Curing up Some Badass Bacon!
If you have followed me on any of my social media outlets, then you know I am right in the middle of butchering several pigs, plus some other added animals. But, today we are talking bacon! Specifically, curing bacon the easy and tasty way! My favorite way!
Step 1 – Get the Bacon -(er, Pork bellies)!
If you are butchering pigs, be sure to grab the pork bellies if they are big enough. The pork bellies are located, as you might imagine, in the belly area, but wrapping up to the sides. You can grab a variety of good butchering diagrams online to help you figure out where to cut to get the best cuts.
When you pull the bacon from the carcass, the first thing you wanna do is get it chilling. Just cover it up and get it into the cooler or fridge. When you have gathered it all or gathered enough, then you can pull it out and get started.
Step 2 – Start the Seasoning Process
There are a variety of ways to go about all of your curing efforts but I am going to talk to you about my favorite. Honestly, it’s the only way I go. I like to use LEM Backwoods Maple Bacon Cure and Seasoning. Of course, there are a variety of flavors to choose from, but for my family’s tastes, maple is the tops!
The Dry Method
You can use this seasoning wet or dry, just follow the instructions for either way. The dry method is simply rubbing the seasonings and cure all over and then placing it in a covered container or zip-top bag and refrigerating for 7 days, keeping the temperature at a constant 38 degrees.
The Wet Method
The wet method, which I discuss in the video, is also simple. It involves dissolving the seasoning and cure mixes in water in a brining container, then placing the pork bellies into it and into the cooler.
The Briner that I use is really great. There are a couple of sizes available, but I like the large one because I also use it for hams and other meats. They have a very cool feature that makes this process work well. Inside the container, under the lid, there is another piece that will hold your meat down in the liquid. An important quality, to be sure.
Step 3 – Getting Ready for Smoke
Bacon is not bacon until it is smoked. Period. So, your next step is smoking your pork belly into a slab of bacon! After the 7-day curing period, you need to rinse your pork bellies off very well, pat dry, and then place them somewhere cool where they can dry for around an hour. Air circulation helps. This creates a film of some sort over the meat which will help it in the smoking process.
Use your smoking method of choice, just keep the temps low and smoke it until the internal temperature reaches 155. It will take a bunch of hours. Honestly, it will depend on your smoker, the temp, and the thickness of your slab. Yes, it takes a while……..but it is so worth it!!!
My Favorites – My Suggestions
If you are thinking about building a smoker, you should definitely check out the one that we built out here on Two Oaks Farmstead. I had to divide it into two separate posts because there are a lot of pics for you!
I’d love to hear if y’all are building smokers and ‘makin bacon!’ Drop me a line or even some pics!
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