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Newbie Question for bacon


New member
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,


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?


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.
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New member
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.


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

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

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:

Hope this helps ease your mind! :)
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New member
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.


New member
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.


New member
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.



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°.

Goatboy25 said:
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. :)

Goatboy25 said:
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???? ;)
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