picnics not cured in the center

Discussion in 'Curing' started by backtobasics, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. backtobasics

    backtobasics Newbie

    Howdy folks...

    Way last winter I tried my hand at some small hams with a few 10 lb picnics I got on sale. I injected them each with about 2 cups of brine, then put them in brining bags and covered each with lots more. I weighed them down and refrigerated them for about 2 weeks. I thought that would be lots to make sure they were brined to the center, but after smoking and baking one I found that it only penetrated about an inch or so in, and the rest was just cooked pork, with the same greyish colour of a roast pork shoulder. They were good, but more like roast pork with a hint of smoke than true hams.

    What do I need to do to make sure the next time they come out fine? As the weather gets cooler up here, ham smoking season is fast approaching, and with people raising pigs around me I've been getting requests to process some.

    B2B
     
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  3. backtobasics

    backtobasics Newbie

    Thanks Dave!

    I saw your post in my search for info on this before I posted my own question, since it seemed I did everything you had done, and even brined mine almost a week longer for good measure.

    One thing I must mention is that I choose not to use curing salts in my brines, and use celery powder & ascorbic acid instead to make a more natural cure. (Yes... I expect lots of criticism here for doing so and know there will be nitrite/nitrates in it anyway.) Even so, my bacon, individually sliced pork loin, sides of smoked salmon, and beef jerky always come out perfect every time. So I'm looking for the reason these particular 10 lb picnics didn't pan out, which must be a combination of either not enough injection, or not enough time in brine... and I'm leaning toward not enough injection, but am seeking confirmation on that here...

    B2B
     
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    B2B, First of all, celery powder is not cure....   It does not have nitrite in it....  Nitrite is what cures meat...   It has nitrate...  nitrate is NOT a cure for botulism...  nitrate breaks down to nitrite over a long period of time at ~50 deg. F as the bacteria has the time and temperature to break down the nitrate into something useable... 

    Get some cure #1 and save the celery powder for clam chowder.... 

    OK.... that's harsh but folks pushing celery powder are doing you a disservice...  for what we are doing, it is not safe...   You want a fast cure which nitrite is.....

    FWIW, if you add cure #1 to the meat at ~150 ish Ppm, after the meat cure properly and safely, and you smoke it...  when cure #1 reaches 130 ish deg. F it starts to break down...  The USDA has measured the residual nitrite in meats prepared commercially and there is approx. an 80% reduction in nitrite during the cooking cycle and what remains is adequate to protect the meat and consumer while it is in the refrigeration case... 

    And nitrite is manufactured in your gut from foods you eat....

    The nitrite scare is exactly that....

    Nitrates are being advertised as a health benefit...  Good for your heart... 
     

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