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Meathead's maple bacon...20+ pounds!

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    Meathead's maple bacon...20+ pounds!

    I may be in over my head. I made bacon a few weeks ago and brought in a little sample for some people at work...they loved it. They told me to let them know the next time I plan on making some so they can "place an order". This morning I told a few people that I would be doing another batch shortly and word quickly spread through the office and I currently have "orders" for 20 pounds, not including what I will make for myself. I did 11 pounds last time, which seemed like a lot, but it turned out to be very manageable and no trouble at all.

    Has anyone done large batches of bacon? I have a second fridge, so space isn't a problem while curing, I'm just looking for any tips before I get started to hopefully avoid any unforeseen problems.

    I'm thinking I'll mix a big batch of cure and ladle it into however many vacuum seal bags I end up using.

    Any input would be appreciated and I'll be sure to take pictures along the way...all that bacon will be a beautiful sight.

    I would change your username to "Macon Bacon" Just saying.


      I do bacon, a case (4 bellies) at a time. Usually right at 50#. It's often the easiest way to get bellies and usually cheapest. I skin them & cut each side in half so end up with 8 pieces. I use a semi-dry method which involves rubbing the cure and selected extras (spices, herbs, etc) on each piece. Then they go in a 2 gallon Zip-Lock bag at which time they get 1/2 cup maple syrup is poured in with. They are then stacked 4 deep in two 18 quart plastic dish pans and then in the fridge. Flip them over every day or two. Between the syrup & the cure pulling juices out of the meat, it very quickly becomes a wet cure. After a week or 10 days, I rinse them and let them set in cold water for an hour, pat dry and on the smoker to 150-160. I usually use apple wood and often add a little more syrup or a dusting of brown sugar during the cook/smoke. I have to do this in batches as even with a BGE & a modified COS, I still don't have room for 8 at a time. I like to slice it thick, 4 mm (a touch over 1/8"). It's amazing how many friends you can accumulate when the word gets out that bacon is done. Bring on the home grown tomatoes, it's BLT season!!!!

      Tip 1: Shop around. I have found that some stores will order a case with modest markup and some will "stick it to ya".
      Tip 2: Don't use Glad bags. They leak, or at least the box I got did. Very messy.
      Tip 3: Cook the bacon with low heat in a pan or in the oven. With that much sugar it will scorch in a hot fry pan.


      • FLBuckeye
        FLBuckeye commented
        Editing a comment
        HorseDoctor Are you following MH's bacon from scratch recipe i.e. prague powder #1?

      • HorseDoctor
        HorseDoctor commented
        Editing a comment
        I actually use a very similar recipe from Michael Rhuman's book Charcuterie. It uses Prague powder, salt, sugar & maple syrup, just doesn't add water. I also frequently add some garlic, black pepper & powdered bay leaves for a slightly more savory version.

      HorseDoctor what bags do you use? I used some sort of zip lock bag for my first bacon run and had leaks too. The next time I did it I used a vacuum sealer and it was so much better knowing that they were sealed tight and that I could give the bags my daily squeeze and mix without worrying about busting the bag open. The food saver bags get expensive, so I don't know if I want to use them when doing a large batch.


      • HorseDoctor
        HorseDoctor commented
        Editing a comment
        I've had fairly good luck with "Ziplock" brand. Only problem is keeping dry rub out of seal slot. It can prevent a good seal. Got a batch going right now & there must be 1 out of the 8 leaking a bit. A good reason to keep them in the plastic dish pans. add a little more syrup or a dusting of brown sugar during the cook/smoke. Vacuum sealer sounds like a good option. Will try that next batch.

      The issue is keeping all surfaces wet and having enough liquid so that the ingredients aren't depleted. I'm sure there's a way to scale, but if I were you, I'd do 1 pound bags.


        Picking up 6 lbs of belly in the morning for my first try at bacon. I'm going to go with 2 lbs of each of Meathead 's 3 recipes. (Regular, Maple, Asian). After reading this, I'm going to use my vacuum sealer instead of zip-top bags.


          I have made about 150 lbs since last summer. I mix each 2 gallon bag separately to keep salts and spices exact. I usually do 5 pound bellies. I did cajun flavors with pear wood Saturday. Tastes great but I want spicier.


            Subscribed! I'm looking forward to hearing how your big batch turns out. Bacon is on my short list of things to make.


              How did it turn out? What method did you use for such a large batch?



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