Author Topic: Smoking our own bacon-pulled success out of the jaws of potential failure!  (Read 1150 times)

RosieTR

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Made our first attempt at making our own bacon, and it turned out great! This was made Mustachian by the fact that we inherited the smoker, which looked like it had never been used. FIL apparently bought it, possibly well over a decade ago, and MIL was never going to use it at this point. DH mentioned that we had gotten some pork belly as part of a pork share, and wanted to figure out how to smoke it. His brothers either have smokers already or don't need them so she was happy to get it out of her garage! We also happened to have a bunch of crabapple branches we had trimmed awhile back, so had some "apple wood".

I thought this was going to be one big disaster. First, we didn't cure it for as long as we were supposed to (~12 hrs rather than 5 days). Then, the smoker temp went all over the place during the smoking-too high, too low, etc. And, we wound up with a bit of a grease fire because the catch was not set up right. In the end, though, the bacon tasted GREAT. Also, we did not burn anything down.

A small thing compared to many others' accomplishments, but I was very pleased by the fact that even totally screwing it up and having no idea what we were doing, we wound up with many pounds of bacon far better than anything we could buy. This stuff is like $9/lb at a specialty butcher shop! It's probably at least 10lbs of bacon, now frozen in small batches! Even better, we have a few other years' of the pork belly share now thawing in cure and ready for next weekend's repeat (and probably, improvement)!

homestead neohio

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Congratulations, and good on you for taking this on!

We have two pigs which we will process next month.  The thing I'm most nervous about is dealing with the sides of pork belly.  The stuff is so precious, I don't want to mess it up.  I was encouraged by your story because I'm sure we will not get it perfect.  We'll probably try one at a time so we have a chance to learn and improve the technique, but I don't like the idea of thawing, smoking, then refreezing meat as quality is lost with each freeze/thaw.

nereo

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I absolutely love making my own bacon, though I've put it on hold since moving to an apartment (no convenient place to smoke without neighbors thinking "fire!")

Anyway, in my experience it's pretty hard to screw up (as the OP can attest).  If your smoke temp gets too hot you just have "country bacon" which is very tasty and doesn't need to be cooked further.  You can smoke it light or heavy and it still tastes good.  If you don't cure it for very long it won't keep as long in the fridge (days instead of weeks), but that's not a problem if you keep it frozen until you are ready to use it.

Mmm... mouth watering just thinking of it.