Who here makes their own bacon?

Discussion in 'The Cooking Channel' started by Vyntage, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Life Member

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    Earlier this year, a friend talked me into making my own bacon and I am glad he did. It is so much better than what you buy in the store, and it's freakin' easy.

    His cure recipe is big on sweetness and spice (not the hot kind of spice, but the nutmeg/cloves/cinnamom kind) but I prefer more savory. So I've started increasing the salt and pepper and decreasing the sugar and spice, and it's coming out really, really good. (Side note: it is amazing how small changes in the cure have a huge impact on the final flavor of the bacon.) For posterity, here is his cure recipe:

    1/4 cup Kosher salt
    1/4 cup fresh ground pepper
    2 tsp curing salt
    1/4 cup maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey
    4 bay leaves, crumbled
    1 tsp ground nutmeg
    1 tsp ground cloves
    5 garlic cloves, smashed
    Just enough water to make everything a nice mush

    If you make your own bacon, do you have a favorite cure? I'm interested in trying out some different flavor profiles.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  2. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Life Member

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    Oh, and for those that do not but are interested, the basic process is just this:

    • Buy a fresh pork belly.
    • Put the cure and the belly in a vacuum bag and stick it in the refrigerator for a week.
    • Take it out, rinse it off, and throw it on the smoker for about 90 minutes (170 internal temp)
    • Slice, fry, eat, gain ten pounds
    If you really want to get fancy, after you take the belly off the smoker, cut it into ~1 pound strips, then use a meat slicer to slice the bacon. Put each pound of sliced bacon into a vacuum bag and throw it in the freezer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
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  3. Pink_Vapor

    Pink_Vapor Well-Known Member

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    I initially thought this was tied in to the mistletoe thread.
     
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  4. noway2

    noway2 Senior Member Charter Life Member

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    Here I thought this thread was going to be exponential :p

    Sounds similar to a recipe I used. It was ok, but as you said, small changes big difference.

    A meat slicer is probably a wise investment.
     
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  5. Crazy Carl

    Crazy Carl seriously? Life Member

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    Sounds good, but most of that pork belly would get gone around here, as soon as it came out the smoker.
     
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  6. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Life Member

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    SHAMEFUL!

    That's what this is. More CFFers need to start making their own bacon. And once you do you won't go back.

    Anyway, for a more savory version of the cure recipe in the OP, you can try this:
    • Increase the salt and pepper by 1 tbs each.
    • Cut the sugar component in half (1/8 cup). (Another side note: I haven't tried honey yet, but brown sugar and maple syrup create very different bacon.)
    • Instead of 2 tsp combined of spice, use 1/2 tsp combined. (I just use one or the other, and again, you can really taste the difference in the final product.)
    I'm still interested in other cure recipes, if anyone has a favorite.
     
  7. Windini

    Windini Plank Charter Life Member

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    I made my own a couple times, but stopped due to the PITA factor. (I make my own sausage, so it's not qty of work that bugged me.)

    I found that slicing the cured belly was nigh unto impossible, in that, as the fat warmed up, it became softer, and softer, and softer (!) to the point that it sagged and slipped so that even a sharp knife wouldn't cut it straight.

    (Pause for innuendo and related snickering...)

    I then tried pre-sliced belly I got at Super G; same issue in a different way: unless the meat was dang near froze, it was really difficult to handle - especially rinsing - and sorta fell apart.

    It tasted good, just was too much frustration and wound up looking more like Meat Mass than bacon slices.
     
  8. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Life Member

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    A meat slicer makes all the difference. I bought one after the first batch of bacon for the very reason you mentioned.

    After smoking, I do put the belly back in the fridge before slicing it and that also helps a lot.

    I think a meat slicer is the difference between it being a PITA and it being pretty easy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
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  9. Lager

    Lager Active Member

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    Since I cant find pork belly at a decent price, sometimes I will make buck board bacon using a pork loin I can buy on sale.. The cure mix you can find at bass pro shops or on line..It not quite like bacon due to its lack of fat content but tastes pretty good After the short cure and smoke process, I use my meat slicer and use the vacuum sealer bags..