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Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by teamfat, Apr 12, 2014.
Just checked the firmness of this garlic bacon slab. I'll be firing up the smoker tomorrow.
Sure. Stop on by.
I just brought home 3 belly's ... as much as I can smoke at the same time.
I'd be willing to skip the samples, as I'm sure I know how that would taste, and be pleased with just a description of your technique.
I'll take some photos tomorrow and post those with a description of the whole process.
Nice one - my next batch goes into the cure next week! Probably garlic/black pepper/juniper.
Me thinks I need to try my hand at this. Bacon does NOT last more than one day in our house and GEEEEZ!!! The price of the stuff, not to mention some of the stuff taste like, well, it rhymes with SAP!!
Exactly what I was thinking K~girl! After seeing this thread (which I'll continue watching with attention to make sure I don't miss teamfat's photos and commentaries), I did a quick search and just this minute I was reading this:
The big guys who make commodity bacon inject pork bellies with a brine with flavorings such as liquid smoke. Then the slabs are sprayed with more liquid smoke. Then it is baked. The product is delicious, but there is no substitute for the flavors of slowly smoked bacon made the old fashioned way.
BRING IT BABY!
I'm ALL IN!
I can get beautiful Pork Bellies at my "Asian market" (I don't care for that term)
CHEAP! like $1.99 per pound, nicely marbled, great ratio of fat to meat...
OH MY GRAVY, STOP!!!
I'm making myself drool /img/vbsmilies/smilies/surprised.gif
By all means, go for it. I started my first experiments based on the basic recipe from Ruhlman's "Charcuterie" - try out his cure then develop your own flavours. Haven't bought any bacon for a year now...
Is it the same recipe he has on his website? http://ruhlman.com/2010/10/home-cured-bacon-2/
I was surprised to see that the recipe does not involve smoking - for some reason I thought bacon was always smoked. But that's good news to me since... I can get started making bacon without a smoker! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
The recipes are pretty similar, the one you posted is great for getting started. There are 2 basic approaches dry cure and wet cure. The first uses no liquid, the wet cure method uses a brine. When doing a dry cure, however, the salt will draw water out of the belly, so you get a self-brining effect, so to speak. There are a lot of recipes on the net. This one has some nice pictures:
Bacon usually is smoked, but it doesn't have to be - like Italian style pancetta.
One thing I will mention is that if you use nitrates ( pink salt, Morton Tender Quick, etc. ) you want to measure it fairly accurately. The aromatics, sugar and what else can be by guess and by gosh.
Great, thanks for all that info and the link @teamfat, I appreciate it. And I look forward to seeing your results. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
It is a bit more elaborate. The basic recipe in his book has a cure of salt/nitrite/sugar that you can flavour however you want.As teamfat said, the pink salt is a fixed amount, with the rest, you can play around. You can just bake it without smoke and still get a decent result, I, however, hot smoke it in my Weber grill. Just keep the temperature down.
Great, thank you Gene.
Now that sounds good, waiting for the results. I really should order some fresh bellies and make a batch of bacon. Could probably get 3 in the traeger using the stacked rack. Tired of putting bacon in the pan and having it steam for minutes before frying.
I lied, sort of. There were still some softer spots, let the belly cure for a bit longer.
In this picture you can only see a small bit of the liquid that is extracted from the curing process, just to the lower right of center.
Should have taken another picture today of it in the bag, more of the brine visible. But I rinsed it off, being happy with the texture.
It is now sitting uncovered in the garage fridge, where it will dry for a day or so. If you look closely at the bottom of the slab to the right, you can see where some scoundrel took a sliver of fat, probably did a quick fry on it to test. Normally when I do bacon I might use 2, 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. This one was about a dozen. It showed in that taste test.
@teamfat I always end up with some soft areas but if the rest is done I smoke it. Otherwise I think can over cure the other parts. One idea I had was to press the bacon to make it more uniform but have yet to try it. How much garlic did you use? Did you puree it or just chop it?
Nice work and thanks for sharing.
This often depends more on the texture of the meat that you are curing than on your curing technique. I rarely get a cut that really cures unifomely. As long as the main body is done, it goes into the smoke.