First Attempt at bacon...not good

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by mathman, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. mathman

    mathman Smoke Blower

    My FIL and I made bacon for the first time the last few weeks. It turned out dry and super salty.

    1 cup kosher salt
    .5 cup #1 cure
    29lbd pork bellies
    Cured for 9 days.
    Smoked at 180 degrees until internal temp was 145.
    Cooled and sliced.
    Here's pictures:

    Here's my questions. Do I have to bring the internal temp up?
    Do I even have to smoke it?
    Could I just cure it and cut it up and it would be done?
    How do I make it less salty when it's too salty after curing?
    Could I smoke it at low temp like 110 degrees and not heat the internal temp up?

    We were under the impression that we had to heat the internal temp up to about 150 degrees. Is that true?
  2. mathman

    mathman Smoke Blower

    After reading on here for a while I figured out we made Canadian bacon. I think? I was reading all over the internet on how to make bacon. No where said it was Canadian bacon!!! Should have just looked here.

    Also I figured out that if it's too salty after curing, just soak it in water until it's good. Is that correct?

    I think next time we will cure it the same, check taste, soak in water if needed, then smoke it at a low temp for a few hours.

    I want bacon not Canadian bacon.
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You should research cold smoking, and Pops brine method. If bacon is cured using #1 cure ( or Morton's TQ, or cure #2) there is no need to take the meat to any IT. You will need to cook the properly though before eating it.

    You didn't make Canadian bacon. Canadian bacon comes from the boneless loin.

    Check out this link:
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
  4. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You have to soak it and rinse when curing is complete. Then test fry a piece and see how you like it. Might have to soak some more.
    Also you need to start off at a lower smoke temp and gradually step it up.
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    There is two excellent tutorials here. Pops which is a wet cure or brine and BearCarvers which is a dry cure or  rub.

    Here is what I understand, max heat allowable is approx. 140 degrees. The warmer the bacon the better the smoke holds on, but you don't want to "Cook" it or render the fat. So from what I have seen some do cold smoke with a smoke generator the entire smoke. Some of the more seasoned veterans do extended smokes gradually increasing the temp from 100 to approx. 140 carefully watching to not render the bacon.

    Some small amounts of weight loss are generally given to loss of water from curing. Less than 5% seems acceptable.

    Cold smoking can but doesn't require a cooling medium like ice. More normally its achieved by just using a smoke generator with no additional heat from the smoker. But Most bacon is made and smoked in the winter.

    If you still have questions and don't we all I would suggest you read either:

    Bearcarvers Tutorial

     Craigs Tutorial (Pops Brine)


    Rub cure (Bearcarver)

    Brine Cure ( Pops)
  6. mathman

    mathman Smoke Blower

    I will read all of those. Thanks for the great help.
  7. For 29 lbs. of pork belly, you should have used just under 6 tsp. of cure #1 (1 tsp. per 5 lbs. is standard). Using a half cup would equate to 24 tsp. This certainly would account for the dryness and the saltiness you are experiencing. Always follow the rules when using cure as per manufactures directions. Too little or too much can be equally hazardous.
  8. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I disagree with this.

    You should test fry then soak if needed.
  9. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yikes! When I first read this My brain registered teaspoons, not 1/2 cup!

    Please read the posts above as using cure wrong is nothing to mess with. If you are dry curing and using cure #1 you need to weigh all your ingredients. If you are doing that check out DiggingDogFarms cure calculator. You can use the search feature here to get it.
  10. There is a bacon calculator link somewhere on here too that will calculate the amount of cure, salt, sugar to add for both skin on and skin off bellies for dry curing.  I think Bear uses TQ and not #1.  The two are not directly interchangeable.  I've done both the wet and dry methods.  I have tended to use the dry cure and then put in vacuum seal bags to cure but a zip lock with the air removed works well too.  I like both methods, but prefer to save the room in my fridge by not having the bucket in there for two weeks.  I never have to soak my bellies, just rinse after curing, add spices and let the pellicle form and cold smoke it for about 12 hours.  I sometimes have to add ice to the smoker to keep the temps down below 90°.  Take out and wrap in cling wrap for a day or two in the fridge, freeze for a couple hours and then slice to the desired thickness.  Package, freeze and enjoy.  Some people even double cold smoke it.  I prefer the fruit woods as they give it a better sweet smoke flavor, typically apple for me.  To me the hardest part of bacon is finding a nice thick belly.  These days they tend to be really skinny and expensive.
  11. mathman

    mathman Smoke Blower

    I bought a 8.73 lb pork bellie today for $1.99/lb!!! Beautiful! Found my new place to get pork bellies! It's a small butcher where I'm from. Just need 2 more like it and I'll make more.
  12. mathman

    mathman Smoke Blower

  13. gamehawg

    gamehawg Newbie

    In addition to weighing your cures you also didn't use any sugar. 

    Sugar covers the salty taste. 
  14. mathman

    mathman Smoke Blower

    We will be using the calculator y'all talked about. Thanks. Next time for 24lbs here's our recipe.

    We will weigh it all with a jewelry scale.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  15. mathman

    mathman Smoke Blower

    What sugar are they talking about in that cure calculator? Can we use that much brown sugar?
  16. Brown sugar will work fine.

  17. mathman

    mathman Smoke Blower


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