Local home made maple syrup bacon! cure question

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by trizzuth, May 14, 2013.

  1. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    So I bought 11 lbs of pork bellies the other day and got my cure ready. This time I used Morton's smoke flavored sugar cure, and wanted to mix in some of my home made maple syrup from the two sugar maples in my back yard, what could be better than that, right? So here's my dilemma...

    Cure said for smaller batches, use one cup sugar mix and 1 1/4 tsp spice (that has the curing agent). I mixed up one cup per instructions, and then two more cups with the Appropriate curing spice. Total was 3 cups sugar mix, 3 3/4 tsp cure spice. I figured that amount would provide good cover for my slabs. So to ensure the maple flavor really got in there, I added about a cup or so of syrup to the mixture, mixed it all up, rubbed them down and Saran wrapped them tight then into the fridge.

    Then I remember reading many times on here it is all about the weight.. The weight of the meat...and that is how you determine curing agent... So I read the back of the Mortons bag and it says for bacon, use 1/2 oz per pound. So I take this to mean 1/2 ounce of the sugar and curing spice mixture. Well that comes out to 1 cup sugar cure and spice for SIXTEEN pounds of bacon!

    There is no way one cup of the sugar cure would even come close to covering the three huge slabs I have, which is wy I used three cups. The proportions of spice I mixed to the sugar salt mix was correct, but I am just concerned because of what it says about the weight.

    I made my last batch the same way, minus the maple syrup, and using Morton's regular sugar cure. Bacon was waaayyy too salty after seven days, so I had to soak it, might leave these for five and rinse them and test,fry.

    Thoughts? Am I ok here?
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I made my last batch the same way, minus the maple syrup, and using Morton's regular sugar cure. Bacon was waaayyy too salty after seven days, so I had to soak it, might leave these for five and rinse them and test,fry.                     

    Tiz, when using cure, the directions need to be followed per the manufacturers instructions.....  The method is nothing to guess at....   The number of days in the sugar cure are necessary for the cure to penetrate the meat....  What do the directions say for pork belly ??10-12 days ??  Under curing is bad in the fact that pathogens and botulism can grow....   

    Morton products are salty....  Cutting back on cure time, or cure amounts because you don't like the salt is not a good deal.....

    I suggest you purchase some cure #1 and use it for curing meat..... It needs salt added to it so in the end, the salt is adjustable without having to alter the amount of cure.... 

  3. Not only did you use a cure mix that is NOT recommended for bacon that's cured short term, you used three times as much as should have been used!!!

    "This mix is formulated especially for dry curing large cuts of meat like hams or bacon. It contains salt, sugar, sodium nitrate, propylene glycol, caramel color, natural hickory smoke flavor, a blend of natural spices and dextrose (corn sugar). The cure reaction takes longer with Morton® Smoke Flavored Sugar Cure® mix than with plain Morton® Sugar Cure® mix, so the smoke flavored product should be used only for dry curing and not for making a brine (pickle) solution.

    CAUTION: This curing salt is designed to be used at the rate specified in the formulation or recipe. It should not be used at higher levels as results will be inconsistent, cured meats will be too salty, and the finished products may be unsatisfactory. Morton® Sugar Cure® Smoke Flavor is only for dry curing ham and bacon. This product should not be used with other meats or in a brine cure. Curing salts cannot be substituted for regular salt in other food recipes. Always keep meat refrigerated (36° to 40°F) while curing."

    Source: Morton Salt

    In the future I recommend asking important questions before you start!

    Good luck!

    Last edited: May 14, 2013
    daveomak and baconologist like this.
  4. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    ok, so obviously the reason why my last batch was way too salty when done was that i overcured it based the amount of sugar cure I used.

    i also wanted to make it clear that i am not using a typical "brine" but the fact that I added some maple syrup to the mixture did make it a bit wet.  The brine occurs when I rub the mixture all over the bacon and saran wrap it, it basically brines itself in that wrap.

    So I am at day 3 now, lot of moisture came out of the bacon already.  What do you guys recommend?  rinse it all off, then make a new mixture using 1 cup of smoke flavored sugar cure and 1 1/4 tsp of the curing spice and re-coat everything?  

    Package says for bacon, curing time is 7 days for bacon (per inch of thickness, which is more or less what i have), then let sit in warm water for 1 hour after rinsing and then 2 days to equalize in the fridge.  

    if I am on my 3rd day now, I should be able to rinse off what i have today, mix a new batch of the sugar cure using ONLY 1 cup (still seems very very small compared to the amount of meat I have), no maple syrup and re-coat everything, then leave it in the fridge for another 4 days.  That will make 7 with some super salt up front.  If it's too salty after the soak, I can soak it longer to remove some of the saltiness.  Then before it equalizes, perhaps brush with maple syrup before I smoke it?
  5. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    trizzuth,  DDF is correct.  Personally I use the TQ method and don't soak, but do rinse.  I don't see where starting over would do any harm, but maybe DDF has a different opinion.

    Good luck,   Tom
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Trizzuth, morning.....   You need to read re read Martin's post.....   Considering the errors made in the recipe, I would throw out the meat...  Be safe.......

  7. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    ok, well the package does say ""This mix is formulated especially for dry curing large cuts of meat like hams or bacon."

    it clearly says "bacon" right there.  So I do not think that I cannot use the smoke flavored sugar cure for bacon, it may just take longer.  So as I do have some normal morton's sugar cure left, I will rinse meat off, make a new batch of sugar cure, using the very small amount called for, and leave it in the fridge for another 5-7 days.

    I do not know why I should throw this bacon out, as I have done the exact same process before, using morton's sugar cure instead of the smoke flavored sugar cure, and I did add curing agent to my mixture, just used too much mixture, so i am sure that the curing agent has already penetrated the meat some.

    next time, f this, I will do Pop's brine for sure!
  8. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    So I just took the bacon slabs out of the fridge.  I bought them on Sunday, added the smoke flavored sugar cure on late Monday afternoon (approx 2:30pm) and they have been in my basement fridge since then, turned twice.  So I am not even looking at a full 48 hours with the smoke flavored "overcure" that I did like an idiot.

    I rinsed each slab off very carefully, all slabs looked good, smelled fabulous! (of course due to the smoke flavored salt), then patted each dry.  I layed out some more saran wrap and mixed up one cup of Morton's normal Sugar Cure with 1 1/4 tsp of curing spice.  I am honestly amazed that the amount really didn't look like much, but for some reason, this time around, i was easily able to cover the cap and the meat side thoroughly with no bare areas whatsoever.  So apparently I am dumb and need to follow directions MUCH better, especially since doing things like this can be dangerous to your health if not done properly.  I actually didn't use the full cup because I know that should have worked for 16lbs and I had just over 11.  I do not think I screwed up bad because of the short time the smoke flavored cure mix was on there.  I am confident that I could now go 5 days and it would be fully cured given that it already had 2 with the smoke flavored cure.

    Wrapped them up SUPER tight, put them back in fridge and will wait.

    Just so everyone knows, the package directions for Morton's Sugar Cure and Morton's Smoke Flavored Sugar Cure are totally identical except that one package says "Smoke Flavored."  Curing times are identical as are the mixing measurements.  So I am not sure why some think I cannot use this on Bacon with a dry cure as long as I give it the proper time.  Interesting that their website seems to have more information than the actual package.
  9. Dry curing means true dry curing, not just applying a dry mix.
    Dry cured hams (country ham) or dry cured bacon (country bacon) that's cured for an extended period of time. weeks or months.
    It takes time for the nitrate to turn to nitrite, so curing time is much slower and requires higher temperatures than if nitrite is used as the cure.

    What do you mean you added curing agent to your mix?

    Last edited: May 15, 2013
    baconologist likes this.
  10. You can use it for bacon, but you must dry cure the bacon for at least a few weeks.
    Morton's Sugar Cure, Smoke Flavored and plain Sugar Cure ARE NOT the same, as I posted above!!!!!!!!
    The plain contains nitrite and nitrate cures, while the smoke flavored contains just nitrate.

    Last edited: May 15, 2013
    baconologist likes this.
  11. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    The way the morton's sugar cure comes is that the entire 7lb bag is filled with their salt/sugar mixture.  Then there is a separate small packet of the "Curing spice" that contains the sodium nitrate and nitrite and some other spices.  So simply adding the salt/sugar mixture as a dry cure, you're not adding any sodium nitrate/nitrite and hence would only be a traditional pure salt/sugar cure.

    Following the instructions on the bag, for small batches, you use 1 cup sugar/salt mix and add 1 1/4tsp of the "curing spice", which then makes your mixture a true curing mix.

    From their website, the smoke flavored cure contains (and they are talking about what's in the bag, PLUS the spice packet):  It contains salt, sugar, sodium nitrate, propylene glycol, caramel color, natural hickory smoke flavor, a blend of natural spices and dextrose (corn sugar).

    The regular sugar cure contains:  It contains salt, sugar, propylene glycol, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, a blend of natural spices and dextrose (corn sugar). 

    So it appears that the reason why the normal sugar cure works faster is that they add sodium nitrite as well as sodium nitrate, as if to jumpstart the process of curing so that there is already some sodium nitrite in there from the start, while waiting for the other nitrate to turn into nitrite.

    So it could be possible that the sodium nitrate in my first smoke flavored cure had not yet turned into sodium nitrite.  Given this fact, to be on the safe side, it sounds like I should now go the full 7 days using the normal sugar cure, and not cut it short to 5 days, do you agree?

    I have done a ham earlier this year/late last year that is currently hanging in my kitchen (smells AMAZING).  The way I understand it, my intent was to dry cure the bacon, however true dry curing would be letting the bacon sit out and having the moisture drain away, whereas I have wrapped them in saran wrap.  Perhaps the saran wrap needs to be removed and the bacons just left in the fridge with the curing agent on them so the moisture can wick away?  Who knew I had so many questions!  
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  12. The nitrate is not in the spice packet, it's in the sugar cure.

    I wouldn't have wrapped it up, that can lead to nitrate/nitrite burn as I mentioned in your ham thread.

    baconologist likes this.
  13. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    OK, taking notes from one of the masters.  Going to go now and remove slabs from saran wrap and will just hang on some hooks in the fridge and let drip.
  14. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    baconologist likes this.
  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Trizzuth, morning....   Just so you know, this excerpt is from the Food Safety Inspection Service.....  commercial producers of bacon in the US, are not allowed to use nitrate in bacon.....   Use this information as you wish...    you are a private individual and not subject to gov't regulations..     Dave




    Because of problems associated with nitrosamine formation in bacon, MPI Regulations, section

    318.7(b)(1) and (3) prescribe the amounts of nitrite and sodium ascorbate or sodium erythorbate

    (isoascorbate) to be used in pumped and massaged bacon. For the immersion curing and dry

    curing of bacon, maximum amounts of sodium and potassium nitrite are prescribed in section

    318.7(b)(5) and (6) of the MPI Regulations.28

    Establishment management must submit pickle formulas and the method(s) of preparing pumped

    and/or massaged bacon to the processing staff officer at the appropriate regional office. The

    pickle formula and targeted percent pump or pick-up must meet the limits listed below. Once the

    procedure is approved, production may begin.

    Regardless of the curing method used, restricted ingredient calculations for bacon are based on

    the green weight of the skinless belly. For rind-on bacon, e.g., where the skin is sold as part of

    the finished product, a restricted ingredient conversion calculation is necessary. Nitrate is no

    longer permitted in any curing method for bacon.
  16. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    So I took Martin's sound advice, removed bacon from saran wrap, it was nicely coated with the sugar cure, and hung the three slabs loose in my downstairs fridge with a pan underneath to catch the dripping moisture leaving the bacon.  Now it is a true dry-cure.  Good thing is, now I don't have to flip them once a day.. i can leave them there for 7 days.  I am more confident that it won't be AS salty as my last batch as I clearly didn't really know what I was doing (but did follow an online recipe that said to wrap the bacon so it can brine in it's own juices).  

    Thank you for your help Martin and everyone else, LOVE this forum!  

    I will keep updating this thread as it progresses and toss in a few pictures for good measure.
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  18. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower


    Now I'm a bit scared, especially since I let my family eat this bacon.

    Sounds like the Smoke-Flavored Sugar Cure is the way to go here, using a traditional dry curing method.

    Now I am wondering, should I rinse the regular sugar cure off, and go BACK to using the smoke-flavored sugar cure as it only contains sodium nitrite and no nitrate?

    It appears that sodium nitrite can also form nitrosamines when heated to high temps such as Bacon is.  Just wondering why they removed the nitrate additions as there must be a reason, does it accelerate the process of nitrosamine production?
  19. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    Thanks Dave, this is good reading indeed!  I noticed that the table containing information on what has nitrites/nitrates is incorrect for the Morton's Smoke-Flavored Sugar Cure.  Morton's has indicated that the smoke flavored one contains nitrite, but no nitrate, however this table has it the other way around.
  20. I recommend reading what's been posted very closely.
    All of Morton's curing products contain nitrate, one, the smoke flavored sugar cure contains nitrate only.
    You can't escape nitrate if you're using one of Morton's products.
    If you fear nitrosamines (which occur naturally in beer, powdered milk, some mushrooms, and MAY develop in bacon IF conditions are right) cook the bacon at a low temperature.

    "A bacon cooking study, "Effect of Frying and Other Cooking Conditions on Nitrosopyrrolidine Formation in Bacon" (Journal of Science, Vol. 39, pages 314-316), showed no evidence of nitrosamines in bacon fried at 210 °F for 10 minutes (raw), 210 °F for 15 minutes (medium well), 275 °F for 10 minutes (very light), or 275 °F for 30 minutes (medium well). But when bacon was fried at 350 °F for 6 minutes (medium well), 400 °F for 4 minutes (medium well), or 400 °F for 10 minutes (burned), some nitrosamines were found. Thus, well-done or burned bacon is potentially more hazardous than less well-done bacon. Also, bacon cooked by a microwave has less nitrosamine than fried bacon."

    Source: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/Bacon_and_Food_Safety/index.asp

    As Dave said above, get some cure #1.
    Buy an accurate gram scale.
    PM me before your next project and I'll help you.

    Last edited: May 15, 2013
    baconologist likes this.

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