How long should I age my bologna?

Discussion in 'Curing' started by kes9799, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. kes9799

    kes9799 Newbie

    I made some bologna and now I'm ready to age it.

    8 lbs venison

    2 lbs pork

    0.8 lbs brown sugar

    0.5 lbs salt

    1 T. pepper

    2 t. Instacure #2.

    I prepared this and stuffed the casings yesterday, left these in the fridge overnight, smoked at 130-135 F for about 3.5 hours, and then put them in a 170 F oven until they reached an internal temperature of 157-160 F.  I removed them from the oven, cooled them with water, and they're in the fridge now.

    How long must they age before the nitrate in the Instacure will be nitrite?  Should I age them in the fridge or hang them in the garage?  (Maryland.  Today it was 60 F outside but this was unusual.  Tomorrow's daytime high is expected to be in the low 30s.  Garage is insulated but not heated.)
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think you are using the wrong cure for the method you chose... Also.... meat aging, when it applies to cures, is done before it is cooked... on pic to enlarge....

    Rick (NEPAS) posted this recently in another thread here.

    CURES - Cures are used in sausage products for color and flavor development as well as retarding the development of bacteria in
    the low temperature environment of smoked meats.
    Salt and sugar both cure meat by osmosis. In addition to drawing the water from the food, they dehydrate and kill the bacteria that make food spoil. In general, though, use of the word "cure" refers to processing the meat with either sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate.
    The primary and most important reason to use cures is to prevent BOTULISM POISONING (Food poisoning). It is very important that any kind of meat or sausage that will be cooked and smoked at low temperature be cured. To trigger botulism poisoning, the requirements are quite simple - lack of oxygen, the presence of moisture, and temperatures in range of 40-140° F. When smoking meats, the heat and smoke eliminates the oxygen. The meats have moisture and are traditionally smoked and cooked in the low ranges of 90 to 185° F. As you can see, these are ideal conditions for food poisoning if you don't use cures. There are two types of commercially used cures.

    Prague Powder #1
    Also called Insta-Cure and Modern Cure. Cures are used to prevent meats from spoiling when being cooked or smoked at low temperatures (under 200 degrees F). This cure is 1 part sodium nitrite (6.25%) and 16 parts salt (93.75%) and are combined and crystallized to assure even distribution. As the meat temperate rises during processing, the sodium nitrite changes to nitric oxide and starts to ‘gas out’ at about 130 degrees F. After the smoking /cooking process is complete only about 10-20% of the original nitrite remains. As the product is stored and later reheated for consumption, the decline of nitrite continues. 4 ounces of Prague powder #1 is required to cure 100 lbs of meat. A more typical measurement for home use is 1 level tsp per 5 lbs of meat. Mix with cold water, then mix into meat like you would mix seasonings into meat.

    Prague Powder #2
    Used to dry-cure products. Prague powder #2 is a mixture of 1 part sodium nitrite, .64 parts sodium nitrate and 16 parts salt.

    (1 oz. of sodium nitrite with .64 oz. of sodium nitrate to each lb. of salt.)

    It is primarily used in dry-curing Use with products that do not require cooking, smoking, or refrigeration. This cure, which is sodium nitrate, acts like a time release, slowly breaking down into sodium nitrite, then into nitric oxide. This allows you to dry cure products that take much longer to cure. A cure with sodium nitrite would dissipate too quickly.
    Use 1 oz. of cure for 25 lbs. of meat or 1 level teaspoon of cure for 5 lbs. of meat when mixing with meat.
    When using a cure in a brine solution, follow a recipe.

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  3. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    No need for cure #2 in this application.

    Doubt any harm was done, though?

    I would stick with #1.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  4. kes9799

    kes9799 Newbie

    Yeah, I realized my mistake after I spoke to my dad.  But I also found websites saying that #2 was appropriate in either application and was preferred from a safety standpoint by at least one person.  But that still leaves me with my question.  The first reply (thank you) said that nitrite went to nitric oxide and was outgassed at 130 F.  Any data on nitrate to nitrite?  Thanks.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    About nitrate to nitrite..... the conversion takes place in the presence of certain bacteria.... Those bacteria need to be "cultured", so to speak, in the meat at a temp range from 50-80 ish degrees in a properly control humidity, depending on method and final product one is making..... Once the bacteria convert the nitrate, the nitrite supposedly does them in.. and the curing process finishes... Meats that use that temp and humidity and are cured for months to years, are generally not cooked... That method is called Charcuterie... Proscuito hams is one example.....
    Using cure #1, meats are held in the 38 degree F range for a period of time to allow for complete penetration of the cure and salt throughout the meat... then heat/smoke or whatever is applied to finish cooking the product....

    There are deviations from the above described methods that folks have developed... I guess you could say, those are middle of the road methods.... Generally when a method is deviated from, the processor has to get USDA approval, through a series of test to check for bacteria etc. and make sure the process makes for a "Food Safe" product...

    I guess to summarize.... Use only USDA accepted methods from reputable sources, and follow those methods to insure the food will be safe for consumption.....

  6. kes9799

    kes9799 Newbie

    Thanks.  So bottom line - you think I should throw it out and start again, using #1 this time?
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have no idea..... Check with ChefJimmyJ... he's our safety expert.....

    You could start a new batch with cure #1... let it rest in the refer for a couple days then smoke... I would smoke at 130 w/smoke for several hours then at 160 ish until the IT reached 150 ish ... which may take a day or so... Or steam to bring to final temp... that way the sausage won't fat out using the lower temps.....

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014

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