Curing help

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by kiska95, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Hi Guys,

    Bit of curing help needed!

    I have been curing a full Pork belly, cut into 3 plus a pork loin for 7 days. I decided to take the belly out, rinse and prep for smoking tomorrow. I trimmed the sides up for neatness and fried the cuttings off to see what the results were like and it was just "Very Salty". Thinking that it was because the belly was thin and been in too long, I took out the loin (it was going to go for 10 days) but it too was " very salty".

    I followed the mantra of 50% - 50% salt (Kosher) to sugar (Light Brown) and the correct dosage of Prague # 1 so what have I done wrong? should I have only gone for 5 days. I went 5 days with a piece of Beef (Corned Beef) and there was a slight grey circle in the middle when cooked which suggested I should have left it longer?????.

    They look great however, I have taken photos (new IPhone 6) but for some reason my PC is saying there are no photos? Working on that one!

    To hopefully salvage them, I have placed them all in an Ice water bath and going to to do regular changes of water over the next 24 hours. 

    The loin was to be roasted but I'm worried that will intensify the saltiness so may go for boiling with regular water changes.

    Any suggestions?????[​IMG]
  2. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Brian

    Before we can help please take us through exactly what you have done so far. A few things to include...
    • Are you dry curing or brining?
    • Were the pieces cured together or individually?
    • What did they weigh?
    • If brine, what was the volume of water, weight of salt and sugar and weight of Prague #1
    • If Dry Cure, what was the weight of salt and sugar and weight of Prague #1
    • What is the Nitrite concentration in the Prague #1? This would normally be 6.25% but this can vary by manufacturer.

  3. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Here are the photos, doing some Salmon and Jerky for good measure too[​IMG]
  4. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Hi Wade,

    By asking your questions I think I have found my own answer[​IMG]  

    It was the Salmon that was 50 - 50 but for the pork I decided to used Ruhlman's basic dry cure (see why below) which is 450 Grams Salt to 225 Sugar (66% to 34%) and 56 Grams Prague Powder.  What a divi!!!!!! and used the brine box method of just making sure that all meat was well covered in cure. I had a small coffee jar full a left over.
    • Dry Brined
    • Cured Individually
    • The combined weight of the Loin and belly 6KG (Loin was 2.4KG)
    • As Above
    • Nitrite percentage of Prague Powder (not Know) supplied in a 200g Bag by "Smokedust" which I believe is Tulan Tulan of Coldsmoking LTD (no weights on Packet)
    I remember now! The last time I cures belly was with 50/50 but only for 5 days. It had very little "Bacon taste". What I have done is increased the salt ratio and the length of time in the cure a double salt whammy I think. What a plonker but I thought Ruhlman's would have worked better???

    So to Salvage?
  5. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Brian

    For the salmon, if you are looking to hot smoke, then it only needs to be in the dry brine for 2-3 hours. For traditional smoked salmon it will take about 36 hours.

    For the pork I think you may have a problem if you did not weigh out the exact amount of salt and cure required for each piece of pork individually. When dry curing it is the total amounts of each that comes in contact with the pork that is important.

    Assuming that your Prague Powder #1 was 6.25% Nitrite

    In total for the 6 Kg of meat this would have been 131g Salt (2.5%), 131g Sugar (2.5%) 17g Prague Powder #1 (maximum of 177 mg/Kg - Ppm Nitrite)

    This would break down into the following

    For the 2.4 Kg Pork Loin - 53 g Salt, 53g Sugar and 6.8g Prague Powder #1

    For ALL of the 3.6 Kg Belly - 79g Salt, 79g Sugar and 10.2g Prague Powder #1

    If curing the belly in individual chunks then you really should calculate the weights for each chunk separately.

    What you have done makes it impossible to calculate the actual salt and cure taken up by the bacon other than it could be up to 8% salt and up to 583 mg/kg - Ppm Nitrite. Because you didn't apply all of the salt/cure it is likely to be significantly less than this.

    You need to be aiming at between 2-3% salt (I usually aim for 2.5%) and a maximum of 175-180 mg/Kg - Ppm Nitrite.

    Unfortunately from what you have told us it is not possible to know for certain what you have in the bacon. When curing with Nitrite in future it is important that you calculate the amounts of salt and cure based upon the weight of the bacon being cured.

    Is it likely to be unsafe to eat? probably not - especially after being soaked. If you do intend eating the bacon then it should not do you any harm but I would eat it in moderation. If it is still too salty after cooking then you may find that it is best for use as lardons.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My understanding of the salt box method is.....

    The mixture of salt, sugar and cure is there to dredge the fish in... the fish is removed with "what sticks to it" and refrigerated for a length of time....
    That method was devised after measuring and weighing "how much consistently" sticks to the fish.... then the box ingredients were measured and a formula put together for dredging.....
    Using that method a consistent "dry brine" could be added to the fish without the labor of individual weighing of dredge and fish... that significantly speeded up the process and results were fairly consistent.....

    It was NOT designed to submerge the fish in for ANY length of time....
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  7. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Hi Guys,

    What Dave is saying is what I was aiming to do, using Ruhlmans basic dry cure. I dredged the meat and wrapped in film and refrigerated. I did this at 50/50 last time and it turned out bland

    I did the same for the Salmon too but a seperate 50/50 mix (no prague powder). I thought Salmon only needed 24 hours to dry cure, 24 hours for a pellical to form and then a cold smoke, is that wrong?

    Wade I certainly think you have hit the nail on the head and I err to your thesos as you produce good results regularly, so if it ain't broke don't change it. I also think I may have been a bit heavy handed with the dredge 

    Just a last question before it goes in the bin, if I have only used the correct amounts of nitrite well mixed (coffee grinder) and only dredged would it not be safe?. I was thinking of boiling the loin with water changes to get rid of the salt what do you think?

    This is a great learning curve[​IMG]  
  8. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Kiska, well you are certainly on the learning curve!

    Not going to get involved in Nitrates %. Been a few heated debates on here.

    Wade and Dave always give Good Advice!

    This is my first attempt at Bacon.

    As you can see from my post, step by step record everything, write weights down, use the calculator for quantity of Salts, Sugar, Prague #1 etc.

    Their is another calculator, search Diggadog on the forum.

    Any Other info needed either ask away or PM me.
  9. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Brian

    As I said above, the bacon is unlikely to do you any harm if eaten in moderation but the EU guidelines do specify a maximum residual amount of 175 mg/Kg Nitrite for commercially produced bacon and the final theoretical concentration of Nitrite in your bacon will be somewhere between 0 and 583 mg/kg (Ppm). As you can see, your bacon could theroretically be over 3x this permitted amount.

    However, as you did not apply all of the cure mix and you washed a lot off at the end, only a %age of this cure would have been taken up - but the problem is that we just don't know how much. Soaking it will also help to remove some of the salt and cure that has been absorbed - but again to an unknown degree. All we can say with certainty is that it will be something less than 583 mg/kg (Ppm).

    Personally, If I could get the salt levels down to an acceptable palatable level by soaking the bacon in fresh water then I would probably eat it in moderation - but due to the uncertainly I could not give you advice that you should do the same.
  10. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Wade👍
  11. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Decision made!
    It's going IN THE BIN😩
    For the cost of the pork (£2.96kg) it's not worth the palaver or worry of the unknown! I have spent more on a bottle of plonk😜
    Thanks Steve n Wade great advice and good lessons learned👍 more attention to detail!!!!!
  12. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Don't be put off. Home made bacon is lovely and is actually very straightforward when you know. Next time you get some belly or loin let us know and we can help you with, or check, your calculations. [​IMG]
  13. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Yes your right wade I totally agree👍

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