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1.) DParker - 05/17/2020
A 10 lb lb pork belly cut in half for 2 different bacon recipes. On top, a new Maple-Espresso recipe using some of the Pappy's Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup my son gave me for my last birthday, and some of the finely ground Katz Texas Pecan coffee beans that are my daily drink. On the bottom, my favorite tried-and-true "Chili" blend (smoked Spanish paprika, cumin and ancho powder).


[URL="https://i.imgur.com/VGD7k7Q.jpg"](Full Sized Original)[/URL]

After the usual 7-day cure and a night of pellicle formation in the fridge, into the magic smoke box they go...


[URL="https://i.imgur.com/v030ova.jpg"](Full Sized Original)[/URL]

It's been too long since I've smoked anything due to not being able to have anyone over to enjoy it with, and both my dogs gave me that look of, "It's about damned time!"
2.) bluecat - 05/17/2020
I wish I could smell or taste that.
3.) bluecat - 05/17/2020
So what is the smoking temperature for bacon. Are you cooking it or just adding flavor?
4.) DParker - 05/17/2020
[QUOTE=bluecat;60931]So what is the smoking temperature for bacon. Are you cooking it or just adding flavor?[/QUOTE]

~175F-~180F is about as low as I can keep my smoker this time of year. And I am cooking it (to an internal temp of ~150F) because, except for during the middle of winter, it just isn't cold enough outside here to safely cold smoke it. I did that with my last batch using my cold smoke generator, but it was in late December.
5.) bluecat - 05/18/2020
So when you are going to eat it, it is essentially pre-cooked?
6.) DParker - 05/18/2020
[QUOTE=bluecat;60933]So when you are going to eat it, it is essentially pre-cooked?[/QUOTE]

It is. The 2nd cook is just to render more fat and crisp it up. The downside (for many) is that it makes the meat a bit chewier than with cold smoking, but I actually kind of like it...and it's just the price you pay for avoiding extra risk. I know some people cold smoke regardless of ambient temperature and get away with it. But having already enjoyed food poisoning 3 times I'm through taking those kinds of chances.
7.) bluecat - 05/18/2020
Got it. I was wondering. So how will you keep it?
8.) DParker - 05/18/2020
After I slice it tomorrow I'll put about a month's worth in a zip-lock bag in the fridge and the rest will be vacuum packed (also in 1-month portions) and frozen.
9.) bluecat - 05/18/2020
Nice. Did you use a commercial cure or did you come up with your own?
10.) DParker - 05/18/2020
I always mix my own so that I can control the ratio of salt, sugar and sodium nitrite and perform what's called "equilibrium curing". Most cures involve an excessive amount of salt, which is why people generally rinse/soak the belly after curing so as to prevent the bacon from being way too salty. Not only is that an extra step I want to avoid (I'm lazy), it wastes ingredients and washes off almost all of the added flavorings which, like smoke, are a surface treatment that mostly don't penetrate the meat. Using the equilibrium method you measure each ingredient of the basic cure - kosher salt, sugar and cure #1 (a mix of 93.25% ordinary salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite) - by weight as a % of the meat's weight. You use just enough of each - no more, no less - to do their jobs. That way there's no rinsing required and all the added flavorings stay on the meat when it goes into the smoker.
11.) bluecat - 05/18/2020
...you know, you remind me of Alton quite a bit. That's a compliment.
12.) DParker - 05/18/2020
Yeah, I'm just like him...except for the culinary science degrees, and being in shape, and making boat-loads of cash from FoodTV, and....
13.) bluecat - 05/18/2020
I have to confess, I have a salt cellar thingy like his. Got it for father's day.
14.) bluecat - 05/18/2020
[QUOTE=DParker;60939]I always mix my own so that I can control the ratio of salt, sugar and sodium nitrite and perform what's called "equilibrium curing". Most cures involve an excessive amount of salt, which is why people generally rinse/soak the belly after curing so as to prevent the bacon from being way too salty. Not only is that an extra step I want to avoid (I'm lazy), it wastes ingredients and washes off almost all of the added flavorings which, like smoke, are a surface treatment that mostly don't penetrate the meat. Using the equilibrium method you measure each ingredient of the basic cure - kosher salt, sugar and cure #1 (a mix of 93.25% ordinary salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite) - by weight as a % of the meat's weight. You use just enough of each - no more, no less - to do their jobs. That way there's no rinsing required and all the added flavorings stay on the meat when it goes into the smoker.[/QUOTE]

So cure #1 of which you speak. Is this like love potion #9 where no one really nos what's in it. So do you mix up cure #1? Do you buy it?

I've used Morton Quik Cure (from memory) for curing. It does contain a lot of salt but then I don't add additional salt to the recipe.
15.) DParker - 05/18/2020
[QUOTE=bluecat;60949]So cure #1 of which you speak. Is this like love potion #9 where no one really nos what's in it. So do you mix up cure #1? Do you buy it?

I've used Morton Quik Cure (from memory) for curing. It does contain a lot of salt but then I don't add additional salt to the recipe.[/QUOTE]

Cure #1, which also goes by the names Prague Powder #1, InstaCure #1 and probably some others that I'm not remembering, is a mixture of 6.25% by weight sodium nitrite with the rest being ordinary salt (sodium chloride), pink food dye (so you don't confuse it for just ordinary salt, which would be dangerous) and usually an anti-caking agent. It's primary role is as an anti-microbial, killing nasties that the salt alone won't reliably handle (most importantly, botulinum). But it also produces the familiar pink hue you see in ham, bacon, etc, as well as the otherwise indescribable flavor that is characteristic of cured meat. It is something you buy as pre-mixed product.

Products like Quick Cure contain everything (salt, sugar and nitrite) already, except for optional flavorings. Their advantage is just convenience. Their disadvantages are higher cost and the fact that they give you no control over the ingredient ratios. They also rob you of the flexibility of using alternatives to white sugar if you want.

Also, be careful to not confuse it for Cure/Prague Powder #2, which also contains sodium nitrAte. It is intended for longer-term cures like hams, salamies and the like. It is used for them because the nitrite gets used up pretty quickly, and the nitrate breaks down into nitrite slowly over time, providing anti-microbial action for the duration of the cure. Short-term cures (bacon, pastrami, et al) don't last long enough for the nitrate to break down, and it would remain in the meat in an unhealthy amount when consumed.
16.) bluecat - 05/18/2020
Yeah, thanks for going over that again. I know you've spoken about it before but I slept through that class cause there was a hot chick up front.

I'm clipping your quote and storing it in my food file. I wasn't aware that my Quik Cure had sugar in it. I'll have to check the ingredients.

Is the Prague Powder available at supermarkets or online? I'm guessing online or I think I would have seen it before. If I go that route I'll probably be starting at square one again on my recipe ingredients.
17.) DParker - 05/18/2020
[QUOTE=bluecat;60951]I know you've spoken about it before but I slept through that class cause there was a hot chick up front.[/quote]

Ah, that's why you were carrying your textbook in front of you when you got called up to show your work on the chalkboard.

[QUOTE=bluecat;60951]I wasn't aware that my Quik Cure had sugar in it. I'll have to check the ingredients.[/QUOTE]

I presume you're referring to Morton's "Tender Quick" product. I just looked up the ingredients again and was reminded that it also contains nitrate in addition to nitrite. I don't know how much, as it doesn't list amounts/ratios, so that's another reason I avoid it.

[QUOTE=bluecat;60951]Is the Prague Powder available at supermarkets or online? I'm guessing online or I think I would have seen it before.[/QUOTE]

I get mine in a 2 lb bag from Amazon. Given that you only use 1 tsp / 5 lbs of meat that's a LOT of cure, but it keeps a long time and I'll use it all eventually, so it's more cost effective.

[URL="https://www.amazon.com/Curing-Prague-Anthonys-Verified-Gluten-Free/dp/B00XUXTOU6/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=anthony%27s+curing+salt&qid=1599922835&sprefix=Anthony%27s+curing+&sr=8-3"]https://www.amazon.com/Curing-Prague-Anthonys-Verified-Gluten-Free/dp/B00XUXTOU6/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=anthony%27s+curing+salt&qid=1599922835&sprefix=Anthony%27s+curing+&sr=8-3[/URL]



You can also get it in the BBQ supply areas of many sporting goods stores, often in small bottles like this one that I used to buy at a local Academy:



Which reminds me of one of the other names that cure #1 goes by: "Pink curing salt #1", or often just "Pink salt #1". This is a rather unfortunate alias, as it commonly causes people to confuse it and Himalayan Pink Salt, which is of course just ordinary salt with some trace minerals mixed in.
18.) bluecat - 05/18/2020
Yes, "Tender Quick"

Not to be a pest, but is the cure to kill nasties up until the time of smoking or beyond the smoking?
19.) DParker - 05/18/2020
[QUOTE=bluecat;60953]Yes, "Tender Quick"

Not to be a pest, but is the cure to kill nasties up until the time of smoking or beyond the smoking?[/QUOTE]

Primarily up until the smoking and subsequent consumption/storage. But there is generally some tiny amount of residual nitrite that continues to do the job for a while after that (unless frozen, of course).
20.) bluecat - 05/18/2020
[QUOTE=DParker;60952]Ah, that's why you were carrying your textbook in front of you when you got called up to show your work on the chalkboard.
[/QUOTE]

To be fair, Miss Parker was bending over a lot to help students with their work.
21.) Swamp Fox - 05/18/2020
So, what time's breakfast?

oops,,, sorry for the hijack.


This is a most excellent thread.

Carry on ... :-)