Makin' Bacon

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Makin' Bacon

Postby matt walker » Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:44 pm

A quick one here, just to share my new favorite cooking/preserving skill. I have mostly just the fatty roasts left from my Tamworths, and with my recent discovery of how to smoke on my rocket cooker, I've been having a lot of fun using them up making pulled pork and the like. In my searches for other things to do with shoulder roasts and pork butt, I came across a blog with a recipe/technique for Buckboard Bacon. I followed the instructions I found here:
http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot ... bacon.html
Holy cow! Errr, pig! The only change I made was to add about 1/2 cup of maple syrup to the curing bag. I did use the Hi-Mountain seasoning which I found on Amazon. I trimmed out the bone and ended up with two slabs about 2 1/2 inches thick, 2lbs or so each. I cured for about 8 days, soaked in water for 4 hours, and let it set on a rack in the fridge over night. Then, I smoked at 180* for the first two hours or so and then let the temp rise to around 200*, as it says in the blog there. I used apple wood and a bit of hickory for the smoke. I'm sold, George, you have to give this a try once you slaughter those hogs. I'll never go back to using the local butcher for the bacon process again.
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:59 pm

That meat looks great Matt, I enjoyed the pictures in the link. Was is very hard to regulate the temps in your RMH to keep the 180 and 200 degree that the process called for? You seem to be very pleased with the finished produce, how would you compare the flavor to store bought bacon? Since you are useing a much better cut of meat I am sure the finished produce should be Great compared to what you can buy.
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby matt walker » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:13 pm

Guy, I could go on and on about the rocket cooker as a smoker. I can hold temp extremely easily, just about anywhere from 130 or so up to 600+. I've now got a small oven on top of one of the cookers that I'm thrilled with as well.

Back to the bacon. It is amazing, I gave my neighbor a bit and he came back with a report. He claimed, and his brother as well, that it was the best bacon they'd ever had. It is a bit closer to Canadian Bacon, since it's not a belly, but it's somewhere in between belly and loin in my opinion since it has more fat than a loin. The meat part does come out that kinda cured pink/red like ham, since it is a cure and warm smoke as opposed to most store bought American bacon which is typically, afaik, a cure and cold smoke. Anyway, it's great, and the beauty is you use the cheapest cuts of pork for it, much like pulled pork. I'm almost out of the pork I raised and have been looking at the big whole shoulders at the store. They are regularly $1.49 lb for the big 20 pounders, and the meat counter will cut and wrap them into smaller portions for free. That's a great way to get a few smaller roasts to give this a try. I'm looking forward to making lamb bacon after slaughter season coming this fall!
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:58 pm

WOW, Lamb Bacon, I never heard of that, never thought of that, never even considered anything but Pork for Bacon. Cured meat is cured meat I suppose, :lol: I would guess the Lamb will have a much different taste from cured pork, but the curing salts might tend to level out the taste of the two different meats some. Let us know how that goes and which one you prefer.
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby Lollykoko » Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:48 am

Great website, Matt. Thanks for the link.

You had mentioned buckboard bacon in an earlier post, perhaps about the stove. I wondered then if what you were doing was similar to a recipe I'd read in Backwoods Home Magazine. I've sent your link on to my brother-in-law who has been talking about trying something along those lines.
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby boo » Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:54 am

I'm interested to hear how the "lamb bacon" works out - I'd never heard of it before.
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:51 pm

I have been thinking about making a smoker of some sort. I do not know how much I would use it, but since My Sons and I do hunt deer we might just get one at some point, ;) we have had mixed success in resent years. Anyway I have been on You Tube checking out different designs and have seen everything from wooden ones, to old converted refrigerators, to different kinds of barrels, to expensive bought units. Since I am cheap, and I do not know how much I would actually use one because I do not raise my own live stock, I think an old metal file cabinet would work pretty well. I watched a bunch of videos, some used propane, some used electric, I liked this design because it used wood for the heat as well as the smoke. This guy added some fancy metal to the front, I do not see that as being needed for its operation. Here is the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=en ... O0R-8&NR=1

One of the other videos I saw used a metal floor heater grate cut into the top of the file cabinet to regulat the smoke exaust, it had a movable vent inside to shut off the air flow completely, or open it up to allow alot of air to pass through. I got an old heavy file cabinet for my daughter in law from Freecycle awhile back. Maybe I can find another one for free, or for very cheap. What do you guys think of the design, the area inside for the meat, the ease of storage for the unit. Putting it on wheels seems to be a good idea so that it is easy to move around. Because it is metal and will rust I would try to store it inside in the gardage or the shed.

Here is another way to make this type of smoker.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RM7A5iJ ... creen&NR=1
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby matt walker » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:19 am

I love that design Guy. I would go with the first video style myself, charcoal burning in a basket and simpler/more adjustable air inlet/outlet design. I'd also be sure to burn off any paint inside anywhere with a weed burner torch and I'd probably do the same to the outside just to be safe. Same with grease/lube and whatever else is on those drawer slides. Otherwise, I think it's a genius idea, and I can say that once you have a smoker you will find any excuse to run it. They are a delight, and addictive as well. Put your salsa ingredients from the garden in there for an hour and then pop 'em in a blender. Smoked salsa! Make mac and cheese and put it in there for an hour, smoked mac and cheese! And so on.... :D
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby GrahamB » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:32 am

I have had a filing cabinet in the garage for about a year now, just waiting for me to make into a smoker. I got it from school for free because one of the drawers doesn't stop when you pull it out and it ended up on the floor full of files. I was going to make it like the one in the second video because I also have an old propane camping stove to utilize. It's just one of the many projects I have lined up, but I may have to bring it further up the list now. :)
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:07 am

I liked the idea of the real wood fire as well Matt. I showed the 2nd video because I really liked the way they made their top vent. It was cheap, easy to install and it can be regulated easily. The use of a propane or electric cooker to produce the heat does not really make much difference in the process, the use of wood chips of what ever flavor you want is what really produces the smoke and adds the flavor to the meat. Several units I looked at used electric hot plates for the heat and had some sort of cast iron skillet filled with the wood chips on one of the burners to produce the smoke. A Coleman Gas 2 burner stove was the 2nd option that was used alot. Using a real wood fire was used less often, most likely because it might be a bit harder to control, and there could be more danger of burning something to the ground, like your house of garage, :lol: . There were alot of videos showing older wooden smoke houses that had the fire outside the smoke house, normally down hill from the smokehouse so that the smoke just naturally flowed up the pipe to the smoke house. Living as I do on a steep hill I have thought about that arrangment. It would work well here, but it would be alot more work and cost alot more money. The file cabinet has the advantage of being cheap, and easy to make. So I won't feel as bad if I use it once or twice and decide it is too much work, or I don't like it, or the meat doesn't taste as good as store bought ham ;) I also think the file cabinet will hold most meats I would want to smoke. It maybe small for some large hams, but mostly I think it will do what I want done. I think I have talked myself into the file cabinet smoker. I can always built a larger wooden or brick smoke house lated on if I REALLY Love smoking stuff, :lol: . Graham let me know when you get your smoker up and running. I would love to see pictures of the completed project. I love to steal ideas, and I hate to re-invent the wheel, :lol: You can discribe were the problems arise and what is the best way to solve them, :D
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