capicola question

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by kiethb67, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. kiethb67

    kiethb67 Newbie

    I am fairly new at this, but have a little experience making capicola using the uMai charcuterie salt box method.  The cap came out quite nice, however, this method requires a TON of salt.  Therefore the meat came out very salty also.

    so i went looking for a better way of doing this and more traditionally.  

    ultimately, i had a 950 gram hunk of pork shoulder and using .25% pink salt and 3.5% curing salt among other spices.  I then stashed in ziplock bag in fridge for about 12 days.  after I pulled it out and rinsed it off, i noticed that ever so slight sour smell of old pork.  Is this  normal?  also, the outside of the meat was a much darker color than when it started.  after the first one that i did last year, i certainly didnt remember it being this dark.  I am attaching a photo for all to view to get your expert opinions.  Is this still safe?  given what i did to make this, does anyone see where I have gone wrong, if at all?  The inside is still nice and red, but I am just worried about dealing with spoilage.

    thank you!

  2. mark bacon

    mark bacon Fire Starter

    does not look right and I'd be wary of any smell, although I know as it ages it can smell, but I don't think it should smell right after coming out of the bag of cure.
  3. smokin phil

    smokin phil Smoking Fanatic

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
  4. kiethb67

    kiethb67 Newbie

    Hey guys, thanks for the responses.  However, would love to get a little bit more feedback.  

    firstly, i actually have two of these that i made the exact same way.  they both came out looking this color.  the odor on the second one is ever so faint and I believe it might have been because it was past its prime when I bought it at the store.  That is not the issue here, I can get another butt and try again.  however, I know this is going to happen again since I took the same steps and the result should be the same too.

    Do i need more cure #2, or less time curing.  The nitrate is suppose to make the meat keep its color, so it must either be a normal color, not enough nitrate or maybe the nitrate can go bad over time.  This stuff is probably over 1 year old maybe even 2.

    Phil, I have simply followed Umai's recipe for capicola to a 'T', which required a lot of salt, did not see alternatives.  Now, I have been following a different way of making the capicola where the original cure part is done for about 10-12 days in the ziplock, then rinse and go to the drying method, whether it be bung, netting or even the umai dry bags.  

    In any case, i will do additional research but was hoping to turn to a forum for some support.  I really dont want to waste a third 20 dollar butt.  

    thanks for any help or opinion you can provide.

  5. bentley

    bentley Fire Starter

    Welcome to the forum Keithb67.   I just did my first attempt at capicola using a part of the pork shoulder called the coppa. I have brine numerous pork cuts using the wet brine method; depending on the length of time in the brine the color difference varies from light to darkish brown, not as dark as the one you pictured.  Was the pork pink when you purchased it or where there dark area on the pork? When I first started I didn't disturb the pork in the brine, as suggested, and I got a very dark portion that sat against the bowl. As far a smell goes all my smelled wonderful. All the added spices had a sweet smell that permeated the air.  The total weigh of my pork is 2994 grams, two pieces. I used a total of 23 grams of pink salt and 192 grams of salt. You show you used .25% pink salt and 3.5% curing salt. What is the curing salt your using?  Exactly how much pink salt did you use in grams and the curling salt in grams?  Just trying to see the numbers without guessing. Thanks Bentley
  6. kiethb67

    kiethb67 Newbie

    Hey, thanks for working with me!  

    ok, so as I posted, it was a 950 gram piece from the pork butt.  I used, .25% which is .0025 of 950, 2.5 grams of pink salt.  this seems VERY low compared to your 23 grams!  not sure what I am missing, but i have seen .25% in many many places.  I am not a math major for sure, but not seeing the correlation here....  if you have a 2994 grams and multiply by .0025 it only comes out to 7.5 grams which is very confusing to me.  how are you calculating the amount of nitrate?  your number would  be about .75%, three times more than what i have read to use.

    the meat was pink when I bought it.  I used mortons kosher salt.  3.5 % of that is 33 grams of curing salt.

    let me know what you think.

  7. bentley

    bentley Fire Starter

    Keithb67 my mistake, I brine in water, two quarts in this case.  I'm no chemist I just follow other peoples recipes. How did my manage to get 2.5 grams of #2 cure spread evenly over the pork? 
  8. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    KB67, I have tried Umais recipe for capicola and venison salami. The salami came out bland ,no real flavor and the capicola came out SALTY. I never used the other bags and won't use their recipes again .
  9. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    With dry brines the meat and salt/spices sit in a ziploc bag. It needs to be flipped /massaged daily so the juices extracted from the meat carry the cure everywhere.
  10. bentley

    bentley Fire Starter

    atomicsmoke IMO there is no way a cure whether #1 or #2 can be distributed correctly on a piece of protein in such small quantities ie:2.5 grams #2 cure for a 2 pound plus irregular piece of protein that Keithb67 used just by putting it in a plastic bag.   All recipes call for cure to be evenly distributed over the surface of the protein.  I can see where some of the cure may be distributed as you describe, but not properly, leading to protein not being cured properly.  The application of the cure is the most important step in curing meat, from a safety stand point.
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bentley, morning..... The amounts of cure #1 & #2, for a proper cure is ~ 0.9 grams to 1.5 grams per pound of meat.... Depending on the cut and what you are curing.... from bacon to salmon....

    Time to adjust your thinking process....... That is the proper amount.... Add the weighed amount of cure to the weighed amount of salt and sugar and equally distribute it over the meat..... rub it in.... put in a bag and chemistry will do the rest.... That method has been used for decades and is safe....
    Now you have to trust us on this.... get a grams scale so you can be accurate and go for it... turn the meat and massage the pkg. daily... 12-15 days later you will be rewarded....

  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Keith morning.... Am I wrong in thinking you should have used a singular muscle for this ??
  13. bentley

    bentley Fire Starter

    Good morning to you also Dave.  I am well aware of the process in curing meats. Your statement above is very miss leading to people that have no experience in curing meats, 0.9 to 1.5 grams per pound that's quite a large gap between the two. Do you consider a plastic bag method a wet cure or dry cure?  What about putting the meat in a container with only salt to cure? Something done decades doesn't make it correct that's why we now have the USDA. This forum only has a handful of members that truly understand the complexities of curing meats. I'm not one of them. I'm not picking on you by any means you are a wealth of knowledge but speaking in generalities only confuses the issues.  There's only one entity I have trust in and it isn't man.[​IMG]    Bentley
  14. kiethb67

    kiethb67 Newbie

    if you are referring to the two pieces here, i simply cut it in half to show the interior color.  I have used this exact cut before and if it wasnt for the overload on salt, it worked out great!  just enough meat to with plenty of that fat.  it was really so good.
  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bacon, skin on max Ppm nitrite allowed is 108 Ppm... bacon rind off 120 Ppm max allowed, when brined, pumped and massaged.... Salmon and bacon dry rubbed 200 ppm nitrite max allowed.... Dry rubbed country type ham, 625 Ppm max allowed over several applications....

    Plastic bag curing process is what I call a "dry brine".... dry rub the ingredients on the meat and let it sit in it's own brine.... not to be confused with a dry rub where the meat is allowed to drip liquids as they are released from the meat...
    Salt curing is what it is... salt pork or salt beef...

    IMO there is no way a cure whether #1 or #2 can be distributed correctly on a piece of protein in such small quantities

    My response was to your statement above.... It is acceptable, safe and used daily to add small quantities to hunks of meat... It can be distributed correctly if a reasonable amount of care is taken...

    Sorry if I came across an a-hole... If I had noted 1.5 grams per pound was a proper amount, that would have not been true in all cases...
    I just wanted to note that there are different amounts for different application so folks would not assume "one size fits all"...

    You'd be surprised how many folks read one sentence, think it's gospel, and apply that to everything they do when it comes to curing meats... Without writing a novel for each response, I do the best I can, in trying to educate folks on safe, proper curing... If I screw up, let me know and I will respond accordingly... I make mistakes and do my best to fix the error.... And I do it on the forum, not in a PM.... No one learns from PM's..... At times folks think I'm picking on them.... NOT TRUE... this forum is a learning experience for everyone...
    When it comes to curing, I'm pretty darn pragmatic... there's not much room for error when folks health is at risk....

    Dave .... :dunno
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  16. smokin phil

    smokin phil Smoking Fanatic

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
  17. bentley

    bentley Fire Starter

    Smokin Phil I don"t disagree with what Dave or you say completely. I have a problem with statements like "It can be distributed correctly if a reasonable amount of care is taken". What's that supposed to mean or course if everything is done correctly everything is safe. Posts by many on this forum are so general they're useless. Most of my questions to Dave were rhetorical. I wasn't looking for a complete course on meat curing from him or anyone on the forum. Learning requires much research and experimentation.  Once again just because someone has done something in the past hundreds or thousands of times without a problem doesn't make it correct. Also I'm not disputing your or Dave's % use of pinks salt. I've asked some very simple questions on the forum and for the most part there are never answered or answered in the typical generalized manor.  Dave you don't come across as a-hole your very interesting.  I'm not going to belabor this point any further as the answers aren't here. Time to concentrate on methods and recipes which abound here.  Thanks Bentley. 
  18. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The dry cure method is well known and accepted as safe practice. Meat curing books authored by reputable people recommend the technique. Members here have tested the method and compared it with other methods and confirmed the numbers. Nothing wrong with wet brine, dry brine is just another way of doing things.

    If you want to prove everyone wrong you are more than welcome. Let us know test conditions, methodology - I will buy tickets front row. No one wants to use a method that is PROVEN unsafe.

    P.s. if USDA seal of approval makes you more comfortable check out USDA's "meat inspector handbook" (Google it).It lists dry cure as an accepted method.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  19. smokin phil

    smokin phil Smoking Fanatic

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
  20. bentley

    bentley Fire Starter

    atomicsmoke your the perfect example of what I'm talking about on this forum. Where did I say the dry cure method isn't an excepted practice?  I do it all the time. Your lack of comprehension is the only problem here. Try reading between the lines.[​IMG]   Thanks for the comment though Bentley. 

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