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Author Topic: Making bacon!  (Read 21360 times)

Eve

  • Joined Jul 2010
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2010, 05:54:26 pm »
Oh no, if you're not salivating yet there's something wrong!  ;D

We don't do this, but some people blanch the bacon before frying even when it's been soaked - it all depends on how used you are to the stronger taste and, I suppose, whether you're having it plain in rolls, mixing it with cabbage, or any of the other hundreds of possibilities. Like I said, we don't, though I remember doing it once when we first made bacon and our taste buttons were still in the supermarket-stage.  ;)

Our favourite could-eat-every-night meal is bits of crunchy salty fatty lardons in mashed potatoes  :yum: :yum: :yum:

egglady

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2010, 02:41:00 pm »
well i think i must have done it wrong cos it was all a bit disappointing!

soaked it for the 2 separate hours in cold water and then cut a slice off for hubby to taste (still planning to smoke the rest but was impatient!).

he said it was really salty and also 'chewy' - we call it chugh (not sure how you'd spell that!)

anyone tell me where I've gone wrong please? :(

Greenerlife

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Leafy Surrey
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2010, 09:58:21 pm »
I used Hugh Fearnleys salt cure which has a lt more sugar in tthan I expected, and in comparison with other recipes affects the overall saltiness of the baon.   Have never had to soak before cooking.  Sometimes, I guess it can be a bt hit and miss.  Sorry you were disappointed with yours! :'(

chickenfeed

  • Guest
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2010, 06:00:45 am »
 :)did you hang your bacon to dry ? i follow the same method as most of you but after washing the salted bacon i then hang in muslin bags for a few days 3 - 5 in a cool/cold room or shed until the bacon is firm then slice.

egglady

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2010, 10:09:37 am »
is anyone else's a bit too chewy though?  like eating the soles of your shoes?????

Hilarysmum

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2010, 10:15:26 am »
Buy some really cheap supermarket belly to practice on.  Cut it into smaller pieces.  Try experimenting with the recipe a different ratio salt/sugar on each piece.  Try storing for just 3 days.  Soak each piece well, chill slice and try then adjust the recipe that is most to your taste.  I ruined a lot of bacon before I found mine.

farmershort

  • Joined Nov 2010
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2010, 10:48:56 am »
Just finished ours, following your recipe!

bloomin perfect! salty, but not too salty - much better than our previous efforts - that soaking in fresh water at the end is the key I think!


egglady

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #37 on: December 13, 2010, 01:35:58 pm »
yet another daft question - sorry folks!

got the tealights
got some wood chips
lit the tea lights under the rack of the smoker
scattered some of the wood chips in the pan
put the bacon on the top rack

have left it for ages and ages and ages and NO SMOKE!!!!

should i have soaked the chips or something?

want to cry now...tell me it all gets easier p-u-l-e-e-z-e!! :'(

Eve

  • Joined Jul 2010
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #38 on: December 13, 2010, 03:51:08 pm »
Don't worry, we've been there, too, I know how you feel! Despite all the instructions we'd had when we started, we still had to learn to see when the meat was ready.

I had always read about "making your own bacon", and the newspapers & books & websites all claimed it would be oh-so-fantastic, so I was really disappointed that mine was so salty, and chewy. I felt a bit betrayed by those writers.  :'(
I then googled "bacon too salty", only to find that more people have bacon that's too salty the first time around, than that there are people whose bacon is perfect straight away!

Being used to bland shop-bought bacon probably has a lot to do with it as well, but we had just cured it for too long, I suspect. It's because we were scared of food poisoning, and because knowing when meat is ready is something you kind of feel and suspect, so at first we were still learning - and getting it wrong  :(. Sometimes the x-grams per kilo doesn't quite work out, the shape of the meat is different, its fat distribution is different, the moisture content is different...

We found that shop bought (organic!) meat leached much more fluid than ours does, too, which made things a bit confusing when we got our own meat.
But from our third batch onwards it all went super and we never touch the commercial stuff anymore!

Did you refresh the water between the first and second hour of soaking? Proper bacon will always be saltier than shop-bacon (it's a preserved meat, after all, meant to last for ages) but it shouldn't be inedible. Even if it is dreadfully salty, you can always blanch it before frying, so it's not lost!
Some salts taste harsher than others, as well.

Was it a slice or a chunk? Chunks will be chewier than slices as any chunk of dried pork would be. We're now using a professional slicer which cuts 1mm slices - always very crispy!!

And was it belly or loin? We used loin once, but that was much drier than belly (dissapppointment n# 2. Dissappointment n#3 was that our first smoked bacon had been smoked too much ::)).

Do you mean cold smoking or hot smoking?
It took me quite some time to light the cold smoker, but once the wooddust (not chips) is smoking, it does keep on going for the full 10 or so hours even, to our great surprise, when it's freezing outside.
The hot smoker is done by hubby (men & barbeques, hey  ::)) and he soaks the woodchips which go in a bowl over the hot barbeque coals. I've never done the actual preparations for that, I'm just allowed to read the thermometer on top!  ;D Hubby keeps hot coals in a separate little bucket bbq ready, in case the heat in the smoker goes down. It's a fine art, he says... I just think he likes poking in fires...  ;)


Don't give up on it! Just slice this batch as fine as you can and blanch it before frying. :yum: Pretty soon you'll learn to judge the readiness of the meat and be a bacon connoisseur supreme!  :yum: :yum: :yum:
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 03:53:45 pm by Eve »

egglady

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #39 on: December 13, 2010, 06:48:42 pm »
Eve, i love you!

i am trying to do cold smoking but how do get it started?  do i put the tea light in the actual wood or underneath?

Eve

  • Joined Jul 2010
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #40 on: December 13, 2010, 07:24:30 pm »
 :D
Once it starts going right, you kind of forget those first few tries when you thought "what on earth is the fuss all about?". Sorry about that, I should have remembered! I guess that after eating all that smoked bacon, my brain is perpetually clogged by a haze of smoke! ;)

Are you using the big bullet smoker for hot smoking, or are you putting one of those little square-spiralled-metal-wire-cold-smoke-thingies (hereafter referred to as "Thingie" :D) inside the bullet smoker to do cold smoking?
This is the Thingie I got a few weeks ago, it works a treat: http://www.macsbbq.co.uk/ColdSmoking.html

The Thingie is put in the bottom of the hot smoker and the meat on a rack at the top, with tin foil over a rack somewhere in the middle so that the fat that drips off the bacon doesn't end up in the Thingie. To light the Thingie, I leave the tealight in that starting corner for several minutes, as it doesn't quite catch in 30 seconds as the instructions say! (Mind you, it was -3C when I was trying it ;D). Just leave it on overnight or all day, once it's on it'll keep on going really well. Presumably a cigarette lighter or long match will work as well. I tend to keep the air vents of the bullet smoker closed when cold smoking, it's not exactly going to overheat in this weather! :D 

If you're using the big bullet smoker for hot smoking, then... uuuhhh...
- it's hot coals at the bottom as with an ordinary barbeque (I think, I've never been allowed to light one! I know my place... ;)  Luckily I wear the pants in everything else around here ;D ;D ;D)
- then soaked woodchips on top of the hot coals (don't think they went in a bit of tin foil, but I'll check with the master-poker himself tonight)
- a bowl of water on another rack above the smoking woodchips (I supposed that's to stop if from going too dry?)
- and again the meat on a rack at the top.
We have one of those cheap plasticky meat thermometers, and when hot smoking the temperature in the meat needs to achieve 60C - but don't worry if it's less as you won't be keeping it for 6 months anyway, plus it's already been cured with salt so safe to eat. Our bacon was very smokey the first time around as I had insisted there was as much smoke as possible  ::)

Put the fattiest side of the bacon upwards, it'll moisten the meat underneath as it melts a bit.

I'll ask hubby tonight when he comes in if I've got this hot-smoking right. We'll be smoking bacon again ourselves but not until next week, but will take pictures then. Though by that time you've probably got it down to a T!

Enjoy!  :wave:


Eve

  • Joined Jul 2010
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #41 on: December 13, 2010, 10:20:31 pm »
He Who Knows has been questioned about hot smoking, and duly provided the answers:
- hot coals at the bottom, just like a barbeque
- soaked woodchips on a thin single layer of tin foil on top of the hot coals
- a bowl of water to stop the smoker from getting too hot (I stand corrected ;D), placed on a rack a bit higher than the woodchips
- the meat at the top (level with the bottom edge of the lid is easiest, so that when you take the lid off you can easily put the meat thermometer in or take the meat off the rack when it's finished (rather than having to start fishing somewhere in the middle of the smoker - our smoking sessions invariable finish when it's pitch dark outside!)
- some more hot coals kept aside in case the temperature drops too much.

And once the thermometer at the top stopped working, but it only needed cleaning.  ;)

Good luck!

 :wave:


egglady

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #42 on: December 16, 2010, 05:04:50 pm »
well i tried to do cold smoking but i suspect it was hot smoked in the end! was out most of the day and when i got back everything had gone out but there was a lovely smokey smell in the thing and the meat itself smelt smoked.  Having carbonara for tea tonight so will see what it tastes like - looks yummy i have to say!

i am keen to know the difference between hot -v- cold smoking.  not in terms of how it's done cos i understand that but when you would use which one.

anyone know?

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #43 on: December 16, 2010, 05:28:29 pm »
hot smoking you can eat after without additional cooking IE chicken        ham and bacon will   be cold smoked

Hilarysmum

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Making bacon!
« Reply #44 on: December 17, 2010, 09:15:50 am »
One prized product here is very, very thinly sliced smoked bacon eaten cold/uncooked. 

 

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