Curing confusions? Prague #1

Discussion in 'Curing' started by lehmeow, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. lehmeow

    lehmeow Fire Starter

    I'm interested in curing to make bacon and beef jerky. The more I read now the more I'm confused, so sorry if this has been a repeat.

    I understand for #1 the measurement is 1 tsp per 5lb meat. Does someone have the weight conversion in grams or oz what 1 tsp of cure is?

    I am looking to add rub, syrup, bourbon to the pork belly, is this considered a brine? Im confused on if I just calculate the cure to lb of meat or to the mixture as well. When preparing jerky I'm assuming all the liquid from soy, Worcestershire,etc is more of a brine? I have seen charts but shows quantity of salt to meat and nothing about extra ingredients.

    How do I distribute the cure in these scenarios, apply to meat first or in solution?

    Also, how is the 6.25 sodium nitrite added to the sodium chloride, is it fused or can it separate?

    Thanks for taking the time to answer!
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Approx. 1.1 grams per pound returns approx. 156 Ppm nitrite when using cure #1, Prague #1 etc....

    The cure is usually added to the dry and/or wet ingredients.... thoroughly mixed and/or dissolved then applied uniformly over the meat...

    When curing meat hunks, adequate time for penetration of the "stuff" is recommended at 7 days per inch of thickness under refrigeration at 36-38 deg. F...   That length of time is necessary for uniform distribution of salts, sugars etc. to a homogeneous mix in the meat.... 

    It is recommended you weigh all of the ingredients for future reference and recipe uniformity in the future....

    Also note that under long term refrigeration, ropy or stringy brine can develop from impurities in some of the ingredients...   they can cause fermentation...   not a problem...  thoroughly rinse with clean water and a vinegar rub can be applied to kill the bacteria on the meat, rinse again...  dry per normal and smoke...

    About the cure....  I don't know the process in which it is made...   I'm thinking it is a dissolution of salt, sodium nitrite, anti caking agents, etc. and red dye... then a drying process to reform the crystalline structure...  the red dye is waaaaaaay to uniform to be a mechanical mixture especially when it is added at 0.00099%.... on pics to enlarge...

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
  3. lehmeow

    lehmeow Fire Starter

    Thsnks Dave! Is it 1.1 grams per lb of total weight-including meat and brine?

    I was curious about the powder making and hoping the nitrite doesn't settle or separate from the salt. I got that notion because I saw a video of someone making their own cure 1 salt, but I'd assume they go through the trouble of making it a solution then drying it. He stated he uses 0.2% nitrite to 1000 grams of kosher salt. Is the calculation different because of the kosher? Seems really low in nitrite.

    Sent from my LG-D850 using Tapatalk
  4. lehmeow

    lehmeow Fire Starter

    I see the post about pops brine which is 1 oz curing salt per gallon brine. So if I'm preparing jerky but no water added can I use this method based on the amount of liquid?

    Sent from my LG-D850 using Tapatalk
  5. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    As Dave has mentioned above you should carefully weigh your ingredients when curing rather than using volume measures. If the recipe is given in volumes then, in order to calculate the precise concentration of the final cure, first measure it onto the digital scales before adding it to the wet or dry brine. Digital scales to at least 1 decimal place (0.1 g) are recommended when measuring the cure. 

    When converting, as the cure#1 is 93.75% salt, you can calculate the equivalent weight accurately enough by using the equivalent weight of the salt. 1 tbs of fine table salt weighs 17g. Google is a great place to fine weight conversions for most foods.

    The precise way that cure is manufactured will vary by supplier but predominantly it is made by simply adding the ingredients into an industrial spice mill/grinder where it is finely ground to a powder. Larger manufacturers will then lab test several samples from a batch to ensure that the mixture is homogeneous. Smaller manufacturers often skip the lab test stage. As a dry homogeneous powder it will not readily separate under normal conditions.

    Most cures available over here are supplied as fine powders but maybe ones supplied as fine crystals are produced using recrystallisation methods. If they are then I am not aware of this.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes it is 1.1 grams per total weight...   When making a brine, it is suggested to use 1/3 the weight of the meat for the amount of liquid brine....  0.2% nitrite is equal to 2000 Ppm nitrite... He is wrong about making his own cure #1...   Cure #1 is 62,500 Ppm nitrite...  6.25% nitrite...  62.5 grams of nitrite per 1000 grams of Kosher salt...

    That person could be from a country that uses a different percentage of nitrite in their cures...
    Yes you can use a "brine / curing" solution for jerky....  Like stated above, I would use 1/3 of the weight of the meat for the brine solution...  It could be Soy sauce with honey etc. and water and salt plus cure #1...   Weigh out the amount of cure #1 using the total weight of the meat and "brine / Marinade" mix....  454 grams equals 1 #...  1.1 grams cure #1 per pound...

    Then I would refrigerate the meat in the mix for minimum 1 day with mixing periodically...   remove the meat and blot on paper towels to semi dry....    the into the smoker to finish the process..

    When mixing up a cure / marinade, I would follow this guideline...

    When adding ingredients to brine, the basic rule is to add ingredients that readily dissolve in water (phosphates, salt, sugar) first and then those that disperse (starch, carrageenan).
    1. Add phosphates to water and dissolve.
    2. Add sugars, soy proteins and dissolve.
    3. Add salt and dissolve.
    4. Add sodium nitrite and dissolve.
    5. Add cure accelerator (sodium erythorbate) and dissolve.
    6. Add starch and carrageenan.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
  7. lehmeow

    lehmeow Fire Starter

    Thanks for the great info guys! Really helps an amateur.
    Dave I read another post you made about calculating amount of nitrite needed based on ppm and I think I got a grasp on that. Very informative and easy to understand.

    What about doing the dry cure method with the bacon where I'm going to add honey and bourbon? Will a tsp of cure disperse throughout by rubbing it down? Seems like such a small amount to apply vs the size of the meat.
  8. lehmeow

    lehmeow Fire Starter

    Here is the link to the video about the .2% nitrite: 4:38 seconds is where his formula pops up
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

      If you mix the cure with the salt, sugar and spices etc..  that should make "uniform" distribution simple....   Remember, when the salt, sugar, cure etc. is on the meat, it moves in and out and sideways...   given the amount of time it is sitting, it will work...
  10. lehmeow

    lehmeow Fire Starter

    If I'm doing this dry cure with the honey and I supposed to factor in the weight of these to achieve the correct ppm? Or just go by the weight of the meat.
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That is a strange ratio of nitrite to salt...   I use commercial curing mixes for my bacon...  It is used at 2#'s of the mix per 100#'s of bacon...    It is 0.75% nitrite and gives ~150 ish Ppm nitrite while adding ~2% salt to the meat....  Perfect combination...   His 0.2% nitrite in salt doesn't seem too handy to me....
  12. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes the cure mix is certainly not a standard one that I have come across either - but as he says it is his own cure mix. I expect he uses it neat (without adding any more salt) but if he does do this he either aims for a low Nitrite concentration or he likes his cured meat very salty. To get 150 Ppm Nitrite ingoing he would end up with 7.5% salt. For 3% salt he would only have 60 Ppm ingoing.

    Like you Dave I think I will stick to the standard commercial strengths as it offers much greater control.
  13. Hey Dave, just to clarify, when you talk about curing in the brine with cure #1 for a day minimum, you mean 24 hours correct? Just want to be sure I dont pull my jerky from the cure too soon...
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Would you please "quote" or copy and paste where I said that and what I was referring to...   at least copy a whole paragraph so I can figure out what I was talking about....   there are too many parameters for curing for me to make a blind statement...   

  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK, I reread your post.....   Yes , for jerky it is 24 hours for the cure to safely work through the meat...     weigh the meat and liquid...  add 1.1 grams cure #1 per 1 pound of liquid and meat combined....   that will give you ~150 Ppm nitrite or 1 tsp. cure #1 per 5#'s of liquid and meat combined is the same...
  16. Oh I didn't realize I hadn't pressed quote. Sorry for the confusion. Thanks for the answers. Great set of forums!
  17. Just thought of another question. Can I use just the cure#1 in a brine without any extra added salts or sugars? I wanted to just salt and season after brine curing and put in the smoker. Will just cure#1 do what is needed to safely cold smoke?
  18. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm sure it would...  If you have a 3# roast, dissolve 3.3 grams of cure #1 in 150 grams of water and stitch inject the total amount... rest for 7 days in the refer and smoke...

    Adding salt and sugar, to a brine solution, keeps the meat moist during cooking....  They are hygroscopic...  they add flavor also...

    Salt helps to suck additives into the meat through the equilibrium process....
  19. Great! Thanks for the help!

Share This Page