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Home made smoked bacon

HAWKENHAWKEN Senior MemberPosts: 1,720 Senior Member
TKOTCB wants to try making her own bacon. She ordered 50 pounds, (their smallest batch), of fresh side meat from a butcher shop in Columbia, (they call it pork bellies). We have an electric smoker and some apple wood chips for the smoke. What else do we need or need to do? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance..........robin
I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO


  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,495 Senior Member
    I think you'll need to brine it.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • Farm Boy DeuceFarm Boy Deuce Senior Member Posts: 6,083 Senior Member
    Very low heat. I think we bought our cure from LEM Products. It was a good cure, I just got the smoker too hot.
    I am afraid we forget sometime that the basic and simple things brings us the most pleasure.
    Dad 5-31-13
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,155 Senior Member
    You will need cure and flavorings. You will need to either wet or dry brine, then smoke it.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Either brine or dry salt cure, then cold-smoke it a little for flavor. The salt is actually the preservative, and various additives and the slow smoking give it the flavor you want. One of my neighbors who was in the business of curing hams by the hundreds cured them basically the same way, buried them in coarse salt for a specific time, then hung the cured meat over hickory sawdust heated by electric coils to give them the smoked flavor. His "ham house" was a windowless concrete block building about 50 by 100 feet, and he generally cured 200 hams at a time. Just walking into that place would make me hungry, it smelled so good!
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    Hmmm. She Who Must Be Obeyed is better.
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    They used to have a whole section titled "It's hog killing time."
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    That's a great place- - - -their first store was about 100 miles northeast of my place in Crossville TN. I drop in every chance I get, and their catalog is great reading, even if you don't buy anything!
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    You can do a salt cure or a sugar cure. They both require salt but with bacon a sweet cure may be better. Here's at least one recipe, although I might forego the Cumin.


    although you might like this recipe better:


    But theres a lot of different cures on the net. You can probably find one you like pretty easy.

    Oh and where they mention pink curing salt, That's Prague Cure. Prague Number one is for stuff you are going to smoke and put in a freezer or refrigerator and contains Sodium Nitrate. Prague Number two is like for drying meats such as sausage that will be in a smoke house or hanging for a while. It contains both Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite. These are used to prevent Botulism in a smoke house environment. Plain salt won't do that reliably.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,743 Senior Member
    We used to cure bacon when I was a kid, and hams as well. Coarse salt ought to do it on an tilted board so the liquid can drain off. You can buy curing salt around here. They used to smoke it in spring to protect it from skippers or screw-worms, which they pretty well eliminated in the 60s. Problem with smoking is getting it too warm and it will spoil even salted meat. I prefer it non-smoked. Smoking gives off too strong a taste to me.

    I cured five hams back in 1998 or so and they turned out wonderfully. Apply salt each day for 11 days or until the meat will no longer take salt. Brush it off, add pepper to keep away unwanted insects and add to the taste.

    If you salt cure it (and you must) you'll lose about 40% weight.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,398 Senior Member
    Brining in a salt slurry or dry brining is one way to do it. Dry brining and mixing in brown sugar, and rubbing it in is another method, and produces some good tasting bacon. Both methods use cold smoke from wet hickory or other fruit wood chips to impart the smoke flavor to the meat. The temperature is kept way below the temperature that would cook the meat. The warm smoke dehydrates the meat a little; too much dehydration is not good. Meat should retain some 'springback' (when you poke it with your thumb, the dent comes back out) after smoking.

    I don't know if your electric smoker can produce smoke and keep the temperature around 120-150 degrees and produce the 'wet' smoke you'll need. Good luck with it! Smoked bacon is good stuff!

    The LEM stuff Farm Boy Deuce mentioned is some GOOD stuff. They have all kinds of that for most any meat. And they have some good recipes and instructions on how-to. Worth taking a look at what they offer. :up:
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  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    Dr. db wrote: »
    They used to have a whole section titled "It's hog killing time."

    I would bet next months retirement check these people you list here have a good ready made bacon sugar cure you can buy. Lots of those places do and most are about the same recipe with minor differences in ingredients and tastes.

    I have had both hams AND bacon done by a straight salt cure. The Hams are ok, but I always had to soak the meat in milk before cooking because they were real salty. I've even cured a ham like that, a deer ham, LOL!!!

    The bacon I had like that smelled like a wet dog and tasted pretty rough. But that was in the U.K. I've never seen any American bacon that wasn't sugar cured.They are really all salt cured, but the sugar is added, I think, to smooth the thing out.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • Elk creekElk creek Senior Member Posts: 6,462 Senior Member
    If it were me doing this as a home project this is what I would do. First a dry rub method would be used. I would do a cure mix of a 2 pounds of salt, a pound of white sugar (or half white half dark drown) and cure( usually 1/4 pound) .. This all depend on the cure you use, but one containing sodium nitrate is going to work well. Rub the meat side of the belly heavily and the fat side light- this is important to keep the bacon from getting too salty. After rubbing the belly place in a tub with the other belly meat to meat side and fat to fat. Let this rest for a couple weeks (14 days) then smoke. This will be a trial an error project but this method will probably work.
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