Questions about bacon cures

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by sharon skelton, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. I finally have some pork belly to play with - it's been a long long time (don't ask, but it involves living in a motor home) and I'm really excited.  Somewhere in our belongings I have some pink salt that I've had for about 5 years.  Last time I saw it it wasn't really pink anymore (I know it's just a dye) but I'm wondering if it goes bad?  I couldn't find any pink salt around here so I grabbed a bag of Morton Tender Quick.

    I like to dry cure my bacon, and we do use some heat when smoking.  I guess my question is can I use the Tender Quick for a dry cure . . . or should I freeze the bellies and order some pink salt?  Or is my 5 or 6 year old pink salt still good (if I can find it again!).  There are a lot of advantages to living in a motor home, storage & convenience are not on the list!  We bought a Masterbuilt digital electric smoker last year and absolutely love it.

    Thanks in advance!  I know you all will come through - as usual with great answers!
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sharon, afternoon and welcome to the forum....     Pink salt, (cure #1), doesn't go bad.....  I would use it over M-TQ .....  

    Do you have a recipe for correct amounts of salt, cure etc to add to the belly ??  

    Did you say you like a dry rub to cure the belly ??   

    Do you have a grams scale to weight small amounts with ??

    Does the belly have the skin on ??  

    Sorry for all the questions...   curing food needs to be takes seriously, and because I'm not familiar with you, I'm just trying to help....  Many folks here can help you once we know where we are going.....   

    Basic curing is 5#'s skin off belly 2% salt, 1% sugar at 120 Ppm nitrite...... 41 gms salt, 23 gms sugar, 4.4 gms cure #1.....  

    for skin on belly, reduce the cure 10% to 4.0 gms....  the skin does not absorb cure....  

    That is the mathematical way to cure belly.......  

    For tsp method, 3/4 tsp cure #1 will give you about  117 Ppm for 5#'s meat..... That will work just fine.....  skin on or off, no problem.... 

    Mix with the salt and add any spices or herbs to the salt also.....    rub into the meat well......  zip bag and refer for 7-10 days....  7 days for a thin belly, 10 for a thick belly.... 10-12 days for skin on belly curing from one side only.....  turn the bag and meat daily....    rinse and dry the belly and refer again for a couple days, unwrapped, for all to come to equilibrium in the meat....  smoke and enjoy.... 

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
  4. Thanks guys!  I use a basic dry cure from Charcuterie - but I add a ton of black pepper, ground peppers, or even cocoa powder.  

    I have a scale that measures in grams too, I use it for "measuring" all the time.

    The bellies have skin on them - I usually smoke with the skin on.

    I appreciate all the assistance . . . it's been a while and I'm excited to be getting back into this.  I'll see if I can find my pink salt.  Does Tender Quick last forever too, I think I might still have some of that from the same time frame stored in a airtight container.  Although I do have a brand new bag.  

    Thanks again guys!
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    TQ lasts forever also....   It has salt, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate in it.....   The salt content is REALLY high....  

  6. Thanks Dave!

    I think I'll keep  the new bag too.  Hopefully I'll have access to a huge empty walkin all winter and want to do some curing of sausages and making cheeses.  I have pastrami in mind, lots of goodies!  
  7. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Please post q-view of the food you make.

    We all love q-view.    [​IMG]
  8. I'd love to see your q-view for Pastrami.  happy Smokin

  9. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    We use TQ for all are dry cured skin off pork belly.  Simply cure with one TBS cure for each pound of bacon (other spices may be added).  Cure seven days per inch of thickness, turning daily.  Quick rinse, equalize two days then cold or hot smoke or not.


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