Triple Smoked Bacon:Please excuse any grammatical error, my though processes have been miss firing the past several days. Click on pictures to enlarge..
First I want to thank HCT, for posting the instructions on how to make triple smoked bacon. This was the second time trying this; the first time came out real good. The flavor of the bacon becomes concentrated, and the fat becomes very firm. The first time I had a lot of interruptions, and failed to maintain adequate information. This time I had fewer interruptions, and was able to maintain more data; so I feel comfortable posting the results. The hardest part in making this bacon, is scheduling the time to put into it, and hoping that the weather will cooperate.
The goal was to apply at least 3 hours of smoke per day, reduce the moisture of the bacon, and keep the bacon in the smoker for most of the time at 80°F-90°F; during the three days. When not it the smoker, it was left on a cooling rack to air dry at room temperature. For the bacon, I just used a simple basic dry cure with added sugar; 1 tablespoon each per pound. I did this solely because I didn’t want any other flavors added. I would guess you can use your favorite cure. Since this was going to be left unrefrigerated for at least three days, I decided to cure it for 9 days instead of the recommended 7 days.
At first, I had planned to leave the skin on for this batch, but I decided to remove it just prior to smoking, but did smoke the skin for two days, and will use that as seasoning in baked beans. The reason I decided against leaving the skin on, is when this bacon is smoked and dried for three days, the fat gets very firm, and it develops a tough surface. Leaving the skin on would have created a surface too tough to slice through, and it would interfere with the drying process.
I couldn’t find that much information on triple smoked bacon. Most of my other information was obtained from blogs, and retailers that sell triple smoked. But most hits were for use in recipes and menus. Like most foods, there seems to be no particular authentic way to make it. Some sold it fully cooked, some had it fully dry cured and did not require refrigeration, while others were just cold smoked and needed to be refrigerated.
I decided to finish mine by fully cooking it to a temperature of 155°F at the end of the third day, but this is an individual choice. The first time I made this, I cooked it to an internal temperature of 162°F, and that also turned out real good. By fully cooking it, you can eat it as is, or further cook it if you wish. Fully cooking may render some fat at the thinner areas of the slab, but I was satisfied with the final out come.
I’m not sure if this is what one would call triple smoked bacon, but it sure comes out good using this procedure. I will definitely do this again, and next time I will only bring the finished product to 137°F at a cabinet temperature of 170°F, just to compare the difference. Since this is my second time making this, I’ve learned a few things. I can’t stress enough the importance of planning ahead, to ensure you have the time to monitor this project, and to protect the smoker form the elements, incase the weather does not cooperate. The more time in the smoker at 70°F – 90°F for air drying, the better the end product will be. The selection of the slab is important. Try to use the thicker part of the slab for best results. More meat does not mean a better product. For me the fat tastes better, and has the best texture (I need to keep that information away from my doctor). Because of the bacon’s firmness, using a sturdy chef’s knife works best for slicing. When every possible, plan to cold smoke other foods during the smoking period; such as nuts, cheese, vegetable etc. The only other thing I can think of is, when sliced and fried the bacon does not shrink up.
I got a late start and wasn’t able to get the bacon into the smoker until 4:45 PM.
• While in smoker; 4:45 PM – 11:00 PM, ambient temperature range 65°F – 63°F ; outside humidity 85% - 91%. Mild wind.
• During air drying 11:00 PM – 5:30 AM; indoor temperature ranged from 76°F – 75°F; indoor humidity 55%.
• When removed from the smoker, the bacon had a very light color, and lost 1.5 ounces in weight.
I used the cold smoking set up to ensure that the temperatures would stay low enough to keep the temperatures in the cold smoking range. I first air dried bacon until the pellicle was developed, and place it into a preheated smoker 100°F, then reduced to 80°F after the bacon was place in. The bacon was placed on the second rack from the top and rotated front to back every 4 hours. During the time the bacon was in the smoker, I maintained a cabinet temperature of 80°F-90°F. I applied 3 hours of smoke with the vent 1/2 opened, using apple bisquettes. After smoking was completed the vent was fully opened to help expel moisture.
Because of rain I had to removed the bacon from the smoker, and bring it indoors to air dry on a cooling rack. I let it air dry until the following morning. Also I was concerned about leaving the bacon in the smoker overnight. I felt it may be too much of a temptation for mice, dogs, cat, raccoons, coyotes, etc. If you don’t have my phobias, then I would suggest you leave the bacon in the smoker the full three days, as long as you can regulate the temperature to stay below at least 100°F. I do have to admit, the first time I did use a higher smoking/drying temperature of 110°F – 120°F; but it was left in the smoker for a lot less time then this trial.
• While in smoker; 5:30 AM – 10:00 PM , ambient temperature range 63°F – 69°F ; outside humidity 92% - 77%. The majority of the day the humidity was around 88% Mild wind; showers throughout the time.
• During air drying 10:00 PM – 5:30 AM; indoor temperature ranged from 76°F – 73°F; indoor humidity 58% - 55%.
• The bacon is much darker and lost another 3.5 ounces.
Again I used the cold smoking set up to ensure that the temperatures would stay low enough to stay in the cold smoking range. I used the same procedure that I used the first day. During the time the bacon was in the smoker, I maintained a cabinet temperature of 80°F - 90°F.
While in smoker; 5:00 AM – PM , ambient temperature range 55°F – 70°F ; outside humidity 85% - 45%. Until 10 AM the humidity was about 74%; then suddenly dropped to into the 40’s.
Bacon lost a little over an ounce.
Again using the same procedure, I started smoking the bacon at 5:00 AM. During the time the bacon was in the smoker, I maintained a cabinet temperature of 70°F - 95°F.
At 5:00 PM, I turned the temperature up to 180°F, and cooked the bacon until the internal temperature reached 155°F. It was finished cooking at 6:47 PM. Here is the finished product.
Here is a picture of the smoked skin, and fried triple smoked (I started with 4 slices, and ate 3 before I thought of taking a picture of it). I'll use kitchen shears to cut it up, and freeze for later use in backed bean etc.
Here is a picture of my first attempt of triple smoked. The frist time I used the thicker end of the belly.