Wet Curing Bacon - Need Advice Please!

Discussion in 'Curing' started by nate556, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. nate556

    nate556 Newbie

    I'm currently wet curing a side of bacon using this recipe from Pops CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE.

    I split the side, used the low sodium mix for one half and the full strength mix for the other. They are both refridgerated and covered. My question is this; the recipe says 10-14 days - how do I know when its ready to take out of the brine or is anywhere in this time range acceptable?
  2. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I like to let it stay the 14 days. You can do it at 10.
  3. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    While I'm no expert, the way I understand the idea behind Pop's Brine formulation is that compared to many other brine recipes you might see, Pop's is less salty.  To that end, you use a longer curing time.  This allows for more margin of error in that you don't have to get it pulled out right away for fear of over-curing.  With a saltier brine, you'd better pull it out at just the right time otherwise you've over-done it.

    With Pop's formula - you won't shoot yourself in the foot if you go a few days longer than you planned (if life gets in the way or something).

    I'll be butchering half a hog later in the week and plan to use Pop's brine for some bacon and then for a whole ham.  I plan to use his "full strength" version and then pull it at the shorter end of the spectrum and fry up a test piece.  If its too weak, back into the brine it'll go for a few more days.

    As far as how to know when its completely cured goes - provided that you've followed the guidelines - from what I've read, the bellies should have a fairly uniform firmness to them.  If they are still mushy or soft, they're not done.  But you should wait at least until the 10 day mark (esp on the half-strength one).
  4. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    It depends on the thickness of the meat. From what I understand, Pop's brine uses a lower ppm concentration of nitrite and takes awhile for the meat to absorb it. The thing is, you can't over cure so I brine mine the full 14 days regardless. I would rather err on the safe side.
  5. nate556

    nate556 Newbie

    Thanks for everyone's input. I decided to just let both stay in for the 14 days. It comes out this Sunday, and then the smoking commences.

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