Salt vs Sugar Absorption Rate?

Discussion in 'ABT's' started by mr t 59874, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Salty bacon problem solved?

    It is my understanding from a reputable source that when curing bacon, salt will be absorbed at a much faster rate than the sugar compounds.  In order for the salt and sugar to totally combine in the bacon whether in a brine or rub, it has to be given the time needed to be 100% equalized.  To remove bacon from a cure early will result in salty bacon. 

    Those who are worried about there bacon being to salty if they cure for the recommended amount of time, just the opposite is happening.  Once the sugar has time to completely enter the meat, the sugar and salt compounds will work together producing a mild product.

    Update:

    We know that sugar counteracts the harshness of salt.  As salt enters meat at a faster rate than sugar, time must be given to allow the sugar to equalize with the salt within the bacon or the bacon will taste salty.

       Related threads:  Calculating bacon cure time using Morton® Tender Quick® or Sugar Cure® (Plain or Smoke Flavored)Bacon curing time using Tender Quick,    Salt vs Sugar Absobtion Rate?

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  2. Hello Tom.  Another helpful thread full of good info.  Thanks.

    Danny
     
  3. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    NH
    Mr T., Thanks for sharing that information !
     
  4. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Danny, CrazyMoon,  Thank you and you are welcome.

    To summarize:   We know that sugar counteracts the harshness of salt.  As salt enters meat at a faster rate than sugar, time must be given to allow the sugar to equalize with the salt within the bacon or the bacon will taste salty.

    In short, don't be in a hurry.  Give bacon the full time to cure and it won't taste salty.

    Tom
     
  5. scorchedporch

    scorchedporch Fire Starter

    For what it's worth, the science behind it - Salt molecules are just 2 atoms - NaCl.  Water molecules are made up of 3 Atoms - H2O.  This is why salt (a small molecule, smaller than water) penetrates deep into the meat (it also reacts with tightly coiled meat proteins making them more able to hold on to moisture, but that's more important for brines).  Sugar on the other hand is made up of 45 atoms (C12H22O11).  While sugar CAN move into the meat tissue, it doesn't get very far, and takes a long time to get in - curing bacon over long times allows sugar to work a little magic.

    This is why when I brine I only use salt and sugar (7.7% solution) at 1/2 a pound to a gallon (about 1 cup) of salt and about the same of sugar.  I don't use any other spices in a brine, I'll season it before I smoke.

    If anyone has found that this doesn't hold up, I'd love to hear about it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015

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