BBB to salty on test fry... how long to soak to get it out.. (used Mortons smokey sugar cure, so it

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by deucenahalf, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. My Butts have been in the refer for 9 days... I used Morton's smokey sugar cure.  Meat has stiffened nicely, overhauled 3 times or so... was in stainless containers so it was cured "box style" after a manner, only the juice did not drain away from the butts so they was happy in their own juice for nine days.

    Test fry found the meat was a bit too salty for me.  Question is this... how long can I soak the butt halves in order to remove some of the salt?

    As I am a noob at this so forgive me... but is the meat supposed to taste like ham or like bacon... I used Morton's smokey sugar cure... will this make a difference over using a BBB cure?

  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Don't know if you used the right amount of cure, and I never did a "Box cure" and let it lay the whole time. If you used the right amount of cure, you should be able to keep soaking until it's not too salty. I never had to do that, but I have read it can be done. They also say you can put potato slices in the water to help with the salt removal.

    As for the taste----It actually tastes like BBB, which I would have to say is closer to Bacon than Ham.

  3. I read the directions and used 1/2 oz per pound and putting it in the containers is basically like using ziploc's but it forms the meat into rectangular slabs.

    I didn't let it cure to long... at 7 days per inch of thickness, per the instructions...  most of the pieces was 2 in or so... i may have just got into a thinner part of the bacon.

    Thanks for the input!
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Deuce, afternoon...... Never looked up smokey sugar cure until today.... I think you may have chosen the wrong cure...... or the wrong method for your BBB..... That has no nitrite in it.... It is to be used to long term curing..... totally different process.....

    Personally, I wouldn't eat it..... but that's me.... see what others think..... Dave


    MORTON Smoke Flavored SUGAR CURE mix is formulated especially for dry curing large cuts of meat like hams. 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.
  5. Like I said above I did follow the directions on the package... Morton smoke sugar cure is for dry cure only, of ham and bacon

    It was used as a dry cure and kept at 38ish degrees for 9 days or so.  as per package instructions.

    I just took it off of a 2 hour soak did a cut/fry test, smelled great, tasted like salt pork. though... original question was how tong to soak to get the salt out... apparently i over did the sugar cure and used to much.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You might find some of this interesting..... And FWIW, the USDA does not allow nitrate to be used in bacon..... We are here to help you make safe grub..... Dave

    Dry curing[edit]

    Traditional dry cure hams may use only salt as the curative agent, such as with San Daniele or Parma hams, although this is comparatively rare.[9] This process involves cleaning the raw meat, covering it in salt (for about two months for Parma ham) whilst it is gradually pressed – draining all the blood. It is then washed and hung in a dark, temperature-regulated place until dry. It is then hung to air for another period of time.
    Sea salt being added to raw pork leg as part of a dry cure process
    The duration of the curing process varies by the type of ham, with Serrano ham curing in 9–12 months, Parma hams taking more than 12 months, and Iberian ham taking up to 2 years to reach the desired flavour characteristics.[10] Dry cured hams, such as the Chinese Jinhua ham takes approximately 8 to 10 months to complete.[11]
    Most modern dry cure hams also use nitrites (either sodium or potassium), which are added along with the salt, although following a similar methodology. The nitrites deliver a distinctive pink or red tinge to the meat, as well as imparting flavour. The amount and mixture of salt and nitrites used has an effect on the shrinkage of the meat.[12]

    Sodium nitrite is used because it prevents bacterial growth and, in a reaction with the meat's myoglobin, gives the product a desirable dark red color. Because of the toxicity of nitrite (the lethal dose of nitrite for humans is about 22 mg per kg body weight), some areas specify a maximum allowable content of nitrite in the final product. Under certain conditions, especially during cooking, nitrites in meat can react with degradation products of amino acids, forming nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens.[13]

    The dry curing of ham involves a number of biochemical reactions caused by enzymes. The enzymes involved are proteinases (cathepsins – B, D, H & L, and calpains) and exopeptidases (peptidase and aminopeptidase).[14]

    The enzymes cause an intense proteolysis in the muscle tissue, which creates large numbers of small peptides and free amino acids, whilst the muscle and adipose tissue lipids undergo lipolysis and create free fatty acids.[14]

    The salt in the curing process acts as a strong inhibitor of proteolytic activity, and phosphates also have an effect on reducing this activity.[15]

    The properties of the raw meat influence the effect of the enzymes; with factors including age and weight of the pig as well as breeding affecting the process.[16] During the process itself, conditions such as temperature, time, water activity, redox potential and salt content all have an effect.[14]

    The salt content in dry-cured ham varies through the piece of meat, with gradients determinable through dissection and testing, or non-invasively through CT scanning.[17
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  7. You should have used Tender Quick or regular Sugar Cure.
    The cure you used isn't intended for your application.
    It's for true long-term dry curing of country hams and the like....not relatively short-term curing.
    It contains nitrate nitrite.

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  8. Quote from

    "Since dry curing draws out moisture, it reduces ham weight by at least 18% - usually 20 to 25%; this results in a more concentrated ham flavor. Dry hams are saltier than other products and before serving are often soaked in water for 6-12 hours in refrigerator. The 5-6% or more salt they contain is added for safety reasons, to eliminate the growth of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. This salt plays a crucial safety factor in the initial stage of the process, when the product contains a lot of moisture. As curing and drying continues, the ham loses more moisture and less water remains available to bacteria. Dry-cured hams may be aged more than a year. Six months is the traditional process but may be shortened according to aging temperature."

    I have determined that i made a mistake in my method of preparing the butts... not in true BBB style, but more in the traditional style of making bacon, instead of using belly i used butts.  Followed the package instructions for the thickness of the meat... So I am not afraid of the meat as it has TOO much salt... that was the original question... how to get the salt out?

    I am reading that you can soak 6 to 12 hours but may need to let the butts age a bit more.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  9. Thanks martin, that is what i am figuring out.  Fact still remains, I followed the instructions on the package so I came out with ham instead of bacon... LOL

    Still to salty.
  10. Soak it in water!!!
    No one can tell you how long you should soak it...only you know what you like as far as salt level goes.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  11. That's the plan!  Swimming in the pot right now.
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Like we said, Soak it as long as you have to to get the way you like it.

    The only Mortons I ever used was TQ, and the only thing I know about the two sugar cures is that the regular sugar cure is interchangeable with TQ, and the Smokey sugar cure is not interchangeable with TQ or regular sugar cure.

    So if you followed the directions, I would keep soaking until you're happy with the flavor. Then Smoke it.

  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I just looked it up in my Mortons book, and it says what you did was right, so like we said, just keep soaking until you're happy.

  14. Thanks Bear,  as you said the TQ and sugar cure are interchangeable but NOT the smoked cure which i am using (the smoky sugar as stated before is for ham and bacon... bellies and butts, NOT making bacon out of butts) , so the BBB project turns into a ham project.  which needs more cure added and more time.

    Thanks to ALL for your patience while I figured this conundrum out.
  15. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    No, that's not how I read it. I read it as using the same amount on Bacon or Ham (which would include a Butt), but it should only be dry cured, like you did.

    No brine curing for Smoked Sugar Cure.

    I'll go back & read it again.


    On Edit: Read it again----Same Thing as I said.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  16. deucenahalf.
    Carefully re-read my first post above and then read this thread....
    Please don't confuse simply applying a dry cure mix with the long term process of "dry-curing"....there is a BIG difference.
    Morton Smoke Flavor Sugar Cure is intended for the long term process of dry curing!
    I hope it makes sense!
    Good luck!
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  17. Thanks Martin and Bear for your patience.  Martin i read your thread and that confirmed that i did confuse the two.  Guess the best thing to do is continue the dry  cure method i started... still kicking around doing the TQ and brown sugar method, will have to think on that one a bit.
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Mortons Book says:

    The cure reaction takes longer with Morton Smoked Flavored Sugar Cure mix than with plain Morton Sugar Cure mix, so the Smoked Flavored product should be used only for dry curing and not for making a brine (pickle) solution. 

    Then it goes on to say to use 1/2 ounce per pound, and cure for 7 days per inch for Bacon and/or Ham. A BBB (Butt) would generally be thicker than a belly, but not as thick as a Ham.

    So if your piece was 2" thick, according to Mortons, you should have used 1/2 ounce per pound, and dry cure it for 14 days. This is to be followed up by 2 days of equalization.

    So, again---Just keep soaking until you're happy with the flavor. You did everything right.


    PS: It's too late to use the TQ & Brown Sugar method on this batch, but if you want to use that next time, check out my Bacon (Extra Smoky) Step by Step.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  19. Thanks bear... that is what i am doing.  Again thanks to all for your help and patience!
  20. bigwheel

    bigwheel Smoking Fanatic

    Missed what kinda glorious creation we was shooting for here. Buckboard bacon maybe? Anyway nearly all those type cure strategies will get it too salty, Best remedy in my book would be to treat it like a country ham. That is slice it up as you want to eat it and cook it in a bunch of water in a skillet. After it has chuckled away for a while..dump the water and finish browning it up with a little butter. I aint never had any success trying to soak the salt out of big hunks of meat..but I bump into folks who claim it works. Not sure. Me or them one is apparently Or you could seeth it up in huge pot of water for a long time. That might work.

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