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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.

    #2
    I would change your username to "Macon Bacon" Just saying.

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      #3
      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.

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      • 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.

      #4
      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.

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      • 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.

      #5
      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.

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        #6
        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.

        Comment


          #7
          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.

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            #8
            Subscribed! I'm looking forward to hearing how your big batch turns out. Bacon is on my short list of things to make.

            Comment


              #9
              How did it turn out? What method did you use for such a large batch?

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