[USA] Makin' Bacon

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Butterbean
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Post by Butterbean » Sat Oct 12, 2013 02:03

I stay in a state of perpetual confusion. But like you say, many ways to skin a cat. For me, I have just found it simpler to keep my brines to a hard brine at 70 and a softer at 40 but I will admit I rode the short bus. To me, keeping the salinity limited to these two strengths makes it easier for my limited mental capacity and memory cause I can always add spices and things to change the flavor but the timing is constant.
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Blue Bees????

Post by el Ducko » Sun Nov 24, 2013 00:44

Hmmm... So, it's been about a month since I froze half my batch of "Sons-of-Bees" bacon. I vacuum-packed and sealed the half to be frozen in a Food Saver plastic bag, put it in the freezer, and it snuggled down and hid amongst the other bags of sausage-related goodies for a winter nap while we chomped up the rest.

I just uncovered the frozen bag (about a month later), and it's blue! ...not from the cold, I'm sure. ...still happily sealed in its bag. ...must be blue mold of some sort.

Yikes! I didn't know that this could happen in a sealed bag of frozen bacon. Can I thaw it, wash it off, and pretend like nothing happened? Is it a goner? ARE WE ALL GONNA DIE???
(Inquiring minds want to know.)
(...but quietly, so Beloved Spouse won't suspect...)
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Post by ssorllih » Sun Nov 24, 2013 02:22

I can't imagine any mold that was able to grow at sub freezing temperatures The available water was all hard and crystalline.
Just scrub the mold off and bake it as usual. Nippsy Russell said that if you boil anything in hot hog fat for long enough it is okay to eat.
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Post by el Ducko » Sun Nov 24, 2013 16:52

ssorllih wrote:I can't imagine any mold that was able to grow at sub freezing temperatures The available water was all hard and crystalline.
Just scrub the mold off and bake it as usual. Nippsy Russell said that if you boil anything in hot hog fat for long enough it is okay to eat.
Unfortunately, he died of stomach cancer in 2005, so I'm wondering.... ! (He died at age 85, though, so maybe he and Woody Allen [in "Sleeper"] were right about saturated fats. ...and us, too?)

I can't explain how mold would grow at freezer temperatures, either. Maybe our resident mold-ologist (Chuckwagon, are you there???) could answer. At any rate, I'll pull it out, check to see if it glows in the dark, open it up, wash it off, and re-seal. Here's hoping it's still good.

Come to think of it, if you leave bacon in the refrigerator drawer long enough, it'll grow a similar color of mold. This one was kept wrapped in plastic, though. I dunno.
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Post by ssorllih » Sun Nov 24, 2013 23:51

I was talking to one of the men at church today about cured meat and modern pumped hams and old smokehouses and moldy meat and he said the old hams would be kept in the smoke houses until they were used and very often they were covered with mold and they would just scrub it off. He said that he thinks that they used to rub borax on the surface of the meat after it was finished and going to be stored. He wasn't at all certain of that and he was certain that they were always scrubbed before being used.
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Post by ssorllih » Mon Nov 25, 2013 02:28

From Wikipedia on borax: Was traditionally used to coat dry-cured meats such as hams to protect them from becoming fly-blown during further storage.
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Post by el Ducko » Mon Nov 25, 2013 17:56

Thanks, Ross. ...very helpful. I'll give it a try.

Looks like borax needs to be applied at low level, and the meat should be washed prior to consumption. However, it looks like it will do the job quite well.

Note to others: read the section on toxicity if you have concerns. Like many other substances, there are adverse effects if ingested in large quantities. (Similarly, note that, if you ingest large quantities of water, you may drown.)
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Post by ssorllih » Tue Nov 26, 2013 01:44

Ross- tightwad home cook
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Post by Chuckwagon » Tue Nov 26, 2013 07:46

El QuackO wrote:
I can't explain how mold would grow at freezer temperatures, either. Maybe our resident mold-ologist (Chuckwagon, are you there???) could answer.
Hi Guys,
Duck and Ross, there are several hundred species of microscopic foodborne yeasts and molds. Many survive sub-zero temperatures and the ability of these organisms to attack food is largely dependent upon their comparatively versatile environmental requirements. Most yeasts and molds are obligate aerobes and require free oxygen for growth, but their acid/alkaline requirement for growth is quite broad, ranging from pH 2 to above pH 9. Their temperature range (10-35°C) is also broad, with a few species capable of growth below or above this range. Additionally, moisture requirements of foodborne molds may be relatively low and most species can grow at a water activity (aw) of 0.85 or less, although yeasts generally require a higher water activity.

Various amounts of deterioration (decomposition) of food are caused by yeasts and molds and occasionally, a food appears mold-free but is found upon mycological examination to be contaminated - even at freezing temperatures! Now get this... Several foodborne molds, and possibly yeasts, may also be hazardous to human or animal health because of their ability to produce toxic metabolites known as mycotoxins - even under extreme conditions at critically low temperatures. These mycotoxins are stable compounds that are not destroyed during food processing or home cooking. It is important to note that even though the mycotoxin-generating organisms may not survive food preparation, the preformed toxin may still be present... even at sub-zero temperatures. Be aware that certain foodborne molds and yeasts may also elicit allergic reactions or may cause infections. Luckily, most foodborne fungi are not infectious, but those that are can certainly be of great concern to our immunocompromised populations - the aged and debilitated as well as person receiving chemotherapy or antibiotic treatment. So, to answer your question. Does freezing destroy the danger? Absolutely not.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
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Post by ssorllih » Tue Nov 26, 2013 16:35

Ducky , he didn't explain how it was able to grow under the conditions in the freezer. He did however explain that the mold could survive subfreezing conditions.
Thanks Chuckwagon. Mycotoxins are of considerable interest to the military.
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Re: Blue Bees???? Blue Mold???? NOPE: blue freezer wrap!!!

Post by el Ducko » Tue Dec 03, 2013 00:43

el Ducko wrote:...I just uncovered the frozen bag (about a month later), and it's blue! ...not from the cold, I'm sure. ...still happily sealed in its bag. ...must be blue mold of some sort. ... :oops:
Well (blush), the answer, obtained not by scien-terrific dee-duck-tion, but rather by opening the bag (borax at the ready), is
:::: blue-tinted Glad brand Freezer Wrap::::
which the bacon was tightly wrapped in before vacuum sealing.

How humiliating! :oops:

Fortunately, I quickly re-sealed it in a new bag, so now no-one need know about it except you, Gentle Reader, least of all She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed.

Dang it! I hear laughter. You out there (you know who you are), quit laughing, ya hear? Don't make me come out there and (giggle)... Aw right, ya varmint! (...spins on heels.) Wait just a darn tootin' minute! I oughta...(smirk)... Why, you low-down... So it's YOU, Chuckles? I oughta have known...
Duk
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Post by ssorllih » Sun Dec 22, 2013 02:31

Sometimes I still make some bacon from a butt slab. This was dry cure. 12 hours cold smoke in pear. Finish in 170°F oven to 140°F.
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Post by redzed » Sun Dec 22, 2013 02:55

Ross that smoked pork shoulder sure looks good. With the ridiculous prices for side pork these days it's a great substitute for bacon. I think I will make some next time I'm cutting up a butt.
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Post by ssorllih » Sun Dec 22, 2013 03:38

dollar thirty a pound is pretty tempting. I put quite a bit of sugar in my cure and find that baking this bacon at 300° avoids burning the fat.
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Post by crustyo44 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 05:33

Ross,
You inspired me to do the same quite some time back. I never buy pork bellies again.
Pork bellies are still selling here for $ 14.98 a kilo. Forequarter bone in is $ 4.99, on special sometimes $ 2.99. Poor bloody farmers!!!!!!!!!
Jan
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