Why Bacon?

(Bru) #41

Seems to me I tried the brine method first (this would have been in the mid-1970s) but like the dry cure better after I tried it.

FWIW: I recently made beef jerky from an old recipe, and skipped the sugar. Tasted fine.

Sugar-free store bacon: If that’s what they call “uncured,” then I’ll pass. My neighbor bought me some by mistake a couple of years ago, wasn’t edible – for my tastes anyway.

(Bob M) #42

Uncured bacon is really a misnomer:


This is the whole “OMG! You’re eating bacon, which contains nitrites! Meanwhile, I’m eating celery…which contains even more nitrites.” idea.

“Natural” nitrites versus “unnatural” (?) nitrites.

(Bru) #43

Yes, the term really makes no sense. “Cured” ham or bacon needs the nitrate, along with cured sausages. It helps preserve and flavor the meat, and keeps it pink. Without it, a ham would just be grayish. I made hams back in the day, and you could see where the cure didn’t penetrate by the color.

(Geoffrey) #44

Yes. Since becoming carnivore. Now my last batch I did try some monk fruit just to see how it would turn out but after rinsing the pork belly off there was no sweet taste to the bacon so it did nothing for it as far as I could tell so I won’t be doing that again.

(Geoffrey) #45

I haven’t tried the dry brine yet but I’ll look up the method.
Does the dry brine method lend itself better to a cold smoke or hot smoke?

(Bru) #46

I think I smoked bacon at around 180 F.

(Bob M) #47

I always wanted to cold smoke something, but I’d need a special setup for that. Alton Brown does a cold smoking show (in the original Good Eats), but it’s a tortured way to do this.

(Jane) #48

I have a slab of pork belly in the freezer I am going to try the dry brine method. I have a vacuum sealer so will use that since it was recommended and you don’t have to turn it as often.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #49

Ah, but even though they are the same nitrites, the nitrites in meat will kill you :scream:, but the ones in celery have all sorts of wonderful benefits. :rainbow:


(Bru) #50

My early recipes, a half-century ago, came from a USDA booklet; there really wasn’t much other info around. The recipes were for the old stuff before refrigeration was common. It was so salty you could not eat it.

But my dad told me a trick on how to easily “freshen” it: Put your slices in the frying pan, add water to cover, bring to a boil and discard the water. Then fry as usual. Adjust freshen time for desired saltiness.

As the years went on I refined my recipes, and my goal was store-bought saltiness but with a much heavier smoke. After enough tries I got it down, and that was with the dry-cure as mentioned before.

(Bru) #51

I haven’t done this in 30 years, so I don’t know where to get the sodium nitrite now. I used to get it from “The Sausage Maker” in Buffalo NY. I think they’re still in business.

If you don’t have a way of smoking it, then it will be what is known as “salt pork” after curing. It’s basically just cured bacon that wasn’t smoked, although usually saltier. It’s quite good. You can buy Morton’s Tenderquick in most supermarkets (I use it for jerky and salmon) but the salt, sugar, and nitrites are pre-mixed together so you can’t avoid the sugar. I’ve never tried it for bacon.

If you’re going to smoke it successfully, there are some tricks involved that I had to learn the hard way, over many failed attempts because there was so little info available.

(Geoffrey) #52

So that would be a cold smoke. I can’t do a cold smoke in my offset smoker but I was given an electric smoker that I may try doing a cold smoke it. Gotta do a little research on it first.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #53

We forget, but hams were originally intended to be soaked and the salt water discarded. The salt wasn’t there for flavour, but as a preservative.

(Doug) #54

‘Why Bacon?’

I do wish I could easily get leaner, more European-style bacon, versus our really-fatty stuff in the U.S. I like the fat, but holy moly a strip sometimes shrinks to near invisibility.

That said, my initial thought was, “Why not?”

From a few years ago - bacon wrapped with beef bacon stuffed with Canadian or ‘back bacon.’


It’s a bit like when I eat egg with egg… Just way prettier!

(Jane) #56

I got the pink curing salt (prague powder #1) from Amazon and it is salt and sodium nitrite.

I have an electric smoker so will use that. I’m not sure I will get much smoke at 180 F (has to be hot enough to burn the wood chips) but I will smoke it at whatever temp I can manage with it.

(Bob M) #57

Is 180 really a cold smoke? Alton Brown had a show about cold smoking, but he used 3 large containers, one had the smoking equipment, one had tubes for the smoke to go through, and one had the meat where the output of the tubes went.

He also makes a cardboard smoker that does 180F:

(Geoffrey) #58

Get a smoke tube. You can buy them on Amazon. You fill it up with wood pellets like the pellet smokers use and light it and place it in your bottom rack.

(Jane) #59

I found a recipe to dry cure bacon and smoke in an electric Masterbuilt smoker, which is what I have. Will report back on the results!!!

Still looking for a recipe that beats the Burgers dry
cure bacon we can get locally ($$$). If I can come close with my own pork belly I will be happy

(Brian) #60

Why Bacon? It’s an interesting question.

For half a century, I was part of a religion that demonized pork in all its forms so I hadn’t eaten it at all up until me and that religion had a falling out. No longer there, I had no such inhibition and found that I do like pork. I ate quite a lot of it over the past few years, my fill of it, all I wanted, and over time, feel like I got “caught up”. I still like it, yes. But I have gotten over feeling like I need it so often.

My favorite and my personal go-to at this point is beef. It’s just what appeals the most to me. My wife would eat some kind of pork pretty close to every day. I’m that way with beef. So we usually compromise.

I have sometimes wondered whether the differences in the digestives systems of the cow and the pig affect the qualities of the meat. I suspect they do but am not certain whether one could say that one of them is superior to the other. We buy both our pork and beef as whole animals raised and butchered locally.

What we’ve found to be a good plan at our house is a sort of rotation. One day pork, one day beef, one day chicken, one day fish, etc., that kind of thing. It’s not organized, just that we like variety. Some kind of meat and some kind of eggs are just about a given almost any and every day.

It’s an interesting subject, and I know some still have some reservations about it, for various reasons.