Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

SAUSAGES,CHARCUTERIE and DELI ARTS
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GarthFader
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Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by GarthFader » Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:59 pm

I decided to give bacon a go a little while back... Making, not eating. Obviously i've been eating bacon all my life!

My first batch was better than expected, I was really pleased with how it came out, so I offloaded some to a few friends and family for some feedback. The result wasn't feedback, but orders for more! So I decided to go bulk on a second batch.

I used boneless belly (6kg) and boneless rolled pork loin (4kg) and brined it all in a maple syrup and apple cider brine with Cure#1 for five days.

This amount had the Tri-Fire pretty much at capacity, I don't have a tuning plate yet so had to avoid the 300mm of cooking space closest to the firebox, and still had to rotate the pieces pretty frequently, but overall it was a pretty hassle free cook. Heat from lump charcoal and smoke from hickory chunks and it came up a treat. I smoked them at 220ºF for 4.5hrs til I got to an internal of 66ºC.

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I bought a new slicer on eBay to slice all this bacon up, but found out pretty quickly that the throw on the little 8" model is about 2" short for a decent hunk of bacon, and instantly wished i'd bought the 10" model instead, but I managed to get through it all in about half an hour.

The 10kg of raw pork yield about 7.5kg of cooked bacon, then once all the trimmings came off (seen in the tub next to the machine), i ended up with about 6.8kg of sliced bacon and the rest in bacon pieces for soup and pasta.

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I did discover that my brine hadn't penetrated the loin pieces fully, and found that the very centre slices had a white colour in the centre, which is basically just roast pork. So I kept these pieces for me instead. Next time, I think i'll inject the loin just to be sure otherwise they'd need another couple of days in the brine.

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Because i'm a bit of a wanker, and I'm lucky enough to have a very talented graphic designer for a wife, and a job at a printing company, we made up some nice labels to slap on the vac-sealed 250g portions which i'll be dropping off to everyone tonight.

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Last edited by GarthFader on Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.


WarmBeer
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Location: Melbourne

Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by WarmBeer » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:20 pm

Can I join your family? Please?
Dragon Kamado | Weber OTS | Hark (Aldi) Smoker | Rusty Gasser

skuzy
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by skuzy » Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:23 am

great work!

Do you play around with other charcuterie goods?
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GarthFader
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by GarthFader » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:33 pm

I've done pancetta and lonza so far, both were pretty good but i've only done one lot of each. I did them a traditional way (salt and time only, no nitrates/nitrites), so it was a bit risky... from now on I think i'll play it safe and use the cures as well.

I've made plenty of pastrami, but not since I bought my Tri-Fire, I just smoked them on a gasser with chips in a bag... It's still one of the best things i've made, but haven't documented it on here yet.

I'm going to make an italian summer sausage in the misty gully banquet bag salami cases next, and have a crack at coppa using the banquet bags too. I've converted a fridge into a drying chamber and it works a treat, and now I have the slicer I can utilise the delicious product better.

There are so many things I want to make, I just need to find the time. Aged products like pancetta, lonza and coppa require little hands on time. maybe an hour to prep them, then it's just a waiting game. But bacon, pastrami and salami are either labour intensive (grinding, mixing stuffing etc.), and/or require a day of tending to a fire to smoke them... So you need to work out a timeline based on when you plan to do these steps. I'm pretty anal about the timelines because I like to ensure consistency between batches, so I set up a timeline and make sure I keep the relevant days free, and let my wife know not to book us in for any social events!

Flippo
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by Flippo » Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:12 am

Hey Garth,

I do pancetta every year, taught by my father in law who's Calabrian and we do it about as traditionally as you can get. Simply pork belly and a handful of salt thrown over it. I then put them in a non reactive container, cover with glad wrap and leave them in my spare room at home turning the belly twice a day and making sure it gets a nice coating of the sticky goo is ends up sitting in. About a week later I wash it off in red wine, cover it in my home made chilli powder and hang it in a specially made fly proof box in my garage for around 4-6 weeks. Then, as my father in law says..... "Bob is uncle"

No nitrates, no refrigeration, no cures...... no nuttin'. I gotta tell you the first time he showed me I was very skeptical. It goes against everything you are taught about food safety, just meat, sitting around, bit of salt over it, that's it. But, it comes out great. It doesn't stink or go rancid like you'd expect, it just keeps that lovely porky scent that fresh pork has. I stuffed it up the first time I made it cause I put too much salt on it, I just had to as I thought I knew better than an 88yr old bloke that has been doing it since he was a little boy, and, it turned out way too salty. So next year I threw a modest handful on, you really don't need that much, rubbed it in and left it. Came out perfect.

Anyway, that's my experience with pancetta, there's really no need to use cures/nitrates. Go traditional. We do the same with salami's. Pork, salt, spices various. Mix it all up till it goes sticky and jam and 'em into the skins. Hang 'em till he says eat and you got yourself a party in your mouth. Good luck with it

GarthFader
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by GarthFader » Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:19 am

Hey Flippo, thanks for the reply!

Does your family do the whole epic breaking down of the pig, grinding, mixing and stuffing as a full day event, or is it pretty low-key?

I was fine with the traditional way when I was following this book to make my pancetta and lonza. I was amazed at how little salt was needed!

1. Salt = 3% of meat weight (1000g Meat = 30g Salt)
2. Seal for 1 day per kg in the fridge (turning regulary and DON'T drain the liquid off)
3. Rinse with wine
4. Hang to dry until it loses 30% of it's start weight (1000g = 700g target weight)

The book says you can dry the pancetta prety much anywhere, like your flyproof cage, or in the kitchen etc. But my wife wan't too keen on having a slab of pork dangling from the ceiling, so I bought an old fridge and put an external thermostat on it to run between 12ºC and 17ºC to dry meat in.

These basic 4 steps were the basis for most whole muscle cuts in the book, you can add spices etc if you like, but this was meat drying at it's simplest. Mine worked, and I loved it... but giving it to friends and family was a little stressful, I was freaking out that someone would get sick from it... So the decision to add nitrates/nitrites is as much for my own peace of mind as anything.

hoddo
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by hoddo » Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:43 am

Hi Garth, great post. I have been thinking of making a fridge drying cabinet, if you don't mind me asking, what external thermostat did you use and how did you wire it n, and also do you have some sort of vent/fan setup to aid drying?

Smokey
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by Smokey » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:01 pm

Wine fridges work well, I've got a small ALDI one that works for small batch stuff.
If trees screamed when we cut them down, We wouldn't. If they screamed all the time we would.
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GarthFader
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by GarthFader » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:11 pm

hoddo wrote:Hi Garth, great post. I have been thinking of making a fridge drying cabinet, if you don't mind me asking, what external thermostat did you use and how did you wire it n, and also do you have some sort of vent/fan setup to aid drying?
I just bought a fridge on eBay for $50, don't get a fridge/freezer combo because the freezer is a waste of space, and trying to combine the cavities is risky (possible wiring in between), and it's too hard to try and control the freezer and fridge thermostats.

Then pick up one of these http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/D-STC-1000-D ... 4179346410

Once you have a fridge, just wire the mains power into the controller so it basically just switches the mains power on and off as needed... you then just need to set the built in thermostat to the coldest setting and dangle the sensor into the fridge... The controller will look after things from there.

For the drying temp I was using the starting humidity of the chamber was too low, so I just added a pan with equal parts salt and water to the bottom of the fridge, at these temps the pan added enough moisture to maintain about 60-70% humidity, but I found that once the meat was added, the humidity went through the roof, so I took the pan out.

For air circulation I just put a small 10cm desk fan on the top shelf of the fridge and ran the cord out through the door, this created enough circulation to do the job. But it wouldn't be hard to wire up a PC fan in a housing to do the same if you wanted to. You don't want air blowing directly onto the product though, because you'll risk case-hardening and and up with a ruined batch.

If I get motivated enough, i'll buy a humidifier, dehumidifier and a humidity controller like the thermostat I bought to maintain a steady humidity regardless of how much/little product is in there.
Last edited by GarthFader on Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hoddo
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by hoddo » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:21 pm

Thanks GarthFader for such a detailed response, I was thinking of picking up a second hand shop drink fridge, glass door type and converting that.

GarthFader
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by GarthFader » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:33 pm

hoddo wrote:Thanks GarthFader for such a detailed response, I was thinking of picking up a second hand shop drink fridge, glass door type and converting that.
I had access to commercial fridges at a sweet rate through my work contacts, (I print signage for fridges)... but after speaking to a couple of the guys at the fridge companies, they recommended against it because of the running costs of a commercial fridge compared to a domestic.

If you're looking into it though, i'd recommend a Skope SK series fridge, SK650 is a single door, and the SK1000 is a double door, they're an older unit that is pretty reliable and they still make them now, and they're made in NZ... So you can get parts for them easily. Keep an eye out on eBay for them, or contact a commercial refrigeration company like AVEM or Bevwizz to see if that have any working models with cosmetic damage that they might want to sell. You'll still pay a few hundred up to a thousand for them easily, but they're a good unit.

You'll still need to modify them to run the right temps and humidity, but you'll get a greater capacity. I'd think hard about how much you plan on making and wether it's worth the expense of a commercial fridge (both in purchase and running costs), compared to using a good size domestic fridge.

Narmnaleg
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by Narmnaleg » Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:56 am

Garth, that bacon looks sensational. Great work!
Flippo wrote:Simply pork belly and a handful of salt thrown over it.
I realise the following threads are quite old, but you might find something of use in them. This is how I make both pancetta and guanciale using only salt for the curing process. I've been doing it for years:
Salt cured pork cheek. AKA: Guanciale - Part 1
Salt cured pork cheek. AKA: Guanciale - Part 2

skuzy
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Post by skuzy » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:14 pm

Flippo mate.. Do u love in melb? And did u do all that during winter? Trying to register how hanging up meat in the garage wouldn't go off in Oz weather..
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Flippo
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by Flippo » Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:08 am

skuzy wrote:Flippo mate.. Do u love in melb? And did u do all that during winter? Trying to register how hanging up meat in the garage wouldn't go off in Oz weather..
Ha ha.... do I love in Melbourne? Do I ever!! And in Sydney, and Brisbane. Pretty much love wherever and whenever I bloody well can!!! 8) 8) 8)

Skuzy, I don't live in Melbourne, I live in Sydney but my father in law lives in Mel. He showed me how to do it and has been doing it for years..... and I mean years, he's 88 and came out here in the early/mid 50's. He only does it in winter when the weather is cool therefore so do I. Cause I'm in Sydney i do mine a couple of weeks after him as it gets cooler earlier down there.

I know what you are thinking and I mentioned it in my earlier post, it goes against everything you get taught about meat and food hygene. I didn't believe it myself, to the point that i added extra salt to it the first year i did it by myself, just to be sure, and nearly ruined it cause it was too salty. So yeah, it really is as simple as described. Bit of meat, handful of salt, turn every 12ish hours, coating it in the gooey sludge, for about 4 days, rinse her off, coat in chilli if desired and hook her up in a cool dark somewhat airy place for between four and six weeks. That's it. Have a crack with a real small bit this year if you want, you'll be surprised.

Grillnoob
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Re: Garth's Small Goodies - Part 2: Bacon!

Post by Grillnoob » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:40 pm

so many threads to read here.insane looking bacon Garth and way cool packaging.
now I have to try it soon as well as pancetta cheers Flippo.


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