First timer... (currently mid-smoking so any quick answers would be much appreciated!)

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by linguaphonic, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. linguaphonic

    linguaphonic Newbie

    Hi everyone,


    So I know there must be a million of these "I'm just starting with this and..." posts (I myself have read over a bunch of them!) but I'm afraid I'm going to have to add to the list.

    I'm a US expat graduate student currently living in Japan - deep love for all things food (make my own pasta, I've made my own cheeses; I like making things that other people buy) but I've never done any curing or smoking before. Unfortunately, what this country calls "bacon" is a mockery of the term (I can't even get into all the reasons why it's wrong, but trust me, it's wrong), and so I decided to try making it myself.

    Some things were easy to come by (pork belly - everyone eats it uncured here, so I just got my butcher to sell me some in bulk before he sliced it for sale), some things were not (prague powder was impossible; I wound up, after much trouble, getting food-grade sodium nitrite from a pharmacy and then got a grad student in the chem department to make curing salts).

    Now I've finally hit smoke time...


    I decided to cold smoke it, mostly because one of the reasons the bacon here tastes to bad is that it's pre-cooked (even though that's done by boiling, not smoking), and I have no intentions to eat my bacon without cooking it. They sell a product here called "smoke wood" ( that is essentially highly compressed sawdust that burns continuously without putting off too much heat, so I'm using that.

    At any rate, I've read a million forum posts and websites on this smoking process, and a lot of people seem to have very different opinions, but the general consensus is that temperatures between 40-100 seem to work best. I didn't want to do this for a week, so I decided to try and push the temperature a bit higher. Since the smoke wood itself puts off little ambient heat I put a very low flame on my smoker (which is intended for outdoor use, but my exhaust fan is more than adequate) for a few minutes to try and bring the temperature up a bit, which was successful, but I think it might have been too successful.

    Since moving it outside to my patio I've managed to keep it at a pretty steady 45 degrees celsius which is about 113 fahrenheit. From what I understand, this is still not quite "hot smoking" as it's below 120, but it's getting there.

    My questions are two:

    1) Is 113 an okay ambient temperature to smoke it at - or is it worth trying to put a bowl of ice in there or something to try and pull it down?

    2) How long do people recommend smoking bacon for? I was thinking 8-10 hours but I'm flexible...
  2. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    Welcome to SMF it's nice to have ya. Great people and lots of info. Have fun and happy smoking.

    There will be someone along to answer all your ?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Have fun and Happy smoking :)
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF the biggest thing it to make sure you don't render the fat so the lower the temp in the smoker the better. I try to keep mine under 100 F. You will cook it before eating either frying or whatever. As for the length of time in the smoker I go by looks as well as time you'll see the color changing mine usually goes 10-14 hours. Again the amount of smoke you give it is a matter of personal tastes some like it with more smoke flavor than others
  4. linguaphonic

    linguaphonic Newbie

    Hrm, that's what I'd read - I opened the bottom door of the smoker and managed to pull it down to 40C (about 105) which looks like as good as I'm going to get. I gotta say, even after 3 or 4 hours it's already got a nice smokey hue to it but I'll keep it going.... don't see any fat dripping and the pork itself is still pretty cool to the touch.
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Keep it where you are at and you will be Golden. I would let it go until the Smoking Wood burns out then check for desired color...JJ
  6. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to SMF. is that  the wood you are using for smoking ?[​IMG]if yes it is good for smoking. if it gets hot in the smoker  add a pan with ice above it(the wood)

    we got a member (lav25) from osaka that use this wood .
  7. linguaphonic

    linguaphonic Newbie

    Thanks for all the advice - I'm using a very similar product to that one, although it's a different company.

    Didn't think there would be any other people living in Japan on these forums. I'll have to find out where he gets his supplies...

    Smoking went very well -- the end product is unmistakably bacon, but it's also far too salty. I soaked the belly for about an hour before I smoked it (with drying in between), but it still was way too salty - I think I got a little overzealous with applying the cure... okay, a lot overzealous.

    Anyhow, against my better judgement I soaked the slices in water for about 15 minutes and it made a HUGE difference - they're definitely much better than before and no doubt the best bacon I've had in a long time.

    Still, room for improvement. Which is where the next kilo of belly comes in.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Lingua, morning.... Use the smoke wood and do not turn on the burner..... Lots of cold smoking is done with no heat.....  Dave
  9. use the ice, it really brings down the temp. I live in ga. unless your doing it in the middle of winter, I need ice. I use a freezer to hang the meat in. Due to the great insulating qualities, ice does not melt at the eight hour point

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