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Barbecue (alt.food.barbecue) Discuss barbecue and grilling--southern style "low and slow" smoking of ribs, shoulders and briskets, as well as direct heat grilling of everything from burgers to salmon to vegetables.

Reducing the salt in bacon



 
 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-2008, 12:20 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Posts: 52
Default Reducing the salt in bacon

Just finished up some bacon and found it to be way to salty. It dry
cured for a week in a 60:40 salt:brown-sugar mix (by weight) and then
was rinsed well, hung to dry, then cold smoked for about 24 hours.

The result at this point isn't edible. It is so salty you can't taste
anything else. My 6 year old said it was too salty to eat, so that's
salty.

At this point, I plan to take the slabs (yes, I screwed up 2 slabs)
and soak them in water (warm/cold?), changing the water frequently.
Every so often, cut off a piece and fry it up to test. Once the
saltiness is tolerable (if it ever will be) then dry again and re-
smoke for a short period.

Does this method sound like it would work? Does anyone out there do
bacon and can comment about how to reduce the salt level next time?
I'm not even going to get into the other 40lbs of meat I have curing
at the moment...

Thanks,
--Jeff
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-2008, 12:38 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Posts: 198
Default Reducing the salt in bacon

JeffH wrote:
Just finished up some bacon and found it to be way to salty. It dry
cured for a week in a 60:40 salt:brown-sugar mix (by weight) and then
was rinsed well, hung to dry, then cold smoked for about 24 hours.

The result at this point isn't edible. It is so salty you can't taste
anything else. My 6 year old said it was too salty to eat, so that's
salty.

At this point, I plan to take the slabs (yes, I screwed up 2 slabs)
and soak them in water (warm/cold?), changing the water frequently.
Every so often, cut off a piece and fry it up to test. Once the
saltiness is tolerable (if it ever will be) then dry again and re-
smoke for a short period.

Does this method sound like it would work? Does anyone out there do
bacon and can comment about how to reduce the salt level next time?
I'm not even going to get into the other 40lbs of meat I have curing
at the moment...

Thanks,
--Jeff



It should work. It might take a few days, but the meat has been cured, and
should stand up to it.


  #3 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-2008, 03:39 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Posts: 45
Default Reducing the salt in bacon


"JeffH" wrote in message
...
Just finished up some bacon and found it to be way to salty. It dry
cured for a week in a 60:40 salt:brown-sugar mix (by weight) and then
was rinsed well, hung to dry, then cold smoked for about 24 hours.

The result at this point isn't edible. It is so salty you can't taste
anything else. My 6 year old said it was too salty to eat, so that's
salty.

At this point, I plan to take the slabs (yes, I screwed up 2 slabs)
and soak them in water (warm/cold?), changing the water frequently.
Every so often, cut off a piece and fry it up to test. Once the
saltiness is tolerable (if it ever will be) then dry again and re-
smoke for a short period.

Does this method sound like it would work? Does anyone out there do
bacon and can comment about how to reduce the salt level next time?
I'm not even going to get into the other 40lbs of meat I have curing
at the moment...

Thanks,
--Jeff


When I do bacon or canadian bacon, I usually soak the belly or loin in a
sink or bucket of ice water for a couple hours after curing. This helps
draw out a lot of the salt/cure. I've cured bacon up to 14 days in a
salt/sugar dry cure and it has never come out too salty. But like I said, I
always rinse well, then soak for 2-3 hours in ice water before drying.
Sometimes after rinsing and soaking, I'll pat the bacon dry, then brush on
some honey or maple syrup before drying it.

Matt





  #4 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-2008, 04:27 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Posts: 52
Default Reducing the salt in bacon

On Mar 4, 10:39 am, "Matt" wrote:
When I do bacon or canadian bacon, I usually soak the belly or loin in a
sink or bucket of ice water for a couple hours after curing. This helps
draw out a lot of the salt/cure. I've cured bacon up to 14 days in a
salt/sugar dry cure and it has never come out too salty. But like I said, I
always rinse well, then soak for 2-3 hours in ice water before drying.
Sometimes after rinsing and soaking, I'll pat the bacon dry, then brush on
some honey or maple syrup before drying it.


That's good news. How does the application of honey/maple syrup affect
the pellicle? I'm guessing you are applying a very thin coat that
probably begins to crystallize by the time it's dry and smoking
begins. I was thinking of doing this with maple syrup, was concerned
about the pellicle formation (I'm a newbie to this).

Thanks,
--Jeff
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-2008, 04:35 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Posts: 45
Default Reducing the salt in bacon


"JeffH" wrote in message
...
On Mar 4, 10:39 am, "Matt" wrote:
When I do bacon or canadian bacon, I usually soak the belly or loin in a
sink or bucket of ice water for a couple hours after curing. This helps
draw out a lot of the salt/cure. I've cured bacon up to 14 days in a
salt/sugar dry cure and it has never come out too salty. But like I
said, I
always rinse well, then soak for 2-3 hours in ice water before drying.
Sometimes after rinsing and soaking, I'll pat the bacon dry, then brush
on
some honey or maple syrup before drying it.


That's good news. How does the application of honey/maple syrup affect
the pellicle? I'm guessing you are applying a very thin coat that
probably begins to crystallize by the time it's dry and smoking
begins. I was thinking of doing this with maple syrup, was concerned
about the pellicle formation (I'm a newbie to this).

Thanks,
--Jeff


Never had a problem with the pellicle forming doing this. I don't put a
thick coat on where it is dripping off, but rather just a light brushing
then allow it to dry normally. Just to give you another option, instead of
the honey or syrup, you can also use cracked pepper if that is something
that appeals to you.



  #6 (permalink)  
Old 05-03-2008, 05:53 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Posts: 52
Default Reducing the salt in bacon


I started it in ice water, then noted the lack of salt going into the
solution and figured that the pores were all clogged with fat (it IS
bacon...). So once very chilled, I dumped the water, filled with hot
water from the tap, and let it sit about 30 minutes, then dumped again
(oddly, water wasn't very salty again) and refilled with regular cold
water and left it at that for a few hours. Then dumped in ice cubes,
went to bed, woke up in the morning and tested: Better, but still too
salty. I bet the smoke has closed off many of the pores. So, I
refreshed the water and put it outside (at about 32F) covered in the
tub and will check it when I get home from work.

Surprisingly, the smoke didn't all "wash away" - while the meat has
lightened a bit, the taste was still there and the water really isn't
picking up a ton of smoke from the meat.

Is my assumption that the meat being smoked is causing it to resist
releasing the salt correct?

Thanks,
--Jeff
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 05-03-2008, 06:31 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Posts: 383
Default Reducing the salt in bacon

JeffH wrote:

Surprisingly, the smoke didn't all "wash away" - while the meat has
lightened a bit, the taste was still there and the water really isn't
picking up a ton of smoke from the meat.

Is my assumption that the meat being smoked is causing it to resist
releasing the salt correct?


Jeff. those of us who enjoy country ham are familiar with the salt
problem. The very definition of country ham involves feeding a slice to
your dog to see how he reacts. If he goes and drinks the whole toilet
bowl of water, it's just right.

While country ham isn't nearly fat as the bacon you describe, the
standard approach for a breakfast slab is to put it in a pan of water
overnight- skip the chilling. In fact, at a recent funeral, the meal
served included country ham (this is in MO, where country ham is
definitely appreciiated). The good ladies at the church had soaked the
slices all night, then drained the water and cooked the slices in
another pan of water- ie: boiled the ham slices. While you might not
want to do that with your home made bacon, you get the picture about how
heat is needed to leech out some of the salt.

My far simpler solution to good bacon is to buy bulk sliced bacon at
Albertson's. I dip the slices in a watery maple syrup solution (25% to
50%, and cold smoke it for about 15-20 minutes. The slices have a
tremendous surface-to-volume area, so moderation is the key. Try
sneaking up on your first attempt rather than having to tone it down later.
--
Nonny

Nonnymus
A penny saved is obviously a
government oversight.
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-2008, 12:51 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Posts: 52
Default Reducing the salt in bacon


Problem solved! Another full day of soaking in a tub that sat outside
(and I dumped some sugar into) pulled all the excessive salt out and
it's fine now. I patted it dry, painted it with some maple syrup and
let it dry in the breeze for a bit then started smoking it again with
apple wood. It still has a lot of smoked flavor, but the soaking had
lightened the exterior and opened up the pores, so I figured it needed
more for the preservative purposes. I'll smoke it a few more hours
when I get home tonight and call it done.

Thanks for all the advise - it will come in handy once again when my
hams are finished curing in a few weeks.

--Jeff

 




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