Yet another 1st Bacon Story

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by chad martinell, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. chad martinell

    chad martinell Fire Starter

    I finally cured my own bacon. I had been watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and one one particular episode it seemed that every episode he visited had cured their own bacon! This got me raring to try it myself.

    I had found a recipe online, it was by Michael Ruhlman:

    I found some small pork bellies at the Asian market, thawed one of them out and got out the rest of my ingredients.

    The recipe is for 5 lbs of pork belly, but my pieces were 2.5 lbs each, so I had to cut the recipe in 1/2.

    The first thing I did was open up my cure quick but to my surprise, it wasn't pink!  I looked into it a bit more, and found that I could use the cure quick, but that I had to use a different ratio. I got the cure mixed up, rubbed onto the belly and then vac-packed and into the fridge. The recipe says to cure for seven days. So I left the bacon in the fridge for 7 days. I never opened the vac-pack, but I rubbed through the package every day.

    Once I opened the pack up, I rinsed and dried the bacon and then smoked it per the recipe at about 200 degrees until the IT was 150 degrees.

    I couldn't wait so I cut a chunk off and cooked it up.


    The flavor was amazing, but it was completely overpowered by salt!

    I figured one or two things happened, and maybe you guys can shed some light on the subject. First, while i cut the recipe in half and made sure to adjust the cure-quick amount because it wasn't pink curing salt, I didn't adjust the recipe to account for the added salt in the cure quick. Second, since I only had 2.5 lbs of pork belly, perhaps it didn't need seven days to cure, and I over-cured it.

    My second pork belly is curing right now. This time I adjusted the salt in the original recipe to account for the added salt in the cure quick.

    I just put it in the cure yesterday, but I'm worried that I might over-cure it if I leave it in for too long. I know one of the signs is that the meat firms up, so I'm looking for that. How else can I tell if the cure is complete?

    Any thoughts?


    P.S. I am still eating the first batch, I'm just using it to flavor other things rather than eating whole slices of bacon. When people talk of over-cured food being dangerous it is because of too many nitrates right? In this case it should just be too much salt, so there shouldn't be any danger in it right? I've been eating it since Friday, so I would think that any bad effects would have happened by now if they were going to.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  2. Congrats on starting your own bacon!  [​IMG]   Any pictures to share? I just sliced up my latest batch of bacon & have some frying up right now  [​IMG]   A quick warning to you though - once you make your own, you won't want to settle for store bought any more  [​IMG]  
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  3. chad martinell

    chad martinell Fire Starter

    No pics for this first batch. I'll get pics on the next one to post though. 

    I've already resigned myself to homemade bacon for the rest of my life!
  4. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Very cool, hope to be starting a similar thread on my first bacon soon as well.... As SB said, would enjoy some pics....
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Chad, afternoon..... Are you using Morton's Tender Quick cure ?? Does the package of cure you have, have instructions for making bacon etc... And Ruhlman's cure #1 amount to add to your 5#'s bacon is 2 times the recommended amount..... 1 tsp. per 5#'s is the correct amount..... and 2 oz. salt is 2.5% salt added.... I prefer about 1.8% salt....

    —Order five pounds of fresh pork belly from your grocery store, the pork guy at your farmers market, or from a local butcher shop.

    2 ounces (1/4 cup Morton or Diamond Crystal coarse kosher) salt

    2 teaspoons pink curing salt #1

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
    chad martinell likes this.
  6. chad martinell

    chad martinell Fire Starter

    Thanks DaveOmak, 

    I am using Morton's Tender Quick Cure, and I used an amount based on the instructions on the bag, though that isn't for bacon specifically, it says 1/2 oz. per lb. of meat. Since I had 2.5 lbs of pork belly, I used 1 1/4 oz.

    It is good to know that Ruhlman's recipe is above the recommended amount. Now I just hope that I cut the additional salt by enough to make this batch edible at least.
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Using Morton's TQ, you do not add additional salt..... It should say so on the package.... Dave
  8. c farmer

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

    Test fry and if its too salty soak in water for 24 hours.  That will remove some of the salt.

    I do that with TQ.
  9. chad martinell

    chad martinell Fire Starter

    Can I do this after smoking without losing the smoke flavor? Or do I need to do this before I smoke it?
  10. Soak it before you smoke then check it again - if it's ok then smoke it  [​IMG]  

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