Smoking Bacon.... Taste like Ashtray

STICKSTRING
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Smoking Bacon.... Taste like Ashtray

Post by STICKSTRING » Wed May 28, 2014 18:26

Hey guys and gals,

I had a smoking question for you all. I just made some bacon, turned out pretty good. After I removed from cure I washed off and placed on rack in fridge overnight to "air dry". The following evening I got the Bradley smoker going with apple wood bisquets and was able to keep the smoke house temp at 115-120F. I placed bacon into smoker, and smoked for 4 hrs. I removed bacon, let sit for 1 hr on counter to rest and then placed in fridge for 24 hrs. The smoke smell was very strong. almost too strong. I sliced up bacon and fried a few pieces for my wife and I to try.

We both agreed that the sweet / salty flavor is very good, but the smoke flavor is not right. very ash tray like. hard to explain. Not that smooth Smokey flavor I was hoping for. The apple wood bisquets are brand new.

any ideas on what I may have done wrong?

Thanks!
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Post by sawhorseray » Wed May 28, 2014 19:28

I'm not positive SS but I'm pretty sure you wanted to smoke that bacon until it reached a internal temperature of 135-137°F. Smoking the slab at 115-120°F for four hours would have left you far short of where you needed to be. As long as the slab was cured with sodium nitrite and the bacon cooked to done there should be no health problems, you want to get it smoked to the proper temp to attain proper flavor. Others who know more will chime in. RAY
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Post by STICKSTRING » Wed May 28, 2014 20:00

sawhorseray wrote:I'm not positive SS but I'm pretty sure you wanted to smoke that bacon until it reached a internal temperature of 135-137°F. Smoking the slab at 115-120°F for four hours would have left you far short of where you needed to be. As long as the slab was cured with sodium nitrite and the bacon cooked to done there should be no health problems, you want to get it smoked to the proper temp to attain proper flavor. Others who know more will chime in. RAY
Thanks for the response. I have seen many recipes that call for Internal Temp of 130-140F, and have also seen recipes that say if you plan on cooking before eating and you use nitrite, then you can smoke at lower temps and not worry about internal temp of meat. Like I said, this is my first bacon. I like learning as I go, and fully understanding WHY I have to do what needs to be done.

What makes me wonder is, The flavor of the meat is what your Tshirt smells like after camping around a campfire for a week. I have seen many people suggest smoking bacon for 18hrs +. I have also tasted bacon that has been smoked for 12hrs + that had a very mellow, smooth, fantastic smoke flavor.

I have read that you are looking for a light haze while smoking. not a thick billowing smoke. My Bradley seems to really PUMP out smoke... very very thick. But I ruled that out as the problem due to the fact that many people smoke with Bradley's.
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Post by redzed » Wed May 28, 2014 21:20

Give it a couple more days for the flavours to blend and mature, then judge the taste again. If you get heavy smoke then make sure your smoker's dampers are open at least half. I let my sausages and other smoked meats rest at room temp around 18° for around 8 hours before placing in a cooler environment. Did you bag it when you placed it in the fridge?
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Post by STICKSTRING » Wed May 28, 2014 21:41

redzed wrote:Give it a couple more days for the flavours to blend and mature, then judge the taste again. If you get heavy smoke then make sure your smoker's dampers are open at least half. I let my sausages and other smoked meats rest at room temp around 18° for around 8 hours before placing in a cooler environment. Did you bag it when you placed it in the fridge?
When I first took out of smoker I let sit on kitchen counter for 1 hr uncovered.
Then I placed in refrigerator uncovered for 24 hrs.

After the 24 hr uncovered refrigerator rest, I sliced, vacuumed sealed and into the freezer they went.

I also smoked the entire 4 hrs with dampers fully open.
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Post by ssorllih » Thu May 29, 2014 01:16

I am not sure that I know what apple bisquets are. I smoke with chunks of wood cut from trees and am always pleased with the taste.
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Post by STICKSTRING » Thu May 29, 2014 01:46

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000FK2DO ... ot_redir=1

The above link is what I was referring too when I said apple biscuits. Sry I would post a picture instead but I don't have an acct.
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Post by ssorllih » Thu May 29, 2014 01:54

I am sure that there are apple orchards in northern California. I would make a day trip to visit a few and see if I could get the real stuff.
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Post by STICKSTRING » Thu May 29, 2014 02:01

Yes sir, we have plenty of Apple orchards. Just wasn't sure what could have caused the strong flavor. Hoping it was something someone else has encountered.
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Post by ssorllih » Thu May 29, 2014 04:16

You have no way to know what went into the making of those biscuits.
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Post by sawhorseray » Thu May 29, 2014 14:53

ssorllih wrote:I am sure that there are apple orchards in northern California. I would make a day trip to visit a few and see if I could get the real stuff.
I live in northern California and smoke just about everything I make in applewood. I'm not sure but I think some of those smokers have some kind of feed system where the makers wood pellets must be used in order for the feed to work properly, and they're expensive. RAY
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Post by Chuckwagon » Thu May 29, 2014 15:07

Hey guys! It's important to remember that smoke penetrates meat much faster at higher temperatures. A case in point may be a sausage perfectly smoked at 120° F (50° C) for 4 hours. The same sausage may acquire a bitter, over-smoked flavor if smoked at 250° F (120° C) for the same length of time. Also, be sure that the wood is cured and dry. Meat will gather soot if it is wet. Dry meat completely before smoking it.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Fri May 30, 2014 15:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by two_MN_kids » Thu May 29, 2014 16:17

Hey STICKSTRING,
I use a Bradley Digital six-shelf Stainless Steel smoker. It can be a fussy and tedious endeavor trying to learn the nuances when first getting used to it. The first few loads of sausages I smoked also "tasted like an ashtray." I found that I wasn't drying everything completely before applying the smoke.

Anything coming from a cold environment to a warmer one will become covered with condensation. I have learned to allow the cured items to warm up to room temperature for about an hour (sometimes with a fan blowing across them) while the smoker is preheating to 160°F. I don't place a pan of water into the units base until I'm ready to smoke the meat.
The smoker looses temperature fast when the door is opened. I hang my bacon, chickens, turkey, loins, or sausages (whatever I am smoking) with some good spacing of a few inches, to allow the smoke to all surfaces. After closing the door, I reduce the heat control to 120°F, and ensure the vent is full open on top.

I dry the items further in the smoker (poultry seems to requires even more time). My bacon usually gets two hours of additional drying at 120°F to 130°F. I load the delivery tube with the wood bisquets (three for each hour of smoking), and add a pan of hot water under the smoker element. I never close the damper more than half during the smoking. My Bradley only has 10°F adjustments, so about every half-hour I increase the temperature by 10°F, but never raise it past 160°F for bacon.

I smoke my bacon for about four hours, and usually finish cooking it in a convection oven to 145°F. I just feel more comfortable with it at that temperature.

I hope this helps.
Jim

Note: Due to the price of the Bradley Bisquets (about 50₵ each) I don't use them very often, anymore. About a year ago, I purchased an A-Maze-N Smoker here http://www.amazenproducts.com/ . I buy 40# of pellets for $30. A full load of pellets is about a pound and gives me almost ten hours of smoke, for about 75₵. Ten hours of Bradley Bisquets would cost about $15.
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Post by ssorllih » Fri May 30, 2014 01:48

I have a Swedish bow saw and a sharp axe I can get a bushel of almost any species for the labor needed to cut it.
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Post by Butterbean » Fri May 30, 2014 03:33

Two things come to my mind. The first was mentioned about the condensation on the meat with the temp change. Need to let it come to room temp. Second, not familiar with the Bradley but I have to be careful with one smoker to be sure to run it a bit to be sure its good and dry otherwise the moisture inside the smoker will steam the meat and the meat will collect a lot of foul smoke and unwanted soot. Should always run the smoker a little to dry and I think this is why so many procedures call for putting the meat in the pre-heated smokehouse with no smoke for a spell.
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