SLIDES OF THE WORK IN PROGRESS
I tasted various store bought bacons, to get an idea of the bacon flavor spectrum. I found Benton's to be my favorite. Cooked through but not crispy, Benton's has a country bacon rusticity and I love the full smoky flavor of its fat. Keller's was my preferred crispy style bacon. Nueske's cooked crispy was probably the strongest in flavor. I liked it, though I felt it was too concentrated for me. On the opposite end of the spectrum was Black Pig, which was more balanced and subtle. BP would good if I ever want to add bacon to something without having it predominate the dish. I will try Fatted Calf's bacon soon.
Smoking between three and four hours produced my ideal amount of smokiness. Longer is not necessarily better. Keep the smoker around 200 degrees, lower temperature smoking requires a longer smoking time and made the meat taste overly smoky.
Don't let the wood chips or chunk light on fire, keep them protected so they just smoke. If no smoke is coming out of the smoker, check it right away, the wood chips or chunk might have caught fire or be cooked through creating an ashy flavor.
Leaving the skin on seemed like it was preventing the fat from absorbing all the smoke, but removing the skin before smoking didn't work. The skin protects the fat from rendering when the smoker got too hot and it just made the fat taste overly smoky.
Careful with the amount of cure. Instead of just coating the meat in the dry cure, measure the amount of cure per pound of meat. A one week cure with the meat completely dredged in the cure was too salty. Test the meat before drying it, temper over-salted meat by soaking in water change water every 30 mins, around 2-3 hours of soaking was necessary for the meat that was dredged in cure.
Wood Chunks, Chips, Charcoal - Lazzari 11 Industrial Way, Brisbane.
Nitrite/Pink Salt: New May Wah, Bi-Rite butcher counter.
References: McGee, Ruhlman, Myrhvold, Raichlan, Lang, Bertolli.