Bacon Curing Time/Space

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by centex99, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. centex99

    centex99 Fire Starter

    So third time making bacon... got a nice 10# belly for $30... cut it into 3rd (width was about 8")... I stuck the thirds into a food save 2-3 gallon container... 

    They're all fully submerged but touching as they fill up most of the container... seems like liquid can still get in between them but I'm not entirely sure.  Will they brine/cure OK like this or do I need to separate them into two containers...  Or I can just rotate them around every couple days.

    Second question... why 10-14 days?  The bacon is ~ 2" thick... wouldn't that be a 6 day window (1/4 x 4 x 2 = 2" + 2 days)?
     
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I put spacers between the slabs..... I get them at w-m in the sewing section..... perforated plastic sheets.... Then when I massage and turn the bellies, I'm sure cure gets between the slabs...

     
  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My calculation for a 2" slab would be 8 or 9 days (take your pick), but that's for dry curing. 

    I would go by what Pops says for Brine curing. If he says 10 to 14 days, that's what I'd do.

    Bear
     
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    What curing recipe are you using... what are the amounts of cure, salt, sugar, water etc. you have in the brine......

    Curing IS science and everything makes a difference.....
     
  5. centex99

    centex99 Fire Starter

    I'm using pop's brine but 2oz vs 1 as called for in the gallon of water...
     
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    2 TBS in stead on 1 TBS in 1 gallon of water ??
     
  7. centex99

    centex99 Fire Starter

    Technically his recipe calls for 1 TBSP per gallon which he equates to being ~ 1Oz... He also calls out up to ~4Oz is safe/accepted as well.
     
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When using Pops brine/cure, It's pretty much an equilibrium brine.... that means the ingredients "soak" into the meat until the brine loses it's ingredients as the meat absorbs those ingredients until they become equal, in the brine and in the meat... that process takes time... a lot of time.... whereas, a rub, all the ingredients are already on or in the meat, and the equalization within the meat takes less time than the brine process....
    So to answer your question, at least 15 days would be my recommendation for the brining time....

    2 oz. cure #1 in 1 gallon water, salt, sugar is approx. ~781 Ppm nitrite... for your information... (if the gallon weighs 10# with all the sugar, salt and cure)

    Here is the chart I use for cure #1 weight versus volume measure....

    U.S. Measurements

    Amount of Cure
    Vol. Wt.
    1/4 tsp. .05 oz.
    3/8 tsp. .08 oz.
    1/2 tsp. .10 oz.
    3/4 tsp. .15 oz.
    1 tsp. .20 oz.
    2 tsp. .40 oz.
    1 Tbsp. .55 oz.
    1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. .80 oz.
    1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. 1.00 oz.
    3 Tbsp. + 1 1/4 tsp. 2.00 oz.
    1/4 C. + 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. 4.00 oz.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  9. centex99

    centex99 Fire Starter

    What is the target PPM for the brine for bacon?
     
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    120 Ppm ingoing nitrite, skin off, in a brine, pumped, massaged submerged solution....... but.... that is the FDA/USDA recommended for commercial producers... Home producers aren't regulated...
    I think it was set at that level because of the concerns of nitrosamines and cancer from high temp cooking.... Since then, I'm not sure if that "theory" was proven...
    One more thing, as the temp increase above 130 ish degrees, nitrites are dissipated, somehow, to a level around 30-50 Ppm.... of course that depends on the starting nitrite concentration...
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  11. centex99

    centex99 Fire Starter

    But it doesn't equalize 50/50 into the meat... the meat only absorbs so much... 10% on average, no?  In which case, I should end up with ~ 78 PPM in my bacon.
     
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I don't think that is correct.... In my opinion, as the liquid is adsorbed/absorbed into the meat tissues, the nitrite "acts" upon the meat... thus leaving the liquid deficient in nitrite and more is transferred from the outside solution back into the solution inside the meat...
    Think of the meat as a molecular sieve and another substance that absorbs nitrite...
     
  13. centex99

    centex99 Fire Starter

    So, is my brine solution at a safe level?  Per Pop's recipes/statements, the brine solution % is all that's important and not the weight of meat you'll be brining... If that's the case, then there has to be some limit into the amount of absorption.
     
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Taken from the FSIS Inspectors Handbook page 22

    Equilibrium Brining

    ! Method Two
    The second method assumes that the submerged meat, meat byproduct, or poultry and the cover pickle act as a single system. Over time, the ingredients in the pickle, such as nitrite and salt, migrate into the meat, meat byproduct, and poultry until levels in the tissue and in the pickle are balanced. This system is actually very complex and dynamic, with components in constant motion, but it will reach and maintain a state of equilibrium. Therefore, the calculation for ingoing nitrite is based on the green weight of the meat block, using the percent added as a relevant amount.
     
  16. centex99

    centex99 Fire Starter

    Not trying to start another argument... thanks for your thoughts/opinions... I'm under the impression I will be within safe levels.  I'll go ahead and let this go in the brine for ~10 days rotating the three pieces every couple days or so.  Will post pictures once I remove/dry from the cure, add some pepper/garlic to the top and smoke em.  And then maybe some more if I remember after cooking it!
     

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