I smoked a cured 5 lb. pork belly yesterday. The brine was a dry rub of a salt, brown sugar, nutmeg and thyme mixture. I coated the belly in raw apple cider vinegar before applying the rub. I let it cure in the brine for 5 days flipping it in the liquid that formed daily. I smoked it until the internal temp was 150 degrees F. Took about 3 hours with the wind yesterday. I used a blend of pecan and apple woods. Mmmmm! Bacon!
Wish I lived that close to Maplewood. Then again maybe not, I would be there always. As it is, I still get the about (4) times a year.
Bugle- Can I ask what Maplewood charges for their pork belly's?? Have a buddy who lives 10-15 minutes away from them and may give them a try down the road..
"I know it must have been frustrating to go thru all the work and then end up with a bad bacon."
Amen to that. After getting poor results two times in a row, I went to the local butcher shop (Maplewoods in GB). Their bellies are always high quality and they skin them for you too.
Not bashing Costco. I like 99% of what I buy there but their bellies leave much to be desired.
Edge- I assume you ended up with a pork belly that had just too much fat.. I have picked up belly's on 3 occasions from Costco and always sorted thru them to find "meatier" ones. Also used the tip from ZEP about holding them in the middle.. A good/meaty one should have limited bend on the edges..Stopped at Costco 2-3 weeks ago and looked at the belly's (and briskets) and thought the belly's all had too much fat and I did not buy any.. Assume you may get more consistent quailty from a local butcher but I know they tend to run more $.. I know it must have been frustrating to go thru all the work and then end up with a bad bacon
So I did some bacon awhile back from a hog I had butchered and it turned out great. My wife bought a pork belly from Costco a week ago. Same exact recipie and it's a salty mess. What the heck? Doesnt even look the same!!
ZEP- Please post your results of the beef bacon smoke. I have seen posts on another on-line forum where folks also used briskets (mainly flats) for bacon. I know the beef naval cut is also used to make pastrami..
On your question of temp. The site I mentioned above had most users cold smoking bacon for several hours (or longer) and then finishing off the bacon with a hot smoke. The inside temp of their smoker was 200 with a goal to have the belly hit 145-150 degrees.. I am sure you could "hot" smoke at a lower temp but it may take longer to hit the 145-150 meat temp goal.
One other tip I picked up for home made/thicker bacon is to make it in the oven. Just put some tin foil on a cookie sheet (with a ridge) and set oven to 375-400. Takes 10-15 minutes depending on the texture you like. Turns out great..Easier than standing over a stove getting splattered and flipping bacon...
Kona congrats on your success. Looks fantastic. Costco does have good bellies if you find the ones that don't bend easy. Fatty ones will bend easy. I am going to try beef belly bacon next.
KV I only take my temp to 155 is there a reason to take it to 200?
KVAN- I believe the process you mentioned below would work. Not sure how long you thought about cold smoking?? I went 2.5 hours and thought the bacon could have used more but I really like smokey meat.. My wife and family members all thought the bacon had a nice smoke flavor..I also used apple chips which is a pretty mellow wood. May add some hickory or oak and go to 4 hours/cold smoke on the next attempt.
Also wanted to add that I picked up the pork belly at Costco ($2.99lb)..I know there was an earlier post about sub-par (too much fat) bellies at Costco.. The day I went to the store they had 10-12 belly's out and I know I handled all of them 2-3 times before I picked one.. Ended up with a really nice meaty one but really there were 3-4 that were just as good..I know the meat manager gave me a look like "Just pick one already" !!! Can't beat their price compared to some local butcher shops
After giving out samples to family members and eating a bunch I was left with only 3 packages for the freezer.. Time for another pork belly!!! ZEPLURE was right and I will not buy store bought bacon again..
Thanks for sharing your process, i like the idea of soaking in cold water for the saltiness, definitely gonna try that next time.
Anyone see any issues with cold smoking a cured pork belly and finishing it in an oven at 200 degrees? I'm not able to get my smoker hot enough when it is this cold but really want to do another batch. Cold smoking should still give it that smokey flavor and I don't see why finishing in an oven should affect how it turns out, right?
Smoked my first pork belly (10lb) yesterday and it turned out great. Started with a 7-day brine cure of salt/brown sugar/maple syrup. Removed from brine on Friday and let sit until yesterday. Used Apple chips and cold smoked for 2.5 hours and then finished off at 200 degrees until the bacon hit 150.. Added a maple syrup and cracked pepper glaze and let sit overnight. Only unfortunate part is the bacon does not fit on my 7" meat slicer so I did my sample pieces by hand (they are on the thick side)
A couple of the posts on here mentioned a 'salty" taste. Besides running cold water over the belly after removal from the brine, I also let it sit in a cold water bath for 5-10 minutes. This was a pointer I saw on another smoking/BBQ forum and it worked well for me. Will defintely do bacon again.. YUMMY!!!!
Added info- My cure recipe is 1tbsp of salt (used TenderQuick) and Brown Sugar to pound of pork belly. Ended up using 10Tbsp of salt/brown sugar. Lots of other good looking dry and wet brine recipes that I may try on the next pork belly. The maple syrup glaze did lead to some burning on the edges on my trial run this morning. My wife loves crisp bacon so that was fine.