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GrumpyOleTroll
05-27-2011, 08:16 PM
Ok....

I have 3-4 lbs of un-cured bacon.....

can i smoke it with out curing it or do I need to cure it 1st and then smoke it???


I have no clue what I am doing and looking for any and all tips!!!


Shawn

OLS
05-27-2011, 08:27 PM
As luck would have it, I am BASICALLYdoing the same thing now, but be advised, I am bucking SOME trends in my methods and some
would disagree with my method. I CAN say no, you can't just smoke it, unless you are planning to smoke it for 48 hours or so, and by
then you will have cooked it, and you will never be able to maintain a steady temp at 150 or so.

SO, yes, you an 'save some steps', but you need to cure it first. I used kosher salt, and believe me, I tried once with regular table salt
and got bad results. You are trying to "cure out" the excess moisture which is a breeding ground for bacteria. Get yourself a box of
kosher salt and you can avoid the "pink salt" that adds some of the things that go into bacon that curing your own is supposed to be
about avoiding. If you have a slab, sprinkle one side liberally with the kosher salt, and repeat on the other side. Leave the skin on.
Place it in a container with either channels in the bottom, or some kind of device to raise the meat above the bottom of the container
and put it into a cold fridge. Above 40 you can get bacteria growth...below 36, it won't cure. Every day or twice a day, flip the meat
and pour off the liquid that collects under the meat. For best results, cure it at least 4 days. This will result in a significantly stiffer
and harder piece of meat, which means much of the moisture has been drawn out of the meat. I also use brown sugar in my cure "rub".
THEY say to replace the salt if it seems to have disappeared along the way. When enough time has passed, wash the salt off the
meat, pat it dry and wait for a shiny, slightly crystalline coating to develop on the meat, usually 40 mins to 2 hours. Then smoke away.
I would think no hotter than 150 if you use heat at all. Use any kind of smoke wood you want, hickory is classic, apple or pear is really tasty.
I smoked my best batch for 6 hours. It was freaking fantastic. Then cool it in the freezer so you can slice it. Electric knife is best, but I
used a sharp french knife. It should keep a week in the fridge, months in the freezer.

If you use smoke only, there will be too much moisture in the meat, no matter how long you smoke it. I call this condition "flabby".
I also used some garlic powder and a little mustard powder in my rub. made for some good tasting meat. Remember to wash the salt off
thoroughly before you smoke it. FAR too salty if you leave it on.

GrumpyOleTroll
05-27-2011, 10:22 PM
awesome!!

I will cure it this week and smoke it next weekend...its already cut will that be an issue??

shawn
Posted via Mobile Device

OLS
05-30-2011, 01:28 PM
Sorry to ignore this, got busy this weekend. You say it's already cut, what do you mean? Not SLICED? You mean
the belly is cut into chunks? Like perhaps the size of a stick of butter or more? If yes, this is how I am forced to get it
where I buy it. I will take some photos of it before I take it out of the curing tub tonight or tomorrow. If your chunks
are like mine, it DOES sadly affect the results negatively, in that the bacon is forced by the method of the cure to be
a lot saltier than I like it.

GrumpyOleTroll
05-30-2011, 01:44 PM
it was sliced by the processor. my boss and his wife bought a whole pig with their grown kids and the kids fell through with their share of money so boss offered parts up to myself and coworkers..so..
Posted via Mobile Device

OLS
05-30-2011, 05:56 PM
Hmmmm. Pre-sliced might be a problem. Not sure how to tackle that, wouldn't know where to begin. MIGHT be
best the way I don't do it, i.e. a wet cure with pink salt and maple syrup and maybe mustard powder and garlic.
I think you did the right thing asking here, but I am surprised you only got ME responding. I can barely be
trusted as I am only learning now. If it is sliced thin or even what is called 'thick' at the store, smoking might be the
only way. Most people when they do bacon merely cure then smoke the whole belly.

OLS
05-30-2011, 06:52 PM
One thing to be mindful of is that bacteria will go nuts on that meat if it takes too long to make a decision.
The nitrates in the pink salt are to discourage botulism, the salt takes care of a lot of problems itself. But
when you cure individual slices, it really is going to salt that stuff to the point of being inedible maybe.
So if you are going to smoke it, definitely only allow as much as you can eat in a day or so to be in the
fridge. Keep the rest frozen after you smoke it until you are ready to eat it.

Chainsaw13
06-01-2011, 11:44 AM
I have no clue how long you would cure individual slices. Like Brad says, using too much salt would make them inedible, but you need enough to make sure it does its job.

When I cure a slab (usually 3-4lbs each piece), I use a mix of salt, pink salt, dextrose and regular sugar). I put each piece in it's own ziploc bag, add 1/4 cup of my cure mix, make sure it's evenly coated, zip up the bag and put into the fridge for 7-9 days depending upon the thickness. Here's where my method really deviates from Brad's, I don't drain off any of the liquid during the curing process. It helps promote the cure doing it's necessary action to get all the way into the meat. Every day I flip the bags to make sure the cure gets to all sides. Once cured, rinse the cure off, pat dry and then into the smoker @ 180F with about 2-2.5hours of smoke and pull it once the IT reaches 152F. Slice, package, fry up and eat.

OLS
06-01-2011, 02:43 PM
I would say YES, you are definitely right, because that's where the "brine" term comes from.
But the obscure "let's not DO IT the right way" blog entry I read said to do it this way, and I thought
since it's a no pink salt method, maybe I won't buck the system. My first batch I left it in a zippie
and turned it everyday, liquid and all. Which reminds me, my current batch has to be smoked TONIGHT,
so I am glad there was finally another response ad some activity here besides mine. Helped remind me.
AND as a reward for being a helpful tenant this past weekend and straightening up my
landlady's shed, I stole her meat slicer she had stashed in there. MAN is that going to help ME on this
project, lol.

OLS
06-01-2011, 02:46 PM
And for the record, BRAD has no method yet, lol. I am fumbling in the dark for now looking for something
I like in my results. Like I said earlier, round the middle, in addition to what Bob said, I am not sure you can
effectively CURE slices. Your only hope might be smoke only. It would certainly remove the moisture enough
to cook it for BKfast. When you try to completely cure out the water, it is usually because you have to get
all the way to the heart of a big slab of meat and get that flab out. WIth slices, you are only penetrating a
1/16th inch or so. You will have to lay it out individually, though or hang it on some kind of rack made out
of coathangers, lol. I love how we have been talking for days while the meat rots, lol.