Scratch Bacon

Roaniecowpony

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Messages
120
Location
Southern Cal
Grill(s) owned
Bull
I've done a lot of corned beef and pastrami over the years, but never cured my own bacon. So, I figured it was time, since I now have a new Bull.

I was at Costco a couple days ago and picked up 5 lbs of pork belly. It had the skin removed and was cut into 6 pieces when I bought it. While shorter pieces are not ideal for cutting, they do make it quicker to cure.

I decided on a wet brine to cure the bacon. My brine consisted of: Water, pink salt, Kosher salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, cumin.

Rather than trying to stretch the brine for all 5 lbs, I decided to mix up two batches of brine and use two 1 gallon ziploks to hold 3 pieces in each bag. Once I put the pork belly in the bags and poured in the brine, I squeezed out all the air and refrigerated. It should take at least 5 days, but I prefer to go long on curing. I'll let it go at least 7 days, probably longer. Then I'll smoke it. I have a while to decide what type of wood I'm going to use.20200105_130644_resized.jpg
 

Uncle Bob

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Salado, Tx
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Stampede
Good on you Roanie, nice example for others to follow. Just one suggestion on you listing of ingredients and method. Rather than say "pink salt" you might use one of the other more accurate names like Prague powder, curing salt, etc so that the less experienced don't think you're using the less appropriate Pink Himalayan stuff. Their safety isn't your responsibility, but since you're taking the lead on "educating" it might be nice.
 

Greg Jones

Active member
Messages
44
Location
Berea, Kentucky
Grill(s) owned
Bull
Did you get Costco to do this for you?!?
In my experience, the Costco in Lexington only sells pork belly with skin off. I’ve also posted my process in the Recipe sub-forum, and I couldn’t be happier with my results. My family and guests absolutely rave about how good it is. I cured and smoked another 10# during Christmas week.
 

Roaniecowpony

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Messages
120
Location
Southern Cal
Grill(s) owned
Bull
In my experience, the Costco in Lexington only sells pork belly with skin off. I’ve also posted my process in the Recipe sub-forum, and I couldn’t be happier with my results. My family and guests absolutely rave about how good it is. I cured and smoked another 10# during Christmas week.
Greg,
I believe I read your thread. Good stuff. I was actually thinking of using LJ cherry pellets. I saw your comment about adding hickory. What are your thoughts?

Regarding the "pink salt" , UB is right, I should have been more specific that it was a true curing salt, in my case, Prague powder #1, A.K.A., curing salt #1, etc.. It is 6 1/4% sodium nitrite and the rest is mainly sodium chloride (table salt). It is formulated for short cures like I'm doing (days, week or two). I used 2 teaspoons for 2 cups of water. The rest of the ingredients are for flavoring and can be at your discretion. If you get the curing wrong, you can create botulism. So, read up on curing safety before doing this.

(If I was doing a long cure that exceeded a few weeks, like dry salami or summer sausage, I might chose Prague powder #2 which has about 4% sodium nitrate added. )


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Greg Jones

Active member
Messages
44
Location
Berea, Kentucky
Grill(s) owned
Bull
I still don’t have any hickory pellets, so I went with my original setup which was Camp Chef apple pellets in the smoke tube and Rec Tec pellets in the main hopper. I’m on the last of my 200# of Rec Tec pellets, and there’s a dealer in a nearby town that sells Lumber Jack, so I’m going to be trying some new pellets soon.
 

cookingjnj

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213
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Branchburg, New Jersey
Grill(s) owned
RT-680
Hi Roanie...... I am also following this one as I have still not risen to the challenge of curing and smoking my own bacon. Thanks for letting us join your journey.
Greg I will also take another look at your posting as well.
 

Roaniecowpony

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Messages
120
Location
Southern Cal
Grill(s) owned
Bull
So, I had enough waiting on the cure. 6 days is enough given that they are pieced out.

I rinsed the pieces of cured bacon in cold water to get the excess spices and salts off, then changed out the pellets in the hopper to straight Lumberjack Cherry, fired it up and set to LO to get maximum smoke. The Lj 100% Cherry gives off a good amount of blue smoke.

I'll try to get a good amount of smoke in these before I raise the temp to fully cook.

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Roaniecowpony

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120
Location
Southern Cal
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Bull
Lacking any other information, that's what I did too. 150F.

This stuff looks like candy with all that cherry smoke. I smoked it about 3 hrs or more. I'm sure it will be better as it ages, but I don't think I can wait. I'll fry some up after I clean up and it cools in the fridge.

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Roaniecowpony

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Messages
120
Location
Southern Cal
Grill(s) owned
Bull
Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose. I lost this one. I really didn't like the cumin and paprika flavor and it was way too salty. It's not the first 5 lbs of meat I've wrecked, and probably not the last. It looks great and has a nice smoke flavor. I'd do cherry again. But the cumin and paprika, nah. I gotta cut the salt in half. I'll look for another recipe or a few and get a better feel for the salt brine.
 

bfletcher

Premium Member!
Premium Member
Messages
64
Location
Ohio
Grill(s) owned
Bull
Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose. I lost this one.
You have lots of successes, and I applaud your passion to experiment! I'm going to pick up a pork belly today and begin a 7-day cure. This will be my first attempt, and I intend to keep it simple. I'm going to try Morton's Tender Quick and brown sugar.
 

Roaniecowpony

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Messages
120
Location
Southern Cal
Grill(s) owned
Bull
You have lots of successes, and I applaud your passion to experiment! I'm going to pick up a pork belly today and begin a 7-day cure. This will be my first attempt, and I intend to keep it simple. I'm going to try Morton's Tender Quick and brown sugar.
Thanks Fletch. What wood are you planning on using?
 

cutplug

Member
Messages
23
Morton's and brown sugar is a winner. I TBL of each per pound of meat.
Personally I don't get to jacked up about my pellets anymore. Fruit for most everthing but
beef and then hickory or mesquite. If I had to pick one it would be cherry.
The biggest difference I see is BTU. So if maximum temp is important go with hickory or mesquite. Softer flavor go with the fruit!
 

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