BRADLEY SMOKER | "Taste the Great Outdoors"

Smoking Techniques => Cold Smoking => Topic started by: Ginslee on August 13, 2019, 12:39:14 AM

Title: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 13, 2019, 12:39:14 AM
Hi everyone,

I recently bought a secondhand Bradley Digital smoker + the cold smoke attachment. For my first smoke I dry-cured a porkbelly which needs a few more days to go. Since I haven't smoked anything on the Bradley I have no idea how strong the smoke is and how long I should be smoking the bacon. I've come across people saying 1-3 days but not using a Bradley.

Does anyone have any experience with the Bradley and bacon? I'm looking to achieve that nice reddish color on the bacon and my plan was to use a combo of Apple + Cherry.

thanks!
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 13, 2019, 03:38:20 AM
Hi Ginslee;

Welcome to the forum.

Not knowing your prior experience with smoking cured meats, I can interpret your post in different ways. Sometimes when people post they want to cold smoke, they don't understand the technical term. Since the flavor of smoke is subjective, I'll give you a range, and you should experiment with the lower end of the range. If you are cold smoking; keeping your cabinet temperature under 90°F, then apply 4 - 6 hours of smoke. I'm not sure if you are referring to the exterior color of the meat or the interior color. The cherry wood will help develop the mahogany exterior color, but since the bacon is uncooked it may be unnoticeable. If you are hot smoking 100°F - 180°F, apply 2 - 3 hours of smoke. Again the cherry wood will help develop that mahogany exterior.

The difference in smoking times is mainly due to the chemical reactions that take place at the different temperatures. Greater chemical and sometimes different chemical reactions occur at different temperatures. Also the heating element helps the bisquettes burn more efficiently, without the heating element you may find that the bisquettes are not fully burning. If you see post that require 1 - 3 days of smoke you are most likely reading a posts by someone who has a wood fired smoke house, or is making double or triple smoked bacon.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 13, 2019, 04:29:56 AM
Hi Habanero,

Thanks for the info!

Sorry for not being more specific. I will be cold smoking cured bacon between 65F - 75F depending on the weather that day. I'm after a nice reddish/mahogany exterior color and I hope I can achieve that with 4-6 hours of smoke. Although I've read threads on here where they smoke for 12-16 hours. I have no experience what so ever with he Bradley so no idea how to gauge how long I should be smoking as I don't want an overpowering smoke taste. 

Here's an example of the exterior color I'm after:
https://imgur.com/a/QsbLiU6

Here are my steps I'll be taking,

- Pull the bacon next week Friday depending on firmness(10days)
- Rinse of cure, test for saltiness by frying a bit.
- Air dry in the fridge for 1-3 days.
- Let the belly sit in the smoker until it reaches ambient temp or a bit higher.
- Cold smoke with the Cold smoke attachment for 4-6 hours. Preferably with Apple or a combination of Apple and Cherry.
- After smoking I'm planning on letting it age for 2-3 days or more before slicing.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 13, 2019, 05:02:11 AM
I have done a lot of cold smoked bacon usually back (loin) but also streaky (belly) and the steps you list look pretty much spot on to my mind.

The only comments I would add are I use a shorter curing time of around 7 days which seems to be the optimum time to draw out moisture. Rather than just rinse off the cure I soak the joint for around an hour in a couple of changes of cold water which solves the saltiness issue and I smoke for 4-5 hours in the Bradley, smoking times in a BS are not comparable to cold smoking by other methods and you are right in thinking a couple of days to settle / age before slicing.

I typically use whisky oak but also use apple quite regularly and the colour of the end product pretty much matches that of your link.

Welcome to the forum, let us know how it turns out  :)
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 13, 2019, 05:17:00 AM
I did use a Equilibrium dry cure(Salt 2.2%,Sugar 1%,Cure#1 0.32%) so I should be ok with the saltiness but thanks for the tip, depending on the salt content I will soak in cold water if needed.

Good to know that you can get that nice color with the Bradley :)

I'll post the finished product. Wish me luck on my first Bradley smoke!
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 13, 2019, 06:15:05 AM
Sure it will turn out just fine, good luck.  :)

Hopefully it is the first of many successful BS smokes.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 13, 2019, 07:05:27 AM
Just a side question, is it best to hang or put the belly on a rack to smoke? Or is there not much of a difference?

Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: cathouse willy on August 13, 2019, 08:14:55 AM
Just a side question, is it best to hang or put the belly on a rack to smoke? Or is there not much of a difference?


I've done it both ways and the only difference I've noticed is the belly stretches on the hooks and gets quite thin in places.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 13, 2019, 12:23:19 PM
I’ve only ever used racks for bacon and it has always turned out fine.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 13, 2019, 01:37:41 PM
I've gotten that color with just using maple, but adding cherry will improve the color. Be careful that you don't air dry it too long. The surface should be tacky not dry.

Those threads that suggested 12 - 16 hours, was that during a single smoke, or where they making double smoked or triple smoked bacon?
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 14, 2019, 04:05:49 AM
So it would be best to check every 12/24 hours or so to see if the surface is tacky enough? I've been reading so many threads I can't find it now. But some were double smoked and others used the A-MAZE-N AMNPS which I believe gives off a lighter smoke compared to the Bradley?

My plan now is to smoke 4-6 hours and using 70% Apple & 30% Cherry.


 
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 14, 2019, 06:26:20 AM
I tend to find air drying for no more than 24 hours is sufficient.

Just ordered 10lb pork loin and 10lb pork belly from some locally bred Tamworth pigs, a traditional old English / Irish variety with the option on a complete half pig at Christmas if the bacon turns out well.  :)
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 14, 2019, 01:22:46 PM
I agree with Manxman. I find approximately 12 - 24 hours uncovered in my refrigerator works well. If the pellicle hasn't form to my liking by the time I want to start smoking it, I leave in on the counter uncovered for a few more hours. Having a fan to move air over the surface will also speed up the formation of the pellicle.

I make a triple smoked bacon using only the Bradley bisquettes - three separate sessions of applying three hours of smoke; nine hours total. The Bradley you can control the smoke much better. I do have an A-MAZE-N Pellet tube, but I only use that when I cooking on my propane grill, or pellet grill.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 15, 2019, 01:12:11 AM
Thanks Habanero, I'll keep an eye out for that pellicle once it's done curing.

What do you mean with you can control the smoke much better? In what way as the bisquettes burn at a set time right or do you mean control the smoke by doing separate sessions at a fixed time?
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 15, 2019, 02:45:04 AM
You can control the smoke time of both; the Bradley by the number of bisquettes, and the A-MAZE-N pellet smoker by removing the device from the cabinet.  I believe that the best smoke is produced when the wood is burnt at a fairly consistent temperature, and the Bradley does that. For the A-MAZE-N, I use the tube, the tray may work differently. When I use my A-MAZE-N pellet smoker, it burns hotter, and inconsistent - producing a harsher smoke. During the time that I am using it when I take a look at it; sometimes a lot of pellets are burning, and at other times only a few pellets are burning. So I will only use it for times when I want to add smoke for a short time such when I'm using my pellet grill or propane grill. With my charcoal burners, I know how much wood I need to produce the right amount of smoke, so I don't use the A-MAZE-N in any of those.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 15, 2019, 03:18:59 AM
Thanks for the explanation :)

All that's left to do is wait a few more days and then it's time for that first smoke   :D
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 15, 2019, 01:14:53 PM
Let us know how it turns out.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 17, 2019, 08:51:03 AM
Hey Habanero,

Wonder if you had any advise on the following. So the belly has been curing for 8 out of the 10 days and it's pretty firm all over except one of the corner tips feels fairly soft.

Should I just let it go to day 10 and not worry about it or add more salt to the soft area? The fridge has been running at 36.68F by the way.

thanks!
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 17, 2019, 01:59:41 PM
You are running you refrigerator more than 1 degree lower than my refrigerator , and lower temperatures will slow down the curing. Since you used an equilibrium cure, it wouldn't hurt to cure them a few more days. I'm surprised the corners are soft. The corners generally firm up quick, because they are receiving salt from four sides. If it is just a small portions of the corners I wouldn't worry about it, it may just be extra layers of fat in those areas. I won't add additional salt.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 19, 2019, 01:33:41 AM
It only seems to be one of the corners. I'll keep an eye on it as the rest feels nice and firm. I'm pulling it out on Day 12.

I'll post the results here 8)
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 22, 2019, 04:17:40 AM
Hey Habanero,

So I removed the belly from the fridge today and rinsed it with water. Then I cut off a piece and fried it. The salt/Sugar levels seemed fine although the smell is more of a piggy smell than the bacon smell I get when I fry store bought. Other than that it seems to taste ok, nothing special though. Does smoking bring out that real bacon smell?

If I were to do a taste test between store/this bit of Cured and unsmoked bacon the store bought would probably win. I hope smoking it will make it a bit more special!



Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: cathouse willy on August 22, 2019, 08:21:56 AM
Imo. It's not bacon until it's smoked.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 22, 2019, 02:19:28 PM
Smoke improves almost anything. :) It's the nitrites that give cured meats that distinct "bacon" like flavor. I don't have time to calculate the amount of nitrite parts per million (ppm) your bacon has. The more nitrites you have in your cure the more "bacon" like flavor you will get in the end product. I don't us an equilibrium cure, I use a basic cure mix that will gives me nitrite levels of about 120 ppm.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 23, 2019, 12:19:21 AM
Turning on the smoker in a few hours. I did a 200ppm cure, based on a recipe over at smokingmeatforums. 0.32% for a dry cure. I believe that's the max.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 23, 2019, 01:38:45 AM
It took me a several attempts to find the right cure for me and also how to apply the cure. Ginslee puts the maximum permitted nitrites in the US at 200 ppm (200 mg/kg) whereas on this side of the pond for dry cured bacon it appears to be 175 ppm (175 mg/kg) as far as I can see. I use a basic sweet cure mix with demerara sugar that is around 120 ppm (120 mg/kg).

However whether the pork is cured skin on or skin off, ratio of cure on meat side to fat side etc also affects the residual nitrite levels in the end product and therefore the taste. For example I cure skin off and the ratio of cure application meat side : fat side is around 75:25. Yesterday I smoked some bacon from a different breed of pig and the fat layer was thinner than usual so I modified the meat side to fat side cure application ratio slightly.

Good luck with the smoke.  :)
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 23, 2019, 02:24:49 AM
I will have to look this up again, but I believe in the U.S.; for commercial use the maximum amount of nitrite is 120 ppm for bacon. For other solid muscle cured meats it is 200 ppm, and for sausage it is 156 ppm. I believe those numbers are somewhere on the smoking meat forum.

Maximan is spot on about the application of the curing agent.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 23, 2019, 03:51:59 AM
I played around making my own cures for a while but then found a commercially made dry cure which produces the best bacon ever (IMHO!) and makes working out concentrations of sodium and potassium nitrites redundant. It also has sodium ascorbate in the mix which US research has shown reduces the amount of nitrosamines in the end product given they are known to be carcinogenic. Whilst I don't get too tied up on such things I do try and employ a common sense approach given my two young sons eat fair bit of home made bacon in one way or another. I also make sure I don't overcook any meat including bacon. (I like my favourite rib eye steak almost blue or put another way "wipe it's backside and eat"!  ;) )

There is a very good USDA Bacon and Food Safety bulletin available, going back to what Habs and Ginslee wrote I looked it up to remind myself and to quote:

The USDA is responsible for monitoring the proper use of nitrite by meat processors. While sodium nitrite cannot exceed 200 ppm going into dry-cured bacon, sodium nitrite cannot exceed 120 ppm for both pumped and immersion-cured bacon.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 23, 2019, 04:28:34 AM
For anyone who has been following this thread there are quite a few calculators that help you make your own cures, I found this one of the best and is relevant to both US and EU standards, skin off or skin on etc and allows you to vary the amount of sugar / salt?

http://www.localfoodheroes.co.uk/calculator/dry_cure_bacon/ (http://www.localfoodheroes.co.uk/calculator/dry_cure_bacon/)
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 23, 2019, 05:18:14 AM
Yeah, that's what I read when I made the cure mix. Also from the smokingmeatforum:

Cure #1 's use is 0.25% by weight of the meat... so, 1000 grams meat X 0.0025 = 2.5 grams cure #1 X 0.0625 = 0.156 grams / 1000 grams or 156 Ppm...

Cure #1's use is 0.192% by weight for bacon... (120 Ppm brined)

Cure #1's use is 0.32% by weight for bacon .... (200 Ppm dry rubbed)

Manxman, what commercially made dry cure do you buy? That sounds like a way better idea than ordering everything separate. Maybe you can share out a link on where to buy the stuff? Not sure if it's allowed here but PM should be ok.

On a side note, the smoker has been running for a few hours now. I've was running in to temp problems at the start so I tried the ice trick at the bottom of the smoker but that wasn't working either. I was still getting temps of 32c(89f). What seems to work is I moved some of the ice to the first rack and moved it to the right of the smoke opening. The draft still seems to be fine and I'm able to keep the temp at 27c(80.6f).


Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 23, 2019, 05:56:59 AM
Quote
Manxman, what commercially made dry cure do you buy?

I suspect you live in the US Ginslee and possibly somewhere hot judging by the temperatures you are encountering trying to cold smoke your bacon!?  :)  I live across the pond which will make getting hold of the same cure problematic. Below is a link to both the supplier (Weschenfelder) and the manufacturer (Laycocks) in the UK but maybe there are similar products available on your side of the pond?

https://www.weschenfelder.co.uk/bacon-curing-salt-beef/curing-salts/laycock-s-dry-bacon-cure.html (https://www.weschenfelder.co.uk/bacon-curing-salt-beef/curing-salts/laycock-s-dry-bacon-cure.html)

For anyone living in the UK I can certainly recommend Weschefelders.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 23, 2019, 06:32:39 AM
You guessed wrong Manxman 8) I'm actually not to far away from you. Over the smaller pond in Holland. Global warming is making it harder for me to cold smoke :P

So just contact them and they ship to holland with a great rate of only 7 pounds for 20kg :)

Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 23, 2019, 07:25:36 AM
That’s great news, never have guessed you are that close judging by the poor summer we are having!  :) The shipping charge is good, not much more than I pay.

Just as well you are ordering it now with, according to the press, the Armageddon of Brexit just around the corner!  ::) ;)
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 23, 2019, 01:48:02 PM
Manxman;

You may already be aware of this,  sodium ascorbate is also used as a cure accelerator. It is more efficient in breaking down the nitrites; hence it reduces the amount of residual nitrites.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 23, 2019, 02:45:15 PM
Habs;

Didn’t appreciate it actually accelerated the curing process, although I seem to remember it promotes and stabilises the cured meat colouration which presumably go hand in hand?
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 24, 2019, 12:56:52 AM
Habs;

Didn’t appreciate it actually accelerated the curing process, although I seem to remember it promotes and stabilises the cured meat colouration which presumably go hand in hand?

Yes! It does all those things! It's one of those miracle ingredients. :)
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 24, 2019, 03:34:45 AM
Miracle is the word!  :) :)

I sliced and packed my fresh batch of bacon this morning both traditional British back (loin) and streaky (belly) saving a few rasher of each for a late breakfast. The aroma of cooking bacon is hard to beat and the end result was very well received by all which is the most important thing.  :)
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 24, 2019, 01:02:28 PM
Your bacons sound good. I'm going to try to cure some belly bacon around mid-September.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on August 27, 2019, 01:51:42 AM
After 2.5 days of resting I took it out of the fridge to have a quick taste test. First of all the smell is not the smokey goodness I thought it would of had but more of a ashtray smell. I believe this is due to the slight temp difference I had between the belly and the smoker. Also I found that some pucks stayed on the hotplate for to long, I found that this was due to the pucks in the hopper getting stuck. What also didn't help with the smoke is that I had to use ice to keep it cool, probably messed up the draft. So I will be doing things differently next time. I'll try and weigh down the pucks so they get pushed into the generator instead of using only gravity. I think I will also only cold smoke on days were it's less than 64F.

I did fry some up and there is no ashtray taste so that's good! Also I'm getting that real bacon smell :D So overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out taste and color wise!

Before the smoke after curing for 12 days. I cut the belly in half as I want to hot smoke the other half:
(https://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k120/ginslee/before_zpslmukdqw2.jpg?width=400&height=400&crop=1:1,smart)

After smoking 6 hours with apply and maple pucks. The color turned out great:)
(https://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k120/ginslee/after_zpsesndnkal.jpg?width=400&height=400&crop=1:1,smart)

And a bonus shot of some Brined and hot smoked Mackerel I did after the belly:
(https://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k120/ginslee/mak_zpsrjhphhde.jpg?width=400&height=400&crop=1:1,smart)


Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on August 27, 2019, 04:19:08 AM
Great! The smell will mellow out after a while. Let us know how the hot smoked bacon turns out.

I'm not one that fully believes in Bradley's 20 minute rule. :) It may be a factor, but I believe the Bradley produces the best smoke due to the temperature it burns the bisquettes at. The lower the temperature the bisquettes burn at, the less "acrid" compounds that are produced. 

Check the hopper chute and make sure it is clean. I've had my Bradley for a while and have had to clean the chute twice. I've found that when you open and close the door, it creates a backdraft that forces smoke and other compound to flow back into the generator and up the chute. Keep and eye on the generator, they have been known to have problems advancing the bisquettes. If it is the generator, there is usually a fix.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: manxman on August 28, 2019, 01:13:19 AM
Those smoked mackerel look good. Mackerel, herring and whitefish were the reason I got a BS in the first place before diversifying and I still smoke 100+ mackerel every summer.  :)
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Ginslee on September 08, 2019, 09:42:25 AM
Thanks Manxman! They were delicious  :D

Does anyone have a go to warm smoking method for bacon that gets good results? I want to smoke the other half warm to a core temp of 65c. Not sure how long I should be smoking and at what temp I should be setting the Bradley to. Any suggestions or proven recipes?

thanks!
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on September 08, 2019, 01:47:14 PM
After the pellicle is formed, by either air drying it overnight in the refrigerator, or using the Bradley at a temperature of 120°F or less; I smoke/cook mine in a 150°F -  170°F preheated cabinet (probably closer to 170°F; but I avoid going over 180), and apply two hours of smoke. I will either use apple, hickory or pecan. If you are air drying in the refrigerator set the bacon on the counter for 1 - 2 hours prior to smoking. A few have used temperatures as high as 225°F with satisfactory results. But there is some rendering of the fat, so I don't use those temperatures. 
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Edward176 on September 08, 2019, 02:22:03 PM
To what Internal Temperature do you cook your bacon to Hab? If you cook at 170-180°F for 2 hours won't your bacon be still raw inside? I'm asking since I make bacon and smoke to IT of 155°F and it takes closer to 4 hours at 180°F.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Habanero Smoker on September 09, 2019, 02:24:26 AM
That was a response to how much smoke I will apply to my bacon. Ginslee stated in his post he wanted to take his bacon to 150°F. When I fully cook my bacon I now take my bacon to 140°F - 145°. I will apply two hours of smoke, and continue to cook until I reach my target temperature.
Title: Re: Cold smoked bacon - Smoke times?
Post by: Edward176 on September 09, 2019, 08:37:48 AM
Ah, thank you Hab, appreciate the info.