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leechlake

side pork to bacon

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The side pork my wife bought has run it's course.  I'm turning the balance into bacon and have it in a wet brine of tenderquick since dry rubbing like I've done with pork belly would take too much work.  Since the pieces are about 5/8" thick using a temp gauge won't work real well.  Any suggestions on smoking?  My thoughts are I can smoke it to the point where you could just eat it (150-160 guessing on high side) or do it like bacon that you planning on frying to finish later.  Thanks.

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Just my two cents, but I would cold smoke it and plan on frying it later as you need it. I think if you hot-smoked to an edible state (150 or whatever) you texture will likely be rubbery? Maybe someone smarter than me can chime in on that, but I would speculate if it's cooked once, then cooked again, you might not enjoy the finished product as much as you would if you made it the more "traditional" way.

Edited by pikestabber

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Isn't slab bacon smoked to 150 or so? 

BTW I grew up eating side pork...  Is it different than "pork belly" that is all the rage these days?

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I don't think so on the 150 thing.  I did it once to 150 and it was more like ham than bacon.  I believe 125-130 may be correct?

I guess side pork and pork belly are the same...so bacon is the same but cured and smoked.

reinhard1 likes this

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Side pork is cut a little higher than the belly for that's the reason for the name, side pork.  The claim is that it's always leaner being a little higher but I have not seen much of a difference.  I'm with Pikestabber with the cold smoking method after it's cured.  Pork belly's are cold smoked and then you fry them.  I know some that "hot smoke" it and are happy with it, but that is because they cure the whole belly and not slices.  I  prefer cold smoking and especially with slices [which I have never done].  Cant even say how long to cure it because of that but it would not be for a long period of time of course.  I don't even know if anyone has even done it but it does't mean it cant be done.    After curing, cold smoke it until you get some color and then put them in the fridge overnight.  wrap the next day.  Hot smoking belly's or slices will not be like the bacon you are used to when done.  good luck.

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