Long awaited 1st attempt at belly bacon

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by diver, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. Hi all. I am making my first attempt at belly bacon. I have 12 pounds in Pops brine waiting to finish curing. My plan is to pull the belly out of the brine on Wednesday night after a 15 day soak. It will sit in the fridge until Friday and then in front of a fan for a couple hours to get a good pellicle. I plan to smoke it at 115 degrees in my MES 40 with some cherry pellets in the amnps for 8-10 hours or so. I will then give it a check to see if i want more smoke or not. Now my question.... After smoking it I am going to let it rest in the fridge for a few days but wasn't sure if I was supposed to wrap it while it rests or not. Can you put it in a vacuum seal bag while i rests or does it need to be open to the air?

    Thanks for all the great info here. I have long wanted to try my hand at making bacon but was never comfortable with doing it safely until I was able to get your great input.

  2. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    After pulling out of the brine Wensday and letting sit in the fridge uncovered is all you need. No fan needed.

    After smoking I wrap in plastic for a day or so then slice. Vac seal would work if you want, but not needed.
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 days, open with no cover, or just a paper towel. That's it. You don't want to wrap it in plastic when it rests. Moisture will form and that moisture will attract mold.
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just my experiences with Bacon...I cool to room temp, 70° or less, if cold out side I chill in the smoker. I then wrap mine for the rest...Momma don't like the Butter, Cream Cheese and everything else to taste like smoke. I have rested 2 to 6 days, depending on when I had time to slice and package. I never had much moisture or mold grow...JJ
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
  5. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I thing resting after smoke is almost as important as curing. let it rest in the frig uncovered for a few days to dry it some and to allow it to mature.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Think about smoking with hickory or Pitmasters Choice... Cherry alone doesn't burn well in the AMNPS... Pitmasters Choice-Hickory/Cherry/Maple blend is awesome..

    I like forming the pellicle in front of a fan for about an hour while the meat gets up to ambient temp... warming the meat will insure condensate doesn't form on it... that's a big deal... It can be in front of a fan while hanging in the smoker...
  7. Thanks all. Like I have said i appreciate the expert advice. I was thinking of letting it come up to room temp and then even start heating it in the smoker before putting the amnps in. I definitely want to avoid a nasty smoke flavor. My thought was to also put a small fan on the inlet of the MES to get a really good airflow going through it.

    Thanks Dave for the advice on the pellets to use. I will see if I can pick some of those up.

    Chef JimmyJ.. That was my thinking too. I want to avoid everything else in the fridge taking on the smoke flavor (not too sure how well that would go over with the the rest of the household). At the same time I don't want to risk ruining the bacon by wrapping it. That is why I was thinking of vacuum sealing it while it rests. Figuring if I get the air out it wouldn't be able to mold. But I wanted to make sure it would still mellow okay. If I need to do it uncovered I will. Again, don't want to jepordize the beautiful slab of bacon. :)
  8. mfreel

    mfreel Smoking Fanatic

    Why add heat?  Cold smoke it.  It's already cured.  

    AFTER smoking, I wrap mine for 2-3 days before slicing.
  9. Good question mfreel. My thinking was that i have read it will take on a little more smoke if done warm, so that was my thinking. I have read that some folks do a stepped temperature approach and 115 was just a good middle of the road temp from those. I am always open to other ideas though if my reasoning is off (which it seems to be way too often these days).

    Thanks for the info on wrapping. I may go with that for this atempt. Because really what's the worst that can happen, it gets screwed up and then I have a good excuse to make more. :)
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One school of thought is.... cold smoke penetrates the meat deeper....

    .. ..
  11. mfreel

    mfreel Smoking Fanatic

    I cold smoke my bacon for 12 to 16 hours.  I use the AMNPS and usually go overnight because it's cooler.  Keep your vents open and you should be good.  

    Cold smoking is just my preference.  
  12. Thanks all. As it turns out I did cut the belly into 3 pieces when I put it in the brine. So I am thinking I could warm smoke part of it and then cold smoke the rest the next day. A good chance to see the difference between the two methods.
  13. mfreel

    mfreel Smoking Fanatic

    Good idea.  Lurking...
  14. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's a perfect example of why I LOVE this hobby (Madness?).  We get to experiment with our final product.

    Either way, both will be good eats, but at the same time you get to determine exactly which you and yours prefer!

    Be sure to take GOOD notes...  There are things that you're sure you'll remember next time, but you'll forget, trust me!

    Looking forward to what you come up with!

  15. So I am on my way. After 2 days in the fridge I am getting my smoking going. I kept it out for an hour to come up to temp and now I am getting it up to temp with in the MES. Will start the smoke on it shortly. I have two of the pieces going now at 115 degrees. I left one piece out and will cold smoke it tomorrow.

    Wish me luck!!!

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