Author Topic: Home Cured Bacon  (Read 10470 times)

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Home Cured Bacon
« on: February 04, 2013, 08:23:25 PM »
The Bacon thread got me antsy, so I dug an antique pack of Side Pork from the freezer.
The pork had already been sliced, so that made it interesting. This was an experiment of the first order.

I wanted to make this a simple as possible, so I chose my Morton Smoke Flavored Sugar Cure. Yummm...



The pork was coated liberally with the dry curing mix. There are directions on the package for how to make a brine solution, but since the meat was sliced I took the easy route.



I didn't have any 1 gallon Ziploc bags, so I used a vacuum seal bag, and left a bit of air in it.



The package went in the refrigerator to cure for a week. Every day the pack got turned over so the juices would mix thoroughly. At the end of 7 days, I pulled the meat out and tied the slices together to finish the process. The meat was placed on a rack with some foil to catch the drippings. It went into the preheated oven at 225 degrees for 1 hour.
When the time was up, I pulled it out and patted off any excess fat with a paper towel.



After it cooled, there were salt deposits from the cure. The sliced meat was rinsed under cold tap water just to remove the excess. I pulled a couple slices from the center of the pack and fried 'em up. Looks like bacon, smells like bacon...yumm...BACO N! All together it took a week and a few cents worth of curing salt. Your price on side pork/pork belly may vary, but I'm betting it's less than packaged bacon.
Part of this experiment was to see if I could cure pre-sliced pork. Cutting slices off a whole slab of cured bacon is a PITA if you don't have a good electric meat slicer. Using this method, you could get your butcher to slice the thickness you want for your bacon, and then cure it at home.
If you like pepper bacon, cure the block of slices, separate them and then lay them flat for the oven curing. I'd cut the time to about 30-40 minutes in that case, though.  But that's just a guess.




« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 10:00:10 AM by Old Philosopher »
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Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: The Road to Bacon
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 08:51:36 PM »
That looks awsomely good.. :)     
 
OP.. where do you find that salt?   And do you think curing pork chops would be good?  I know you can smoke pork chops.. but this salt looks like it would add a lil sweet to the pork..    Have you tried it?
 
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Road to Bacon
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 09:26:47 PM »
That looks awsomely good.. :)     
 
OP.. where do you find that salt?   And do you think curing pork chops would be good? I know you can smoke pork chops.. but this salt looks like it would add a lil sweet to the pork..    Have you tried it?
 
WW.
Should be at your market along with the other salts and spices.
Only you would think of turning a pork chop into a bacon flavored hockey puck. I really don't know. Anything is worth a shot.
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Offline kanukkarhu

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The Road to Bacon
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 09:41:12 PM »
Looks really good. That pre-sliced thing seems the way to go, eh?

Nice!


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Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: The Road to Bacon
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 12:05:55 AM »
:)  OP.. no no no.. twasnt me who thought of smoked chops.  They do have them for sale around here.   They would look like your bacon before you fried it..  but pinker..   :)
 
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Road to Bacon
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 12:23:46 AM »
:)  OP.. no no no.. twasnt me who thought of smoked chops.  They do have them for sale around here.   They would look like your bacon before you fried it..  but pinker..   :)
 
WW.
Now you're talking about smoked chops. Before you were talking about sugar/salt curing them. Big difference.
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Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: The Road to Bacon
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 07:15:03 AM »
Looks good.  This is not a thread to look at unless you can eat bacon while doing it  :P
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Offline wolfy

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Re: The Road to Bacon
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 09:46:12 AM »
:)  OP.. no no no.. twasnt me who thought of smoked chops.  They do have them for sale around here.   They would look like your bacon before you fried it..  but pinker..   :)
 
WW.
Now you're talking about smoked chops. Before you were talking about sugar/salt curing them. Big difference.
:drool: I LOVE smoked pork chops.....if you haven't had one, you're missing one of life's greatest pleasures O:-)
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Road to Bacon
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 09:58:43 AM »
:)  OP.. no no no.. twasnt me who thought of smoked chops.  They do have them for sale around here.   They would look like your bacon before you fried it..  but pinker..   :)
 
WW.
Now you're talking about smoked chops. Before you were talking about sugar/salt curing them. Big difference.
:drool: I LOVE smoked pork chops.....if you haven't had one, you're missing one of life's greatest pleasures O:-)

+1! Smoked chops, country ribs, short ribs, even blade steaks. Not sure about curing them first though.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: The Road to Bacon
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 10:01:01 AM »
I'm going to have my brother bring my Morton book in from the farm after lunch, I'll check :P
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 10:45:09 AM »
   How about more specifics for us folks who are cured meat challenged (couldn't think of another way to put it),  what other cuts of pork can we use,  can the curing salts be purchased on line if we can't find them at the super market,  at what temp should we smoke our cuts,  for how long,  what's best for storage ?

  Don't rush, we have a few minutes.   :)
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 11:03:17 AM »
   How about more specifics for us folks who are cured meat challenged (couldn't think of another way to put it),  what other cuts of pork can we use,  can the curing salts be purchased on line if we can't find them at the super market,  at what temp should we smoke our cuts,  for how long,  what's best for storage ?

  Don't rush, we have a few minutes.   :)
I'll work on your 'wish list'.  ;)

Smoking and curing are two different subjects. Smokewalker still has some very good threads here on smoking. Man, I wish he'd come back!

The only things I've "cured" are pork bellies (side pork) and hams. "Corning" beef is a form of curing. You can use dry cure (like here), or brine cures. It's a viable way to preserve meat, as BH's 3 year old ham illustrates.

As for the chemistry, Wolfy's digging out his Morton book, or you can visit their website. Morton makes just about everything you need for preserving, from Pickling Salt to Tender Quick, to things like the Smoke Flavored Sugar Cure I used for this bacon. A good sized supermarket should have most Morton products. If you have a mom & pop market, often they'll special order stuff for you. Check the ingredients for anything that might be a health issue, or preference. Some things like Tender Quick have nitrites already in them for preservation purposes.

With my 'experiment' here, I put the 1# of sliced, cured pork in the oven for 1 hour at 225o. The advice I was following gives that time for a 4-5 pound slab of solid pork. I sorta over cooked mine. Didn't hurt it any, but 30 minutes would have been better to preserve the appearance and would not have actually "cooked" it.

Smoking times and temperatures is a whole other ball game. Basically, you put the smoke on it at the beginning when it's "raw" so it will absorb the flavor, and then finish it off slowly.  Once any meat forms a crust, it's not going to absorb anymore smoke flavor, and you're wasting materials.  The way I've seen smoked AND cured meat done (e.g. smoked ham) is to smoke it for a couple hours at a low temperature, and then proceed with the curing process.

BH may have a different idea.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 01:05:01 PM »
   How about more specifics for us folks who are cured meat challenged (couldn't think of another way to put it),  what other cuts of pork can we use,  can the curing salts be purchased on line if we can't find them at the super market,  at what temp should we smoke our cuts,  for how long,  what's best for storage ?

  Don't rush, we have a few minutes.   :)
I'll work on your 'wish list'.  ;)

Smoking and curing are two different subjects. Smokewalker still has some very good threads here on smoking. Man, I wish he'd come back!

The only things I've "cured" are pork bellies (side pork) and hams. "Corning" beef is a form of curing. You can use dry cure (like here), or brine cures. It's a viable way to preserve meat, as BH's 3 year old ham illustrates.

As for the chemistry, Wolfy's digging out his Morton book, or you can visit their website. Morton makes just about everything you need for preserving, from Pickling Salt to Tender Quick, to things like the Smoke Flavored Sugar Cure I used for this bacon. A good sized supermarket should have most Morton products. If you have a mom & pop market, often they'll special order stuff for you. Check the ingredients for anything that might be a health issue, or preference. Some things like Tender Quick have nitrites already in them for preservation purposes.

With my 'experiment' here, I put the 1# of sliced, cured pork in the oven for 1 hour at 225o. The advice I was following gives that time for a 4-5 pound slab of solid pork. I sorta over cooked mine. Didn't hurt it any, but 30 minutes would have been better to preserve the appearance and would not have actually "cooked" it.

Smoking times and temperatures is a whole other ball game. Basically, you put the smoke on it at the beginning when it's "raw" so it will absorb the flavor, and then finish it off slowly.  Once any meat forms a crust, it's not going to absorb anymore smoke flavor, and you're wasting materials.  The way I've seen smoked AND cured meat done (e.g. smoked ham) is to smoke it for a couple hours at a low temperature, and then proceed with the curing process.

BH may have a different idea.

  That's a good start,  so if I'm understanding right,  you don't have to smoke meat in order to cure it,  but it adds flavor if you want it ?
  Corning is actually a preservative, not just a flavor enhancer ?
  What was the reason that you put your side meat in a "slow" oven,  if you weren't cooking it ?
  Common table salts, Kosher,  or rock salts can't be used for curing,  only specialty curing salts should be used ?
  In what situation would one choose to use a brine over a dry cure ?

  I don't think the large Super markets around my area of the country carry curing salts or mixes,  at least I have never noticed them in the spice aisles or where the baking goods are displayed, so I'd likely have to order them on line.

  Pork belly and Jowl meat are not commonly offered in our Super markets or meat markets that I have noticed,  what other cuts of pork more commonly found might work almost as well for making bacon,  I'm guessing that a fresh ham or Boston Butt might work ok for making cured ham,  how about that ?
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 01:54:35 PM »
   How about more specifics for us folks who are cured meat challenged (couldn't think of another way to put it),  what other cuts of pork can we use,  can the curing salts be purchased on line if we can't find them at the super market,  at what temp should we smoke our cuts,  for how long,  what's best for storage ?

  Don't rush, we have a few minutes.   :)
I'll work on your 'wish list'.  ;)

Smoking and curing are two different subjects. Smokewalker still has some very good threads here on smoking. Man, I wish he'd come back!

The only things I've "cured" are pork bellies (side pork) and hams. "Corning" beef is a form of curing. You can use dry cure (like here), or brine cures. It's a viable way to preserve meat, as BH's 3 year old ham illustrates.

As for the chemistry, Wolfy's digging out his Morton book, or you can visit their website. Morton makes just about everything you need for preserving, from Pickling Salt to Tender Quick, to things like the Smoke Flavored Sugar Cure I used for this bacon. A good sized supermarket should have most Morton products. If you have a mom & pop market, often they'll special order stuff for you. Check the ingredients for anything that might be a health issue, or preference. Some things like Tender Quick have nitrites already in them for preservation purposes.

With my 'experiment' here, I put the 1# of sliced, cured pork in the oven for 1 hour at 225o. The advice I was following gives that time for a 4-5 pound slab of solid pork. I sorta over cooked mine. Didn't hurt it any, but 30 minutes would have been better to preserve the appearance and would not have actually "cooked" it.

Smoking times and temperatures is a whole other ball game. Basically, you put the smoke on it at the beginning when it's "raw" so it will absorb the flavor, and then finish it off slowly.  Once any meat forms a crust, it's not going to absorb anymore smoke flavor, and you're wasting materials.  The way I've seen smoked AND cured meat done (e.g. smoked ham) is to smoke it for a couple hours at a low temperature, and then proceed with the curing process.

BH may have a different idea.

  That's a good start,  so if I'm understanding right,  you don't have to smoke meat in order to cure it,  but it adds flavor if you want it ?
  Corning is actually a preservative, not just a flavor enhancer ?
  What was the reason that you put your side meat in a "slow" oven,  if you weren't cooking it ?
  Common table salts, Kosher,  or rock salts can't be used for curing,  only specialty curing salts should be used ?
  In what situation would one choose to use a brine over a dry cure ?

  I don't think the large Super markets around my area of the country carry curing salts or mixes,  at least I have never noticed them in the spice aisles or where the baking goods are displayed, so I'd likely have to order them on line.

  Pork belly and Jowl meat are not commonly offered in our Super markets or meat markets that I have noticed,  what other cuts of pork more commonly found might work almost as well for making bacon,  I'm guessing that a fresh ham or Boston Butt might work ok for making cured ham,  how about that ?

Moe, I couldn't come up with my old book, so I ordered another one :pissed:   In perusing the Morton website, I did come up with this page which should show you where their products are available locally without having to pay shipping charges.....

http://www.mortonsalt.com/for-your-home/where-to-buy

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2013, 02:18:28 PM »

  That's a good start,  so if I'm understanding right,  you don't have to smoke meat in order to cure it,  but it adds flavor if you want it ?
You don't have to smoke meat to cure it, but you can cure meat with smoke alone. It just a flavorful way of drying meat (e.g. jerky).
 
Quote
Corning is actually a preservative, not just a flavor enhancer ?
Yes.
 
Quote
What was the reason that you put your side meat in a "slow" oven,  if you weren't cooking it ?
It was part of the experiment, following advice I got. Normally the cured meat would just have the excess salt rinsed off, and then refrigerated.
 
Quote
Common table salts, Kosher,  or rock salts can't be used for curing,  only specialty curing salts should be used ?
NO table salt unless it's 'non-iodized'. Koser (coarse) salt would work. I've heard of rock salt being used, but it is less refined, and might contain some unwanted chemicals.
Quote
  In what situation would one choose to use a brine over a dry cure ?
Personal preference. I've used a brine before, and actually prefer it. It seems to penetrate the meat better, IMO.

Quote
  I don't think the large Super markets around my area of the country carry curing salts or mixes,  at least I have never noticed them in the spice aisles or where the baking goods are displayed, so I'd likely have to order them on line.
Look, usually on the bottom shelves. All the Morton products come in blue bags.

Quote
  Pork belly and Jowl meat are not commonly offered in our Super markets or meat markets that I have noticed,  what other cuts of pork more commonly found might work almost as well for making bacon,  I'm guessing that a fresh ham or Boston Butt might work ok for making cured ham,  how about that ?
Any butcher shop that makes its own bacon for sale will have raw meat to sell you.  I just checked with my local guy, and he wants $3.59/lb for 'side pork'. Eek!!! I can buy bacon on sale for less than that!!!  As for other cuts, I may be wrong, but I believe "Canadian Bacon" is cured pork loin.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2013, 03:22:10 PM »
OK, Moe...... Here's 12 pages right out of Morton's book that was published in The Mother Earth News back in 1973 when they used to write for homesteaders and back-to-the-landers instead of 'yuppies' & 'metrosexuals'.....

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/curing-meat-at-home-zmaz73jfzraw.aspx#axzz2K4D5FkqY

I think you are more likely to find Tenderquick than SugarCure locally, but that's no big deal because all the latter product is, is Tenderquick w/added sugar or sugar and 'smoke flavoring' in their smoky SugarCure......a damned expensive way of buying sugar, especially if you had to order it by mail.  You can add that stuff, yourself!   In our stores here, Tenderquick is almost everywhere.  Look where Ol' P. said to search and if you can't find it, ASK  ;D   I can't believe that you would not be able to find it somewhere locally ???
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2013, 05:57:41 PM »
OK, Moe...... Here's 12 pages right out of Morton's book that was published in The Mother Earth News back in 1973 when they used to write for homesteaders and back-to-the-landers instead of 'yuppies' & 'metrosexuals'.....

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/curing-meat-at-home-zmaz73jfzraw.aspx#axzz2K4D5FkqY

I think you are more likely to find Tenderquick than SugarCure locally, but that's no big deal because all the latter product is, is Tenderquick w/added sugar or sugar and 'smoke flavoring' in their smoky SugarCure......a damned expensive way of buying sugar, especially if you had to order it by mail.  You can add that stuff, yourself!   In our stores here, Tenderquick is almost everywhere.  Look where Ol' P. said to search and if you can't find it, ASK  ;D   I can't believe that you would not be able to find it somewhere locally ???

  Thanks I'll check it out,  I did go to the Morton web site and did a search for the nearest store to me that carries their curing salts,  none found within a hundred miles,  so,  i'll just order direct and pick up the booklet at the same time.
  In the meantime I'll check with my local meat market to see what I can get for meat from them,  I know they have great pork products including fresh butts, shoulders, and hams,  I don't think they do any curing or smoking.
  Amazon also carrys Morton's curing salts and spices.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2013, 06:05:41 PM »
...

  Thanks I'll check it out,  I did go to the Morton web site and did a search for the nearest store to me that carries their curing salts,  none found within a hundred miles,  so,  i'll just order direct and pick up the booklet at the same time....
Don't believe the website!  I did a search just now for Pickling Salt, 4 lb bag, and it said no stores.
Both the markets within 10 minutes of me carry it.
Go look and ask before you pull the trigger on a mail order.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2013, 06:14:29 PM »
...

  Thanks I'll check it out,  I did go to the Morton web site and did a search for the nearest store to me that carries their curing salts,  none found within a hundred miles,  so,  i'll just order direct and pick up the booklet at the same time....
Don't believe the website!  I did a search just now for Pickling Salt, 4 lb bag, and it said no stores.
Both the markets within 10 minutes of me carry it.
Go look and ask before you pull the trigger on a mail order.

I did the same thing.....not within 100 miles.   BS! It's within 100 yards 8)
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2013, 06:16:38 PM »
I've run into that with other companies. I think stores have to pay to be in their directory.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2013, 06:47:09 PM »
I've run into that with other companies. I think stores have to pay to be in their directory.

  And they have to ask why we live in a violent society,  you can't trust the people you do business with,  I takes half an hour to get a warm body on a customer service line for you local electric provider that's five miles from your house,  when the agent finally picks up your call you can't understand what the hell they are saying, so you ask for an english speaking customer service person and you are told that you are speaking to an office in Bangladesh,  What the Frick !!!.
  The new NHC just kicked in to lower the cost of health care and my SS check is $208.00 lighter,  What the Frick !!!
  Law abiding citizens don't kill people,  criminals kill people,  but the gov. says I have to loose my semi-autos,  but the criminals get to keep theirs,  What the Frick !!!
 
 And that's just today,  What's the use !!!

  Thanks guys,  I'll try local stores.

  That felt good    :banana:
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2013, 07:03:00 PM »
...

  Thanks guys,  I'll try local stores.

  That felt good    :banana:
Whoa!
Just think how much bacon that $208 would have bought. NO! WAIT! DON'T! We don't want to have to call 911 to resuscitate  you!   ;D
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Offline Bearhunter

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Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2013, 09:11:57 PM »
Nice write up OP!
That's some good looking bacon :D
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Offline zzerru

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2013, 08:14:07 PM »
Side pork is expensive by me also, but you can get pork shoulder and make buckboard bacon with it. Comes out a bit more like Canadian bacon, but its tasty.

Offline Bearhunter

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Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2013, 08:18:36 PM »
I can't remember exactly what price per pound I pay, but a whole side usually cost a little over 20 bucks. The last time I bought some, we got two whole sides and a couple of hocks. All that was a little over 50 bucks.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2013, 08:49:49 PM »
I can't remember exactly what price per pound I pay, but a whole side usually cost a little over 20 bucks. The last time I bought some, we got two whole sides and a couple of hocks. All that was a little over 50 bucks.
Yeah, that $3.59/lb I was quoted made my eyes water. I'm going to check with the guys over in the Flathead where we got our whole pig last year. I'm betting he can beat that price.

We used to get shoulder butts and I'd cut them into 'country ribs' and blade steaks. Not a reason in the world you can't cure the boneless portion.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2013, 11:37:08 PM »
OK guys, I got my replacement Morton meat curing book in the mail yesterday, so if any of you have any questions, I can look them up for you now. 

It's got a lot of good stuff in it and I consider it worth the money, so........

It's "wolfy approved'' :thumbsup:
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2013, 12:11:30 AM »
What does it have to say about brine curing bacon?
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2013, 07:10:14 AM »
What does it have to say about brine curing bacon?
The Morton book reconmmends the dry cure treatment for bacon because it penetrates more fully and faster than the brine method.  It says to use 1/2 oz. (1 Tablespoon) Morton Sugar Cure (plain or smoke flavored) per pound of meat.  Rub over entire surface of the belly and apply excess mix on the meat side of the belly if the hog was not skinned.  Place belly in a clean food quality plastic bag and store skin-side down.  Cure at 36* to 40* for 7-10 days per inch of thickness.

After curing is completed, scrub excess salt off the belly in lukewarm water and dry with paper towels or place skin-side down on an open shelf in refrigerator 1-2 days.  Cut into 1-2 lb. chunks, wrap and refrigerate until consumed.  Use the bacon within 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.

That's verbatim from THE BOOK......but don't expect that to happen for whole hams as there's a little more to copy :P
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Home Cured Bacon
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2013, 09:38:00 AM »
What does it have to say about brine curing bacon?
The Morton book reconmmends the dry cure treatment for bacon because it penetrates more fully and faster than the brine method.  It says to use 1/2 oz. (1 Tablespoon) Morton Sugar Cure (plain or smoke flavored) per pound of meat.  Rub over entire surface of the belly and apply excess mix on the meat side of the belly if the hog was not skinned.  Place belly in a clean food quality plastic bag and store skin-side down.  Cure at 36* to 40* for 7-10 days per inch of thickness.

After curing is completed, scrub excess salt off the belly in lukewarm water and dry with paper towels or place skin-side down on an open shelf in refrigerator 1-2 days.  Cut into 1-2 lb. chunks, wrap and refrigerate until consumed.  Use the bacon within 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.

That's verbatim from THE BOOK......but don't expect that to happen for whole hams as there's a little more to copy :P
The only variation I made was the oven heat at the end. Don't think I'm going to do that again, and I'm going to let it cure about twice as long. IIRC, the last slab of side pork I did was in the 'fridge for about 2 1/2 weeks. Came out very well.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.