Source for Belly for Bacon and Recipe Question

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by abl1111, Feb 26, 2016.

  1. abl1111

    abl1111 Newbie

    Hi.  New here.  I'm ready to make some more bacon.  I bought a belly from my local butcher, about 16 lbs worth last year and don't remember what I paid. Came out good.

    I've read that Restaurant Depot sells pork belly ( I have a membership card a friend gave me ).  Is that a decent belly to use ?

    Recipe question :

    I've done the ' salt/ sugar in a zip lock bag recipe for 7-10 days until the meat gets firm ' recipe - it came out tasty, but a little too salty.  Any advice ?  I don't use pink salt.  Is there a way to reduce the saltiness via a freshwater soak ? ( like freshening salmon )

    Thank you.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Since you don't use Cure #1 you should be Hot smoking, around 225°F to avoid any Botulism issues. Many of us here, thanks DaveOmak, recommend 2% Salt by weight and are getting a good result. Yes you can do a fry test and then soak the rest in a couple changes of cold water to reduce saltiness if needed. I have not bought from Res' Depot...JJ
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you don't use "Pink Salt" ...  "Cure #1" ....   you are making salted belly...  

    For pork that isn't salty, weigh the belly and weigh the salt you want to add...   I like 1.5% - 2% salt in pork...  adjust to your personal preference... 

    FWIW....   bacon, ham etc. have nitrite added to make it what it is.....   without it, it's just plain pork....  If you plan on smoking any meat, cure #1 is highly recommended to eliminate the possibility of botulism poisoning...  botulism will not "grow, reproduce" in meat that has 0.25% nitrite...
  4. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have bought a lot of belly at Restaurant Depot. Usually it is very meaty and good quality, but you may get an occasional belly in the box that is thin or mostly fat. It is hard to tell without cutting into it first. 
  5. Costco sells them up here in michigan
  6. abl1111

    abl1111 Newbie

    Thx for the replies. Pls correct me if I'm wrong, I thought the nitrate was for safety and bacon coloring. And, that if you salted enough, kept the temp below 90, you'd be in the 'safe zone'. Then fry it up and you're good. I've made some tasty stuff and followed a few recipes from online that mention pink salt is not critical - although I have read many more recipes that use it. I'm trying to be a purist, keep it simple and safe...
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    See the USDA guideline for Bacon without Nitrite (Nitrate is no longer allowed)...

    Can bacon be made without the use of nitrite?
    Bacon can be manufactured without the use of nitrite, but must be labeled "Uncured Bacon, No Nitrates or Nitrites added" and bear the statement "Not Preserved, Keep Refrigerated Below 40 °F At All Times" — unless the final product has been dried according to USDA regulations, or if the product contains an amount of salt sufficient to achieve an internal brine concentration of 10% or more, the label does not have to carry the handle statement of "Not Preserved, Keep Refrigerated below ___" etc. Recent research studies have shown for products labeled as uncured, certain ingredients added during formulation can naturally produce small amounts of nitrates in bacon and, therefore, have to be labeled with the explanatory statement "no nitrates or nitrites added except for those naturally occurring in ingredients such as celery juice powder, parsley, cherry powder, beet powder, spinach, sea salt etc."

    Below 40°F At All Times...Including during Smoking...Temps of 90 to 100°F support Rapid growth of Bacteria and the dangerous toxins they produce. While all bacteria are killed at 165° some of these toxins are heat stable and can sicken you even if the bacon has be cooked.

    An internal Brine concentration of 10%. We are suggesting most of us like 2%...

    Bacon has ALWAYS contained Nitrates/Nitrites however more than 100 years ago it was obtained using Nitrate found naturally occuring in evaporated Sea Salt and through the several days if not weeks of cool smoking, Nitrogen Dioxide in the smoke is absorbed into the meat and forms Nitrite, when Bacon was traditionally made post hog slaughter in Oct and Nov when out door temps are typically below 50°F. In the early 1900, Sodium Nitrite was isolated as the active ingredient responsible for controlling Clostridium Botulinum Bacteral growth during smoking and a Standardized Cure was invented to consistantly Cure Bacon in days/weeks instead of the Months long processing the old way. It is only in the last few decades that unfounded fear of Nitrate/Nitrite has led to the creation of No Nitrite Recipes that can be Dangerous. While people are free to do as they wish, curing with out Nitrite is NOT recommened by the Members and Staff of SMF unless the entire curing and smoking takes place below 40°F... Sorry ...JJ
    daveomak likes this.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    JJ, morning....  Keep that handy for other folks that want to cure without nitrites....  it's a very good disclaimer...
  9. radioguy

    radioguy Smoking Fanatic

    I'm doing my first COSTCO belly. Very
    meaty and thick. Not much loss on trim. $2.19/lb

  10. abl1111

    abl1111 Newbie

    Thx for the information. There's a lot of misinformation 'out there' about this topic.

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