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Old October 25, 2009, 09:42 AM   #1
FrontSight
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Join Date: September 9, 2005
Posts: 1,712
Made my own home cured bacon...with pics...56k NO WAY you want to come in here

Heard it was pretty easy & supposed to give really good results, so I tried it & it was pretty easy, but it did take some work...

We're only allowed 6 pics here, so I posted the full set of 25 pics at http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.htm...&#10717018 if anyone wants to see it.

All the items needed (plus a cooking thermometer, forgot to include that in the pic) 12 pound slab of Duroc breed, skin on pork belly overnight delivered from heritage foods, smoker, measuring cup, brown sugar, morton's tender quick curing salt, fridge thermometer, meat scale, digital scale & a tub.



I only used a piece since it was my first time trying this and it would be a shame for it all to go to waste if I did a bad job, so I measured one smoker rack size.

Cut it to that size, and it was 1/3rd at 4 pounds (not bad for a by the eye cut!)

Followed the instructions of 1/2 ounce per pound, plus I used 1 cup of brown sugar

Rubbed it all over in the tub

And after only 20 minutes the salt was already drawing water out of the meat. It turned into a brine later, but I didn't take pictures of that...

I was careful to keep the fridge at between 36 and 40 degrees to keep the cure working and avoid spoilage. I flipped it once a day for 8 days, keeping it in constant contact with the brine. Then I rinsed it down, patted it dry, and placed it uncovered on a rack in the fridge for 18 hours to dry out.

Then I placed it in the smoker, skin side up, with one panful of apple wood chips. It was raining today, and some people would have put off the smoking until the rains stopped, but not me...I just placed the smoker in the fireplace! I did a test run first to ensure the draft was strong enough, and all seemed ok, especially if I kept the smoker all the way in the back and kept the side with the heating element either facing the back or at least to the side, since that's where most of the smoke comes out of and it would escape into the room a little every now & then if it faced forward. Notice the Polder dual thermometer (oven and food temp) connected..




This thing really got going

So safety first! I had a bucket of water & a fire extinguisher, too, just in case, before I even started...


After about 3 hours, the bacon temp reached 125 degrees, so I removed it from the smoker and removed the skin & then returned it, and added a second pan of apple wood chips.




After about another hour and 20 minutes, it finally reached 150 degrees and was done. Total time from initial placement in smoker till done: 4 hours & 20 minutes. Ha, 4:20, in a smoker. Now that's just poetic, isn't it?

The smoker actually reached 240 degrees, without a blanket; not bad. And the anticipation at 149 degrees was killing me!



Done cooking:




Hoping the inside looks just as good..and it does! Hard to see in the pics, but it's nice...notice the pink coloring from the nitrite...



Taste Test is mandatory of course, (couldn't include the pic here)

And....yes, it is good...outside pieces, having receiving full smoke, were too strong, but inside piece was great!
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