed the skinned piece so I knew how much cure to make. There was 1.766 kilograms of pork (3.899 pounds). I have a set recipe for curing. I mix the following for each kilogram of pork:
    • 3 grams (2 ml) Prague Powder #1
    • 40 ml brown sugar
    • 15 ml kosher salt
    If you are metrically challenged, it works out to the following per pound:
    • 0.05 ounce (1/5 teaspoon) Prague Powder #1
    • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    Then I add any spices or extras I like to try.

    So, for my 1.766 kg, I mixed up:

    5.3 grams Prague Powder #1

    71 ml brown sugar

    27 ml kosher salt

    2 ml Berbere Spice

    I used very little Berbere as I wanted just a touch of flavour without all the heat it brings.

    I put the pork on a tray so any loose curing mix would fall in the tray and rubbed both sides of the pork.

    I put the pork in a plastic bag and made sure to get all the curing mix from the tray in the bag.

    I used Bearcarver's formula to determine how long the pork would need to sit in the cure. It is 2 days for every 1/2 inch of thickness of the thickest part of the pork and then add two days. The thickest part of the pork was 1 1/2 inches. So, 2 times 1 1/2 plus 2 gave me 8 days in the cure.

    I put the pork in the fridge for eight days, turning and rubbing it daily.

    I took it out and rinsed it under cold water.

    Then I put it in cold water and let it soak for an hour, changing the water twice.

    I put it on a rack to let it dry. I patted it dry with a paper towel and let it sit for an hour. About every 15 minutes, I would pat it down with a paper towel again. By the end of the hour, it was nice and tacky and dry.

    I put it in my smoker without turning it on but with my A Maze N Tube smoker filled with hickory pellets. Normally I don't worry about keeping it too cool but it was a very hot day so I kept some ice cubes in the chamber as well.

    After 5 1/2 hours (I changed the ice a few times), the tube smoker had run out of pellets. I took the bacon out and put it in the fridge overnight.

    The next day, I preheated the pellet smoker to 200 F with hickory pellets and hot smoked the bacon to an internal temperature of 120 F.

    I took it out and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

    The next day, I sliced it up with my trusty ham slicer.

    The finished product.

    Of course, I had to cook up a couple of the trim pieces to test them.

    The Verdict

    It has taken a few smokes to get the salt amount just the way I like it in the bacon. My curing mix gives a nice cure taste without being very salty.

    The double smoking gives it a a nice hickory flavour.

    The small amount of berbere spice was perfect. You don't really taste it as a major flavour, there is just some nice undertones and a touch of something approaching heat. Even She Who Must Be Obeyed said it was very good.

    This will be made again but I will try other seasoning blends in future bacon smokes.

  2. briggy

    briggy Smoking Fanatic

    Very nice Disco - I need to try a homemade bacon for sure!
  3. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Oh yes! Home made bacon has the benefit of being made exactly the way you like it. Every time I throw a slice of store bought bacon in a pan and all that liquid comes out, I just sigh in disappointment.
  4. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks great nice and meaty as well!
  5. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, B1. It is so nice to get quality meat from a local butcher. I wish we had one here but I will continue to get more meat when I visit my brother.
  6. smokinal

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

    Nice job Disco!

    You just can't have enough bacon in the freezer.

    You have good knife skills to be able to skin that belly with a chef's knife.

    I use a curved skinning knife.


  7. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Al. I didn't use my chef's nice, I used my straight ham slicer. Best meat slicing blade ever. Thanks for the point!

  8. bena

    bena Meat Mopper

    Looks Great Disco! Great thread!  Hope you threw the skin in the smoker or saved it for a later smoke cause it will make you the best friend of all the dogs in the area when you crack off a piece out of the freezer for them ;-)
  9. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Ben. Not quite on smoking it, I gave it to a friend with a dog. He cuts it into strips and dries it for dog treats.
  10. mike w

    mike w Smoking Fanatic

    Great lookin bacon! I'll have to google that berbere mix.
  11. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Mike. It is a north African seasoning blend. It is quite hot but has some nice complexity.

  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks Mighty Tasty from the Bear Den!!![​IMG]

    Nice Job, Disco!![​IMG]----[​IMG]

    I slice mine with my Electric slicer!! If I slice my Bacon by hand, I'm liable to end up with more meat than I want on the pile!![​IMG]

  13. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Bear! My bacon thing is all your fault you know.

    As for an electric slicer, I am just too cheap. I will break down some day.
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Har---If that was the worst thing I ever took the blame for, I'd be Happy!!

  15. Those pics of fried belly bacon are making me drool!
    Looks excellent:)point
  16. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the kind words and the point!

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