Curing Chamber Humidity Problem

Discussion in 'Curing' started by smoke-it, May 9, 2016.

  1. Hi there all,  I just finished my curing chamber project and was so delighted.   I followed the same basics as xtufuzzy  using a upright 17cu ft freezer. Put a low volume fan 14 cu ft/min in the bottom and an exhaust port at the top barely moves the louvers on the dryer vent on the exhaust port so should not cause case hardening but exchange air so evaporated moisture from the suasage doesn't build humidity up and go stagnant, dual temp controlled plug to pwr it on as needed to maintain the desired temp and as I';m in Alberta Canada and the unit is in the outside garage with no heat can use either the refrigeration or a ceramic heater depending on the time of year, have a dual humidity controller plug so can use humidifier or dehumidifer,  purchased a humidifier as our RH avgs 25-30% so figured from all the research of others that I would be needing to add humidity.   Also put in a remote temp/humidiy monitor.

    Plugged in the fan and monitored for several days, things looked good temp and humidity stabilized to outside measurements all was looking good.   Set the temp controller and plugged in the refrigeration and yes it kicked in and brought temp down to the 40F I set it to, I got all excited went and got my meat,  when I got home and looked at the monitor temp was at 40f but the humidity was up to 88%, WHAT?   Put meat in to chill till next morning,  checked the monitor and it was now 40f and 90%.   I was devastated,  change plan from dry cured to smoke cooked, processed meat and seasoned put back in till next morning to stuff and smoke,  next day 40f 98%.   All this time the fan has been running continuous, unit is holding 40f no problem, but how is it the humidity has skyrocketed , the current humidity outside is 25%.  

    I took the meat out and stuffed and hot smoked my sausage, turned out great.

    I left the unit running and now over several days the temp remains at 40f and the humidity has dropped to 81%.   I checked inside and there is water running down the walls.

    HELP.    Anyone out there that can explain what is happening.   People doing the same thing in higher humidity  locations are adding humidifiers to get humidity up to the 70-75% mark and I can't get it down below 80 in this arid climate of ours.   The inside of the chamber is just sweating from the humidity.

    This is a manual defrrost unit as has been recommended for this purpose by those that have done this.

    I'm looking at dehumidifiers, as I don't know what has gone wrong, other than I have to get the humidity down and be able to control it at  desired %

    Here's hoping someone can help me

  2. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'm not gonna be of any help... except that you would probably get more reply's if you would have put this thread in the correct sub category... maybe a Mod can move it for you to this one .... Hope you get it worked out ..
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here's what's happening.....    The refer temperature is below the outside ambient temperature.....  Therefore, any and all moisture in the outside air will condense inside the refer...   Close the air inlet and outlets....  See what happens...  You may have to use the fan to exhaust the humidity to the outside...  Using your controller, when the humidity gets to 85%, have the fan come on for 2-4 minutes....  check.... make adjustments... 

    For a curing chamber, to age cure meats, you want the humidity around 80% so case hardening won't happen....   and the temperature is dependent on what bacteria you inoculate the meat with....

    It would help if you would put your location and elevation in you profile for all to see...
  4. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dave has given you good advice here. One thing that I would add though is to move your fan from the bottom to the exhaust flue. I find this more effective as there is not the large air buffer in the chamber to compress. Are you using a variable speed fan? If so then crank it up a little to give more air flow through the unit.

    You are looking for 75%-85% humidity and with that you are likely to get some condensation on the walls but a steady air flow should help to minimise this.
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I moved this to the curing section.

  6. Dave and Wade thanks for the info.  

    In my roll call profile I mentioned that I'm in Alberta Canada, we are at around 3500ft and avg RH is 25-30% here.

    Wade if I understand correctly you are saying to suck the air out rather than push it in, I believe you are saying that pushing the air is like compressing the air inside the chamber but even so when it reaches a certain psi it would start exhausting at the equivalent cu ft/min would it not, as sucking it out?   I'm using a fixed speed fan and got a low volume one as I didn't want to move a lot of air for 2 reasons, didn't want to induce case hardening,  and didn't want to add too much outside air at higher ambient temp causing refer to cycle more often.

    Dave I see your point, the warmer outside air is condensing what moisture there is in the air even though the humidity level is low.

    I have been running the fan continuously, so I'll turn it off and see what happens.  Am I correct in thinking that you need to cycle the air inside some to remove the moisture that is coming out of the meat and to keep it from getting stagnant.   If so how often and how long, the current fan at 14cuft/min would almost cycle the entire chamber of 17 cuft in a min.   If I ran it for 5 mins say 3 times/ day do you think that would be sufficient or overkill (I haven't looked yet but I don't think there are timers that allow you to set for less than 5 min intervals, if there are then 2-3 min on time might be better)  just want to cycle out the current chamber air with fresh  new air without causing the increased humidity/ condensation.  Correct me if I'm off base here, but as the moisture is drawn out of the meat, would it not increase the humidity level in the chamber if not replaced with new air or have the humidiity withdrawn from the chamber via a dehumidifier.

    I have been running it at 40f using it as a frig, that would cause more condenstion on the incoming air than running it 55f where I need it for curing.  I best adjust the temp turn off the fan and monitor and see what transpires.   Stand by while I give it a few days to find norm.

  7. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    what Dave is trying to say.. If you filled out your profile with your location.. one wouldn't have to go look for your roll call and see if maybe you did say your location there.... Location is very important when answering some questions and if it were in your profile it will show up in each of your posts on your header... That in turn would inspire others to comment on your questions instead of thinking that they might give the wrong answer pending location ...
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Humidity is not a problem during the first several days waiting for the nitrite to take effect on the meat...  I'm thinking you are fermenting using bacteria cultures...  Then you want 80% humidity to keep it from case hardening...   and you can leave it there for the 3-6 months the fermentation takes...... 

    If you are just curing to make andouille or summer sausage, it's only in the refer for a day or so...   Not exactly sure what your goal is...
  9. I'm currently doing dry cured Hungarian and dry cured fermented Chorizo, yes using culture.   I have been doing them in 23 mm casing and hanging in the basement where temp is 50-58 and humidity is 30%, they are ready in 2 wks and even better at 3 wks.  I used the smaller casing as the humidity level is not up to where it should be for larger sized casing as suggested from the guys at the sausage shops.  I am getting very good results considering, couple of the local sausage shops have said it is very good and have given me some tips on how to improve it.   However I can only do this during the winter months with this method and I want to go all year as well as move up in case size and move on to some of the other cured types with even larger case size thus built the curing chamber in order to progress.

       I used this chamber for doing my first bacon,  set temp for 40f overhauled every 2nd day for 2 wks then finished in the smoker.  Did side and back, it is the most amazing bacon I've ever had, and everyone who has tried it says the same, not bragging as I didn't do anything special,  I used 3 different brands of bacon cure ( try different ones to see if one is preferred over an other) and added maple sugar or maple syrup or both as I had found in doing some research on it, made 5 different mixes and did up 5lbs with each mix.   It just plain beats store bought hands down,  I always thought curing bacon was difficult until I picked up this book on smoking and salt curing, and I said that's dead simple, and so I did it,  oh what I've missed for decades .

    Anyway I'm addicted no obessed with making sausage and jerky and smoking and now curing.   I give more away than I eat so I can make more, your always trying to tweak your recipe to get something better or try new ones or match/out do someone Else's. 
  10. Oh I see,

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