Making bacon - some questions

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by garyc, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. garyc

    garyc Smoke Blower

    I have two 2 lb belly pieces curing right now and I have started to second guess myself. Could someone tell me if I am still on the right track or did I just ruin my bellies?

    I read on this forum, but cant find again, a procedure for dry curing bellies with QT. I am hoping my memory isn't faulty and I just hosed myself.

    I used 1TBS of QT per pound of belly. I mixed the QT with 1TBS of dark brown sugar per pound and added garlic and onion powder to the mix. I then put the belly in a vacuum bag and put half of the mixture on each side of the belly, rubbing it in well. Just before I sealed the bag I put about 1/4 cup of maple syrup on each side and then vacuum sealed the bag. I turn and massage the bellies each day and I plan to take them out after 9 days.

    After the nine days are up I plan to soak the bellies for an hour or two, do a fry test for saltiness and let them dry in the fridge for a day. At that point I plan to cold smoke them for 8 - 10 hours in hickory.

    Have I got this right? They have been curing for 2 days now.
  2. I personally wouldn't have used that much sugar because of the potential for burning....other than that I don't see any problems assuming you used level tbsps. of Tender Quick and you got a good accurate weight on the bellies.
    In my experience , a fry test isn't reliable right after soaking, I'd soak (although I actually almost never do) and then let the salt re-equalize for a day or 2 before the fry test (which, again, I almost never do).


  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You're doing fine, Gary. 1 Tbsp/lb for dry cure is the recommended amount of TQ, and a nine-day cure, unless the belly is over 3" in thickness, is sufficient time. 3-4 days per inch of thickness is what I recall for cure time using cure #1, and TQ is basically a cure#1/cure#2 blend, so up to 3" thickness in a 9-day cure.

    Martin's mention of soaking for longer and re-equilization time for salt is a good tip to follow, as TQ does contain a lot of salt. Soaking should remove some of the sugar as well, then just let it sit in the fridge to equalize the salts and dry a bit before cold smoking.

    The TQ amount is correct and the methods you're using are covering all the basics for a good cure, so keep on rolling with it.

  4. Sounds like they have you all set! 
  5. garyc

    garyc Smoke Blower

    I did use level TBS and I used a scale to weigh the meat so I am confident of the TQ. I didn't realize that the sugar was causing the black edges on my last bacon, silly me. I should have realized that it was the sugar burning when I cooked it. I will scrub the outside very well and soak them for several hours this time and hopefully I will not get that burned edges with this batch.

    I will also delay the fry test until they sat in the fridge over night after the soak.
  6. garyc

    garyc Smoke Blower

    Thanks to  everyone for the very useful comments. I really love this site! 

    I will be smoking some cheese when I smoke these bellies, I will provide some Q-views when the time comes.
  7. bigfish98

    bigfish98 Smoking Fanatic

    I use the exact same procedure of dry curing, but I fry test first, then soak if needed.  A scientist by nature, I don't like soaking before having a control to know what level I am at when I start.  I recently did 22 lbs of pork belly the way you described (minus the maple syrup cause I'm not big on maple bacon) and everything was great.  One thing I have found is that when I truely cold smoke bacon (not above 90-100 degrees) I don't get much color on the bacon in the smoker.  I have turned my smoker to 100 degrees and I get good color.  IMHO that is all personal preference.  One thing that is nice about dry cured bacon compared to the injected kind you get at the store - there is no bacon sputter when it is cooked.  Always helps if you like to cook with minimal clothes on!  I don't recommend cooking store bought bacon without adequate clothing!  Hope I helped.  Here is a link to my most recent bacon smoke.

  8. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012

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