After see posts on this site, watching countless YouTube videos and hours upon hours of nervous research I decided to buy a pork belly and give bacon a try on my Big Joe. Like others have commented I found the pink salt was not as easy to find as I assumed, so I bought some off Amazon. I bought a 10-lb pork belly from Costco, found an easy recipe on line and started my adventure! I followed the recipe below as a template:
I used dark brown sugar because that's what I had and I used pure Vermont Maple Syrup instead of honey. I used cayenne pepper on half of the belly and none on the other just because I forgot to put it in my first batch of the curing paste.
I had to cut the pork belly in half because I was using 1-gallon ziploc bags and this resulted in two different flavors to my bacon. The first one without the cayenne pepper finished curing in 9 days. Based on the hours of research I guessed at it being done because it was pretty stiff compared to when it first started. The second bag with the cayenne pepper leaked much of the liquid and didn't seem ready. So when I removed the first belly I drained the second bag, made another batch of the curing paste and started the process again.
The first batch of bacon I rinsed thoroughly, dried with paper towels and placed on a drying rack in the fridge for a day unwrapped and uncovered. The next day I smoked it for about 3 hours keeping the temperature between 200-240 and cooking until the internal temp was 150. I used 2 small chunks of apple wood for the smoke.
Since I don't have a meat slicer I was "forced" to buy a Dalstrong Gladiator Series Ham Knife which was heavily recommended throughout this site. I did my best to keep the strips as thin as possible and even.
The family loved the bacon and I was happy with the result as well. Now the second half of the pork belly finished up about 4 days later and I followed the same smoking process except I add 2 chunks of cherry wood and 2 chunks of apple wood. I didn't think the first round of bacon was smoky enough so I doubled the amount of wood.
This was noticeably better than the first round! I tasted smoke this time and it wasn't overpowering. The flavors of this bacon were much more pronounced that the first round and while I know the added wood made a difference, I wonder if re-doing the curing process half the way through made any difference.
Regardless, I enjoyed the whole preparation and cooking of the bacon and will do this from now on! It wasn't nearly as difficult as I had thought and though the second batch was better both were fantastic! As good or better than anything I've ever bought from the store. My family all claim it's better than anything we've ever bought, but I guess I'm a little more critical of my cooking than they are.
So it's family Christmas at my brothers this year which means interstate for two families. I asked my brother what we could bring to help contribute and i was told nothing. It's all sorted. But i just couldn't turn up empty handed.
I think I'm taking the perfect thing.... home made bacon!
Picked up a pork belly, wet brined for 4 days in a solution of salt pepper, molasses, sugar and water.
Hot smoked on the KJ for approx 2hrs (150f internal temp).
Should feed the whole family breakfast for the time we're there :-)
The Guru Moderators Challenged me to create a “Weave Your Way Through May”. I thought long and hard at what I could create.
Create something delicious by weaving ingredients together? At first, I thought
I kept thinking and then came to the “point” where an idea “stuck” with me.
If I had the correct ingredients
I studied up on my past cooks and if you will
I’ll provide you with a little educational reading and show you
I assembled most of my ingredients
Greased up my CI pie pan with some Crisco.
Did my crust weave in it
but it looked a bit
(Not my best work. I should’ve done this on the glass pie dish like last time but since the crust won’t show this was no biggy)
Now I placed the glass dish in the CI dish to try to control shrinkage and keep its shape.
Now place it upside down on the kamado to let the bacon grease drain. I let it cook this way for 30 minutes.
While that was cooking I whipped up the egg, milk, sour cream and Bisquick
Once the bacon crust was cooled I placed in a layer of thinly sliced potato.
Now some slivered onion
and then the Hatch Chiles.
Now I added half the egg mixture and 1 cup of cheese.
I repeated this process and placed it on the kamado for 50 minutes at 300 degrees.
Here it is after 50 minutes.
I thought we could clink our glasses in a toast but alas it still wasn’t alive like I wanted
so I threw a little temper tantrum.
It needed one last ingredient
So I added a bacon weave on top of mostly already cooked bacon and cooked it an extra 10 minutes. (Didn’t want to deal with the shrinkage or the extra grease)
and in a last desperate attempt, I yelled out
Here it is after the additional 10 minutes.
Close-up with flash.
Today I cut a slice and heated it up for breakfast.
My wife found some boneless spareribs on sale at our local supermarket. I had some thick cut bacon that need to be cooked. So here is their beautiful marriage. Rubbed with Jake's grillin' coffee rub, cooked over indirect heat at 250°. Pulled when internal temp of 155° was reached(first time checking). Also cooked some bacon that was awesome as well. Here's some pics! The sparerib in the front was on the back of the grill, still great though.