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Old 11-20-2004, 05:19 PM   #21
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You know, I've tried everything and once in a great while, I'll get the perfect tender crisp bacon. The next time I do it the same way, I get break-your-teeth knock-your-fillings-out hard planks of wood.

I fry at low temps. I fry at higher temps. I even bake them. Baking works the best, but still not as good as the bacon I remember while I was growing up.

The crazy thing is the pre-cooked stuff that doesn't require refrigeration is the closest thing to old fashioned bacon that I've found. I wish I knew how they did that. It's very thin, tender, and somewhat crisp.
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Old 11-20-2004, 11:28 PM   #22
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Yup, I'm in the same boat. Maybe about 1/4 of the time I end up with crispy bacon and I have absolutely no clue why.

I'm hoping that eventually I will stumble on to the secret for perfect bacon every time. Until then I'm just going keep fumbling in the dark.
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Old 11-21-2004, 10:50 PM   #23
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I had to do a research paper on preserving meats while I was in college. One thing I learned is that nitrates are used to cure meats, by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. A by-product of this, is a chemical reaction between the nitrate itself, and the protein in the meat. It turns the protein that lovely shade of pink.

This is why cured meats, like bacon, corned beef, ham, etc., are pink. Also, if you have a really good BBQ place nearby that actually smokes their products for hours on end, go and order some sliced brisket (really good with some sauce, texas toast, etc. :) ). You should notice a "pink ring" just under the outside surface of the meat, extending from 1/8 to 1/4" into the meat. This is evidence of the nitrates in the wood smoke reacting with the protein in the brisket.
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Old 11-21-2004, 11:23 PM   #24
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Allen, thanks for the info. I never really knew it was nitrates from wood smoke that turned smoked meat pink.
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Old 12-18-2004, 04:56 AM   #25
 
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What would turn ham, chicken, turkey, fish or whatever else "pink" when its "smoked"?

OOPS!

That sounds sorta "impolite", and its not meant so...maybe you've not experienced the "delight"of "double smoked" bacon, etc...a really different and deliscious taste, well worth the extra nickles to purchase...believe there are hams of the same characteristics, though these will be priced above "nickles" a pound to buy...

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Old 12-18-2004, 07:00 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifter
What would turn ham, chicken, turkey, fish or whatever else "pink" when its "smoked"?

OOPS!

That sounds sorta "impolite", and its not meant so...maybe you've not experienced the "delight"of "double smoked" bacon, etc...a really different and deliscious taste, well worth the extra nickles to purchase...believe there are hams of the same characteristics, though these will be priced above "nickles" a pound to buy...

Lifter
Oh buzz off. I know smoke made the meat red. I know about smoke rings. I've smoked more fish and meat than you can imagine. What I didn't know or even bother to think about was what was in the smoke that made the meat red.
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Old 12-20-2004, 12:17 AM   #27
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It's the Potassium in potasssium nitrate which can be poisonous. Potassium is crucial in the body for regulating smooth (cardiac) muscle contraction. Taking too much potassium, or taking it too quickly, can cause the heart to stop beating. In the hospital setting potassium is one of the most dangerous, and carefully regulated drugs given. A single undiluted dose of potassium given via the intravenous route is fatal.

That's the only danger I can see with using the potassum nitrate. As long as you don't eat it pure, or leave it where children or pets can get to it, then I think it is perfectly safe. It's less relevent in this case to worry about cancer risk, because in that context you would be thinking about long term exposure rather than a single occasion. Carcinogens generally require lot's of contact over a long period of time to do their job. With that in mind, I would follow the recipe and use the called for ingredient....just not every day.
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