Author Topic: Hmmm - Did I make Bacon or a Ham?  (Read 5091 times)

Offline cheapguy69

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Hmmm - Did I make Bacon or a Ham?
« on: November 04, 2006, 05:25:47 PM »
So I just made my first bacon and while it's good, I'm wondering why it's different than I expected. I used a cure I found that contains Salt Peter, Sugars and let it cure for about 10 days in a ziplock bag in a fridge at 40 degrees. I used a 3lb cut of Pork Loin and drain it every few days. I then rinsed it thoroughly and smoked it with Applewood for about 4 hours. When I sliced off a chunk and put it in a pan to cook, it tasted good, but not at all like Bacon. It is even different from the English Rasher I was trying for. I did get a good smoke penetration and a good color, but when it cooks it goes grey like pork, rather than staying red after smoking.

Did I not get a good Nitrate/Nitrite conversion or is it just because of the cut of meat I used?

Offline pipsqueek

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Re: Hmmm - Did I make Bacon or a Ham?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2006, 06:30:32 PM »
Just curing gives you bacon, smoking afterwards to a high enough internal temp 140-160 will give you ham.
What was the cure you used?

Offline cheapguy69

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Re: Hmmm - Did I make Bacon or a Ham?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2006, 06:49:35 PM »
I used the recipie from http://www.downsizer.net/Projects/Processing_Food/Making_Bacon_-_3_day_cure/ as it was similar to what I was trying to achieve. I did let it cure for 10 days rather than 3 since it was a thicker loin. I did a cold smoke with ice in the cabinet and the temp probe in the meat never got above 105 and the smoker temp was in the mid 90s.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Hmmm - Did I make Bacon or a Ham?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2006, 03:52:13 AM »
It either sounds like you did not cure it long enough, or did not use enough saltpeter in your cure to get the desired effects you were looking for. The website you linked, does not have a picture of the cooked finished product. Maybe he is getting the same results as you are, and that could be a palatable color for him. Saltpeter (potassium nitrate or sodium nitrate) is a very slow acting cure, and has to break down to sodium nitrite first before the cure starts working. Also when I dry cure loin, I trim off all surface fat and I don't drain off the liquid until the meat is finished curing. Do a search on buckboard bacon, and Canadian bacon for methods on curing loin.

As for your other question was it bacon or ham? Ham is a term referring to a particular cuts of meat from a pig or hog. You can have fresh ham, cured ham (wet or dry cured), or smoked cured ham. It's the nitrates or nitrites that give cured pork that identifiable flavor. For me all cured pork has a slight flavor similar to cured ham. The difference is what different spices, herbs and flavorings you add to the cure; and the texture of meat.

« Last Edit: November 05, 2006, 03:56:23 AM by Habanero Smoker »


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Offline jaeger

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Re: Hmmm - Did I make Bacon or a Ham?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2006, 08:56:24 PM »
Cheapguy,
I agree with Habanero.
The times and techniques you used should have been spot on. If your "bacon" didn't look like the cured color in the following picture, I would highly suspect your saltpeter, which I would never use. This is an ancient cure and has been replaced for the most part with far superior cures. I'm suprised you even found any to be honest........jmho.......anyway here is the picture

This is fully cooked.



Offline cheapguy69

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Re: Hmmm - Did I make Bacon or a Ham?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2006, 09:01:58 PM »
It wasn't easy finding the salt peter. But the final cure was grey and only turned red after smoking. When its cooked it goes back to grey. So is the only option to use things like BB cure?

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Hmmm - Did I make Bacon or a Ham?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2006, 03:12:20 AM »
It wasn't easy finding the salt peter. But the final cure was grey and only turned red after smoking. When its cooked it goes back to grey. So is the only option to use things like BB cure?

Or you can use Morton's Tender Quick, Insta Cure #1 or #2; or other brands of nitrites or nitrates or blends, then you can add your own seasonings.

Such as those sold at these sites.
http://www.sausagemaker.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=50
http://www.alliedkenco.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=37_52&osCsid=bccc46f034d24c3e2e3d0f17455a5279


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Offline jaeger

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Re: Hmmm - Did I make Bacon or a Ham?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2006, 05:11:34 PM »
Hab supplied some good links. I would look for some type of brown sugar cure. This is the most general flavor you will find in, for example, a smoked ham. I have another link for you to try. The site is under construction but I have done business with them and they are very knowledgable and will be a big help to get you on the right track. I think you will be happy with their prices as well. Usually you need to purchase in 25# case for best price but they may work with you on that as well. They have a nice variety of cures. The type I have used and will recommend from them is Witts - Sweeter than Sweet. Ask about that, they should know what you are talking about. Go ahead and ask them if recommended amounts of cure water ratios are included for you to start with. Just like anything, you will have a learning curve. When you get ready to start next time, let me know.
http://www.dupeyequipment.com/index.htm
The site is under construction, but they have phone number info.