Cured Whole Muscle Meat 104 - Bacon Basics


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    Cured Whole Muscle Meat 104 - Bacon Basics

    Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Bacon Hanger
    Smoking Bacon

    What Is Bacon?

    Generally, Bacon is the Belly of a Pig that has been cured and smoked. Bacon is cured using nitrites and for commercial processors, the USDA has limited the amount of ingoing nitrates to 200 parts per million for dry rubbed bacon and 120 ppm for pickled or injected bacon.

    Meat Block

    1 Pork Belly
    1 Bag of Dry Rub Bacon

    Equipment

    Vacuum Sealer (Optional)

    Process

    Dry Rubbed Bacon is the classic way to make bacon. In this process, the outside of the belly is coated in a bacon cure and we rely upon osmosis to bring the cure to the center of the meat and ensure that the entire belly is cured. We normally coat all sides of the bacon but the fat cap generally will not allow the cure to pass through so this is more of a taste thing than a requirement.

    Curing

    After the belly has been rubbed it should be placed in a cooler for 5-7 days to allow the cure to penetrate fully. Some people prefer turning the belly over every day but this is not truly necessary since as we said before, the fat cap will not pass the cure through but if you want to feel free to flip it daily. Place the belly in a large vacuum seal bag and seal it if you want, you can also wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or just put it in an airtight container. The bacon is going to excrete some water during this portion, this isn’t anything to worry about.

    Pre-Smoking Rinse

    Once the 5-7 days have passed you need to rinse it before you smoke it, skip this step at your own peril as without rinsing it you are going to get a very salty bacon. I like to let fresh water run through a meat lug for 20 minutes but if you want to save on water you can fill up a lug, let it sit for 20 minutes and then dump that water, refill it with clean water and let it sit for another 20 minutes. If you skip the rinsing process you will end up with bacon that is too salty to be enjoyable. Even if you like salty bacon you should still rinse it, even if you only rinse it for 10 minutes.

    Note

    Now, go ahead and hang it on your 9" bacon hanger, making sure to leave a few inches above the tines to secure the belly and make sure it doesn’t rip off. Now it’s time to fire up your smoker and cook it. To ensure that you have a safe product you should cook it until it is 138° internal temperature.

    Thermal Processing & Smoking

    Start your smoker at 120° with no smoke for one hour with dampers open, then 120° for an hour with smoke, then 1 hour at 135° then 150° for an hour, then 165° for 80 minutes with no smoke and finally at 180° with no smoke until it reaches 138°

    Cooling

    Once the Bacon has reached 138° remove it from your smoker and put the bacon in an ice bath for 20 minutes to stop the cooking process. Let the bacon cool for 1-2 hours at room temperature before moving it to the fridge or freezer for packaging or slicing.

    Wrap up

    When done right homemade bacon can be a delicious addition to any meal or even a meal on its own. Being able to make your own homemade bacon is a good way to learn the smoking and curing process as it is fairly easy to do and at the end, you have a large amount of delicious, homemade bacon!

    Additional Tips

    • A good slicer is going to save you a lot of grief if you like your bacon sliced thin for cooking
    • If you Belly is too big to fit on your slicer you will need to cut it in half to get it to fit on the carriage

    Watch WaltonsTV: Bacon Basics

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Bratwurst Seasoning

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Meat Grinders

    Shop waltonsinc.com for High-Temp Cheese

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Boning Knives



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  • Cured Sausage Specialty Sausage 102: Making Lebanon Bologna

    Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Cutting Meat Grinding Meat Stuffing Lebanon What Is Lebanon Bologna?

    Lebanon Bologna was originally made by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1800’s. Traditionally it is a dark bologna, similar to salami in appearance and texture and it has a tangy flavor. It is often eaten as cold cuts and it can be slow cured and cold smoked or smoked using more modern methods. We are going to be making a version today that will not be slow cured or cold smoked as that makes it more difficult for the average home user.

    Meat Block

    7 lb of Untrimmed Pork Butts
    3 lb of Lean Beef
    1 Bag of Lebanon Bologna Seasoning
    1 10 lb Capacity Bologna Casing
    1 Bag of Sure Gel
    Sodium Erythorbate

    Equipment

    Weston #12 Butcher Series Grinder
    Walton’s 11 lb Sausage Stuffer
    Weston 20 lb Meat Mixer

    Process

    If you can you should cut the fat off of your pork and grind your pork fat separately through a 3/16th plate twice. Then grind your beef and lean pork through a 3/8 plate and then through a 1/8 plate. Keep ground pork fat separate. Making sure EVERYTHING but especially your pork fat is cold before you grind it is very important here for particle definition.

    Meat Mixing

    Place lean meat in the mixer. While mixing add Lebanon Bologna seasoning, Sure Cure and Ice Cold Water. Mix for 5 minutes. Add ground fat trim, sodium erythorbate and mix for 3 more minutes. Lastly, if you are using Encapsulated Citric Acid add it during the last 60 seconds of mixing. If you add the Encapsulated Citric Acid too soon you could break the encapsulation and release the acid into the meat too soon.

    Sausage Stuffing

    Stuff your meat into fibrous casings that have been soaked for at least an hour in water that is 80 - 100° so the casings are pliable. These casings are tough and durable so don’t worry about blowouts just stuff them fully but make sure to leave enough room to get a hog ring on the open end. When stuffing larger diameter casings it is important to choose the largest of the stuffing tubes that your casing will fit over and make sure you are gripping it nice and tight, we want these casings packed nice and solid.

    Note

    You can also use Fibrous or Non-Edible Collagen casings, we chose this as it had the capacity we wanted and it presented the product well.

    Thermal Processing & Smoking

    To smoke start them out with 125 for 1 hour, then 140 for 1 hour then 165 for an hour and finally at 180 until the internal temperature reaches 155°.

    Cooling

    Place it in an ice bath or shower for 20 minutes to bring the temperature back down and then hold at room temperature for 2 hours and then move to a cooler or freezer before vacuum packing. I let this sit in a refrigerator overnight before slicing to make sure the temperature was brought all the way down.

    Wrap up

    All in all, this is very similar to making a salami or even a summer sausage, the main differences are separating out the pork fat from your lean and using the correct ratio, seasoning, and casings. The fried Bologna sandwiches were very good!

    Additional Tips Removing the fat cap before you break down your pork butt is easier sometimes, it all depends on how it looks before you start cutting into it. I put very little smoke on this as I didn’t want that to dominate the taste so I filled my smoke tray about 1/4 of the way full. I am glad I did it this way as it allowed for the Lebanon taste to come through more. Other Notes

    I added X-Tra Hot Red Pepper to this to help give it a nice zip and to cut some of the sweetness. I used it at a ratio of 3 oz per 100 lb of meat and since I was doing 10 lb that means I used .3 of an oz.

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    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    What is Specialty Sausage?

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    For whatever reason, these types of sausages have fallen out of favor and are sadly relegated to the specialty stores of the home processor. Maybe opinions have changed on the type of meat used, the way it is cooked or the seasoning or spices used in the original seasoning. The good thing about this is it gives you the opportunity to “rediscover” plenty of types of amazing sausages.

    Types of Meat Required

    Sourcing the meat might be a little harder for this than a normal sausage but a quality butcher should easily be able to get you pork liver, trim and even pork blood that you will need to make some of these. Others like Lebanon bologna and some landjaeger only require a mix of pork and beef and a special seasoning.

    Casings

    Many specialty sausages will also require a special or a specific casing to be used. Braunschweiger has a special plastic casing specifically for the production of that product and others like landjaegar simply require that you use a natural casing like hog or sheep intestine.

    Smoking

    Smoking and cooking will also be different with a lot of these sausages, a normal smoke schedule might not work for your needs on these products. We will be making Landjaegr, Lebanon Bologna and Blood Sausage in the 10’s and then go for some even more out there products in the advanced classes

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    What Videos are being released soon?

    We just released our Pre Thanksgiving Sales that will be good through Friday so you should absolutely check that out. You will also see that we have reduced shipping on orders over $5 all week.

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    Specialty Sausage 101 & 102 - In these two videos we will be going over specialty sausage as a category and then showing you detailed steps on making Lebanon Bologna. Ours came out amazing so if you are planning on making any this year watch the video for some tips on how to make a delicious Lebanon Bologna!

    What Projects are we looking ahead at?

    Specialty Sausage 103: Landjaeger - We made Landjaeger or a version of it at least! It came out tasting excellent but the appearance wasn’t exactly what we were going for, for more details keep an eye out for this video in the next few weeks.

    Specialty Sausage 104: Blood Sausage - We haven’t made this year and it is going to have to wait until at least after Thanksgiving but hopefully we will get to it soon! We are excited about this as it’s a true odd-ball in America and we want to see if we can make some improvements to it!

    What’s on our Mind?

    It is almost Thanksgiving time and I’m going home for the first time in years! Like everyone else, I am excited to see family and friends and eat delicious food! Don’t forget to take a few minutes this Thanksgiving to really concentrate on what you are thankful for. For me, a huge thing I am thankful for is this job, I really love what I do here! I mean, who wouldn’t love talking, filming and answering questions about meat processing all day!

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  • @TinCupTom I agree with both @bobing195-7 and @ed-jordan in regards to the H Summer, great tasting Summer Sausage without being too strong or having any real heat.

    Just so you know, in case you were looking for it and couldn’t find it, the ingredients are listed on the products web page. Just scroll down and click the “Additional Info” tab and it will show up.

    The W Summer (4550300082) might be the most mild of all the ones you listed. That doesn’t make it bad at all just a very mild flavor

    Summer 107 (4550300032) Similar to H, contains mustard seed but I don’t think it is whole.

    Summer Sausage Seasoning (4550300012) Very similar to the 107 in flavor, has whole mustard seed.

    H - Summer (G4550300070) is our best selling Summer Sausage Seasoning, contains whole mustard seed. If you are looking for a peppery seasoning this is the best one to use for a base and add some black pepper. This would be the basic summer seasoning favored by most employees and customer.

    Another option, if you are making 100 lb batches or don’t mind breaking down the seasoning into smaller batches, would be the Ton’s Summer Seasoning (4550806642) It has a very good flavor and is pretty peppery if I remember correctly, I pepper is listed higher in the ingredients list than any of the others… Of all of the basic Summer Sausage seasonings (excluding ones like Jalapeno and Habanero BBQ) this is the second best scoring one amongst employees.

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  • E

    @tincuptom i can only speak to the H summer sausage seasoning, but it has a lot better taste than the backwoods. Not a lot of pepper (you could add more I am sure) but it is a good solid flavor profile. I did not use the ECA for the tang, but plan on doing it this week in a batch. You can’t go wrong with the H seasoning!

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  • B

    I have been in search for a summer sausage seasoning with black pepper but couldn’t find one. I’m new at this so the H Summer Sausage is the only one I have used so I can’t give you any comparisons with the other 3, but you mentioned black pepper so thought I would share my first experience.
    So I used Waltons H Summer Sausage and mixed in about a quarter cup of fine black pepper. I liked the results and several others did as well. It had a light pepper taste and I probably will add a little more in the next batch for a slightly stronger flavor. I used 25 lbs of venison and 4lbs of beef fat to keep it on the leaner side. Good luck, Bob

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