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How to smoke your own bacon

MoonshineBen
Experienced Contributor

How to smoke your own bacon

Hey all

 

Loving some of the BBQ discussions going on here. I know a lot of you are trying smoking for the first time, and I know that everyone loves bacon, so I'm republishing here my method for smoking your own (originally on the Moonshine BBQ blog). Honestly, you will never buy it from the shop again after this.

 

There are two things you should know before you start. Firstly, it’s a process that takes about a week, depending on your patience. Secondly, the flavour is amazing, but much stronger than anything you will buy at a supermarket, so think about how much smoke flavour you like.

 

The ingredients themselves are pretty simple:

  • 1 kg of Pork belly, skinless (this will give you streaky bacon but you can also use a whole piece of loin for middle bacon)
  • 3 TBS salt
  • 5 TBS brown sugar
  • 2 TBS pepper (we used Moonshine BBQ Pepper mix, but black pepper works just as fine)
  • 1 tsp Prague Powder #1 (pink curing salt)

Some points on the ingredients:

 

  • Make sure the pork belly is skinless, as you want the cure to penetrate the meat, and the skin will stop that from happening. Ask you butcher to take the skin off for you. I made the mistake with my first one of doing it myself and made a mess of it. That said, it still made awesome crackling. But I digress – make sure you still get the skin from your butcher….
  • What on earth is Prague Powder #1? Well, it’s a special curing salt (sometimes called Pink Curing Salt), comprised of sodium chloride and sodium nitrite. You don’t need much of it in the mix, but it’s an essential part of the cure. You can buy it cheap online, I get mine from www.countrybrewer.com.au

 

Once you have all of these ingredients, the first part of the process is pretty simple.

 

  1. Mix all of the cure ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Lay out the pork belly on tray (to catch all the cure), pat it dry with some paper towel and sprinkle half the mix over it and rub it in, making sure it’s all covered. Flip the belly over and repeat on the other side.
  3. Once you’ve given it a good coating, get a large ziplock bag, put the meat in and any excess cure, zip seal it and pop it in the fridge.

Now comes the part that requires patience.

 

For the next 5-7 days, you’re going to flip the belly once each day. You’ll notice that there is a lot of liquid forming in the bag, this is the cure working to draw it out. Make sure each day you turn it that you massage the bag to work the liquid and cure in.

At the end of day 7 (preferably, but if you’re impatient, 5 will do), take the meat out of the bag and rinse it off. You want to get the excess cure off the skin, and rinse as much off as you can.

 

Pat it dry with some paper towel and pop it on a rack in the fridge (put something under it to catch drips), uncovered, overnight. You want to use the cold air flow in the fridge to dry out the belly even more.

Next day, get the belly out of the fridge and bring it up to room temperature.

 

While it’s doing that, fire up your smoker. I’ve read many temperatures to get it to, but anywhere between 175F – 200F will be OK. I use hickory wood. Pop the meat on the rack, or if you have a smoker with hooks, by all means hang the piece of belly. I also add hot water to the water pan in my smoker. If you're using hickory chips in a smoker box on a gas BBQ, make sure you soak them for half an hour before hand.


Smoke it for 3 hours, until it has an internal temp of 150F (use a thermometer with a probe, go in through the side until it meets the middle of the meat). Depending on how hot you’re running your smoker, it may take more than 3 hours. The meat should also get to a beautiful mahogany colour.

 

Once it’s at temp, take it off the smoker and let it cool to room temp. Then wrap it, or pop in an airtight container, and back in the fridge overnight. This will help it firm up just that little bit more.

 

When you’re ready to eat it, slice the cooked ends of the meat off (with the grain), and then slice bacon in long strips. It’s a thing of beauty when you cut through it and see all that beautiful cured pork.

 

Cook and serve however you like yours. Note that because of the low water content in it, it will crisp up much quicker than anything you buy from the shop. Start it in a cold pan and it will burn less.

 

Photo 15-05-2016, 10 34 59 AM.jpg

 

 

Oh, and the best bit? Cut those slices as thick as you like….

 

 

 
Happiness is a full smoker - moonshinebbq.com.au
Brad
Valued Contributor

Re: How to Smoke Your Own Bacon

Chris from UrbanGriller

 

Dry cured canadian bacon.

 

Boneless loin or belly pork. Cure mix quantities per 1kg of meat 1 tablespoon of salt ½ teaspoon of ground white pepper 1 tablespoon of brown sugar or honey 1 teaspoon of onion powder ½ teaspoon of garlic powder ¼ teaspoon of all spice ½ teaspoon of Kwikurit - To make the cure, mix all the dry ingredients together (then mix in the honey if using). Place the meat into a plastic container, coat the pork loin with the cure and refrigerate. - Allow 1 week of refrigerated curing for each 25mm (inch) of thickness, measured at the thickest part. Turn the meat every day. - After the curing period, rinse the meat in cold water to remove. Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Place the meat onto a smoking rack, place it over a bowl to drain and refrigerate uncovered for 24 to 48 hours.

- Preheat the Hark Gas Smoker to 60°C (140°F). Put the meat into the Hark Gas Smoker and dry with no smoke and no water pan for an hour until the pork is dry to touch. - Replace the water bowl and fill with cold water. Cold smoke at the lowest temperature you can for 4 hours, then hot smoke at 90°C (140°F) until the internal temperature of the bacon reaches 60°C. - Remove the bacon from the Hark Gas Smoker and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight before slicing. This will “set” the bacon, making it easier to slice. Cured bacon will last two weeks in the fridge and even longer if vacuum sealed. Bacon also freezes well.

Kermit
Valued Contributor

Re: How to Smoke Your Own Bacon

Homer.jpg

Andy_Mann
Trusted Contributor

Re: How to Smoke Your Own Bacon

@MoonshineBen, we don't have a smoker, but my darling wife came across a foodie fruit & vege shop, & brought home some bacon. I wasn't aware that she hadn't bought it from a supermarket, until I bit into it.

WOW oh WOW, what a difference.

It had a wonderful smokey flavour, without the massive salt hit that we get from the supermarket stuff, & it was lean.

I'm now chaffing at the bit for a smoker, but I don't like my chances.

Brad
Valued Contributor

Re: How to Smoke Your Own Bacon

I might be able to help you out @Andy_Mann

Andy_Mann
Trusted Contributor

Re: How to Smoke Your Own Bacon

@MoonshineBen, I'm in negotiations with a fellow Workshopper to smoke some bacon , but for health reasons, I need it to be very lean.

Would smoking a pork fillet be suitable, or do you have other suggestions?

MoonshineBen
Experienced Contributor

Re: How to Smoke Your Own Bacon

@Andy_Mann, you can use the loin, which is what you basically get middle bacon from, instead of the belly which will give you streaky bacon.

 

That way you'll have that large piece of meat and a easily trimmable rind.

 

Cheers

Ben

Happiness is a full smoker - moonshinebbq.com.au
Andy_Mann
Trusted Contributor

Re: How to Smoke Your Own Bacon

@MoonshineBen thanks for the tip mate, much appreciated.

My smoker enthusiast Workshopper buddy (though we haven't met yet), has a hot smoker, but any suggestion that I've put to my darling Tania that we need one, has gotten a firm NO.

I've been working on my back-up plan of going with a compact cold smoke generator, & the one from the Aussie Smoke Bloke, would be perfect, but that hasn't been received well either.

She says I've buy things & don't use them, but surely, a bloke who works for less than $10/day (5 tinnies), would have to be due for a break ($190 splurge).

If I hyperthetically win on the cold smoke generator, I presume that I'll still need to cook (slowly) the loin, or would curing it make it safe eating?

Brad
Valued Contributor

Re: How to Smoke Your Own Bacon

Fairly sure Google comes up with cold smoked bacon recipes.

People that are a lot more experienced than me have the theory that smoking should be a longer process to get a good smoke ring and avoiding a bitter taste from using too much smoke. Aussie smoke thinks that microwave quick is the way to go. I have only tried one way so I don't know how much difference there is in taste.

I have used my pizza oven with a maze box to cold smoke salmon, you have to be careful that it stays cool. I went with an ice tray and starting the sawdust with a blowtorch rather than a tea light, with an external generator a insulated box with a top vent would maybe get the Tania seal of approval.
Andy_Mann
Trusted Contributor

Re: How to Smoke Your Own Bacon

@Brad, thanks mate, much appreciated.

I've Googled cold smoking & bacon, but I get so excited that I read a bunch of 'em, then end up totally confused.

Some say hot smoke only for food safety reasons, & some say curing takes care of the dangers, so there doesn't seem to be a clear winner.

When I'm scouting around, I think that one makes sense, but keep searching, then I forget which one I like & why. I know I should bookmark the good ones, but when I'm in research mode, crazed enthusiasm wins over being sensible/organised, & I end up in a spin.

I'm like a kid in a lolly shop when I'm on the net.

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