Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Air dried cured Meat Techniques

Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby johngaltsmotor » Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:23 pm

Am I correct in assuming there's no difference in curing fresh pork bellies or ones that have been frozen previously when making bacon? I have a friend who loves my pastrami and sausages so he decided to have me take a crack at bacon for him. So tonight I will have #30 of pork belly dropped off to cure :shock: :shock:

I'm thinking I'd rather start with a fraction of that so I don't screw it all up. (plus have a chance to tune the recipe to his taste as he shies away from overly salty food) I'm planning to freeze the rest for a few weeks while working on the first batch. Anybody have a reason not to do that?
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby NCPaul » Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:31 pm

I think it would work. I have a strong feeling that I've cured a previously frozen belly.
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby crustyo44 » Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:55 pm

All pork I use is frozen by me as I buy the specials when available, so go ahead. I follow strictly the EQ curing recommendations of Brican, now I use 2% salt plus cure obviously and my favourite spices.
Nothing is salty anymore and curing times become less important as well. Cure in a part vacuumed bag so you can massage the meat easily every couple of days and NO MESS!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby johngaltsmotor » Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:16 pm

I would figure not all hobbyists can get fresh bellies but better I'd rather ask a dumb question than look dumb for not asking ;-)
So based on some people curing in vacuum bags as opposed to BriCan's original statements of leaving it uncovered, I would assume it's also not a problem to stack a bunch of them?
I saw a comment about not wanting them to sit in the excreted liquid, so I was going to elevate them on a rack. But if sitting in a vac pack is okay I'd assume it is okay if you put one on top of another and liquid pools in between?
Or do I need more racks and an air gap between each slab?
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby wheels » Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:46 pm

I'm sure that Brican has mentioned that he cures in bags on another group - or at least recommended a 'home' curer to do that. Like most here, I cure in individual bags - or vac packs. They can be stacked. It's far more convenient in a domestic situation. Crusty's advice about only half vacuuming is very good; it makes life easier

The method Brican seems to be recommending at present is basically the same EQ one as in this forum's bacon tutorial. His ratio of ingredients is slightly different in that he uses 2% salt and doesn't usually add sugar to his basic bacon. He uses a lot of maple sugar (post cure) in his maple bacon though.

Most people find their own 'personal' mix - mine's 2.25% salt 0.8% Demerara sugar. Like Brican, I like a mix that let's the meat shine. Many commercial products are up to 5%; a scan of those at Sainsbury's show a couple at 4.6% ish! That's too salty for me, but some people will like that and adjust their cure accordingly.

Robert (Brican) hangs his bacon to mature - for at least a week (if I remember correctly). Most of us do the same. It's not mentioned in the forum tutorial (for a perfectly valid reason) - but something I'm sure that we all endorse.

Brican's photos of bacon in stacks are a joy to behold.

HTH

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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby NCPaul » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:00 pm

I get large zip bags from Walmart (Hefty jumbo 2.5 gal.) which will hold half a belly comfortably. They are stacked in the bottom of my fridge with most of the air pushed out and I flip them every day. I typically get very little liquid in each bag; if I had a stack of five or more bellies as BriCan does, I could imagine a lot of total liquid for the belly on the bottom. For bellies I prefer Phil's mild cure and for loins or English back bacon I prefer his regular cure (more meat - more salt). Cold smoke for 8-10 hrs. and rest uncovered in the fridge until the next day. Repeat three days and rest a bit more if you like. Your friend will be getting something he probably has never tasted, let us know about his response.
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby BriCan » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:31 am

wheels wrote:I'm sure that Brican has mentioned that he cures in bags on another group - or at least recommended a 'home' curer to do that.


Yes I cure in vacuum bags on on the smaller runs and space limitations and special cures -- always recommend for home cures to keep peace with the better half :wink:

The method Brican seems to be recommending at present is basically the same EQ one as in this forum's bacon tutorial. His ratio of ingredients is slightly different in that he uses 2% salt and doesn't usually add sugar to his basic bacon. He uses a lot of maple sugar (post cure) in his maple bacon though.

I do recommend the EQ cure as one will not have a salty piece of bacon -- on the other hand misconception :wink: ---- I do add sugar to most of the bacon cures :D

Robert (Brican) hangs his bacon to mature - for at least a week (if I remember correctly). Most of us do the same. It's not mentioned in the forum tutorial (for a perfectly valid reason) - but something I'm sure that we all endorse.


Minimum ageing/maturing is 3 days but my minimum is 7 days but have gone as high as 14 days

Brican's photos of bacon in stacks are a joy to behold.


See below :wink:
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby BriCan » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:51 am

From the last couple of months work

Image

European dry cured cold smoked for 60 hours and aged/matured for 21 days -- sugar is used in the cure

Image

Traditional dry cured Irish shortback (I blend 3 different sugars for this one)

Image

My take on Smithfield (Market) double smoked bacon -- brine cured (has sugar) then painted with caramel (sugar) which gives it the dark colour -- Cold smoked for 24 hours and aged/matured for 14 days -- and no it is not sweet

Image

Smithfield bacon sliced
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby johngaltsmotor » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:54 am

Thanks guys. Turns out my friend's contact got him an entire 55pound box of bellies so they're trying to sell the other half for him so I've got an extra day to prep. Based on the comments here and Wedliny I'm planning to start with BriCan's Maple as the baseline (go big or go home, right?) and then modify some of them from there. As you say, most of my friends are used to bland supermarket bacon so they're likely going to be surprised at what bacon is capable of tasting like.

Working in bags will be much simpler. Not that I'm opposed to building a bacon box, but this was thrown at me last minute so a quick trip to the kitchen supply is easier. The engineer in me loves the gadgets, but also knows that they don't necessary improve the end result (plus you have to find room to store them).
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby Shuswap » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:21 pm

It's always a good day when someone triggers a thread on bacon and the "reliables" tune in :P
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby wheels » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:29 pm

Robert - Oh boy, those photos, superb stuff. IIRC, you're using 'commercial' pork - those loins show that it doesn't have to be so lean that it's almost fat-less.

I'd do a couple of types seeing as you have a fair amount of meat. Some may prefer a plainer bacon. It's worth noting that too much sugar can make it difficult to cook the bacon without burning.

If you age in a 'normal' fridge, you may want to wrap it loosely in grease-proof, baking, parchment or butcher's paper to stop it drying too quickly on the outside.

Please keep us posted.

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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby johngaltsmotor » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:26 pm

I was planning on aging it in my salami chamber (55F 75%) to make sure it doesn't dry out. Is it okay to be that warm once it's fully cured and cold smoked? The salami is just resting in there as storage so I can set it cooler if it's preferred (but still keep the humidity up compared to the regular refrigerator).
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby NCPaul » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:30 pm

Drop the temperature to 40 F (4 C) and it should be fine. Remember to let the bacon dry for a day before starting on cold smoking. :D
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby BriCan » Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:05 am

wheels wrote:Robert - Oh boy, those photos, superb stuff.

Thanks, they was just a random of some of the stuff done over the month
IIRC, you're using 'commercial' pork - those loins show that it doesn't have to be so lean that it's almost fat-less.

Yes my stuff is commercial pork, I am luck as I have been dealing with the same slaughterhouse since the early eighties so they know not to send crappy stuff :)

I'd do a couple of types seeing as you have a fair amount of meat. Some may prefer a plainer bacon. It's worth noting that too much sugar can make it difficult to cook the bacon without burning.


True about the sugar, I use 1% sugar most of the time -- the Irish shortback even with a blend of sugars is only 0.35%
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Re: Curing previously frozen pork belly?

Postby BriCan » Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:19 am

johngaltsmotor wrote:I was planning on aging it in my salami chamber (55F 75%) to make sure it doesn't dry out. Is it okay to be that warm once it's fully cured and cold smoked?

It is perfectly alright to hang the bacon in the salami chamber -- I do what most would/will frown on and hang at room temperature 55 degrees F. and humidity 65% and do the aging/maturing for what I need -- and yes folks the health inspectors are ok with it :)
The salami is just resting in there as storage so I can set it cooler if it's preferred (but still keep the humidity up compared to the regular refrigerator).

Leave things be as everything is ok :)
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