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Bacon advice required


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Hi! I'm quite new to curing bacon and gone for my second attempt this year (last years lot had to go out - it was so salty it could pickle an elephant!). I've been doing all the research and got my bacon cured and in the fridge (one for 5 days, one for 7 as they were different thicknesses), dried it a little for a day or two in the fridge, smoked it, and put it back in the fridge. The problem is the only thing I wasn't keeping an eye on was the fridge... it turns out it's been bad and been sitting anything between 1c and 7c this whole time (it seems to go up and down - it's an old second hand fridge). I'm reading that it should be kept at a constant 4c for when it's curing so I'm assuming because I don't know what my temperatures were doing at that time I just have to bin it?

It still looks fine and doesn't smell bad, and I did have a taste before I smoked it and there was nothing untoward with it, but I wanted to check and see before I throw it out and buy a new fridge. Any advice would be welcome! Thanks! :)

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Thanks Smokin Monkey - even for the curing at the start? I keep reading that it needs to be below 4'C and keep panicking! It has quite a high sugar content as I added treacle to one and maple to the other.

Definitely going to bin that fridge, I think I'm more gutted if I lose the bacon! 😂 I was really looking forward to trying it!

Edited by Chae
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1 hour ago, Wade said:

Let us know the recipe you used and we can help you adjust it so that you do not have the same problem next time. If you were using a cure mix then let us know which one it was.

Cheers, Wade 

Hi Wade

I had 2 x 1kg pork belly and used 27.5g salt, 2.5g Prague powder #1, some black pepper, 20g brown sugar on each - and 2tbsp treacle on one, 2tbsp maple syrup on the other. 
Thanks for taking a look! Like I said, I’m a total rookie with cold smoking and just want to check
Chae

Edited by Chae
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10 minutes ago, Chae said:

Hi Wade

I had 2 x 1kg pork belly and used 27.5g salt, 2.5g Prague powder #1, some black pepper, 20g brown sugar on each - and 2tbsp treacle on one, 2tbsp maple syrup on the other. 
Thanks for taking a look! Like I said, I’m a total rookie with cold smoking and just want to check
Chae

Is that the total mix for all the pork (2kg) or per kilo?

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Hi Chae

As a general rule you should be looking at about 2.5% salt, so by using a total of 30g salt (27.5g + 2.5 g) your salt content at 3% is fine. If it is a little salty you can take this down a little next time.

The amount of Cure#1 is fine too.

For the sugar you should be looking at using half the %age of sugar to salt - therefore in your recipe you would only need around 13 g of sugar in total. If you are then going to use either treacle or maple syrup as well, you need to reduce the other sugar levels. Weigh the treacle or maple syrup before adding any sugar and if it is more than 13g then omit the sugar completely. Some people like a bitter sweet treacle taste on their bacon and so add more treacle - but to start with you are best to try a straight swap of sugar for treacle the first time, then adjust higher or lower for the next batch.

27 minutes ago, Chae said:

I used a calculator for the salt & pink salt and that was the numbers it gave me.

I know that the term "Pink Salt" is used alot in other countries, however it is a term best avoided in the UK when talking about curing. It is called pink salt in the USA because they add a pink dye so that it isnt mistaken for pure sodium chloride. In the UK is is very rare to find it with the dye and is almost always white. Unfortunately when reading recipes some beginners assume that "pink salt" and "Himalayan Pink Salt" are the same - so to avoid any confusion it is safer to refer to it as Cure#1 or Prague Powder #1.

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Thanks for the reply Wade. So does that mean I can't use it due to the amount of sugar I've used in the cure? I have a couple of books that say I can add extra sugar (like treacle/maple/honey) to the basic cure on top of the sugar that's added, and found a few things online that added treacle as an extra on the sugar as well. Would it make it unsafe to eat if it's cold smoked?

Sorry, I'm still trying to get my head round all the correct terms for things. 🙂

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It is perfectly safe to eat as the salt and cure levels are fine. After that it us down to personal taste.  The sugar is there mainly to balance out the flavour of the salt - how much you add (within reason) is down to your personal taste. It is like making a cup of tea 🍵...  some people don't take sugar whereas others will take 4+ heaped teaspoons. In my opinion adding any sugar at all to a cup of tea makes it undrinkable but it does not mean that it isn't safe to drink 🥴

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5 minutes ago, Wade said:

It is perfectly safe to eat as the salt and cure levels are fine. After that it us down to personal taste.  The sugar is there mainly to balance out the flavour of the salt - how much you add (within reason) is down to your personal taste. It is like making a cup of tea 🍵...  some people don't take sugar whereas others will take 4+ heaped teaspoons. In my opinion adding any sugar at all to a cup of tea makes it undrinkable but it does not mean that it isn't safe to drink 🥴

Haha! This is true! I don't have sugar in tea but do have a rather sweet tooth otherwise 😀

That's perfect - thanks for the help Wade. I smoked them both so will be checking the first one tonight... fingers crossed it's all looking good! Really appreciate all the advice ☺️

Edited by Chae
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5 hours ago, Chae said:

Sorry, I'm still trying to get my head round all the correct terms for things. 🙂

Don't be sorry to ask questions. The only pointless questions are the ones that DONT get asked. We are here to help people to gain confidence - we have all had to start at some point and needed exactly the same reassurances.

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  • 2 months later...
On 11/24/2020 at 2:41 PM, Chae said:

Thanks Smokin Monkey - even for the curing at the start? I keep reading that it needs to be below 4'C and keep panicking! It has quite a high sugar content as I added treacle to one and maple to the other.

Definitely going to bin that fridge, I think I'm more gutted if I lose the bacon! 😂 I was really looking forward to trying it!

 Don't bin your fridge!  Put a single tube greenhouse heater in it, put a PID on that and turn the whole fridge into a temp controlled Fermenting cupboard. Make some BEER or Cider to go with that Bacon! Its a good insulated box, and not to be wasted!

Ele.

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34 minutes ago, Elecrafter said:

 Don't bin your fridge!  Put a single tube greenhouse heater in it, put a PID on that and turn the whole fridge into a temp controlled Fermenting cupboard. Make some BEER or Cider to go with that Bacon! Its a good insulated box, and not to be wasted!

Ele.

If I hadn't already got rid this would be a great idea! Oops! 😄

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