curing when it's warm

Discussion in 'Curing' started by jillian, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. jillian

    jillian Newbie

    this spring is not cooperating with my very first try at slaughter/curing/smoking of my pigs. it's much too warm.

    I'm looking for any input on how to cure the meat while it's so warm outside. Our basement stays pretty cool, but I don't know how cool it needs to be exactly. 

    I'm planning to do a dry cure.

    I would appreciate any help or direction.

  2. What exactly are you curing?

    Whole hams?
    Whole bellies?

    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Potassium nitrate cures work in the 46 to 50 degree range.  I am not familiar with them but I have read that for long  cures without refrigeration in other parts of the world they are used.  I am not recommending you do this but it may be worth a bit more reading.

    Sodium nitrate cures   Cure 2 also work in higher then normal refrigerator temps but like Diggy said ,  What kind of temps are we working with?
  4. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    [​IMG]Just watching to see what happens.........
  5. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    To dry cure meat you need a temp of around 52-60 degrees and a humidity level of around 75-85% depending on what you are making. But it all depends if your making hams, sausage or other cured pork products. 
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  7. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic


    this is THE book. 

  8. jillian

    jillian Newbie

    Whoa! I didn't expect such quick responses and so much help! thanks y'all. I'm planning to cure the hams, the shoulders, and bacon. No sausages. I would rather not use nitrates. I was planning to do just a salt and sugar rub.  I can probably maintain temperatures between 52 and 60 in my basement for a little while, but it's really warming up. I don't think I can count on those temps for the 3 weeks needed to do hams. I'm considering buying a cheap second fridge to do this in.  I was reading John Seymour last night and he says that temps around 36 are best for being certain you won't have any bacteria problems. Without a fridge I'm not going to get anywhere near that.

    I'm so mad at myself for doing this in the spring. I will not make this mistake again. I was just so eager to get my pigs in the fall that I didn't really think it through. 

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I love the internet, but I'm a librarian and totally prefer books.
  9. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Jillian, evening.... The method and conditions you are thinking about doing are dangerous.....  Since you don't like the internet, and are a librarian, do some reading.... Dave

    AK, Afternoon..... I was referring to cure #2 being an appropriate cure to use...  I realize there are hazards included with this method of curing.... Nitrate needs warmer temps to work properly... It needs bacteria to convert to nitrite.... Since the poster was considering curing in warmer temps, (non refrigerated) I thought it was worth pointing out the "olden days" method of curing.......

    Seems it was all in vain as Jillian has decided "nitrates are bad" and is going to cure in 55-60 deg temps with salt and sugar.... 


    What’s Better, Nitrate or Nitrite?

    Both Nitrates and nitrites are permitted to be used in curing meat and poultry with the exception of bacon, where Nitrate use is prohibited. Sodium nitrite is commonly used in the USA (Cure #1) and everywhere else in the world. To add to the confusion our commonly available cures contain both nitrite and Nitrate.

    Many commercial meat plants prepare their own cures where both nitrite and Nitrate are used. All original European sausage recipes include Nitrate and now have to be converted to nitrite. So what is the big difference? Almost no difference at all. Whether we use Nitrate or nitrite, the final result is basically the same. The difference between Nitrate and nitrite is as big as the difference between wheat flour and the bread that was baked from it. The Nitrate is the Mother that gives birth to the Baby (nitrite). Pure sodium nitrite is an even more powerful poison than Nitrate as you need only about ⅓ of a tea-spoon to put your life in danger, where in a case of Nitrate you may need 1 tea-spoon or more. So all these explanations that nitrite is safer for you make absolutely no sense at all. Replacing Nitrate with nitrite eliminates questions like: Do I have enough nitrite to cure the meat? In other words, it is more predictable and it is easier to control the dosage. Another good reason for using nitrite is that it is effective at low temperatures 36-40° F, (2-4° C), where Nitrate likes temperatures a bit higher 46-50° F, (8-10° C). By curing meats at lower temperatures we slow down the growth of bacteria and we extend the shelf life of a product.

    When Nitrates were used alone, salt penetration was usually ahead of color development. As a result large pieces of meat were too salty when fully colored and had to be soaked in water. This problem has been eliminated when using nitrite. Nitrite works much faster and the color is fixed well before salt can fully penetrate the meat. Estimating the required amount of Nitrate is harder as it is dependent on:
    • Temperature (with higher temperature more nitrite is released from Nitrate).
    • Amount of bacteria present in meat that is needed for Nitrate to produce nitrite and here we do not have any control. The more bacteria present, the more nitrite released. Adding sugar may be beneficial as it provides food for bacteria to grow faster.
  11. Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    While it is certainly your right to choose to not use Cure #1 or Cure #2 what you are planning to do is very dangerous and I seriously encourage you to use Nitrite Cure or Freeze the meat until you have sufficient refrigeration to do the cure below 40*F...JJ
  13. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Dave. I missed that bit.

Share This Page