I am on board as well. Pre-sliced, pre-ground processed meat is convenient, but at the cost of quality and poorer shelf life.
Whole cuts stay fresher and maintain their color much better than sliced product.
I have a question for you all. I have made bacon with a salt rub and smoked for 5 hours until internal temp reached 138 degrees then I cooked in a pan. I did not like it as it was too salty, even though I placed in water for 30-minutes 2 times. Now I have ordered a brining buck and this year I’ll attempt the wet brining rather than a dry rub. My question is, does brining taste more like store bought than a salt rub? I have read that it does. Thanks in advance to any advice thx.
Paynester We did both at basically the same time last year and I absolutely thought the one that we injected with a soluble cure was better. However, I just did a dry rubbed belly and it came out different then how I remember it from last year (less salty and I even said it tasted exactly like normal store bought bacon) so it might have been something I did differently.
Can you give me some more information on your process for the dry rubbed? Did you use the Excalibur Dry Rub Cure or something else? How long did you hold it, how much cure did you use, did you rub the fat cap and remove the skin? More information the better!
The closest process to store bought bacon would be injecting. Brining/pickling would be closer than a dry rub , but injection would be the best. Injecting is also the quickest and fastest way to make bacon!
I would try following the injection instructions here: https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/385/how-to-make-homemade-bacon-recipe
Austin thank you, I appreciate it. With injecting, just inject like you would a steak? Also how long should it stay in the brine/pickle for best results? Would you also suggest adding some bacon booster and a little smoke powder? That’s what I’m thinking. Thx again.
Paynester I would use bacon taste booster. I would only use hickory smoke powder if you are not going to actually smoke the bacon. Use the hickory smoke powder if you use an oven or something else where you do not add actual smoke during thermal processing.
For injecting, it would be similar to injecting any other whole muscle meat. Just try to evenly inject and disperse the brine. When you inject bacon, you should then hold in a 50% strength cover brine overnight (or about 12 hours).
Let us know if you have any other questions!
Austin I followed your directions at https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/385/how-to-make-homemade-bacon-recipe for the injection method of making bacon. The bacon came out fine, a little salty, but not really a problem. I do have one question: On the label of the Excaliber Blue Ribbon Maple Bacon Cure it says that the five pound bag will cure 100 pounds of pork. The recipe says dissolve two pounds of the cure and six ounces of Bacon Taste Booster in one gallon of cold, pure, water. This makes the injection solution. The directions are to inject ten percent of the weight of the pork belly. A ten pound belly would require one pound (10%) of the cure solution.
I started with about 18 pounds of skinned pork belly and injected more than half of the gallon of cure. Since a gallon of water weighs about eight pounds–a little more with the dissolved cure–I should have injected roughly two pounds of the cure (approximatly 10% of the belly weight) or one- fourth of a gallon.
I need a little better instruction on the amount of injected cure to use; especially since the instructions on the Excaliber cure packet differ from your recipe.
gadahl If you make a full batch of the cure solution and include the bacon taste booster then it should weigh just about 10.5 lb. Since you started with an 18 lb belly then you needed to inject 1.8 lb (10%) of the solution until it was 19.8 lb. If you injected half a gallon then that would be over twice the recommended amount so I am not surprised it is a little salty. So the remainder of the cure that you don’t inject (in your case it should be right about 8.7 lb) can be the base for your 50% cover solution. To make is 50% strength cover pickle you can just add another 8 lb of water, then brine your belly in that overnight before smoking. If you are making just one belly I would probably just make a half batch to begin with so you don’t have so much left over at the end.
I hope I understood your original question and gave you the answer you needed!
Nothing here against Waltons products as they have some great ones but if you want some great bacon try Buckboard bacon cure from Hi Mountain. It is a rub that is very easy to use and I think the best bacon ever. Before smoking, which by the way just tops it off, slice some off and fry it up for a sample. If too salty you can soak it and get rid of some of the salt. Another tip is if you have a good slicer partially freeze the side first. Slices way better.
doc_craig Can you elaborate about soaking it again? So you are saying that after smoking the belly and if you find it too salty you soak it again? I’m going to ask our food scientist about the science behind this because for some reason it doesn’t seem like it would work. That might just be me looking at it incorrectly though!
Jonathon I believe he means before you smoke it. He said slice a piece of and cook it before smoking and if it’s too salty soak it again. Now I’m just guessing here but I’m thinking he means soak it in plain water to hopefully get rid of some of the salt…maybe?
@boudreaux Ah, okay if doc_craig meant before you smoke it then that obviously would make sense. Let’s see what he says, I am sort of hoping he means after though because if soaking after smoking will remove some of the saltiness that would be huge information!
I meant before smoking. I made some that I got a little heavy with the seasoning and it was pretty salty. I put it in a cold water bath for a while, actually slow running water and it for sure helped take out some of the excess salt. If the directions are followed precisely it won’t be a problem.
Like I said before it is the best bacon ever in my book. Smoking just puts the final touch to having some fantastic bacon. The directions, if I recall correctly, call for cooking it to a certain temp along with smoking and a water bath before smoking. Had a buddy that just smoked without cooking and it turned out great also. It was amazing the difference in taste before and after smoking. Trying some before the final process just gives you a chance to fix it if it does turn out to salty.
doc_craig Thanks for the clarification, I might do some testing though to see if there is a way to reduce salt content after smoking. Quickly thinking about it I don’t see a way but maybe soaking it in a solution with potato starch. If I make a sauce that is too salty I add potatoes to cut the salt on it…hmm. It’s an interesting idea, I dont think it will work but I might try it!
Jonathon Jonathon: I think I injected about twice the weight of the brine solution because I kept filling the syringe and stabbing the pork belly about every three inches around its circumference. It’s nifty to watch the pork belly inflate as the solution goes in. I got a little carried away.
However, my real question was about the difference between your recipe and injection instructions and the label on the bag of Excaliber cure. The label says that the five pound bag of cure will make enough solution to cure 100 pounds of pork belly. The math doesn’t work.
I understand the instructions to make more of the solution than needed for the injection process, then water down the left over solution to 50% by adding more water, then use as an overnight brine to cover the injected pork. But next batch I think I’ll prepare enough solution to inject using one pound of the Excaliber cure, 3 ounces of bacon taste booster, and a half gallon of water. Then I’ll prepare the overnight bath using 1 pound of the cure to a full gallon of water. I can measure water by volume much easier than trying to weigh it, particularly by the gallon.
If I understood the Excaliber instructions, five pounds of cure added to five gallons of water would be about 40-42 pounds of brining solution. Using your ten percent weight factor for the injected pork, shouldn’t 40-42 pounds of brining solution cure a lot more than 100 pounds of raw pork meat? Even using half of the solution for an overnight brine, it should cure more than 200 pounds of pork meat. What am I missing here?
gadahl Okay, I think I see part of the confusion, the label on the bag for the Blue Ribbon Maple Bacon Cure says “Use 2 lb of cure to 100 lb of fresh bellies. This imparts 120 ppm of nitrite and 547 ppm of erythorbate” As the bags have 5 lb of cure this means you would get 2.5 batches out of each bag and each batch does 100 lb of meat so it is enough to cure 250 lb of bellies.
If you are looking at a bag and it says something other than “Use 2 lb of cure to 100 of fresh bellies” please let me know!
As for the math at the end of your post, you wouldn’t use 5 lb of cure to 5 gallons of water, you would use 5 lb of cure to 2.5 gallons of water. Each gallon weighs 8.34 lb so 2.5 x 8.34 = 20.85 (water), 20.85 + 5 lb (cure) = 25.85 and with that you could pump 250 lb of fresh bellies.
Let me know if I did not understand something correctly!