Making Bacon that tastes like store bought
Paynester last edited by
I have a question for you all. I have made bacon with a salt rub and smoked for 5 hours until internal temp reached 138 degrees then I cooked in a pan. I did not like it as it was too salty, even though I placed in water for 30-minutes 2 times. Now I have ordered a brining buck and this year I’ll attempt the wet brining rather than a dry rub. My question is, does brining taste more like store bought than a salt rub? I have read that it does. Thanks in advance to any advice thx.
@Paynester We did both at basically the same time last year and I absolutely thought the one that we injected with a soluble cure was better. However, I just did a dry rubbed belly and it came out different then how I remember it from last year (less salty and I even said it tasted exactly like normal store bought bacon) so it might have been something I did differently.
Can you give me some more information on your process for the dry rubbed? Did you use the Excalibur Dry Rub Cure or something else? How long did you hold it, how much cure did you use, did you rub the fat cap and remove the skin? More information the better!
wmakerrick last edited by
@paynester look up equilibrium brine for bacon, reduce salt slightly and you should be good!
The closest process to store bought bacon would be injecting. Brining/pickling would be closer than a dry rub , but injection would be the best. Injecting is also the quickest and fastest way to make bacon!
I would try following the injection instructions here: https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/385/how-to-make-homemade-bacon-recipe
Paynester last edited by
@austin thank you, I appreciate it. With injecting, just inject like you would a steak? Also how long should it stay in the brine/pickle for best results? Would you also suggest adding some bacon booster and a little smoke powder? That’s what I’m thinking. Thx again.
@paynester I would use bacon taste booster. I would only use hickory smoke powder if you are not going to actually smoke the bacon. Use the hickory smoke powder if you use an oven or something else where you do not add actual smoke during thermal processing.
For injecting, it would be similar to injecting any other whole muscle meat. Just try to evenly inject and disperse the brine. When you inject bacon, you should then hold in a 50% strength cover brine overnight (or about 12 hours).
Let us know if you have any other questions!
gadahl last edited by
@austin I followed your directions at https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/385/how-to-make-homemade-bacon-recipe for the injection method of making bacon. The bacon came out fine, a little salty, but not really a problem. I do have one question: On the label of the Excaliber Blue Ribbon Maple Bacon Cure it says that the five pound bag will cure 100 pounds of pork. The recipe says dissolve two pounds of the cure and six ounces of Bacon Taste Booster in one gallon of cold, pure, water. This makes the injection solution. The directions are to inject ten percent of the weight of the pork belly. A ten pound belly would require one pound (10%) of the cure solution.
I started with about 18 pounds of skinned pork belly and injected more than half of the gallon of cure. Since a gallon of water weighs about eight pounds–a little more with the dissolved cure–I should have injected roughly two pounds of the cure (approximatly 10% of the belly weight) or one- fourth of a gallon.
I need a little better instruction on the amount of injected cure to use; especially since the instructions on the Excaliber cure packet differ from your recipe.
@gadahl If you make a full batch of the cure solution and include the bacon taste booster then it should weigh just about 10.5 lb. Since you started with an 18 lb belly then you needed to inject 1.8 lb (10%) of the solution until it was 19.8 lb. If you injected half a gallon then that would be over twice the recommended amount so I am not surprised it is a little salty. So the remainder of the cure that you don’t inject (in your case it should be right about 8.7 lb) can be the base for your 50% cover solution. To make is 50% strength cover pickle you can just add another 8 lb of water, then brine your belly in that overnight before smoking. If you are making just one belly I would probably just make a half batch to begin with so you don’t have so much left over at the end.
I hope I understood your original question and gave you the answer you needed!
doc_craig last edited by
Nothing here against Waltons products as they have some great ones but if you want some great bacon try Buckboard bacon cure from Hi Mountain. It is a rub that is very easy to use and I think the best bacon ever. Before smoking, which by the way just tops it off, slice some off and fry it up for a sample. If too salty you can soak it and get rid of some of the salt. Another tip is if you have a good slicer partially freeze the side first. Slices way better.
@doc_craig Can you elaborate about soaking it again? So you are saying that after smoking the belly and if you find it too salty you soak it again? I’m going to ask our food scientist about the science behind this because for some reason it doesn’t seem like it would work. That might just be me looking at it incorrectly though!
Boudreaux last edited by
@jonathon I believe he means before you smoke it. He said slice a piece of and cook it before smoking and if it’s too salty soak it again. Now I’m just guessing here but I’m thinking he means soak it in plain water to hopefully get rid of some of the salt…maybe?
@boudreaux Ah, okay if @doc_craig meant before you smoke it then that obviously would make sense. Let’s see what he says, I am sort of hoping he means after though because if soaking after smoking will remove some of the saltiness that would be huge information!
doc_craig last edited by
I meant before smoking. I made some that I got a little heavy with the seasoning and it was pretty salty. I put it in a cold water bath for a while, actually slow running water and it for sure helped take out some of the excess salt. If the directions are followed precisely it won’t be a problem.
Like I said before it is the best bacon ever in my book. Smoking just puts the final touch to having some fantastic bacon. The directions, if I recall correctly, call for cooking it to a certain temp along with smoking and a water bath before smoking. Had a buddy that just smoked without cooking and it turned out great also. It was amazing the difference in taste before and after smoking. Trying some before the final process just gives you a chance to fix it if it does turn out to salty.
@doc_craig Thanks for the clarification, I might do some testing though to see if there is a way to reduce salt content after smoking. Quickly thinking about it I don’t see a way but maybe soaking it in a solution with potato starch. If I make a sauce that is too salty I add potatoes to cut the salt on it…hmm. It’s an interesting idea, I dont think it will work but I might try it!
gadahl last edited by gadahl
@jonathon Jonathon: I think I injected about twice the weight of the brine solution because I kept filling the syringe and stabbing the pork belly about every three inches around its circumference. It’s nifty to watch the pork belly inflate as the solution goes in. I got a little carried away.
However, my real question was about the difference between your recipe and injection instructions and the label on the bag of Excaliber cure. The label says that the five pound bag of cure will make enough solution to cure 100 pounds of pork belly. The math doesn’t work.
I understand the instructions to make more of the solution than needed for the injection process, then water down the left over solution to 50% by adding more water, then use as an overnight brine to cover the injected pork. But next batch I think I’ll prepare enough solution to inject using one pound of the Excaliber cure, 3 ounces of bacon taste booster, and a half gallon of water. Then I’ll prepare the overnight bath using 1 pound of the cure to a full gallon of water. I can measure water by volume much easier than trying to weigh it, particularly by the gallon.
If I understood the Excaliber instructions, five pounds of cure added to five gallons of water would be about 40-42 pounds of brining solution. Using your ten percent weight factor for the injected pork, shouldn’t 40-42 pounds of brining solution cure a lot more than 100 pounds of raw pork meat? Even using half of the solution for an overnight brine, it should cure more than 200 pounds of pork meat. What am I missing here?
@gadahl Okay, I think I see part of the confusion, the label on the bag for the Blue Ribbon Maple Bacon Cure says “Use 2 lb of cure to 100 lb of fresh bellies. This imparts 120 ppm of nitrite and 547 ppm of erythorbate” As the bags have 5 lb of cure this means you would get 2.5 batches out of each bag and each batch does 100 lb of meat so it is enough to cure 250 lb of bellies.
If you are looking at a bag and it says something other than “Use 2 lb of cure to 100 of fresh bellies” please let me know!
As for the math at the end of your post, you wouldn’t use 5 lb of cure to 5 gallons of water, you would use 5 lb of cure to 2.5 gallons of water. Each gallon weighs 8.34 lb so 2.5 x 8.34 = 20.85 (water), 20.85 + 5 lb (cure) = 25.85 and with that you could pump 250 lb of fresh bellies.
Let me know if I did not understand something correctly!
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!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
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.Watch WaltonsTV: Specialty Sausage 102: Making Lebanon Bologna Shop waltonsinc.com for Cured Sausage Seasoning Shop waltonsinc.com for Meat Grinders Shop waltonsinc.com for High-Temp Cheese
Specialty Sausage 101: What is Specialty Sausage?
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?
As much as you might love bratwurst, summer sausages and snack sticks sometimes you want a sausage that is a bit more unique. It might be a recipe you tried once in another country, one that your grandparents used to make or something just sounds really exotic like blood sausage. Recipes and knowledge of how to make these types of sausage are often passed down from generation to generation.
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 classesShop waltonsinc.com for Jerky Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Vertical Smokers Shop waltonsinc.com for Weston Dehydrator 160L Pro Series
Weekly Blog Post - PreThanksgiving & Specialty Sausage
Find out what's going on at Walton's and Meatgistics this week. We will have a loose schedule for soon to be released videos, what we are working on long-term and maybe a few quick tips and tricks that are on our mind!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.
ThanksBlackMonday - This is the “fun” video that we do every year! This year we split it into thirds so the first round of sales will be good from 11/19-11/26, the second round starts on Black Friday (11/22) and ends on Cyber Monday and the third round is Cyber Monday only!
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!New Products
The Talsa K50 Bowl Chopper and the Talsa K80 Bowl Chopper are two brand new choppers from Talsa. These are large commercial pieces of equipment that allow you to do everything from a rough chop to an emulsification of your meat products. Either of these machines will work on everything from pulled pork to hot dogs!
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.
@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!
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