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nicko

Hi from Lincolnshire

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Thank you for having me. 

You might not believe this, but at the ripe old age of 45 I bought my very first bbq just 4 weeks ago, a shiny new weber MT. 

In the past 4 weeks I have done burgers, sausages, chicken, pulled pork, ribs and pork belly burnt ends. Some turned out better than others, but hey, I am still learning. 

But I think my best achievement and with the help of this forum, is my very first attempt at dry cured, smoked bacon.

I am now totally hooked and I just know that I am going to end up spending a fortune on meat. Lol. 

Here is a picture of my first attempt at bacon. 

P.s. I had forgotten just how good proper bacon tasted. 

 

IMG_20190511_164458709.jpg

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Just now, Smokin Monkey said:

Once again Welcome to the Forum.

Once you have made your own Bacon, you will not go back to Supermarket Bacon!

Thank you and you are so right. The first time I cooked that bacon it took me back to my childhood. Its been that long since I had proper bacon, I will never buy supermarket bacon ever again. 

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Posted (edited)

Looking forward to your adventures, show us your cooks and hopefully you will find lots of helpful people and resources. I have been on the forum since last March 2018 and I have found and continue to find many friends and much help.  The tailgates are great fun. I have organised the inaugural spring Anglia and Southeast which was last weekend, and I am going to the Midlands, Northern and National ones through the year. They are great fun and relaxing. Hope to see you at one of those certainly at least the national one.

I learnt lots from this forum including cold smoking and charcuterie. Now I am getting into all grain brewing too, all through the inspiration derived from this forum

m

Edited by Justin
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We all spend money but it’s something we love ! So clear conscience 😂

we are all constantly learning tips and sometimes you can alleviate any possible painful cooks by asking questions 

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Hi Nicko - great looking bacon :thumb1:. What did you use to cure/flavour method did you use and how long did you smoke it for?

Which model of Weber did you buy?

 

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15 hours ago, Wade said:

Hi Nicko - great looking bacon :thumb1:. What did you use to cure/flavour method did you use and how long did you smoke it for?

Which model of Weber did you buy?

Thanks Wade, unfortunately I got the recipe and method from a friend and I didn't find this forum until I was already half way through the curing process. I made the cure at 8g of saltpeter to 1kg of salt and used 120g  in total on the belly pork. This was a ratio of 75g per kg of meat. I did the "drain the water and top up" method for 5 days and then soaked for 2 hours, did a water change and soaked for another hour. I realise now that this is probably the worst method I could have used, but it got me started and I have since learnt the error of my ways. 😀

I followed your advice on how to smoke using my weber 57cm master touch and the pro q smoke generator. I used oak and smoked it for 9 hours. It is not quite as pink as in the photos but the indoor lighting through the colour off a bit.

As for the finished results, the outside couple off rashers was a little salty but the rest has been fine and the flavour is absolutely delicious. Even my wife who is not a bacon fan said it took her back to her childhood when we used to have proper bacon.

I have since ordered some cure no 1 and have read all the advice on this site, so hopefully the next batch will be perfect.

Nick

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Hi Nick

Thanks for sharing your method. I have made a couple of comments below - not to criticise the method you used (as you were following the recipe it in good faith) but to help with some background information for when you prepare your next batch. 

Firstly the cure itself.
Bacon would have been traditionally cured using salt that contained Potassium Nitrate (Saltpeter) and the Nitrate would help delay the rancidification of the fats and help develop the traditional pink colour in the meat. One of the main preservation requirements for longer term storage though is the protection against micro organisms (like Botulinum) for which the Nitrate decomposition product, Nitrite, is required. This is why when curing most meats that will be stored we will use a mixture of Nitrite (for immediate protection) and Nitrate (for longer term protection). Both the Nitrate and Nitrite will give the colour and will help preserve the fats.
Recent studies though indicate that the Nitrate, when heated to high temperatures - as in frying) are more readily converted to nitrosamines which are indicated in causing increased risk of cancer. Because of the the USA have banned the use of Nitrates in the commercial production of bacon and the EU recommend against its use - though they have not been able to ban it due to the number of "traditional" cured meat products that already existed throughout the EU countries.
There is no legislation in place for the production of bacon at home (!) but you may want to err on the side of caution in the future and follow the commercial guidelines.
Yes, the use of Cure#1 (which contains Nitrite only) will be a good move for next time :thumb1:.

The quantity of cure you used.
You used 8 g of Potassium Nitrate PLUS 1000 g of salt. Below I have rounded the calculations to 8 g Nitrate IN 1000 g salt to make the calculations simpler.

You used 120 g (0.12 Kg) of Cure for every Kg of meat - which results in 8 x 0.12 g of cure per Kg of meat = 0.96 g of Nitrate / Kg meat

To convert to mg/kg (or Parts per Million - Ppm) we multiply by 1000 = 960 mg/Kg (Ppm) which was applied to the meat.

This needs to be compared to the commercial permitted limits of Nitrite - which is 150 mg/kg. Taken at face value you used over 6 x the maximum commercially permitted amounts of cure. I do not know your precise method though, and if you lost some of the cure during the curing process (e.g. losing some of the produced brine) then the amount you finished with in your bacon would be less.

The salt
I am not surprised that it tasted salty as you applied 120 g of salt to each Kg of meat. This would have resulted in a salt concentration of 12%. The average person finds a salt level of 2.5%-3% ideal and over 3% starts to become increasingly too salty. To overcome the saltiness in the bacon sugar is often used, as this helps reduce the salt taste when eaten. Sugar is typically added to the cure at a rate of 50% of the salt.

Using the Cure#1 in bacon
When your Cure#1 arrives here is a good rule of thumb for calculating what you require

For each Kg of meat use 2.5 g of Cure#1, 22.5 g salt and 11 g sugar. During the curing time do not lose any of the brine produced as it needs to stay in contact with the surface of the meat.

Good luck with your next batch and we would love to see more photos :thumb1:

 

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Hi wade,

Thank you for taking the time to reply and for giving such excellent advice, I really appreciate it. I have just ordered a vacuum sealer, so once it and the cure arrives I should be good to go for another attempt, only this time done properly. We have only eaten enough of the last batch for a couple of bacon butties so hopefully we won't have done too much harm.

Thanks again and I will post some photos of my next attempt. :thumb1:

Nick

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Excellent. Post your next attempt under the relevant bacon thread mate. Thanks

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18 hours ago, nicko said:

 We have only eaten enough of the last batch for a couple of bacon butties so hopefully we won't have done too much harm.

You would need to eat a lot of it in one go to approach toxic levels so don't panic :thumb1:. Eaten in moderation you will be fine. You may even want to cut some of it into lardons and freeze them in small batches. When used in cooking (stir fries etc.) they will add great flavour, the saltiness will help season the dish and the quantities eaten per person will be relatively small.

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To put things in perspective... 

You will need to eat the equivalent of between 33-150 mg/Kg OF YOUR OWN BODY WEIGHT of Nitrate to suffer the most serious effects. In real terms this equates to eating a lot of Nitrate over a short period of time. When looking at total Nitrate eaten - for an average person death and severe effects of nitrate ingestion are generally associated with doses above 10 g Nitrate. Doses between 2 and 9 g have been reported to cause methemoglobinemia (the reduction in the bloods ability to carry oxygen).

You used only 0.96 g of Nitrate for each Kg of your bacon. Some of this will have been lost during the curing process and will not have diffused into the bacon itself.
Assuming that each slice of bacon weighs about 25 g then each slice will contain a MAXIMUM of 24 mg Nitrate (0.024 g)

Yes, eating a whole Kg of your bacon at one time would likely have some undesirable physiological effects but eating 2 or 3 slices of it in a sandwich (72 mg Nitrate) would not be a problem for a normal healthy adult. An average stick of celery can contain ~160 mg Nitrate...

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This is what I love about this site and @Wade advice in particular. It has taken curing from a black art and turned it into an exact science. It's brilliant 👍👍👍

 

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