Real Newb Bacon question

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by brent kutz, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. brent kutz

    brent kutz Newbie

    I decieded to try making bacon for the 1st time.

    I bought 8.5# of pork bellies and got some "pink salt" thrown in by asking the Butcher as they do not sell it (but they had some for their own use).  I had him check the percent on the "pink Salt" and he said it showed as 2%.

    I had looked up a few differnt recipes online and ratios but most were quoting 6.5% being added as 1/8 weight to the Kosher salt (i.e. 2 oz to 1 pound).  I used this same ratio even though the percent was said to be lower as I did not want to take a chance he was reading it wrong.

    The question/issue is when I was adding brown sugar I remembered it as equal parts salt mix and sugar but I have seen since then it should be more like 1/2 sugar to salt.  I also have maple in with some above this ratio so its like 1/4 cup salt mix, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/8 maple surup.

    I did 4 slightly different versions using golden brown sugar in 2 and dark brown in two with one each having the maple surup.

    I'm seeing the cure is working (water is coming out) but I'm wondering if this will turn out ok (a bit to sweet is not too bad to me).  Not having done this before its hard to tell when it is firm enough.

    I might have used to much cure mix as I was having a hard time finding a good per pound ratio.  It was about 3/8 - 1/2 cup per 2 pound section (being 1/4~or so cup of salt mix to 1/4 cup sugar).

    I know at this point I'm probably going to just have to hope for the best. 

    If I used to much salt would it be better to stop the cure after 5 days (as some people do) or wait a whole week.  Or would you try cutting off a piece at 5 days and see how it frys up and go from there?

    Thanks for any advice.  FYI I plan to try to cold smoke.
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm no expert on cures. There are several on this forum who are, hopefully one will be along shortly to help  you. The one thing I do know for sure is it is VERY important to get the right amount of cure for the amount of meat you are curing. When you don't know the exact % of the cure, or you were having a hard time finding a per pound ratio, that scares me a bit. Unless the butcher gave you the right amount to use for 8.5 lbs., I would be somewhat worried that you didn't get the ratio correct, and there could be serious consequences.
  3. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The ratio of cure #1 is one teaspoon per 5# of meat.  You can add more or less salt and sugar as your taste dictates .  For your 8 1/2 pound of bacon, you should only use 1.7 teaspoons of cure.  I didn't take the time to break that down into grams as you said you already have it curing.  Hope you didn't use too much cure since it can be dangerous to you and your family's health.
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You really should try to learn a lot more about curing & smoking Bacon, before attempting it.

    Could be dangerous.

    I don't know how much, or how long you have been smoking meats, but it is probably the first time I ever saw anyone's first post having questions about how much cure to use, after they have already started curing.


    Brent:  I must add that I and others don't mean to sound nasty, or anything like that, but curing is different than regular smoking. With everything else we smoke, other than letting it spoil, the worst that can happen is it might not taste very good. Curing can be a lot worse, if done wrong.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2011
  5. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree with everyone above...  If you don't know what you are doing you shouldn't be attempting to cure meat right off the bat...
  6. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    brent,with the info given i personally would not eat this bacon.......
    never heard of 2%........not saying it don't exist, just never heard of it.
    prolly the worst place to get cure recipes from.........the best place to get propper cure ratios from are from the manufacture of that specific cure, not all cures are interchangable.
    i use 1/5/8.5.........this is cure #1/sugar/salt. if you were going by 6.5% (i think you ment 6.25%) and your salt is 2% how did you come up with the 1/8th value......too much room for error.
    this will happen with no cure.............
    if yer not sure what you've done.......then why risk it. what's concerning here is you don't know how much CURE (sodium nitrite) you actually have in each 2# section assuming you made a large batch of "cure mix" and just devided it for the different portions.
    never "hope" for the best.............this can be dangerous!
    i would just toss this out and chalk it up to a learning process..........the salt is not the issue, the actual amount of sodium nitrite PPM  content is impossible to figure out in this case. if you have too little you could get someone sick, if you have too much you will risk someone's health.

    brent, i am certainly not picking on you, infact i am helping you as would any other member here would. there are so many problems with this bacon you are making from the actual identification of the actual cure to your methods of preparation. i would read some more threads here from experienced members, ask some questions and then try again.
  7. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That is why we have this forum - folks who know their stuff reaching out to help

    Thanks to all for your support
  8. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Brent, you really haven't given us enough info to understand what you are dealing with.  You have received good advice from very experienced folks here.  I came to this forum with over 20 years of smoking experience and I still learn something new every day.  When I started to cure meat I read and researched until my eyes bled and my head ached.  I don't think there is another way.  Curing meat is very rewarding, but even more dangerous when not done correctly.  You will get there if you want to, but please proceed with caution. 

    Good luck and good smoking.
  9. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  10. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I have done a good amount of bacon and I also recommend alot more learning about the curing of pork before curing your bacon. I wouldn,t want you to get yourself sick. The best info is going to come off the packaging in which your cure came from. I don't have any pink salt cure or I would look on the package.
  11. fife

    fife Master of the Pit

    Good Luck with the bacon
  12. Very informative links fpnmf. Anyone who's thinking of curing needs to read them first. Thanks.
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It's been nearly a month since Brent made this post.

    Let's hope he just got busy at work!


Share This Page