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Bacon in the PBC

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    Bacon in the PBC

    I haven't seen any tales of cooking bacon in the PBC, so here are two. My first try at bacon was regular, side, bacon. I started with 3 pieces of pork belly, each about ¾ lb. I brined them 9 days using the recipes here at AR, 2 pieces maple, 1 Asian. After rinsing and drying I hung them in the PBC with a probe in the bottom of one of the strips to get a good central location. Click image for larger version

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ID:	65499 I used a good bit of hickory wood. After only 45 minutes the internal probe read 149, but my hand held probe said only about 135 deg, so I continued the cook. At a little over an hour my hand probe read 155, a little high and I took the meat out. A quick tasting indicated it was very good.

    The internal probe temp was off probably because it was sticking out the bottom of the strip of belly. Thus, it was nearer the coals, conducting heat up. This is a bad position for that reason, and also because juices drip down onto the cable-probe junction and the cable. As an engineer, I should have anticipated both problems. Click image for larger version

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    After refrigeration, I sliced the bacon with a machine. After pan cooking, I found the Maple version a little bland, perhaps needing more pepper. The Asian version had too strong a taste of Hoisin for me, but my spouse really liked it. Later I cooked up the whole batch in the oven at about 375 deg on a parchment covered sheet pan. I found I liked the flavor a lot more after that, even when reheated in a pan or the microwave. I think the flavors mellowed and blended. None of this went to waste, of course, and I continue to experiment with the brine recipes.

    Canadian Bacon

    I started with a 2 lbs boneless pork loin, and cured it with my latest experimental version. I don't care for sweet ham or bacon, maybe I'm spoiled by the commercial stuff, so I've been reducing the sweetening agents in the AR cures. This one (for 2 lbs) was:
    1.5 Tbs Table salt
    1 tsp Prague #1
    1 Tbs Black pepper
    1 tsp Garlic powder
    1 tsp Sage, thyme, bay leaf, (S&G blend works well here for green tones)
    1 Tbs Sweet soy glaze, a very thick & sweet teriaki sauce
    4 Tbs Brown sugar
    ½ C water
    I cured it for about 3-1/2 weeks, and then cooked it on the PBC GreatGrate so I could easily keep throwing in wood. It shared the grate with a piece of pastrami. I cooked to an internal temperature of 150 deg, about 1hr 45min. (The pastrami continued to cook with smoke all the way.) I tasted an end slice and found it tender and good, but very salty. After chilling and machine slicing (about like thick bacon) the salt level was fine, and the flavor very good. Still, I think a little more conventional sweetener, brown sugar, maple, etc., might be a better choice than the soy glaze. But one has to experiment. I vacuum sealed it in 6 oz packages and froze them. Generally I briefly heat a (thawed) slice or two in a frying pan for breakfast. A success, but I'll continue to experiment. Click image for larger version

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    As an end note, when I wanted to make this in Maui, I couldn't find a single pork loin on the island, for a number of weeks. I found out there was only one supplier, and he wasn't supplying, for some reason. So I used a pork sirloin roast, with a slightly different brine version. When you're isolated in the middle of the Pacific, you have to take what you can get. (It is easier and cheaper to get pork belly than in Houston, however.) The sirloin was very good, too, so if you see a good deal, try it.

    It was one of the first cooks that I did on my PBC. Worked out pretty well..

    I was experimenting with low and slow and it was a hit. Ran 200-210 steadily


      Bacon will my next "special cook." After Chinese ribs and fried rice.


        Well, I should have known Ernest has done it! And he placed the internal probe correctly. That's a nice slab of bacon, so far I've only found smaller strips, 1 lb or under. I have to get over to West Houston and the huge Asian supermarket. They have a lot of things I'm not sure I want to eat, knowingly.


          Doc Hazard you can find nice slabs at Whole Foods. They're priced about the same as the Asian market.


          • Doc Hazard
            Doc Hazard commented
            Editing a comment
            I got my strips at Whole Foods, about $6/lb. I just assume it would be cheaper in the ethnic markets. It's cheaper in Maui and almost every store has it. Strange. Right now, I have 4 lbs of loin curing, 2 pieces in two different spice mixes. One has Grains of Paradise, pepper like but with other flavors. The other is primarily a spice mix for corned beef. We'll see.

          I did a 6 pound slab some time ago, pretty good except I didn't trim enough fat off the top and all of my seasoning slid off the top ><. My dad said it was exactly what he had growing up, but didn't get 'hard' enough for my family, they want crispy and my wife's isn't done until it looks like a chunk of trailer tire from the interstate.


          • Jerod Broussard
            Jerod Broussard commented
            Editing a comment
            Meathead says his recipe produces a bacon that will not crisp up a whole lot when fried. I'm pretty sure I read that about his recipe.

          • _John_
            _John_ commented
            Editing a comment
            He does, but I wanted to try "real bacon"

          I'll be doing this in the PBC soon. But to Doc's point, I've had funny readings with an internal probe, too. In chicken, mostly, but with the probe stuck properly, ala Ernest's bacon. Still, a hand probe an inch or so away can be as much as 15 degrees cooler, the difference between juicy chicken and spending the rest of the evening throwing up. Both devices are more or less in sync out in the air, so it's a puzzle.


          • _John_
            _John_ commented
            Editing a comment
            When my probes weren't 100% clean I would get weird results, they would match sometimes but other times be way off. My thermopop is my most accurate, I put my many probes in ice water on the stove and watched them all go up One was very jumpy, but once I scrubbed the heck out of it with steel wool it worked just fine. Not sure if there was some carbon specks messing it up or what. I would test whatever you have, hopefully you have a pretty accurate probe to use.

          jmott7 Most homemade bacon is sliced and fried again so I would worry too much about temp unless you are going to eat it straight out of the smoker.



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