First bacon had some issues - need a bit of help

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by j3ff, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. j3ff

    j3ff Newbie

    Okay, I cured, then smoked with apple wood 21 pounds of pork belly.  The pork belly changed color nicely in the smoker.  Got a good deep red colour in the smoke.  It "looks" perfect.  I used apple wood pellets from traeger and also the pellet smoker from Todd.  I smoked at 87-89 degrees for a little over 10 hours. 

    Now the meat is wrapped up in plastic wrap, and in the fridge. It smells amazing. In fact, the entire first floor of my home smells like bacon right now. 

    That said - I sliced off four pieces as a test and fried them up.  After eating the test slices after the smoke, I can barely taste the smoke flavor.  The bacon tastes great, but is not where I want it smoke wise.  I only taste a light hint of smoke, and not the strong taste of apple wood that I get when I buy the $12 a pound apple wood bacon at the store. 

    Can I take it out of fridge and give it a second smoke tomorrow?  I have no problem with hitting it repeatedly with smokey goodness until I get it to taste like what I want, but I want to know if it's safe to do this. 
  2. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would let it rest and test it later.

    Chalk it up to experience if you don't like it.

    Smoke flavor is greatly a matter of personal preference.

    Apple is a pretty mild smoke.  Having said that, smoke is again a matter of taste.  Some like hickory.

    Keep experimenting and you will get that magic combo that teases your taster.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  3. j3ff

    j3ff Newbie

    This is my first time making bacon, but I know that I prefer the flavor of apple wood when I purchase bacon in the store.  I do not dislike hickory, just like the milder flavor of apple a little better.  

    If after a few days I am still finding the taste too on the mild side can I re-smoke it with a stronger mix off wood - like half apple and half hickory?
  4. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I talked with Bear about this very question because I had the same problem; he didn't seem to think it would be a problem to continue the smoke, as long as proper temps were maintained and the cure was complete.  Hopefully Bear will be along to weigh in on this one soon and either verify or correct my recollection of our conversation.  I'll PM him to make sure he sees this.

    He & I concluded that the smoke in my smoker was too thin, so I plan to pick up the smoke pace when I do my next bacon.
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Try hickory, 10 hours & it's plenty smokey.
  6. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey Jeff!

    Couple things come to mind....

    When I'm around smoke all day, it's almost like I'm immune to the smell and taste of my finished product.  The next day, my smoked food smells and tastes much stronger.

    If you have color, you have smoke

    Can you post a pic of your bacon?

  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree with what James, Merv, and Todd said----Hickory will give you more smoke flavor with your color, and another day in fridge could help.

    It shouldn't hurt anything, if you put it back in the smoker and smoke it some more, as long as it was cured properly to begin with IMO. (also make sure it is good & dry again)

    Only one thing I will add, at the risk of disagreements, but it is strictly my opinion, and I have said it often. 

    I believe it takes longer to get smoke flavor when smoking at temps below 100˚. I like a little heat---not much----Maybe between 120˚ & 130˚.

    I don't believe just getting pellicle is enough to get really good smoke adhesion----being a little drier & warmer helps too.  Remember ----MY OPINION !

  8. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I cheated on my last smoke, and used a fan to from the pellicle.  Did not want to wait for another day in the fridge.  This worked great!

    My slabs hang for 40 minutes or so, before I add smoke, to let them dry a little more.

    I've cold smoked bacon and smoked at 140°, or until I hit an internal of around 120°,  I like bacon both ways, and will try using heat next time for a comparison against my last batch.

    It seems everyone has a little different method, but the end results are great!

  9. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree with u Bear on using a little heat while smoking bacon,you most definitely get more smoke far as woods yes hickory will add to your desire for more smoke taste and as far as using a fan that's how I learned and always will.I also let mine rest in the fridge for a couple 3days to rest and firm for flavor and slicing. OK now I want home time to go make bacon.
  10. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I agree with adding some heat to get some more smoke. I just cold smoked some with maple/cherry mix for 9 1/2 hours air temp over 100* and it is twice as smoky as any store bought bacon I've had. You might want to add a little hickory to the apple, it doesn't hurt to mix woods. I say if it was cured properly like said above ^ ^ ^ go ahead and add some more smoke. Dont forget the money shot. 
  11. j3ff

    j3ff Newbie

    Thanks for all the advice!!!  Not sure if I am just going to leave it as is or smoke a second time.  Here is a picture of one of the pieces.  The black lines you see on it are from the meat laying on the grates of a very well used smoker and the meat taking some of the pits seasoning up  - they are not char -

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  12. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If that was mine I would put it back on til it looked like this.

    And run the heat somewhere between 100 and 125.


  13. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I with the other guys

    Put it back in for some more smoke, and add some heat to it.  Not alot of heat, but maybe 140° or so.

  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have to agree with the late great Will Rogers, when he said, "I never met a Bacon I didn't like!"  [​IMG]

    Did I get that wrong?   Sounds good to me!    [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  15. j3ff

    j3ff Newbie

    I am not sure if I will smoke it again or not - I tried some today and both my wife and I thought it was perfect.  I think Todd may have been right when he said that when you have been around smoke all day you become immune to it. 

    One big thing I have noticed so far is this needs to be cooked a little different than store bought bacon.  Does not need near as much cooking, if I cook it until it looks like it will be crispy - it is not only crispy, but tooth cracking crispy.  I also notice it does not change shape and get all wavy like store bought bacon. 

    Is there a trick to cutting the skin off?  it is a huge PITA.
  16. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like a combo of being in the smoke all day and just letting it meld for a night did the trick. On the rind do you have a rib knife or a good fishing knife? 

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