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Bacon curing question

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    Bacon curing question

    I cured some pork belly last week, and smoked and sliced it into bacon last week. I followed the basic recipe from the free side, but did scale it, using the calculator, for the fact that I had cut a 9 pound belly in half, ending up with two 4.5 pound chunks. It dawns on me that the curing calculator defaults to 125ppm, and that might be a factor. I don't remember today how much Prague powder went into the mix for each slab when I mixed it up last Monday or Tuesday night. Anyway, the pork cured until I smoked it Saturday evening, so 4 or 5 days. I flipped it and massaged it several times a day, every time I went past the fridge.

    What I noticed when slicing was that some of the lean of the bacon is darker. In fact, the portion that is darker is the lean towards the top of the bacon, the way the slab was on the smoker, while the lean towards the bottom (fattier side) of the slab is a lighter pink. See below:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_6947.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	3.57 MB ID:	1118158

    Does this lighter pink for some of the lean inside the bacon mean the cure did not work all the way through in 4+ days?

    I was curing in two gallon zip locks, that were folded over partially, with most of the air squeezed out. On the flips, most liquid tended to be around and below the belly it seemed, about level with the thickness of the slab.

    I’ve cured bacon a few times myself. I don’t think what you’re talking about is terribly abnormal, or even low on the curing salt. Pretty sure I’ve seen the same thing in my bacon. If you think about it, if the fat stays white and doesn’t turn pink or red, it makes sense that the fattier parts of the meat would also be lighter in color (pink) than the leaner parts of the meat (red)

    But just to be safe, you should send me your bacon. This is very dangerous. I am a professional and I have some sophisticated equipment that can test this type of thing out …


      Yeah, jfmorris I'd be happy to take that stuff off your hands, there no sense in risking it. I can even make a special trip next time I'm passing through N Alabama. I won't even charge a pick up fee. :-)

      It looks like great bacon to me - it seems like color variations are typical in store bought bacon. But it's a very good question in terms of curing recipe to weight ratios...


        This is not abnormal at all. The bacon is cured all the way through. The color would be grey if it was not cured all the way through.

        It is lighter because the cure concentration is not as high in the areas that are covered in fat. The cure takes longer to penetrate those areas. You can see on the bottom of your slab, where the is no fat, or almost none, that the meat is darker. Two things, smoke penetration and the cure has had more penetration into the meat in those areas because it does not have to go through a fat layer. .


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks! That makes sense. Cooked to 150F internal WOULD be gray all the way through without the nitrite, now that I think about it.

        Agreed it's ok. But I cure for longer than 4-5 days, usually 7-10. OTOH I dry cure, so...


          You can see a similar variation in some professionally made bacon:


          https://www.nueskes.com/assets/1/6/D...on_Duo_Feb2018 _RT.jpg?2321

          Last edited by Murdy; November 1, 2021, 11:39 AM.


          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks! I feel better about it now! I was just looking at it as I sat there slicing and vacuum sealing bacon for 30+ minutes, and got to wondering...

          I have seen similar results. I think that looks great! Will look better once you drop it on your flat top!


          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            Great minds think alike! I kept a small zip lock of "scraps" from trimming the bacon out and cooked them and ate them with a salad for lunch today!

          • DavidNorcross
            DavidNorcross commented
            Editing a comment
            Every salad needs some good protein!

          Had to test it by eating the scraps from last night's bacon trimming and packaging....

          This was a 1 burner cook on the Camp Chef flat top, haha! But less cleanup that if I did it inside on the stove with the skillet. It was quite tasty on a lunch salad.

          Three hours later and I am still alive, so the cure must have worked!

          Click image for larger version

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            Your bacon looks great! If it doesn't please you, feel free to send it to Uncle Strat for analysis...


            • Spinaker
              Spinaker commented
              Editing a comment
              bet you could use some bacon up there! Winter was already setting in when I was there in late September.

            • Strat50
              Strat50 commented
              Editing a comment
              Naaaah, that was just a tease, foreplay if you will...lol


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