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!
Sorry that I haven’t been around this thread for a while. Saltiness can be an issue. My first belly that I did was 5 lbs and I brined it for 5 days using the recipe I originally posted. I rinsed the hell out of it but it was really salty. Good news is that it was great in soup recipes, especially bean and bacon soup. Second time I did 10 lbs but cut it in half and brined the two pieces separately using equal parts salt and brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, nutmeg, thyme, coriander and a little bourbon. I brined it for 3 days and the saltiness was much better but felt that the flavor could have been better. So next time I’m cutting the salt in half, doubling the brown sugar and keeping all other ingredients the same. I’m going to brine for 5 days.
Apple and hickory are great woods for smoking bacon. But I use pecan and will never stray from it. I think it’s the best.
Haha thanks for that encouragement, Edge! I like bacon too much to give up after one batch. Picked up another 10# of pork belly yesterday so I'll be starting a new batch soon. Trial and error!
Personally I would guess it was the rinse, but not sure on your cure recipe. Zep and Bugle are the captains on this thread. Still you tried and that's the main thing, you are going to turn into a bacon God in no time!!
zep - so you're thinking the saltiness is due to not washing it good enough vs curing it too long? Or a combination of both?
Kev. I will use a small brush and scrub the brine off the bacon before smoking. Otherwise yes it will be salty. I just did 5 bellies that turned out well, not salty. We can't eat store bought any more. Washing will also remove the sugars that will burn around the edges when cooking.
Zep made a post a couple pages back. He rinsed, then cut off a little to fry up. If it's too salty rinse again and repeat. Won't wreck the whole batch from being too salty.
Learn,learn, learn. I sliced mine a little to thick. Doesn't shrink like store bought
Made 10 pounds of bacon for the first time last week. Used a curing mixture from a local butcher. Cured for 5 days and then split up into 3 different groups: plain, bourbon and bourbon maple and continued curing. I thought I read somewhere that you can't "over-cure" pork belly but I think I was mistaken. I ended up curing it for 11 days because I didn't get a chance to smoke it until then (1.5" thick belly) and after smoking it at 200 degrees for 3 hours over apple wood chips on Sunday, I made some last night and it is overly salty. Great flavor, but very salty. Maybe I didn't rinse the belly enough between curing and letting I form the pellicle? Not sure but next time I won't cure it as long to see if that helps. Haven't tried the bourbon or bourbon maple yet to see if it affected the flavor.
Are there different ways to flavor the bacon or did I do it right by just adding it to the ziplock bag it was curing in?
Anyone have any issues with the saltiness too? I'm not sure if I started out with too much salt, over-cured, didn't rinse, etc.
Definitely a learning experience I'll be trying again!
Saw some posts about venison bacon that looked interesting so I decided to give it a try.
Used a 60/40 mix of venison/pork and the bacon seasoning from PS.. Smoked at 120 for 2 hours and then at 175 for 2.5 more hours until the meat hit 145. Used cherry wood.
Finished product turned out OK but I thought it could have used some different seasoning to give it more flavor or kick. Will be good to use for a variety of uses (breakfast sandwiches, BLT's etc)..
doing a fresh ham as I type. just a rub, no brine.
smoking with apple. practicing for Christmas!!
I did Zeps recipe and it was very good. I did mine in 3 sections because of size and the only size bags I could find was 2 gallon.
the only thing I will do different is when slicing bacon. I will slice thinner because of less shrink when frying. I used apple wood and it gave it a nice flavor.