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Baldy52
08-30-2013, 09:49 PM
I see several different recommendations for smoking bacon. Some say to bring slab to internal temp of 150. Others do a long cold smoke. I am not sure how to proceed. If I use a non nitrite cure does that force me to use the 150 degree method? Thanks for any advice,

TentHunter
08-31-2013, 01:10 AM
If I use a non nitrite cure does that force me to use the 150 degree method? Thanks for any advice,

If the bacon was not cured with a nitrite/nitrate cure, I would hot-smoke it (165 - 185) and would definitely take it above 150.


Out of curiosity, why are you considering a non-nitrite cure?


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-onDyBcFGGkY/T-VGBlBFAdI/AAAAAAAADmk/ofKcu2j9IRg/s730/HR.JPG

For cured bacon, Cold-smoking versus Hot-smoking is a preference.

Many prefer to cold smoke only, which is fine. It gives a very deep smoke flavor and you end up with less weight-loss, BUT because no fat was rendered off during the smoking process, the bacon will shrink a little more when cooked.


With Hot-smoking the product will loose some weight (because some of the fat is rendered off as well as water weight). Taking the temp above 140 sets the color of the bacon a little better (because 140 is when myoglobin denatures), also remember, at temps above 130 much of the nitrite is converted to nitric dioxide and dissipates.


My preference is to do a combo; I start by cold-smoking for 4 - 6 hours (which gives a deep smoke flavor), then switch to a hot-smoke to take the temp to between 145 - 150.

My favorite smoke for bacon is Applewood.

Baldy52
08-31-2013, 08:43 PM
Thanks great advise. I am concerned about the health issues that are linked with nitrites. This does seem very confusing and not sure what to believe.

TentHunter
09-03-2013, 07:24 PM
Let me preface this by saying I am NOT a doctor or chemist, but I have researched this topic quite thoroughly because I too was concerned about it. I also have a friend with a PhD in Chemistry.

Do not fear nitrites/nitrates for curing. A lot of research has been done in recent years that disputes the older research.

Here's a good read: The Nitrate and Nitrite Myth: Another Reason not to Fear Bacon (http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon)


In my opinion, as long as you follow proper usage, you actually pose a much greater health risk by not using it in products where it's appropriate (such as bacon, ham & sausage).

Pelletsmoking.com - Salt, Nitrites/Nitrates & Botulism (http://www.pelletsmoking.com/searching-cure-26/salt-nitrites-nitrates-botulism-6364/)


Fact: The Nitrate/Nitrite levels regulated by USDA inspectors are for "ingoing" levels. Because Nitrites oxidize, most of the nitrate/nitrite used to cure meats is gone by the time you consume it.


Fact: Your body produces nitrates, AND most of the nitrates you do consume come from veggies! Some green veggies such as spinach & celery contain far more nitrates than cured meats.

Here's an experiment I did this past year using celery juice to cure sausage:
http://www.pelletsmoking.com/searching-cure-26/curing-sausage-celery-juice-experiment-5616/




Hope this helps ease your mind! :)

Baldy52
09-04-2013, 10:00 PM
Thanks that is very helpful.

Tatonka3A2
09-05-2013, 01:39 PM
We do bacon a lot and love the tenderquick cure - we then smoke it at 90-110 degrees for 10 plus hours. We don't take ours to temp, just to color.

Goatboy25
09-09-2013, 04:43 AM
I've been making bacon for a little over a year now and I don't use nitrites/nitrates either. The reason for it is that when I was researching it most of the recipes that I found didn't have them in there. I wasn't opposed to them as I have used them in the past so it wasn't a health choice for me but a choice of "hey, let's give it a try".

I liberally cover my bacon slabs with the salt/sugar/spice cure and then put them in Ziploc bags for 7-10 days. I've never had any problems with the bacon not curing enough. At first I did cook it to temp (about 150) at first but now I just put it on the Traeger for 3 hours on the "Smoke" setting because I've done it enough now.

After that is when I cut off the skin. This method pulls a lot of moisture out of the bacon therefore I must cook it at a much lower temperature than store bought bacon. My homemade bacon will burn much much faster and I essentially render it in the pan for 30 minutes or so on a med-low gas flame.

It doesn't really save any money to make your own bacon but the taste difference is remarkable.

TrickyDick
09-09-2013, 09:19 AM
I too was paranoid about using the pink salt (nitrates). However, I think NOT using it is more dangerous. Also for the celery juice folks, there is a high percentage of nitrates in the celery cures. You are essentially using nitrates when doing this. The chemistry doesn't care if it is in a bag of salt or a stalk of celery.
I also get a charge out of trying to be healthy and talking about eating bacon. Speaking of which, I should probably try to eat more healthy myself.

I think with regard to supposed dangers of nitrosamines that can be generated by cooking bacon at high temps, I find that cooking the bacon on a rack in a roll pan in the oven renders more fat, without scorching, and you tend to get a more even cook, and gives me peace of mind that its cooking more slowly and perhaps reduces danger of the nitrosamines. I usually throw into a cold oven and set heat at 425. By the time the oven has preheated, the bacon is usually done. For thin sliced bacon I usually set at 400. I tried using parchment to keep pan clean, but I always seem to screw that up so I just use the bare pan now.

TD

TentHunter
09-09-2013, 09:45 AM
Yep, you have to weigh the pros/cons of not using nitrite to cure bacon. Personally, I feel safer using it, especially if not taking the final temp to 150.


At first I did cook it to temp (about 150) at first but now I just put it on the Traeger for 3 hours on the "Smoke" setting...

Ironically, one advantage of a pellet smoker (versus an electric smoker) is when the wood pellets combust, you are applying a nitrite in the form of nitric dioxide/nitric acid (which is why a smoke ring forms - granted it's not to the same degree as using nitrites in the cure).

I bet after 3 hours on smoke mode your I.T. is up around 130 anyway, so why not go ahead and take it to 150, and take advantage of the extra smoke flavor as well? Just something to think about. :)





I must cook it at a much lower temperature than store bought bacon. My homemade bacon will burn much much faster

My Cider Mill Bacon is the same way. I have to cook it slowly or it will burn. I think it's the higher sugar content.



One more thing... Where are the pics of your bacon???? ;)