Can someone check my math?

Discussion in 'Curing' started by eclecticism, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. eclecticism

    eclecticism Newbie

    I've been brining/dry rub and smoking for a bit (going more by what I've learned in experience than using any sort of science) but now I want to start using sodium nitrite and nitrate. So I was wondering if someone could make sure I'm not going to kill anyone :D

    The mixes I'm thinking about putting together are:

    465gm sea salt

    28gm sodium nitrite

    465gm sea salt

    28gm sodium nitrite

    18gm sodium nitrate

    and/or (without adding 1 or 2 when using them)

    1000gm sea salt

    20gm sodium nitrite

    1000gm sea salt

    20gm sodium nitrite

    13gm sodium nitrate

    The two methods I would be using would be dry rub, which I want to make sure I can use the salt +2% nitrite as a straight rub for and for brine water equal to the weight of the meat with 2% salt.

    Currently all I'm doing is filling the same sized container and adding more or less salt and sugar (etc.) depending on how I feel and what the meat is.

    I'm in the middle of making bacon with a 5% brine but with three times the water I need and no nitrite. I need to also check - for things I want saltier (brining not rub) but want to use nitrite in; how do I calculate the amount of nitrite to keep it at?

    Its about 3am so lets see how many things I wrote down wrong :)
  2. dingo007

    dingo007 Smoking Fanatic

    Hi Eclecticism,

    The amount of salt and curing salts, whether they #1 or #2 are directly related to the weight of the meat, and the time you'll be curing it for. I find it problematic to pre-mix a salt/cure mix as a "ready to use on everything" approach. I know it has been done before...but i prefer to calculate each batch. You can either educate yourself in the math required to calculate the PPM you want to achieve, or, i use this handy calculator;

    Phil also has some other calculators on his blog and you can choose between EU or US regulations regarding PPM of cure.

    Hope this helps
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Morning..... ?? Are you using pure sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate to make you "mix".... I'm talking the lab grade stuff....

    Sodium nitrite
    Chemical Compound
    Sodium nitrite is the inorganic compound with the chemical formula NaNO2. It is a white to slightly yellowish crystalline powder that is very soluble in water and is hygroscopic. Wikipedia
    Formula: NaNO2
    Density: 2.17 g/cm³
    Molar mass: 68.9953 g/mol
    Melting point: 519.8°F (271°C)
    Soluble in: Water
  4. eclecticism

    eclecticism Newbie

    Thanks Dingo007.

    So what I'm thinking now is abandon the 'all for one' mix as you suggest and:

    Dry rub 1% of the weight of the meat in salt and 0.2% of the weight of meat in sodium nitrite. so 1kg meat = 20gm salt and 2gm sodium nitrite.

    For wet equal water to meat weight, brine % twice that I want the meat to end up with and 4gm of nitrite per kilo of meat - I think that works because I'm looking to use the equalisation method.

    I might add 25% more nitrite but wont go over that.

    If that's right then that's far easier than trying to make and use mixes and as long as I keep the nitrite at the same level I can play with the salt and any other seasonings all day. I have been using (and will probably still use) about half the weight of the salt in light brown sugar.

    As for longer term dry curing I think I've worked that out to 0.16gm nitrite, 0.11gm nitrate and 25gm sea salt to 1kg of meat.

    I have scales accurate to 0.01gm so I should be OK for the smaller weights.
  5. eclecticism

    eclecticism Newbie

    Yes, I have food grade nitrite and lab grade nitrate.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Eclecticism, morning again...... Sodium/Potassium Nitrite is extremely deadly.... the deadly dose is very small.... I figure you know this but I am reiterating it for the uninitiated. ...

    From the numbers in your above post, you have a good handle on what's happening... I am assuming you are salt sensitive due to the low % of salt additions.... I personally make my mixes from 1.75% to 2.5% depending on the meat and 2% is my "normal" rate.... most over the counter stuff here is 2.25-3% salt......

  7. eclecticism

    eclecticism Newbie

    Hi again Dave, yea 4gm is a deadly dose, if I recall correctly.

    Not so me that's salt sensitive but my kids are young so I keep an eye on it for anything I want them to try and the wife isn't a fan of salt. If its something for me I just put in the minimum 'and then some'.

    Also I noticed that I said my current bacon is 5% and its actually about 8%.

    But I can play with my salt balancing later on, just really the nitrite and nitrate that Im bothered about atm.

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