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If I have a friend who can't eat nitrates, will she also not be able to eat nitrite (pink salt)? I'm guessing that her doctor probably used "nitrate" to refer to pretty much anything commercially cured... whether with nitrate (dry cured sausage) or nitrite (bacon).

That said, I'm making a variety of bacons for my birthday, and was thinking of leaving out the pink salt from a small portion. I know it will lose some of the cured flavor and color. Should I use more regular salt, or just eliminate the pink salt and use the rest of the recipe normally?

Eliminate and don't change anything else. Just remember that it will not last as long as those with the pink salt, but somehow I don't think that will be a problem.

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I have made it using Rulhman as a guide. It's great even without smoking. In the future I won't use the forest-fed belly though, it's kind of wasted in bacon at that price. Next up is guanciale with FF jowls.

re: nitrates--it's really quite a tiny amount. a teaspoon of pink salt mixes into enough salt for 5+ pounds of meat. And the pink salt is mostly salt, with a small percentage of nitrate. Not saying your friend should try it, but it's really not much nitrate at all.

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I have made it using Rulhman as a guide. It's great even without smoking. In the future I won't use the forest-fed belly though, it's kind of wasted in bacon at that price.
That's a shame... I was going to hit up the Alexandria Farmer's Market tomorrow for just that!

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That's a shame... I was going to hit up the Alexandria Farmer's Market tomorrow for just that!

Let me re-phrase: forest fed's belly is fantastic. I love his pork. And it makes great bacon. But I will reserve his belly for other dishes.

Anyway--I bought the last piece he had last weekend, so unless they've done some slaughtering you might be SOL anyway.

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Let me re-phrase: forest fed's belly is fantastic. I love his pork. And it makes great bacon. But I will reserve his belly for other dishes.

Anyway--I bought the last piece he had last weekend, so unless they've done some slaughtering you might be SOL anyway.

Um, EcoFriendly at the Arlington market may have some belly for you.

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Um, EcoFriendly at the Arlington market may have some belly for you.
And if that doesn't work I'll just drive home through Annandale!

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Where do you all get your pink salt from? I did a quick run through some markets close to me in NOVA and couldn't find any.

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Where do you all get your pink salt from? I did a quick run through some markets close to me in NOVA and couldn't find any.

Online from places like this.

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Thanks for all your help so far.

If I get a pork belly... say around 13 pounds... and wanted to make several varieties of bacon (sweet, savory, pancetta, etc.)... is there any reason I couldn't cut it into sections? Would smaller sections make the cured/salty flavors overpowering because of the increased surface area?

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Thanks for all your help so far.

If I get a pork belly... say around 13 pounds... and wanted to make several varieties of bacon (sweet, savory, pancetta, etc.)... is there any reason I couldn't cut it into sections? Would smaller sections make the cured/salty flavors overpowering because of the increased surface area?

I have used smaller pieces (1 lb.) with no problem at all I just adjust the total amount of cure that I use. I believe that either Ruhlman's or another book I have gives some guidelines on the amount of salt per size of belly. I will try and dig up the info tonight.

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Thanks for all your help so far.

If I get a pork belly... say around 13 pounds... and wanted to make several varieties of bacon (sweet, savory, pancetta, etc.)... is there any reason I couldn't cut it into sections? Would smaller sections make the cured/salty flavors overpowering because of the increased surface area?

I wouldn't do tiny pieces. I have made 3 different bacons so far. I started with a piece of belly which was about 8 lbs from forestfed. I divided it into 3 equal pieces. It's been fine. I really don't think it will matter much because the vast majority of the salt penetration is going to be from above and below. The edge pieces will be a little saltier and you are basically just creating a few more edge pieces.

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I have used smaller pieces (1 lb.) with no problem at all I just adjust the total amount of cure that I use. I believe that either Ruhlman's or another book I have gives some guidelines on the amount of salt per size of belly. I will try and dig up the info tonight.
I BELIEVE it's 0.5 oz to 1lb of belly. Don't quote me on that... gonna check Charcuterie tonight.

What to do with the scraps other than make salt pork?

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I BELIEVE it's 0.5 oz to 1lb of belly. Don't quote me on that... gonna check Charcuterie tonight.

What to do with the scraps other than make salt pork?

What scraps are you talking about? Trimmings? Larger pieces can be roasted, braised, or thrown into a pot of beans.

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What scraps are you talking about? Trimmings? Larger pieces can be roasted, braised, or thrown into a pot of beans.
Yes, trimmings.

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I once ate an entire iPhone app in one sitting.

*sigh*

Another $1.99 of mine bites the dust, and in this case, the pork fat. Doing my part to keep the economy (and my LDL level) strong, y0.

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Hickory smoked yesterday... salt, potassium nitrite (-ate?), and maple syrup

post-1225-125176340816_thumb.jpg

post-1225-12517633999_thumb.jpg

post-1225-125176340446_thumb.jpg

Sooooooooo easy to do, how can I even consider store bought???

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So this is really embarrassing. And it's not easy for me to talk about. But I have a problem.

I suck at cooking bacon.

Like, I'm really bad at it.

The edges get burnt while the inside is still raw. I take them out still soft, but carryover cooking makes them dry and overcooked. I've tried high heat, low heat, on a rack, on a sheet, in the oven, on the stovetop, in the microwave, on a grill, broiled, baked, roasted, and fried.

Bacon fail every time.

Anyone have any tips for cooking a perfect piece of bacon?

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Anyone have any tips for cooking a perfect piece of bacon?

First of all, "perfect" is in the eye (or mouth) of the beholder. My British BIL, for example, likes his bacon to be floppy. I like mine crisp, but not incinerated, obviously. My first thought is that you are probably cooking at too high a temperature, especially on the stovetop, where the heat is invariably uneven due to the discrepancy between the size of the burner and the diameter and heat conductivity of the pan. Go really slow on top of the stove, and move the bacon strips around in the pan as well as turn them over as they render their fat and begin to brown. I often use the microwave, figuring one minute per strip, on high, with the bacon on a pad of paper towels, and a paper towel covering them, adding extra 30-second intervals, if needed. I know that a lot of people swear by the oven, cooking the bacon on a rack, above a baking sheet. That's a good method, if you have a lot of bacon to make at once. Again, I would use a moderate oven, and not be in too big a hurry. Slow down, Dan...

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Slow down, Dan...

Bacon's one of those foods where I can't help but resist the temptation of instant gratification.

Which seems not to jibe with the fact that I just spent seven days curing and two hours smoking pork belly just to get some... oh well.

As always, an awed and whole-hearted thank you, Zora. :rolleyes:

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I concur that you need to cook bacon slowly. It turns out much better that way. It's not practically possible to get really meaty parts and really fatty parts cooked equally, so focus on not overcooking the meaty parts. You could always pull off excess fat should someone not want it :rolleyes: .

When making more than a few strips, I've really become enamored of baking bacon on a jelly roll pan in a 350 oven. Comes out great, but you have to be careful of the hot fat when you pull the pan out.

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I concur that you need to cook bacon slowly. It turns out much better that way. It's not practically possible to get really meaty parts and really fatty parts cooked equally, so focus on not overcooking the meaty parts. You could always pull off excess fat should someone not want it :huh: .

When making more than a few strips, I've really become enamored of baking bacon on a jelly roll pan in a 350 oven. Comes out great, but you have to be careful of the hot fat when you pull the pan out.

I discovered the jelly roll pan method from Cook's Illustrated "The Best Recipe" and agree on both points! Of course, I haven't made bacon in a few years, and health concerns will most likely keep us from making it at home again. That doesn't mean I won't eat it, but it is just too much of a temptation to make it in any quantity at home. :rolleyes:

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