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Making Bacon [split from Ontario]

Davwud Nov 29, 2012 08:20 AM

(Note: This post was split from the Ontario board at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/874344 -- The Chowhound Team)

NP
I started making my own bacon this summer and it's far superior to the regular stuff you get at the grocery store.

DT

  1. m
    millygirl Nov 29, 2012 08:25 AM

    I imagine it would be and admire your efforts. That must be very rewarding and fun to do. Unfortunately I can barely manage the time or organizational skills to ensure that I have store bought in the fridge, let alone make my own LOL

    9 Replies
    1. re: millygirl
      Flexitarian Nov 29, 2012 08:36 AM

      Yeah it is a bit of work and time (having watched some how to make the brine and smoke bacon videos on the net). I can't imagine that I could make it better than Cumbrae's although maybe I could get close or the same. I'll restrict my home made activities to thing I know I can do better and want to spend the time on. And, I don't eat bacon that much anyway (but love it!)

      1. re: Flexitarian
        Davwud Nov 29, 2012 09:04 AM

        I dry brine mine for the most part. Rub it with a 50/50 blend of salt and bbq seasoning (my home made doesn't have salt in it). Do it liberally and rub it in. Then pour maple syrup over it. It sits skin side up for 2 weeks. Smoke about 220­° for 2 hours, slice and enjoy.

        I've come to realize that I don't like it rind on. I find the rind just chewy. Mrs. Sippi, "Bless her heart" loves the rind on but doesn't eat it. #Don't Ask #Shaking Head

        DT

        1. re: Davwud
          Flexitarian Nov 29, 2012 09:30 AM

          I'd probably agree that your bacon tastes better than all supermarket bacon, but, aside from the maple syrup and bbq seasoning (which won't be everyone's cup of tea) I doubt it could taste better (maybe the same though) than Cumbrae's bacon that uses the best possible premiium pork there is, no chemical additives except the Sodium Nitrite (ie salt) and smokes it using real wood chips. Your processes are exactly the same so it all comes down to the pork you are using. But, would love to do a blind taste test to see!

          What pork are you using btw? Berkshire? or ?

          1. re: Flexitarian
            Davwud Nov 29, 2012 10:24 AM

            Nah. Whatever they sell at European Meats. I'm sure if I used Birkshire pork it would be better but I'm not really intrested in it costing me $10/lb to make bacon.

            We may be able to come to some sort of arrangement. BTW, the BBQ seasoning doesn't really add much taste. It's one of those things you'd probably notice more if it were missing than if it were there.

            Obviously I wash the tummies off and dry before smoking.

            DT

            1. re: Davwud
              Flexitarian Nov 29, 2012 08:21 PM

              Yes $10/lb is about what Cumbrae's charges I think. They have pre-sliced bacon in the cooler but apparently also Berkshire bacon that they will slice to the thickness you want. If the cooler one just isn't the Berkshire pre-sliced then I am going to try both and see which one I like better (likely the Bershire). What kind of an enclosure do you smoke your bacon in?

              1. re: Flexitarian
                Davwud Nov 30, 2012 03:06 AM

                Charbroil Silver Smoker. It's an off set firebox style.

                DT

                1. re: Davwud
                  l
                  LJS2 Nov 30, 2012 08:35 AM

                  When you 50% "salt" do you mean table or kosher salt or cure. I finally found cure at Highland Farms and intend to try to make my own bacon soon. What temp do you smoke at and what internal temp to you smoke to?

                  1. re: LJS2
                    Davwud Nov 30, 2012 10:15 AM

                    It's Kosher salt. Just 1 pt by volume to 1 pt. I gave up looking for cure and decided that since it doesn't really need it, I wouldn't bother.

                    I smoke it 4 hours at about 225°. I don't temp the interior because I don't really care what temp it gets to. This will be cooked before eating anyway. I'm not a big thermometer guy. I've always kinda winged it.

                    I'm not gonna sit here and tell you what I'm doing produces the best bacon you'll ever have. I'm extremely satisfied with my efforts and rewards. I could probably spend 50% more time and effort and maybe it'd be 50% better. I'm just quite happy as is.

                    FWIW I also make a fantastic smoked tenderloin. I buy a value pack of Pork Tenderloins from Costco. Use a 2 - 1 ratio of seasoning to salt mixture. Rub on and wrap in plastic (individually). They cure for a week, get washed and dried. I smoke for 2 hours at about 225° and have what is a reasonable facsimile of fat free bacon. Smokey, salty, piggy, awesome.

                    Lousy photos but you get the drift.

                    DT

                     
                     
                    1. re: Davwud
                      l
                      LJS2 Nov 30, 2012 10:36 AM

                      thanks will give it a try. As noted above i was able to find cure at Highland Farms in Mississauga. You have to ask at the butcher counter.

    2. t
      tommg Dec 6, 2012 01:30 PM

      I have made bacon with Berkshire and with "regular" bellies and find that they are both great. The Berkshire tends to be very fatty but has a little deeper taste. Given the difference in price I stick to "regular" bellies. I add maple sugar and black pepper to my dry cure.
      A big factor in the taste is the type of wood used to smoke your pork. I have used hickory, maple, apple and cherry and like the favour of apple the best.
      The biggest challenge with homemade bacon is smoker temperature. Comercial bacon is smoked at very low temps (around 150-160) to an internal of 145. It is difficult to keep backyard smokers at such a low temp. I smoke mine at 175-200 to 145 internal. You have to be careful on a home smoker not to cook the bacon. Pork is considered cooked at 160, you have to be very diligent when running your smoker at anything over 200.
      I have had Cumbrae's bacon many times and feel that mine stands up to it quite well.

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