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Old 12-14-2011, 01:52 PM   #1
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I'm looking for suggestions on the cure for some bacon. It's the one thing I've tried to make a bunch of times and have never really been happy with it. The last batch I made was by far the best and that was the simple maple-cured bacon recipe out of Chacuterie.

I've made that cure before but the difference was, this time, I left it in the smoker much longer (about 6 hours) and it was dramatically better. It's not QUITE there though.

I don't want to do a "savory" bacon with herbs, garlic, etc. I am looking for a straight forward smoked bacon recipe.

The last one I did was:

2 oz salt
2 teas pink salt (#1)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

The book says to then hot smoke it for about 3 hours until an internal temp of 150F. Like I said, I left it on for about 6 hours and it was much much better... and my internal temp was still only about 155F so it isn't like a roasted the stuff.

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Old 12-14-2011, 02:23 PM   #2
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Why not cold smoke it. That might be the difference you need between what you have and what you are looking for.

I am actually going to pick up some bellies today to do over the weekend.

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Old 12-14-2011, 02:30 PM   #3
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I dunno... I tried cold smoking my bacon a couple of times and the fat stayed crazy rubbery and nasty. Hot smoking seems to break down the fat so that, when you cook it, it actually crisps up a bit and isn't like chewing on rawhide.

Maybe I'm dreaming but the times I've made cold smoked vs. hot smoked... the hot smoked has always been dramatically better.

Even the recipes that I've seen for cold smoking... then tell you to bake the belly in the oven and I think this has a ton to do with what I was saying above.

no??

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Old 12-14-2011, 02:54 PM   #4
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I dunno... I tried cold smoking my bacon a couple of times and the fat stayed crazy rubbery and nasty. Hot smoking seems to break down the fat so that, when you cook it, it actually crisps up a bit and isn't like chewing on rawhide.

Maybe I'm dreaming but the times I've made cold smoked vs. hot smoked... the hot smoked has always been dramatically better.

Even the recipes that I've seen for cold smoking... then tell you to bake the belly in the oven and I think this has a ton to do with what I was saying above.

no??
I have been wanting to do it for a couple years now but haven't so I can't say for sure. I just know that it does make a pretty big difference between the two. Maybe it has something to do with how thick you are slicing it? Main reason I haven't done bacon yet is because I was waiting to get a slicer.
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:57 PM   #5
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I have a slicer... and I get it pretty thin. I don't think that's it.

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Old 12-14-2011, 02:59 PM   #6
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Don't have a clue then. Either it was just the bellies you used. didn't let it cure long enough, or just personal preference. Hard to say.

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Old 12-14-2011, 03:07 PM   #7
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When I have cold smoked... I sliced off a couple of pieces, cooked them up... and they were terrible. I then followed the last step in recipes I've seen with cold smoking and that is to put the belly in a 225F oven for a couple of hours and bring the internal temp up, cool and then eat.

... and once I did that final step, it was dramatically better.

it was way way better but still didn't have the exact taste I was looking for.

I am heading to the butcher in a few minutes to grab a couple more bellies so... I dunno... maybe I'll tweak the recipes just a hair here or there and see.

(got two really nice looking pancettas hanging in the curing closet now)

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Old 12-14-2011, 03:12 PM   #8
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That is odd. I guess I will know in a couple weeks if I run into the same thing or not.

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Old 12-14-2011, 03:41 PM   #9
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Hijack warning.

I've only made bacon once and its was pretty good (savory recipe out of Charcuterie). I don't really understand the point of putting it in the oven to bring the internal temp up to 150. I don't have a smoker, but can rig up a cold smoker fairly easily. Can you just cure and cold smoke without throwing it in the oven?

I can only imagine putting it in the oven at a low temp helps break down connective tissue and make it more tender?

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Old 12-14-2011, 03:47 PM   #10
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That is all I can think of as well.

I might be in left field but it seems like bringing it up to temp changes the texture of the fat dramatically. I'm sure there are positives and negatives of of cold vs hot smoking but I don't think you want to skip the step of bringing it up to temp.

as I was saying in a post before, I've done a couple of cold-smoked and they were terrible until I put them in the oven and brought them up to temp, cooled them and then cooked as normal.

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