Bacon curing concern

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by chewmeister, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I've had a half belly in Pop's brine for 2 weeks now. Turned over after a week. Took it out to dry and found that it has an area about 4" in the middle that was down that appears to not be cured. Mixed up another brine and put it back in. How long should I let it go for? Any thoughts?
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If it was submerged.... and you had turned it..... It is cured.... Time to rinse dry and smoke..... You can't tell by looking if meat is cured... the color change in portions of a hunk of meat, are usually different rates of oxidation.. or what ever they call it...
  3. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Dave. I was just concerned due to the bright pink color of that spot as it looked the same as when it first went into the brine. I thought that being pressed against the bottom of the container somehow prevented the cure from penetrating. I'll pull it out tomorrow and let it dry for a day and then smoke.
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I like to rinse and dry with paper towels, the place in front of a fan for a couple hours until the surface gets sticky dry... then cold smoke for 4 hours with hickory.... That's the final method Bride says makes perfect bacon.... I like 36 hour smoke... but.... not allowed to make it any longer.... Soooooooooooo, you know who's boss around here.....
  5. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks again, Dave. I'm going to try a a 12 hour hickory smoke and see how it tastes.This is my first attempt at bacon, so I don't want to over smoke it. It's a little warm out today and the smoker is staying at 120 degrees. Hope that's not too warm. If it starts to rise, I'll put a bag of ice in there.
  6. I love making homemade bacon and I use a dry rub.  Curing salt, crushed black pepper, kosher salt and brown sugar.  I coat each side thoroughly and wrap with plastic wrap, several times, very tightly and seal in a container.  I will let it sit around 10 or 11 days in the fridge, depending on the size.  I have tried the brining technique and I like the dry cure MUCH, MUCH better.
  7. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I may try that with the next batch. My only concern is that most of the dry rubs I've seen use much more curing salt.
  8. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Smoked over the weekend for 12 hours and then into the fridge. Sliced it yesterday and fried up a sample. All I can say is wow.
  9. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds great - where are the photos? [​IMG]
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    FWiW..... curing salt..... cure #1... The FDA allows, maximum ingoing nitrite for bacon... 0.88 grams per pound skin off.... 0.78 grams per pound skin on.... That is for commercial bacon makers....
  11. [​IMG]

    I wanna see some BACON!

    Happy smoken.

  12. Most curing salts will tell you to use 1 tsp for 5lbs of meat.  Here is the recipe that I have used several times and it works great.  This is for 1 lb of skinless pork belly so you can adjust accordingly.

    1 lb pork belly

    1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

    1/2 tsp curing salt (I know that sounds like to much according to what I said earlier, but it's not)

    1 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper

    1 TBS brown sugar

    Rub on pork belly.  Wrap with plastic wrap very tight and place is either a zip top bag or a container that you can seal well and place in the fridge.  Flip the belly every two days.  Most of the slabs I get are around 3 or 4 lbs each and I cure them for at least 11 days.  When you are done curing, remove them from the plastic and rinse under cold water.  Cut off a small slice and fry it up to check for salt content.  If to salty, submerge in water for about 5 minutes and repeat.  If not salty enough, remix cure and let set for another 3 or 4 days, flipping every couple days.  Then smoke the belly however you want.  I usually smoke it with a very, very heavy smoke  about 45 minutes to an hour.  I then put it in the fridge for a couple of hours and repeat the smoking process. One trick I use, is to only use half of the rub.  I change the plastic wrap about 5 days into the curing and rub the rest of the cure on the belly.  After a few terrible failures, this is the one that I have stuck with because it works very well.
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    1 tsp. per 5# of meat is for sausage.... a target of 156 Ppm nitrite per pound... 1/2 tsp. would be for 2.5#'s of sausage at 156 Ppm nitrite...
    Bacon max. per FDA is 108-120 Ppm nitrite depending on skin on or off....
    That is probably 350-400 Ppm nitrite.... If you think that is not too much cure..... enjoy it.....
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  14. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Ruh-roh. I knew I forgot something. This batch turned out so well that I'm going to put another in the brine this weekend. I promise pics of this one.
  15. I am not sure if the 1 tsp per 5lbs is strictly for sausage.  The package I have does not specify. 
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm trying to provide you with some valuable information....

    nitrite is a poison and too much can kill you... It ties up with the red blood cells so your blood can't absorb oxygen.... You suffocate from the inside out.....

    It can be used as a dry rub also... for whole muscle meats... or in a brine/cure mix... different amounts for different styles of curing...

    I'm pointing out your error in the amount of cure for one reason... So others that drop in on this forum do not follow your recipe because it does not follow USDA/FDA guidelines.... We follow safe food practices on this forum.... posts or threads that do not do the same, get pointed out or deleted or edited, for the unsuspecting folks that drop in here to try to learn something...

    Don't take it personal...

    CURE #1
    Some Other Names:
    Pink Salt;
    Tinted Cure Mix (TCM);
    Tinted Curing Powder (TCP);
    Prague powder #1;
    InstaCure #1;
    Modern cure;
    D.Q. powder;
    L.E.M. cure;
    Sure Cure;
    Fast Cure;
    Speed Cure

    This premix is use in meats and sausages that require a short curing time, and will be smoked, cooked or canned. It is a blend of salt and sodium nitrite, and of course it has the curing properties of sodium nitrite. The salt is added as a carrier and to make it easier to measure. In the United States it is dyed pink, so chefs and the home user will not mistake it for salt or sugar. Though it goes by several different brand and generic names, they all have the same formula of 93.75% salt, and 6.25% sodium nitrite (1 pound of salt plus 1 ounce of sodium nitrite).

    Cure #1 can be used as a dry brine (dry cure) or in a wet brine (pickle). It provides the same curing properties of sodium nitrite, and is considered a quick cure, because it starts curing immediately upon contact with the meat. As mentioned earlier, this type of cure is used for curing meats for a short period of time that will be cooked, smoked, or canned. This includes poultry, fish, ham, bacon, luncheon meats, corned beef, pates, sausages and other products too numerous to mention.

    NOTE: This is not interchangeable with cure #2, or any of the Morton brand name cures. Also do not mistake this for recipes calling for sodium nitrite, which means pure sodium nitrite.
    Use as directed, more is not better and it can be toxic. To ensure that the cure is distributed more evenly in your sausage, mix it with the liquid that your recipe calls for, or mix it with the meat prior to grinding.

    Use as follows:

    Cure per pound of ground meat/fat:
    U.S. Measurements

    Amount of Meat/Fat Amount of Cure Vol. Wt.
    1 lb. 1/4 tsp. .05 oz.
    2 lbs. 3/8 tsp. .08 oz.
    3 lbs. 1/2 tsp. .10 oz.
    4 lbs. 3/4 tsp. .15 oz.
    5 lbs. 1 tsp. .20 oz.

    tsp. = teaspoon; Tbsp.= Tablespoon; C. = cup. oz.= ounce

    Although cure #1 has salt in the mix, when using it in sausage making additional salt needs to be added.


    How much nitrite can be used in curing bacon?
    The USDA is responsible for monitoring the proper use of nitrite by meat processors. While sodium nitrite cannot exceed 200 ppm going into dry-cured bacon, sodium nitrite cannot exceed 120 ppm for both pumped and immersion-cured bacon.
  17. swoodze

    swoodze Fire Starter


    Question for you sir, I have the smokehouse salt cure, everyone says to use 1 tsp. per 5# but on this salt cure it calls for 1/3 of a tsp. per # so if I was to be doing 5 # of meat I would be going way over the recommended limit per #.

    Which direction should I be following? The smokehouse directions or the Cure # 1 recommended directions?

    Thanks very much, since this has been bugging me for a long time. I have been holding off on making more sausages because I cant get a straight answer anywhere I have been looking and I don't want to over do it with the nitrites.

  18. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Follow the direction on the package.... The manufacturer may have altered his cure to improve the recipe and flavor of the product...

    OR, you could call or e-mail them as to the percentage of nitrite in their cure.... Their recipe could be tailored to that cure....

    If their cure is 6.25% nitrite, me personally, I would use 1 tsp. per 5#'s of meat..... BECAUSE, that is the maximum amount recommended by the FDA for use in meats/fats....
  19. swoodze

    swoodze Fire Starter

    Yeah I was reading the package and it does say its 6.25% nitrite. thanks for the info. It does help a lot.

  20. Well people, I seem to have been put in my place.  Although I am still alive, apparently you are NOT to use my recipe because it may be fatal.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

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