Recipe Makin Bacon

Discussion in 'Recipes' started by ditch witch, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    Finishing your own bacon is something anyone can do. The cures are limited by your imagination and really take little time to prepare. Smoking is a bit time consuming but you can do it even if you don't have a smoker. I've talked to people who oven cured their's and while I think a long, low smoke is by far the better option I'd do the oven if it was all I had. I'm by no means a bacon makin expert (bacon eating maybe) and there are other ways to do it (including some that don't use curing salt) but this is how we do it and the results have been superior to anything I've ever gotten from the store.

    There's two kinds of curing salt you can use. Morton's Tenderquick, which you can probably find at any grocery store, and pink salt which is sometimes called Prauge Powder. I've never seen it except online so I've never used it. MTQ is cheap and a little goes a LONG way so stock up. I have an Excel file that has a calculator to take the pounds of bacon and give you how much salt, sugar, and chosen cure you'll need as your base, but I can't seem to attach it. Just PM me if you want it. Anyhoo, the basic formula is:

    1 pound bacon
    0.75 TBS Salt
    0.75 TBS Sugar
    1.4 grams of pink salt OR 1.5 teaspoons MTQ

    Right now my hands down favorite is a Maple Bourbon cure and that's one of the ones I did this morning. The recipe varies according to how much you're making, but you'll need kosher salt, curing salt, maple or dark brown sugar, maple syrup, and of course your pork belly. This one here weighs 2.5 pounds.


    My recipe today is Maple Bourbon Bacon
    2.5 # pork belly
    1 ounce kosher salt
    3.75 tsp MTQ
    1/8 cup (2 tbsp) maple sugar or packed dark brown sugar (I used light brown since I needed to use it up)
    1/8 cup (2 tbsp) maple syrup

    Before you start, pull on a pair of plastic gloves if you have them. The salt in this will find scratches you didn't know you had on your hands if you don't. Combine the salt, pink salt/MTQ and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Rub this mixture over the entire surface of the belly.


    Place skin side down into a container that will fit in your fridge. Two gallon ziplocks are nice if you have them. The salt will make the pork release water creating a brine. Pour in the maple syrup and make sure it's distributed on all sides of the belly and rub it until it's well coated.


    Now refrigerate, turning the belly and redistributing the cure every day for 7 days. Today's batches will be ready to smoke next Saturday, at which point I'll break out the bourbon. :)


    The second batch I made which I didn't bother to photo was:
    Molasses Black Pepper
    2.5# pork belly
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
    2 tbsp kosher salt
    3.2 tsp MTQ
    1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
    Same directions as with the maple bourbon.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Ah bleeves we'uns iz gonna need pix ub de smokin', cuttin', an eatin' next week.
    chelloveck and ditch witch like this.
  3. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    I'll update on Saturday :)
    Ganado likes this.
  4. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    Will keep a close eye on this thread ;) YUM!
  5. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Looks good.

    Question, how do you slice up your bacon?
    ghrit likes this.
  6. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    We have a meat slicer. Without it, we'd get the slabs rilly rilly cold and then thick cut it by hand I suppose.... I would freeze it and run it through the band saw but the Mr. already shot that idea down a long time ago, heh.
    Ganado, chelloveck and Motomom34 like this.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    The band saw idea work just fine, but the cleanup is nasty. Use the slicer;)
    chelloveck likes this.
  8. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    We've had 2 meat slicers in the past. Get them, use them once or twice then they go into storage, then we get rid of them.

    Using my bandsaw would embed sawdust (currently cherry wood) and would allow for "smoking" the meat while cooking I guess. But then I'd get bacon on my turning wood later.
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  9. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    The Mr. had the slicer, grinder, etc when I met him. We use them quite a bit actually, especially during fall when turkeys go on sale and all our friends get their deer heads and need someone to relieve them of the carcasses. :D
    chelloveck likes this.
  10. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    It's been 24 hours since they went in the cure and it's time to turn them. Here you can see how the salt pulls the liquid from the bacon to make a brine, which it's now soaking in.

    The slabs need to be turned over once a day to ensure they stay well coated with the brine.
    Here's the maple slab ready to be turned over.


    And here's the molasses black pepper slab. If you're a huge pepper fan you can crust one or both sides with coarse pepper.

  11. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    As a kid on the farm we salt cured lots of meat. I remember the stuffed sausage hanging in long loops, hams/shoulders with heavy wires through the shanks, and side meat (bacon) hanging with it. We had a large box that we covered the meat in with salt/pepper/borax. We turned and kept the mix watched till "cured". On cold mornings it was my job to carve off slices of what ever was on the breakfast menu. Mmmm, makes my mouth water just thinking about those great days.
  12. tekdoggy

    tekdoggy Monkey

    where do you get pork bellies? do the local grocery stores carry them?
  13. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    @tekdoggy, grocery stores can get them in for you from Affiliated. I was getting mine from a butcher shop a few blocks from my house, but this batch came from an ethnic market about an hour away... I'd never seen them in the showcase before, but then that place has everything from duck feet to entire carp in their meat case.
    chelloveck likes this.
  14. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    The week and a day curing time is up!

    Take your well cured bacon out of whatever you stuck it in, and rinse it off. If you skip this you'll have bacon that's too salty to eat, so make sure you rinse it well. Once that's done, pat it dry with a paper towel and then off to the smoker!

    Edit: A lot of recipes say to put your bacon back in the fridge on a rack, uncovered, for 12-24 hours at this point, BEFORE you smoke it. I always, always forget this step, including today, and since my bacon always turns out good I'm not sure if it really matters. YMMV.


    If I have the time I use a wood fired smoker to do this, but I'm busy today so am using the pellet grill, which has a smoke setting. You want to bring the internal temp of your bacon to 150, so whether you get there in 2 hours or 8 is your call. In order to keep the heat inside the smoker down to 150 where I like it, I have to stick a little chunk of wood under the lid to keep it from closing.


    So here's a peek after 2 hours smoking @150F. Maple on the left, Molasses Black Pepper on the right.


    After 4 hours the internal temp is registering 115. The maple is getting a quick baste in bourbon now, and I'll do that a few more times before it's ready to pull.


    I'll be back once we pull these and they've had time to rest.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2014
  15. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    Six hours later they emerge from the smoker with an internal temp of 150F and somewhat thinner than when I first started with them.


    We let them rest for about a half hour, then popped them in the freezer for another 20 minutes so they'd be easier to run through the slicer. As soon as they came out, we carved the skin off. Some people take it off before they start curing but I have an ulterior motive.


    Over to the meat slicer


    Which delivered heaps 'o sliced bacon. BACON! Normally we vac seal it but I used up all our food saver bags on bell peppers the other day so it's butcher paper for now. We'll repackage them in a few days when we have time to get to the store and get bags.


    And the skin? Cut into pieces to be tossed in the fryer for chicarrones. The pork rinds you buy are usually made from boiled pork skin, but smoked is waaaay better.


    I have 6 more of these curing in the fridge now and this time I WILL remember to put them back in after the cure is done for that extra day before smoking. See if it makes any difference.
  16. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    I really hope the meat sale at local grocery store next week has pork belly. Shame on you for posting this! :p
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  17. Seepalaces

    Seepalaces Monkey+++

    I have tried this, but I never seem to be able to slice it correctly. In any case, thank you so much for posting the recipe!! It's very useful!
    Ganado likes this.
  18. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Slicing to uniform thickness is an art, and not everyone can master it. If not mastered, it might be a jump ahead to make friends with the neighborhood butcher who has a slicing machine. (I do OK with quarter inch, but less than that is simply a series of oopses.)
    Tully Mars and chelloveck like this.
  19. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    Ditto that G, there is a reason I like thick cut bacon;)
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  20. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    Local butcher shop we go to, pork bellies are $5 a pound, so next month I'm gonna buy 2 pounds and try the maple bourbon cure. I'm getting each pound seperately, because I want to try one letting it sit for the 12-24 hours before smoking, and the other right away. We have brown sugar and maple syrup, we will need the MTQ/salts though. And the bourbon. I was trying to tell a friend about this recipe a few weeks ago, but it had been so long since I had said bourbon, I couldn't remember how to pronounce it. I kept saying boore-bon instead of bur-been.
    Yard Dart, Ganado and Motomom34 like this.
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