This has turned out to be quite the experiment. I am two weeks in and am about ready to taste my bacon for the first time.
I never weighed the pork bellies, but I am guessing 20 pounds easy. $30
Two weeks of cure in kosher salt and brown sugar. $10
lump charcoal / smoking wood chunks / propane around $15
So $55 for around 10 – 15 pounds of killer bacon. Just about market price for your standard water cured bacon. Good bacon runs about $9 a pound. This should be really good bacon and worth every penny.
I scrubbed off the salt and sugar crust and soaked them in water for 90 minutes.
I towel dried them and they were water logged big time. Meat looked gray like it had been in the tub too long. This was needed to soak some of the salt out. Set up some saw horses and put my smoker rack in a room in the basement with a fan on them to dry out. By the morning they were dry and had a slight dried meat texture.
Cut a hole in my old bullet smoker and inserted the end of a 25 foot piece of flexible dryer vent which I wired into place on the door of my main smoker.
Sealed the door with chunks of foil.
On the vent I made a connection to a computer fan attached to a nine volt battery out of foil and zip tied it to the smoke stack. That 9 volt lasted for about 6 hours and then I just hooked it up to my 12 volt car jumper battery device.
I started with some lump charcoal to get a good coal bed to place the hunks of apple wood on to smoke. As the day and evening went on I could just throw more smoking wood on the hot coals to keep it going. I stretched the ducting so it could be cooled by the wind. The smoke was not too hot, but the smoker being black and the outside temp rather warm yesterday I had to pull the bacon off once to cool it down in the freezer. Smoke will not asorb once it gets over 90 degrees.
I loaded it up before I went to bed and did not get up and stoke like I wanted to. In the morning it was cool and ready for more smoke. This morning at 8 AM I got it going again and I am just about to pull it off the smoker in about an hour. 32 hours in the smoker. Will cool it down and slice it up with a slicer we borrowed. Some of the pieces are too long to fit in the slicer. Also they are too long to fit in my cast iron. So I will be slicing the 4 hunks half. I should get a sheeeeeet ton of bacon out of this. I owe some to a few folks. If it comes out good I would be more than happy to share with any of ya.