Brine curing

Discussion in 'Curing' started by van holton, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. I have been dry curing for a few years now with very good results. learned a lot at the N. Fl gathering and using the calculator on the forum I got bacon and buck board bacon, venison Canadian bacon down. I would like to cure a whole Boston butt or fresh ham. With a dry cure you weight the meat, then calculate your cure and salt. But with a brine I worry about the addition of water. Do you calculate the weight of meat and figure in the amount of water it will take to cover the meat along with the injection brine? I know curing must be done accurately to be safe. So experimenting is out of the question for me. all help will be appreciated. Thanks, Van  
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Van, morning....   Yes on weighing the water and meat, if that's the way you want to do it....  

    On curing the butt....  If you plan on removing the bone, after the cure, remove the bone before you put it in the cure... That will reduce the curing time and give a safer cure....  cure takes time to penetrate the meat, and thinner hunk of meat will cure faster and a more complete cure, considering the thickness of a butt....   

    When making a "personalized" curing brine, use as small amount of water you can......  that will increase the brine concentration, which is good....  Butt weight w/o bone 8#'s as an example, 1 qt. water 2.1 #'s......   calculate the cure etc. based on 10.1 #'s....    Martin's calculator takes into account the weight of sugar, salt etc. for the proper amounts.....In Martin's calculator, you can also change the Ppm of cure you want to use...  for bacon, 120 Ppm.... Butts, 156 Ppm....  etc.... 

    This is know as an "equilibrium" cure brine....  No matter how long you leave it in the brine, it will not have too much salt, sugar or cure...      rinse, dry and let rest for a few days in the refer...   the rest is to allow the cure etc. to equilibrate inside the meat....  When the meat comes out of the brine, the outside is high in cure and the center is low...  the rest period equals those out...  

  3. I'd like to keep the bone in. On the boston butts i'd like to cure then cold smoke and the a long simmer in a pot for some super stock for the deer hunting beansoup.
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Check out Pop's Brine recipe. I just finished a bone in picnic brined in Pop's brine that turned out fantastic. There's no weighing involved, but you do need to inject especially around the bone. After smoking and eating as much ham as we could The bone and all the good trimmings are vac packed and frozen for soup. Search for "fall picnic" and the thread I just did should show up.
  5. Hey Van, hope this will help some!

    Curing any meat bone in with salt and whole black pepper brine, is a song providing you have the good ambient temperature...ideally 40's but 50's and 60' will do but not for poultry.

    Measure out the amount of water it will take to just cover the meat you intend to cure. And, yes, you can brine ribs, bacon, hocks all together with your pork butt or ham, bone in, at the same time, just for a shorter period of time. Large ham to 25 pounds 28 days.

    Upon measuring the amount of water, grab a nice size potato wash it and just put it into your water. Keep on adding good quality salt to your solution till the potato starts floating towards the surface. Ideal saline solution. (our ancestors had no calculus, lol, thank God)

    Submerge your meats, add a hand full of black peppercorns, put some weight on your meat to keep it submerged. Skim the surface of your brine regularly and every 5 to 6 days take the meat out, rinse it under the cold water and put it back into your brine!

    After your curing period you will have the option of cold smoking the fruits of your labor or just let it hang in a nice breezy place for a month  or two or three as, you thinly slice the mouth watering slices to put on a crusty piece of bread and wash it down with some red wine or your choice of adult beverage.

    Vestry fructus opus utor!
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Personally I would strongly advise against curing meat without using the proper amount of actual "Cure", such as Cure #1, Tender Quick, etc, etc.

    Especially if you're going to cold smoke.

  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    BTD evening......  On this forum we follow accepted methods for curing meats.... Floating potatoes don't cut it....   Weighing salt, water, cure, spices and water etc with grams scales is what we preach...    The method you described is not safe...   Safety comes first...   

    Anyway, no harm, no foul...   I'm posting this on the forum, so someone else reading this thread will not think the method you posted is OK to use......
    Van, evening.......  Iisten to dirt and bear..... Use a proper brine with cure #1 in it.....  Pops has a recipe and he has a picture guide on how and where to inject the ham to get cure into the joints and down the bones so "hopefully" you don't get any bone sour.....   The Aitch bone, leg joints etc. all must be injected with a curing brine.....  

  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    To Our Members: It is too important to keep our members safe. You may do as you wish but the Staff of SMF DOES NOT support the use of the Egg or Potato method for making Brines.

    Taken from another trusted source that ran tests for accuracy...

    To calculate the strength of the brine using the floating egg or potato method makes very little sense as the readings are not reliable. There are books that advocate this method and each of them give different readings. The egg sinks in clean water and as the salt is added it should start lifting to the surface. Well, they do but in a very unpredictable manner. We have checked the floating egg method using five different size fresh eggs and the results were inconclusive.

    Additionally, different types of Potatoes have different densities. A Salt concentration that will float a Russet Potato will have a different effect on a Red Potato or Yukon Gold Potato.  Also we do not recommend Brines be used for Meats intended to be Hung to Dry. The goal of hanging meat to dry is to reduce the Water Activity until it no longer supports Bacterial growth. This requires specific Temps and Humidity levels to be done Safely. In past generation this was done with large amounts of Salt and Cure (Sodium Nitrate) during the cold months of the year. DO NOT just hang raw meat that does not contain the proper amount of suitable Cure in, " a nice breezy place for a month or two or three "! This is potentially very dangerous. What can be Hung in the Cold Months after proper Salting and the use of Cure #2 is very different than which can be done in most of the US in June, July and August!!! Follow Safe recipes and Modern practices that can be found on SMF. Curing meat and especially Dry Curing meat requires a great deal of knowledge and the proper equipment to do so Safely...JJ
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  9. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have notice on this and other forums that very few use a salometer when using brines and cures.  For $20 one can get accurate readings and be able to measure and duplicate all brines and cures.  This insures you are in the safe salt to time ratio.

  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Tom's right on.......   Skip the potatoes and eggs......

    A salometer, salinometer, hydrometer, different names for the same thing......   For really safe and accuratebrines or cure additions, why be unsure when a grams scale and hydrometer will add to the safety of your foods.....   

    Especially those folks using volume measurements....  salts have different densities and volume to weight conversions are not always accurate... I'm not sure but I think different cures, using different salts, will not convert the same weight to volumes either.....  

    Here is a salometer I have had for at least 35 years.......    Dave

    EDIT:  You need a 0 -100 scale to properly measure salinity for brining meats.....  

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013

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