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My sister and brother-in-law have been singing the praises of this boutique bacon, Bespoke, for some time. I finally got to try it for myself this past week at the shore, and OMG... I'm smitten. I tried the jalapeno cilantro and the buffalo varieties. For the buffalo, we did their recommended preparation of a light flour dredging and baking at 375°... I'd never heard of that but it gave a killer texture. Really thick, porky slices with tastefully-applied seasoning and heat. Really good stuff. Check them out... http://bespokebacon.com/

 

It put me in the mood to cure and cold smoke my own bacon, and I think I'll be able to with the Auber PID I'm ordering. Basically, I plan to use a large tupperware container with a lid and a mug of sawdust. I'll use a soldering iron to generate smoke in the mug, and try to keep it as low in temp as I can with the PID. I have a lot to learn before I do it, but has anyone ever tried a setup like this?

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I'm interested in learning as well. I must say that, right now, I tend to make mental associations between "cold smoking" and "bacteria galore" but I'd be really open if someone could show me how safe it is. 

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^ You're certainly right to be concerned about bacteria: http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/cold_smoking.html

 

At the very least, you need be perfectly sure you can hold a steady 165F before you even attempt to do it with food.

 

It doesn't necessarily have to be cold-smoked, though: http://amazingribs.com/recipes/porknography/making_bacon_from_scratch.html

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I hot smoke my bacon. Allows me to experiment without having nitrates.

 

I smoke at 200, until internal temperature of 150 or so.

 

If you cold smoke, you have to use nitrates of some sort. Morton Tenderquick, or Prague Powder #1 to prevent botulism and other nasty bacteria.

 

I use an Amaz-N-Pellet tray, http://www.amazenproducts.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AMNPS5X8, and it is perfect for cold smoking. I use it to smoke cheese.

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I have not tried this setup but I have heard folks describe using a metal coffee can with saw dust and soldering iron.  I think google has a number of plans for this.

I'm trying to figure where the pid comes in here?  I'm guessing that the sawdust and soldering iron would keep it low?

 

I do use pink salt for curing because I want that classic bacon flavor and color but if it was me I would hot smoke and just target a low internal temp...  I'm certainly NOT a bacon expert though, I know there have been a number of folks here that look like they have had great success using various methods.

 

Good luck and look forward to the details once it's said and done!

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My brother and I just did a couple small (2lb) slabs of cold smoked bacon.

 

We used a soldering "gun" (the big sucker that looks like a gun, not a pencil style iron) and a coffee can in the bottom of his Weber kettle. Started around 8pm, ambient temp was about 70F, the internal temp of the kettle never went above 80F. Four hours (give or take) of hickory saw dust smoke later we called it done.

 

In my opinion it wasn't long enough, the smoke flavor was hardly noticable. The bacon was a bit on the sweet side (the cure recipe I tried was sugar heavy), but was much better than anything I've had from a retail store in the last 20 years.

 

We had previously done some hot smoked bacon (Akorn @ 200F, meat taken to 155F), the smoke flavor was stronger but still not overpowering.

 

FWIW - If you cure with nitrates (pink salt, Morton's Tender Quick, etc) then smoking temps below 160F are not an issue.

 

It's worth doing, but I would strongly suggest small experiments until you find something you like.

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Dave - I've cured and cold smoked lots of bacon.  There should be a few post on the source about it.  Here's a link to one of the recnet one.

 

http://forum.bigsteelkeg.com/index.php?topic=9738.0

 

Get one of these to cold smoke.  Its cheap and easier than trying other methods.

 

http://www.amazenproducts.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AMNS6X6

 

It works great for cheese, bacon, fish, anything you want to cold smoke.

 

Let the bacon dry for a week or so in the fridge after your curing time.  It helps concentrate the flavors.  Most retail shops wont do that as it make the weight less so they get less money.  Its well worth it though.

 

If you have good smoke going you don't need to be worried about bad bacteria.  The smoke helps protect it.  I was told to cold smoke it for no more than 12 hour than pout it back in the fridge.  If you want more smoke than that repeat as needed.  I like mine with about 12 hours of light smoke.

 

FYI - The Auber will error out and stop working if the outside temp gets under 25 degrees.  Just in case you live where its get cold.  Check out the pitmaster IQ120.

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Thanks for all the advice, guys. I knew I'd get an earful and that's exactly what I wanted! I still have plenty of research to do before attempting my first cold smoke, but you've given me plenty of starting points to search.

 

 

Dave - I've cured and cold smoked lots of bacon.  There should be a few post on the source about it.  Here's a link to one of the recnet one.

 

http://forum.bigsteelkeg.com/index.php?topic=9738.0

 

Get one of these to cold smoke.  Its cheap and easier than trying other methods.

 

http://www.amazenproducts.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AMNS6X6

 

It works great for cheese, bacon, fish, anything you want to cold smoke.

 

Let the bacon dry for a week or so in the fridge after your curing time.  It helps concentrate the flavors.  Most retail shops wont do that as it make the weight less so they get less money.  Its well worth it though.

 

If you have good smoke going you don't need to be worried about bad bacteria.  The smoke helps protect it.  I was told to cold smoke it for no more than 12 hour than pout it back in the fridge.  If you want more smoke than that repeat as needed.  I like mine with about 12 hours of light smoke.

 

FYI - The Auber will error out and stop working if the outside temp gets under 25 degrees.  Just in case you live where its get cold.  Check out the pitmaster IQ120.

 

Thanks for the detailed answer. I will definitely search the Source for your posts. And that's a very good thing to know about the Auber because we do get temps that low at times in the winter. If need be, though, I can run the sensor cable through my kitchen window and it will reach the Akorn no problem. Also note I'm not getting one of their dedicated smoker controllers. I'm getting these... not sure if the spec is the same:

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=13&products_id=110

 

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14_27&products_id=234

 

But it sounds like I should just get an A-Maze-N unit and forgo the whole PID/soldering iron route when it comes to bacon.

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Im not sure about that one.  I assume you want it for other things that controlling your pits?  Otherwise its more money than the smoker version.  Ask them about the temp thing.  Its due to the thermocouple range that they use.  It sucks when it errors out in the middle of the night and you have to go lit your pit in below freezing temps.  Ask me how I know!

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Aaaaand I just ordered the A-Maze-N 5x8 pellet/sawdust smoker. I'm all in! Now just to source some good belly...

 

I had a hard time finding good belly.  This is the post that I asked all my bacon question on.  Its long but a good read for beginners. Good info on that forum.

 

http://forum.sausagemaking.org/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7905

 

How does the controller control SV.  Regulate the water temp but how?

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Ask them about the temp thing.  Its due to the thermocouple range that they use.  It sucks when it errors out in the middle of the night and you have to go lit your pit in below freezing temps.  Ask me how I know!

 

Boy, Auber is very responsive to emails:

 

"The WS-1500ELPM controller can run at -20F environment (it might go even lower because the controller will generate heat during operation). The sensor can read from -58F up to 600F."

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