Saturday, May 16, 2009

4 way Bacon

Bought a smoker last week. Purchased exclusively to make bacon, a I've had several requests to make some. But, life outside my little Italian box is verrrrry frightening. I've never smoked anything before, so, I went for an economical version in the case that I just had no patience for it, or I just plain old sucked at it. Anyway, the picture is bacon #1. It is a loose interpretation of Alton Brown's hot pepper brine. I added pink salt and extra hot pepper. It brined for 4 days, instead of the recommended 3. As for the smoking.......I think I need a little more experience, unless this sub $30 smoker is just a bit hard to get down. The smoke would stop every 20-30 minutes when the wood chunks would ignite. I would douse them with water to get the smoke going again, this was the dance for over 2 hours, running out every 10 minutes, to either add more wet wood or douse with water. There has to be an easier way. So, this slab was smoked to waaaaay over 150 degrees, closer to 170. I left the smoker for 15 minutes, when I returned there was no smoke, but flames shooting out the sides. I removed it, cooled it overnight and sliced and ate some this morning. It is still delicious, so, no harm, no foul. Looks like I need more work in the smoking department, good thing I have 2 more bacon slabs to smoke(the 4th way is a pancetta). A little guidance would be appreciated.


  1. I just bought a smoker this weekend too (so I can smoke my 'nduja when the time comes) so we can learn how to smoke meat together!

    Your bacon looks delish!

  2. Saw your post about your new Bradley smoker, porsha–congrats! I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but couldn't figure out how I was supposed to log in.

    For the money, the Bradley is a great little smoker that gives you a lot of control. With just a little bit of practice, you can figure out how to set it for what you want and then just leave it to do its thing.

  3. Bacon was mighty tasty. Great smokey flavor. Just have to reel this smoker in somehow. I wound up a slave to it, instead of being able to leave like Larbo says.

  4. The easiest fix would be to forget charcoal and get yourself an electric hotplate, and a metal pan. fill the pan with wood, put it on the hotplate in the bottom of the smoker.

    I exclusively use weber smokey mountain cookers, which are much easier to control temps on, but I wouldn't even think totry to run it below 220 with out some kind of modification.

  5. I have the Brinkmann Smoke N' Grill, not sure it is possible to pull that off. I see a new smoker on the horizon.

  6. Scott,
    I'm a bit late to the party here, so I hope you see this. I am a long time barbequer/smoker who took up sausagemaking and (recently) curing. I'll be into salamis and fermented meats by the end of the summer.

    They key to smoking is learning to control your burn. Here are a few hints:
    - Open your exhaust vents wide open. Never close them. You want a clean burning fire. White smoke = Good, Blue/Black Smoke = Bad.
    - Always regulate your fire at the air intake.
    - Forget about soaking wood or wrapping it in foil. Use charcoal to start the fire, then add wood and limit the air intake. Baseball-size chunks of wood will burn for 45-60 minutes with proper air regulation.
    -Wood selection is CRITICAL. Never use pines, evergreens or mesquite. The best woods are as follows: Oak (medium), Hickory (assertive), Pecan, Cherry, Apple (mild), Persimmon, Fig, and Alder. Pecan is my favorite by far.

    Hope this helps, David

  7. Hi, David. It's funny you should chime in here. I made ribs the other day, it was only after reading your blog about the making the perfect ribs. I followedr the water smoker directions and I didn't fuss with the coals or the wood once! I resisted the urge to add more wood. They came out very well. I'll throw up a post later about them. Thanks again.