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JuneBacon
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I am making home-made bacon as Christmas gifts. I was short on time last week so I actually purchased 4 - approximately 2 lb. slabs of belly from Whole Foods. I wanted a whole 10-12 lb. belly from one of my butchers but none of them could get the belly for me until the weekend.

My cure consists of pink salt, kosher salt, white granulated sugar, molasses, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano and espresso. I made sure to rub the bellies with the salts and sugar mixture before adding the molasses and spices.

I used about 1/2 cup of salt sugar cure with enough pink salt for 8 lbs. as instructed on the package.

My question is that I was expecting tons of liquid to leach out of the bellies, which would mix with the salt and turn into a brine to cure them. They have been in the fridge for one week and I am disconcerted with the amount of liquid that has leached out. (Not really much at all)

I need to smoke the bellies this week since the holiday is approaching. From what I have read, curing such small slabs that I have, one week should be plenty. My concern still lies in the amount of liquid that has come out of the bellies.

I am going to smoke them regardless in a couple of days, but I was wondering if anything I have added (molasses?) may have altered my cure.

My only reasonable assumption would be that the organic, free range bellies I purchased weren't pumped full of whatever might leach out of a regular consumer / grocery store bought pork belly.

Thanks!

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Haha, thanks. I suppose I could have searched. Old threads don't usually receive the most attention. Plus I like my title better.

I am going to smoke the bellies tommorow so Ill post some pics if anyone is interested! I pretty much don't have a choice in the matter at this point.

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as long as the bellies are firm to the touch, you should be fine to smoke. The curing takes place not in the liquid that comes out, but by the salt mix you rub on.

5 days is more than enough time to cure, especially with bellies of that size.

Some people say to rinse them before hand, but we find just air drying for an hour works well, plus you havent washed off the flavor of the rub.

Good luck, very interested in seeing the final results

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Thanks for the reply!

I rinsed the bellies just now and I have some inconsistencies in the texture. I think because they are small enough cuts that they were just taken from different sections of the belly. So some have more of the hard fat and are firmer.

I read that rinsing was a pretty key step because the salt is just too much at this point.

An interesting thought I had though which varies from any recipe I read, was to impart some sort of bbq rub right before smoking. I know the curing process definitely imparts some of the flavor, but why not add some kind of rub to give the bacon sort of a bbq bark or crust before smoking? I'm going to reseason it, but not vary too much form what I originally cured with. I know not too use too much sugar, as it can burn during the smoking process.

I think I am going to stick with the herbs / espresso / garlic salt seasoning.

Here are some pics after a 7 day cure. Rinsed and patted dry. I am going to leave them uncovered in the fridge overnight so they can form the pellicule for smoking. They have definitely changed color at least. They don't appear to be "fresh" anymore but are now a little shrunk and darker colored.

WGMYh.jpg

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