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Other than Brewing => All Things Food => Topic started by: onthekeg on January 30, 2011, 04:58:04 PM

Title: Made my own Bacon
Post by: onthekeg on January 30, 2011, 04:58:04 PM
My Dad and a friend butchered 5 pigs a couple weeks ago, and I mentioned to cut out the bellies and I will cure and smoke them.

I rubbed them with sea salt and maple sugar a couple weeks ago.  Smoked them yesterday.  Turned out quite tasty!  The belly pictured is 8lb.
Here are some pictures for proof
(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f373/dalet56245/bacon1.jpg)
(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f373/dalet56245/bacon2.jpg)
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: ullarsskald1989 on January 30, 2011, 06:09:09 PM
Mmmmm...bits o' pig =)
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: euge on January 30, 2011, 06:29:10 PM
Bacon is proof god loves us.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: The Professor on January 30, 2011, 06:50:28 PM
Congrats...home made bacon is the best, hands down.   Haven't made American style bacon in a few months, but did up some pancetta last week, and am going to do some Irish style in a couple weeks.
Yum.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: weazletoe on January 30, 2011, 06:56:30 PM
I have tears in my eyes, I'm so happy.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on January 30, 2011, 07:32:20 PM
That looks awesome, is it really as easy as you described?  I've wanted to do it, it's on my list of things to look up to figure out how to do :)
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tubercle on January 30, 2011, 07:36:32 PM
Stack a couple of them slabs and use them for pillows. Sweet dreams.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: denny on January 30, 2011, 08:01:27 PM
I did that about 35 years ago.  Back in my heavy hippie days a friend and I figured we should be in touch with where our food came from so we raised, slaughtered and butchered a pig by ourselves.  The meat was incredible, but once was enough for me.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on January 30, 2011, 10:01:16 PM
That's going whole hog Denny ;D

I just figured I'd get a pig belly from the butcher.  How big is a pig belly?  Was the 8 lb one typical, or is that just part of one?
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tubercle on January 30, 2011, 10:55:05 PM
The "official' sow belly on the Chicago Board of Trade is 18 lbs.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on January 30, 2011, 10:58:59 PM
The "official' sow belly on the Chicago Board of Trade is 18 lbs.
Did you pick that up from watching Trading Places? ;D
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tubercle on January 30, 2011, 11:15:42 PM
The "official' sow belly on the Chicago Board of Trade is 18 lbs.
Did you pick that up from watching Trading Places? ;D
 
 Tubercle used to trade on CBOT ,CME & NYME; cotton, corn, sugar, soybeans,& Canadian dollars. IIRC, sow bellies are actually traded on CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange).

 Don't do this with the grocery money. Its like going to the track. If you can't afford to lose it, don't bet it.

  Tubercle started out with $10,000 in the account and 5 years later ended up with $9,800 in the account. At one time it was up 9x and another time it was 1/2.

 It was actually fun and I learned a lot. Lost a little sleep from time-to-time ;D
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on January 30, 2011, 11:26:54 PM
I'm not a gambler - I lack the patience and get bored too easily.  I was a favorite with guys I worked with who liked to start off their keg parties with Texas Holdem - after a few hands I'd go all in just so I could go do something else.  It was only a $5 buy in anyway :)  If I'm gambling I expect to lose, and I do lose, so I don't do it.

I still want to get a pork belly and make bacon though, so back to my original question . . . is it really as easy as rubbing it with a mix for a few days, then smoking it?  That's it?  No aging or anything?  I'll go do some reading, just wondering how the OP, onthekeg, did it.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: nicneufeld on January 31, 2011, 12:07:32 AM
There are plenty of ways to make bacon!  A book on curing/smoking/charcuterie is a great starting point though.

Curing, I guess the big question is whether to do it salt-only, or to use something with nitrates/nitrites (curing salts), or a more complex sugar/salt/nitrate blend which is probably more common.

Smoking...well, cold smoking, hot smoking, somewhere in between?  It's a bit tricky.  I guess it also depends whether you want it smoked and ready to eat, or smoked and ready to cook.

The last step of aging and/or drying is probably reserved for the more European varieties of bacon such as slanina and (I think?) pancetta (I get that and prosciutto confused).  I love the balkan style bacon...slanina isn't my favorite, though its good, but for eating "raw", I do love a bit of smoked beef bacon.  That is heavenly stuff.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on January 31, 2011, 12:23:52 AM
I did a bit of reading and I'll probably do it with salt, pepper, and sugar.  I'll leave out the nitrates/nitrites.  And I'll cold smoke it for a few hours, slice it, and freeze it in portions.  ;D

That will be the first one anyway, I might do a variation for the one after that.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: bluesman on January 31, 2011, 02:11:34 AM
That's a beautiful sight!

Home Smoked Bacon rocks!

Yea Tom... I want to follow a similiar process.  Salt cure + cold smoke is the way to go for this piece of meat. It's a process that can work well if you have fine tuned cold smoke capabilities.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on January 31, 2011, 03:29:08 AM
I've done a lot with cold smoking cheese, so I'll use the same process.  I just need to build a bigger box, I only do at most 2.5 lbs of cheese at a time.  Hmmm, cherry smoked bacon . . . :)
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: onthekeg on January 31, 2011, 02:14:57 PM
I'm not a gambler - I lack the patience and get bored too easily.  I was a favorite with guys I worked with who liked to start off their keg parties with Texas Holdem - after a few hands I'd go all in just so I could go do something else.  It was only a $5 buy in anyway :)  If I'm gambling I expect to lose, and I do lose, so I don't do it.

I still want to get a pork belly and make bacon though, so back to my original question . . . is it really as easy as rubbing it with a mix for a few days, then smoking it?  That's it?  No aging or anything?  I'll go do some reading, just wondering how the OP, onthekeg, did it.

Sorry for the delay in answering your question Tom
I rubbed the bacon two weeks ago with Sea Salt and a nitrate mix.  For the 3 slabs I had, I ended up using 1oz of Prague Powder mixed in with 1lb of salt as well as a couple oz of maple sugar.  I then poured some maple syrup over the slabs and rubbed that in as well.  Put them into a rubbermaid tub which was then put into my keezer.  I had to take a couple kegs out for the two weeks it was curing.   :o  (Its a 23 cu ft unit so there was still cold beer.)

Every couple of days I would drain off the juice in the bottom of the tub and put it back in the keezer.  I don't have the ability to cold smoke properly so these were smoked for 6 hours at 180, as cold as I can go.  I sliced these all up yesterday at my parents as he has a meat slicer.  Turned out pretty good!
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: nicneufeld on January 31, 2011, 02:25:19 PM
6 hours at 180...do you think it might be fully cooked?  If you took a temp and you hit 160 by the end of it you could try a little shaving of it au naturale!
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: onthekeg on January 31, 2011, 02:38:57 PM
6 hours at 180...do you think it might be fully cooked?  If you took a temp and you hit 160 by the end of it you could try a little shaving of it au naturale!

I did eat some raw when I sliced it last night and didn't get sick.  I should have probed it, but I just let the smoker run out of fire overnight and it was cold and partially frozen in the morning when I woke up.   :-\  I was lazy, LOL.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on January 31, 2011, 06:54:58 PM
Sounds great though!  Did you flip it at all when it was in your keezer?
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: bluesman on January 31, 2011, 07:41:17 PM
Here's an informative article on curing/smoking bacon from the U of Missouri.

http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G2528
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on January 31, 2011, 08:02:37 PM
Great info, thanks.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: alikocho on January 31, 2011, 08:21:53 PM
The "official' sow belly on the Chicago Board of Trade is 18 lbs.
Did you pick that up from watching Trading Places? ;D
 
 Tubercle used to trade on CBOT ,CME & NYME; cotton, corn, sugar, soybeans,& Canadian dollars. IIRC, sow bellies are actually traded on CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange).

 Don't do this with the grocery money. Its like going to the track. If you can't afford to lose it, don't bet it.

  Tubercle started out with $10,000 in the account and 5 years later ended up with $9,800 in the account. At one time it was up 9x and another time it was 1/2.

 It was actually fun and I learned a lot. Lost a little sleep from time-to-time ;D

I remember that. Used to trade financial options on LIFFE. Some nights were sleepless, but at least it was someone else's money. And yeah, pork belly's on the CME.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: onthekeg on January 31, 2011, 08:27:12 PM
Sounds great though!  Did you flip it at all when it was in your keezer?
Yes every time I took it out to drain the juice out of the bottom I would rearrange them.  I rubbed more salt on it the first time I took them out as well.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: euge on January 31, 2011, 11:29:36 PM
So how does one get an uncured pork belly? At the butcher? Seems to me it would be special order- what would be a fair price per pound?
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on February 01, 2011, 04:54:37 AM
So how does one get an uncured pork belly? At the butcher? Seems to me it would be special order- what would be a fair price per pound?
Good question.  My butcher makes bacon and sells it for $5 per lb, so I'm guessing I can get fresh pork belly for less than $4 per lb.  I don't know how much less yet though, I haven't asked.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: roguejim on February 01, 2011, 05:19:57 PM
http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/2008/12/making-bacon-part-3-cold-smoking.html
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: oscarvan on February 02, 2011, 11:01:24 PM
Quote
Tubercle started out with $10,000 in the account and 5 years later ended up with $9,800 in the account. At one time it was up 9x and another time it was 1/2.

Two years of leveraged ETF's..... up 1000%, down to 10%......pulled the ripcord when it passed by break even again.....put my money in brewing equipment.... ;D
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: bluesman on February 03, 2011, 01:07:10 AM
http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/2008/12/making-bacon-part-3-cold-smoking.html

I've been to this blogspot many times.

Cowgirl's blogspot is the shazizzle!

Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: euge on February 03, 2011, 02:40:00 AM
http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/2008/12/making-bacon-part-3-cold-smoking.html

I've been to this blogspot many times.

Cowgirl's blogspot is the shazizzle!



It never fails to disappoint! And linking off her site yields some interesting info.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: johnf on February 03, 2011, 03:23:36 AM
So how does one get an uncured pork belly? At the butcher? Seems to me it would be special order- what would be a fair price per pound?

$2 - $2.50. Probably special order. Places that sell house made bacon are more likely to have it on hand. Asian groceries often have it on hand.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tfries on February 10, 2011, 03:59:02 AM
No more store bought bacon for us either.  There is a meat processing place just a few miles from us that has fresh pork bellies every Wednesday. We have done some Pancetta also as well as curing fresh hams that we acquired from the same place.

No pictures of the bacon, but here is one of the Pancetta and a few of the ham we did for Christmas.

Pancetta
(http://www.tomandteri.com/brewery/IMG_1913_resize.JPG)

Pre-cured pig leg
(http://www.tomandteri.com/brewery/IMG_1924_resize.JPG)

Cured and Smoked
(http://www.tomandteri.com/brewery/IMG_2042_resize.JPG)

Mmmm meat :)
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: Robert on February 18, 2011, 03:39:19 PM
So how does one get an uncured pork belly? At the butcher? Seems to me it would be special order- what would be a fair price per pound?

Just picked up a frozen 5 lb belly at a butcher in Deep Ellum in Dallas, $3.60/lb. Seemed a bit steep, considering I found a cached website from '09 that listed it at $2.50/lb. Damn inflation. Anyways, it should be thawed by tomorrow and I'll be throwing on kosher salt, coarse ground pepper, a touch of Prague Powder and some local honey. I'll attempt cold smoking the following weekend in my sidebox smoker. Gonna use some plum wood from my plum tree that died last year. Can't wait.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: MrNate on February 19, 2011, 07:41:05 AM
Three pages and no "Makin' Bacon" jokes? Just sayin.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: euge on February 19, 2011, 07:46:15 AM
So how does one get an uncured pork belly? At the butcher? Seems to me it would be special order- what would be a fair price per pound?

Just picked up a frozen 5 lb belly at a butcher in Deep Ellum in Dallas, $3.60/lb. Seemed a bit steep, considering I found a cached website from '09 that listed it at $2.50/lb. Damn inflation. Anyways, it should be thawed by tomorrow and I'll be throwing on kosher salt, coarse ground pepper, a touch of Prague Powder and some local honey. I'll attempt cold smoking the following weekend in my sidebox smoker. Gonna use some plum wood from my plum tree that died last year. Can't wait.

Then I expect $2.50 is a fair price down here.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: Robert on February 20, 2011, 01:40:24 AM
Makin bacon!

24 hours into cure
(http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af246/rsauermann/37ca3ae1.jpg)

Simple cure:
5 TBS Kosher Salt
1 TSP Prague Powder
5 TSP Brown Sugar
1 TBS Black Peppercorns slightly crushed
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on August 10, 2011, 08:17:34 AM
Any updates from anyone?  I looked this up to find the sources again, I'll read through these again as soon as I can:
http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G2528
http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/2008/12/making-bacon-part-3-cold-smoking.html

Not too long though, I picked up 5 lbs of belly today.  And I got that charcuterie (http://www.amazon.com/Charcuterie-Craft-Salting-Smoking-Curing/dp/0393058298) book to go through too, see what they say about the bacon.  I'm excited. :)
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: punatic on August 10, 2011, 08:28:01 AM
Three pages and no "Makin' Bacon" jokes? Just sayin.

Obviously a Yankee.  
It's Macon bacon.  It's a Jawja thing.  ;)
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: hugh_jass on August 11, 2011, 12:09:12 AM
Any updates from anyone?  I looked this up to find the sources again, I'll read through these again as soon as I can:
http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G2528
http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/2008/12/making-bacon-part-3-cold-smoking.html

Not too long though, I picked up 5 lbs of belly today.  And I got that charcuterie (http://www.amazon.com/Charcuterie-Craft-Salting-Smoking-Curing/dp/0393058298) book to go through too, see what they say about the bacon.  I'm excited. :)
I'm kinda new here, so please pardon the interruption.

I bought that book this past winter and have not looked back.  I now regularly cure bacon.  Also, the sausage recipes are very solid. You and your butcher are going to be on a first name basis.

 I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. 
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tubercle on August 11, 2011, 12:19:48 AM
It's Macon bacon.  It's a Jawja thing.  ;)

 Been to Jawja...been to Macon ;D
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: Hokerer on August 11, 2011, 01:44:42 AM
I'm kinda new here, so please pardon the interruption.

No pardon needed.  Everyone's welcome here.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on August 11, 2011, 06:23:34 AM
I'm kinda new here, so please pardon the interruption.

No pardon needed.  Everyone's welcome here.
Well yeah, but saying "I do it all of the time" and not providing any advice . . . !!!  Come on, give some details of your experience! ;D
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: johnf on August 11, 2011, 03:12:59 PM
I've done the maple bacon from the Ruhlman/Polcyn book a few times and really like it. The instructions are to cook it in the oven at 200 (assumption being I think this is the most basic thing in the book and the one people will start on before they have a smoker). I hot smoke at about 200. Used plum wood this last time. Any mild fruit wood I think is good. Hickory can be overpowering.

I would use nitrite. Pork and cured pork taste completely different. If you expect it to taste like "bacon", use the nitrite.

This last time I did 5 lbs of the maple recipe and 5 the same way with D2 instead of maple. It's good, but the maple is better so I won't do it again.

My last tip is to put in the effort to get a good piece of belly from a heritage breed (tamworth, mangalitsa, berkshire, etc). I did my first batch with chinese grocery belly and it was fine but after doing the second batch with a much higher quality belly, I'll never go back. I just buy the whole belly and trim it square. Freeze the trimmings and use them for the fat in sausage later.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: hugh_jass on August 11, 2011, 03:47:10 PM
I'm kinda new here, so please pardon the interruption.

No pardon needed.  Everyone's welcome here.
Well yeah, but saying "I do it all of the time" and not providing any advice . . . !!!  Come on, give some details of your experience! ;D

Well, my procedure is to take a whole fresh side and cut it into ~4 lb pieces to fit them into 2 gal. zip lock bags (the bellies I buy are generally 12ish lbs).  Rub the meat with the salt, sugar, nitrate mixture as prescribed in Charcuterie.  I'll also add to that rub some crushed bay leaf, garlic (either high quality powder or minced), and course black pepper.  Into zip lock baggies go the pieces which are then placed in the fridge.  Every other day for a week I flip the slabs. ( I don't remove the liquid from the bag).  After a week, the slab is removed, rinsed and course black pepper is re-applied to the slab.  Sometimes I'll bake or smoke the slab.  Others, I'll just wrap in a bag then in butcher paper and freeze until I'm ready to use it.
  
When I plan to cook it, I'll quasi-thaw the bacon, and using a VERY sharp chef's knife, cut into thin strips. You'll want the meat to be kinda solid to cut it easier. These strips are placed on a baking rack atop a sheet pan to bake until "done"

I've found that while the smoke and cooking before freezing does add to the flavor, it's quite good cured and frozen (sans smoke or baking).

Trust me, homemade bacon done properly is glorious.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on August 11, 2011, 07:39:03 PM
I decided to go with curing in salt, sugar, and maple syrup without the nitrates.  When it's done, I'll hot smoke it to 150F using either maple or apple or both.  It's only ~5 lbs worth so I don't expect it to last too long.  I'll take some lardons to a work BBQ, then slice up the rest and freeze it.
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: onthekeg on September 15, 2011, 01:35:19 AM
I decided to go with curing in salt, sugar, and maple syrup without the nitrates.  When it's done, I'll hot smoke it to 150F using either maple or apple or both.  It's only ~5 lbs worth so I don't expect it to last too long.  I'll take some lardons to a work BBQ, then slice up the rest and freeze it.

So how did it turn out?  No pictures?  Did it happen? ;)
Title: Re: Made my own Bacon
Post by: tschmidlin on September 15, 2011, 02:21:30 AM
It happened.  No pictures of that batch, it's gone. ;D

The next one I did leaving out the maple syrup and using some pepper, garlic, and bay leaf.  There's still some of that - do you want to see pics of the vacuum sealed bags?  They're in the freezer but I could snap a quick pic and post it . . . it looks like bacon. ;)  This version tastes less like traditional bacon than the previous batch though, I'm not sure I like the recipe as well.  The next batch I'll probably use some pink salt.