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first time bacon making

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    first time bacon making

    Good afternoon, and Friday makes it better! I'm trying out the homemade bacon recipe for the first time. I have Prague #1 and all of the other ingredients listed for the basic recipe. The only thing I didn't have was a 3 lb. piece of belly. What I could find met spec at 1.5 inches thick and 10 inches across the grain but it weighs 1.88lbs. I converted that weight into grams and used the cure calculator on the site which gave me the amount of Prague needed and duration of cure. But I kept the water, salt, sugar, pepper, the same, and put it all in a 1 gallon bag. My question is will it come out too, salty, sugary, etc? Should I have reduced the other ingredients to a little over 1/2 of the 3lb. recipe? Hopefully you can tell me before it comes out of the fridge in 3 days. Thanks!
    Last edited by wmsjensen; January 22, 2021, 03:29 PM.

    #2
    It might come out a bit salty. Kind of depends on your taste. After you take it out of the cure and rinse it slice off a small piece and fry it up. If it is too salty you can soak it in some clean water to draw out some of the salt.

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    • wmsjensen
      wmsjensen commented
      Editing a comment
      Good idea, and thanks for your reply.

    #3
    AS JoeSousa says, it might come out a bit salty, depending on your palate. That said, everyone in my family found the standard cure that Meathead published to be light on salt and I have amped it up a bit in my own versions of the cure. Sugar, on the other hand, really doesn't penetrate more a couple millimeters into the meat (molecules are too big) and so you're not going to experience "more sugar" in my opinion. Rinse it off well before you smoke, shouldn't be an issue on the sugar front. Same thing with the pepper. If you want pepper bacon, the best approach is to do a pepper rub after the cure and smoke it like that.

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    • wmsjensen
      wmsjensen commented
      Editing a comment
      Appreciate your input

    #4
    I've lost count the amount of times that I've done bacon and I'm still tweaking the ratio's a little for perfection.
    Be confident that by making your own bacon you will never buy it again, the addiction begins haha.
    My two cents if your hot smoking is to give it plenty of smoke as you bring it up to 150 deg, but that's how I like it.
    The beauty of it is that you can make it taste exactly how you want, just give it a crack mate, you won't be sorry

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    • wmsjensen
      wmsjensen commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, and a big howdy from New Mexico to NSW. Back in the 90's I was in Sydney and other cities every 3 months for a week or 2. Used to stay at the Manley Pacific Hotel right across the beach in Manly when in Sydney. Is it still there?

    • Stuey1515
      Stuey1515 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi mate, yes it is still there, tbh I reckon Sydney's beaches are overrated, there's much better and less crowded beaches further up the coast

    #5
    It will be just fine. You probably will be tweaking for a while anyway, so this is one attempt.

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      #6
      And it won't be your last.

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        #7
        I've tried making bacon a few times dry brining using Meathead's recipe. I even bought a small scale to weigh out the ingredients exactly. It comes out a little tough and chewy. What am I doing wrong?

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        • wmsjensen
          wmsjensen commented
          Editing a comment
          I'll wait to see the answer but a long time ago, on another planet, I grew up in Libertyville

        • Stuey1515
          Stuey1515 commented
          Editing a comment
          Hot smoked will be a bit firmer than cold smoked (ie the bacon you buy), make sure you are cutting it across the grain to get a less chewy bite. You can't beat the taste though, imo

        #8
        Yes, indeed. Several times I stayed at a small beach town about 45 minutes North. Can't remember the name of it but I was staying at a hotel called Peppers on Sea. I was crook from bad food in Taipei. Went to a doctor there, gave me some pills but told me to go down to the street to the local rugby club and have a couple glasses of beer to settle my insides. It was a miracle cure!
        Last edited by wmsjensen; January 23, 2021, 01:36 PM.

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          #9
          One final question for our friend Down Under: What hardwood are native that you can use for smoking?

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            #10
            One thing I am curious about; the grain on the pork belly. The recipe calls for slicing across the grain. Unlike a lot of cuts seeing the grain in pork belly is tough. Is across the grain like it is done commercially or is it the opposite? My pork belly looks like I would slice it on the "long" side to duplicate store bought bacon. Is that correct?

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              #11
              Oh, never mind; now that I got it off the smoker I can see the grain!

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