Dry curing thicker cuts of meat

Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by bagbeard, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. I used the montreal smoked meat recipe from here and loved it.  im not very good at identifying cuts of meat and a worker at the butcher sold me a whole outside flat and told me it was a brisket.  iv read this cut is good for corning so i want to try. 

      the outside flat is about 4 1/2" thick, much thicker than brisket. When wet curing , meat is injected to penetrate.  What about dry curing?  do i just cure it longer?
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Typically "dry curing" is a method that takes months and uses cure #2.... For a brisket, "dry brining" is where you rub the meat with spices and cure #1.... place is a tub or zip bag in the refer for several days, turning daily... the length of time for a thorough cure is calculated at 1 day per 1/4" of thickness... meat over 2" thick needs to be injected with a cure solution and "wet brining" is highly recommended for those thick cuts.... Use Pops brining method adding spices that are used for corning if you are making corned beef... inject the meat, using the brine/cure solution, at 10% of the weight of the hunk of meat... then place in the bucket with the rest of the brine/cure in the refer... keeping covered with liquid for 10-14 days......
  3. thanks Dave.  I guess ive been dry brining.  with this cut i guess i will have to inject.  ive only ever injected a couple of times for flavour and have been nervous about injecting cure.  how far apart do you inject? im worried about getting equal dilution of the cure throughout the meat.  does the meat cure to a saturation point? if so , i guess as long as you get some in the center it will help speed up the saturation.  is this correct?

    ive used pops wet brine for a pork loin to make canadian bacon and it turned out great. ill just adjust the spices to make it closer to montreal smoked meat.
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Injecting 10% (weight of the meat) of the brine in the meat..... 10#'s of meat and 1# of brine (pint) evenly throughout the meat... space the injections what seems appropriate... That will help the meat get evenly cured or even spice/salt etc. distribution.. Trying to "dry brine" a piece of meat over 2" thick, and get an even internal distribution of "stuff" is not likely... You should still turn the meat and stir the brine every few days... I have read where the solutes in the brine will separate over time and mixing is necessary...

  5. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    "Injecting" the meat can mean a couple things - are you using a needle injector or a broadcast injector?

    The injector (or Artery) needle is on the left and has one straight outlet shooting the brine into the meat in a straight line.  For this type of injection, you have to space the injections close together as the brine will only soak in to the meat in a straight line.

    The broadcast needle is on the right.  There are holes in 360° around the needle, so the brine shoots out perpendicular to the needle, covering a much wider area and enters the meat in a wide path.  This is a much better application for injecting.  The straight method is ok, but you have to inject it up to 4 times as much.

    I have cured literally tons of meat and have never had to stir the brine.  The ingredients remain in suspension just fine.  When making it, I use cold water, add the ingredients and stir it until it becomes clear, then add the meat and don't touch it again until it's done curing.  It will often get thicker and turn red from the blood, but that is perfectly normal.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Pops, evening.... I thought I covered the "injection" part of the discussion pretty well using a "descriptive" discussion.... I think that makes some sense that most folks can understand fairly easily, and get good results that will provide a safe product....

    Injecting 10% (weight of the meat) of the brine in the meat..... 10#'s of meat and 1# of brine (pint) evenly throughout the meat... space the injections what seems appropriate... That will help the meat get evenly cured or even spice/salt etc. distribution..


    About stirring a pickle solution..... It may not be necessary...... And they may stay in suspension just fine..... In one of my many "trying to get educated" reading sessions, I did run across this description of why to "agitate or stir or mix" the pickle/brine/cure solution, and to mix/overhaul/rearrange meats in that solution...... Now I ain't no genius and have had ZERO training in the food service industry, but I do a fair amount of reading to try and educate myself..... and when a publication states, " It is a good idea to do this because........" .... and it makes sense to me.... and I don't see any harm in it..... (especially something as simple as stirring brine) and I ain't in the mood to try and prove them wrong....... I take it as good information and pass it on for folks to "take it or leave it".... Mixing up the meat causes no harm.... stirring the brine causes no harm.... and it may do some good..... So I pass it on... Below is an excerpt from that bulletin..... http://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausage-making/curing/methods .....

    The wet curing method or immersion curing has been traditionally used for larger cuts of meat like butts or hams that were smoked. It is accomplished by placing meats in a wet curing solution (water, salt, nitrites, sugar). Sugar is added only when curing at refrigerator temperatures, otherwise it will begin fermentation and start spoiling the meat. Wet curing is used to preserve meat, add curing flavor and provide pink color to the meat. After wet curing the meats are normally smoked.

    Most meat cuts require about 3 – 14 days of curing time even at 40° F (4° C). It is still a fine curing method for smaller cuts of meat that will have a shorter curing time. To distribute evenly the curing solution at the half curing time the meats have to be turned over (top pieces placed at the bottom and vice versa) and prevented from swimming up to the surface. The reason being that salt has a tendency to sink to the bottom and nitrates/nitrites like to swim up to the top. The curing solution is not uniform and it has to be agitated once in a while otherwise meats will not be cured evenly. During that time we have to scoop up the foam and any slime that might gather on the surface, as that might be a source of contamination.

    Using this method, large pieces of meat like hams need to remain in solution for up to 6 weeks and with such a long curing time there is a danger of meat spoiling from within the center where the bone is located. That is why it is much safer to shorten curing times by applying combination curing (stitch pumping plus wet cure) when curing large pieces of meat.

    There are two ways of applying wet cure into meats
    1.Immersing meat in curing solution (water, salt and nitrite)
    2.Spray pumping meats with needles and curing solution
  7. mrh

    mrh Meat Mopper

    This is good info, going hog hunting in april and will probably try to cure at least one ham  if I shoot one.  I have a injector  (Haven't used it yet)  now I need to see what kind of needle it has now after Pop's picture.  It sure is nice to have someone with a lot of experience that "has been there done that" 

  8. thanks pops!!

    my injector is an inexpensive one that has 2 holes on sides of needle and a hole on the end. a bit like both of the ones shown.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    While these videos are not specifically about Cure injection, they are good examples of injecting with the two different types of needles Pops describes. The principles are the same for even coverage...JJ

    The Single opening needle at the end...

    The Broadcast injecting needle...

  10. The first video is a good example of how NOT to inject if you want a good reliable cure in a reasonable amount of time.

    The second video is a bit better, but in my experience it is better to inject perpendicular to the grain of the meat....the brine will soak into the meat easier and better...and REMAIN in the meat better!!!!

    You can get good results with just an injector needle, as opposed to a broadcast needle, by taking your time and VERY SLOWLY injecting a few times while VERY SLOWLY pulling the needle up near the surface.....when done injecting wait 20-30 seconds BEFORE removing the needle from the meat.....this will limit leakage.
    When done in this manner, you don't have to inject especially close together....maybe 2 or so inches apart if you pay close attention to detail.
    I've cured almost anything commonly curable with just a kitchen injector needle...even whole bone-in hams.

  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The short needles that many have CAN'T reach the center of the meat in a perpendicular manner, especially in a Flat. The first video is an example of how to get good penetration with just such a needle. Besides followed up by the soak will render a completely Safe and and completely saturated Brisket.

    Here's a thought, post your video, in fact post ANYTHING you've done other than your Opinion and you know what they say about those...Sheesh...[​IMG]....JJ
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  12. That goes for YOUR opinion too!!!! :biggrin:
    I'll post a pumping video right after you post YOURS!!!!

    I explained how I like to do it!
    Take it or leave it!!! I couldn't care less!!!

    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nana Nana Boo Boo...[​IMG]...Oh well, guess your Needles bigger than mine...[​IMG]...JJ
  14. If you're happy with the first video, that's all that matters..... I'm happy for you!!!! :biggrin:
    Best of luck to you!!!!

  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    And you as well...That Smokin-it 4 sounds really sweet! Best of Luck and looking forward to all the Qview...JJ
  16. The Smokin-It No. 4 is pretty sweet....I like it so much, I bought a No. 1 to go along with it!!! :smile:

    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014

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