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I am breaking all the rules and will most certainly Rot in Bacterial Hell for it...

Remember all my bacon questions? Well, I have done the best I could but I fear it will not be good enough. I cured (hopefully) those 2 big pork bellies in the salt, sugar, molasses and apple juice (couldn't find cider) mixture... whether it served to cure or not I sure don't know. Three days. Then I pulled them out of there, did not spend time drying for the elusive pellicle, but just stuck them in the smoker. They looked good to me...

I'll smoke at low temp to about 130 internal. Remove. Refrigerate to harden, then slice and fry. Hopefully, I will live to report further.

Bless you, my friends....
Eeker Eeker Eeker
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Inserted your photo for you.

1. Your cure didn't have any TQ did it as I didn't see it listed?
2. What was the temp of your fridge? If it was above 40...oh boy!

If you're smoking this and staying below 140 and didn't add a cure to your solution, you are asking for Bacteria galore, but I guess you already knew that.

WHY are you pushing the envelope?

Food Safety is not something to mess with, and if you've ever had a BIG case of Food Poisoning you wouldn't want it again.
oh, yeah, yeah, YEAH!! I had no intention of eatin this thang just out of the smoker at 130!!! Eeker Eeker

I have refrigerated it, then sliced and put in the frypan. In fact, fryed the first four strips til they were black, I was so freaked out about the curing question. (Pretty ugly, huh!) They still tasted good, actually, and I haven't gotten sick yet Razzer

Tomorrow I'll cut some thinner strips, and try to fry to a nice brown. Then we'll see the verdict.

Oh.. and one other thing in the "note to self" category. You should indeed take the skin off that pork belly. I thought I'd try and leave it on. Duh. Just a tad chewy. well... live and learn!

Hey, Looks good.

At least you're asking questions about the health thing. In the end, you'll probably be alright, as you've survived your own Q before... Eeker Just kiddin'

I think, to cure with salt would take a pretty strong mixture, and the salt amount you mention was more of a brine, than a cure.

The 130 probably helped, instead of a cold smoke.

Now, what's your next Science Experiment?

Hey Woodburner,
One thing you have to remember, is that its not so much the bacteria itself that causes the food poisoning but a byproduct (waste) produced by the bacteria that is what actually causes the food poisoning.

So you may have a food product that got above 40 F and the bacteria had a playground for a while, produced their byproduct poison waste and then the temperature went down below 40 or you cooked the food well (as you see from your pictures...). Well that cooking killed the bacteria but did not eliminate the poisonous byproduct so voila' you get food poisoning.

That is how a lot of folks get it. A food encountered a period of dangerous temperature zone and then is placed back into the safe zone without anyone's knowledge and the bacteria are diminished or killed but the poison is still in the food product.

This is my understanding of the process, someone correct me if I am wrong please...

I've cured some bacon according to the directions by Mortons and other books by authors that seem to know what they are doing. I dry cured mine for 7 days per inch of thickness or about 10 days in total. I see other recipes that use brine and tenderquick and keep it in the brine for about 10 days or more. And they have the sodium nitrite in it.

Also, there is a question about whether there was enough salt in the concentration.

I therefore believe that your bacon was substantially undercured at a total of 3 days in the cure (in other words not cured throughout) and therefore subject to many of the issues discussed above.

If it were mine, I would chuck it and write it off as an experiement. It just isn't worth it to take a lot of chance. Also, I would pick up some books on curing such as Mortons or Ritak Kutas's book. They are great references.

MN Que
Ate some more of the science experiment today... you know, it tasted ok, but it is now buried in the dumpster; all hail the bacon experiment!!

I am in week three of seven weeks of the servesafe course here in NY (required to run a restaurant). We learned about those toxins produced by the bacteria last week. I learned about it, then immediately broke the rules and tempted fate. Good thing I am not a rocket scientist.

I think I will concentrate on the Q I know for a while... thanks for the help, though Wink
Here's my recipe for Butt Bacon using TQ. Yes you need to use cure when doing any cold smoking which is how I do it. I see my recipe is in your recipe arcives and some were concerned about the amount of TQ being to much but it's not. I've made probably about 300# this way and everyone loves it. Remember this is a bulk mix and will be enough to do a 100# or more. Split the bone out shoulders or use bellies if you prefer and shake on the rub mix liberaly, flip and repeat rubbing it in real well. Put the slabs in a gal. ziplock bag removing as much air as possible and stack in fridge. Rotate and flip every couple of days for 10-14 days and rinse. Cold smoke for 8-10 hrs and wrap and freeze whole, slice when ready to fry and eat. I like it best done on the grill. Also great pan fried or even deep fried. The last time(a couple months ago) we made 111# of it and I cut the brown sugar back by about 1/3 and it didn't seem to burn as much when frying. Too much sugar tends to scorch a bit. If you want to zip it up a bit add some Red Savina pepper flakes that can be purchased at, hot and tastey stuff. Good luck, you'll love it
shoulder/butt bacon cure
2# of br. sugar
3oz.blk. pepper
2.6# of cure
6.3oz of your favorite rub
Tender quick is fine or an equivilant type of cure. There's a number of them out there. I think the comments on your recipe archives confused my saying cure as meaning straight nitrates where in fact cure meaning a product that is a prepackaged mix of salt, nitrates and whatever else they put in it. You'll see reference in different sausage recipes using prague powders, tender quick, maple cure, sugar cure, etc., they're all pretty much the same with different twists. No one should use straight nitrates unless it's mixed in proper proportion with the other ingredients, can be dangerous. So yes tender quick or even try some of the others like maple cure and see how you like it. They all have the same amt. of nitrates(by FDA law I believe) and have the same curing properties. Hope this helps ansewr some questions
Hope this won't be taken as any sort of attack, flame, or other personal criticism, but I don't think that's quite correct.

There are a variety of nitrite proportions in packaged cures. For example, Con Yeager Spice Co. sells .75% and 1.5% nitrite maple and brown sugar cures, as well as 6.25% nitrite tinted cure. That pink-colored 6.25% nitrite cure is also sold as Prague powder and Instacure. Tenderquick appears to be more in the 1% nitrite range.

6.25% nitrite cure is used at a rate of 4oz cure per 100lb meat. That's equivalent to 1/4 oz nitrite per 100lb. So, your recipe using 2.6lb cure to 100lb meat would work well for .75% nitrite cure.
Not flamed at all, thanks for the info. I guess my point was that for any cold smoking some type of cure should always be used and that any of them are good, just find one you like(anything is better than nothing). Also that using the word cure doesn't mean pure nitrate/nitrites that would be dangerous. Better off using any of the pre-packaged ones. Each may have some individual applications but I'm sure can be be exchanged for other applications without too much problem. If you're cooking in the danger zone there is a bigger problem with not using it, keep people from getting a bad batch of crummy tummy by not using some type of cure
Agree 100%. Most cures come with directions or recipes, or they're in the catalog you're ordering from. It's just a matter of making sure your recipe matches the product in question, or modifying the recipe to match.

I'd avoid pure nitrates/nitrates or saltpeter, too, because of the difficulty in measuring the tiny quantities involved and in uniformly mixing them with other ingredients.

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