Curing Fridge Set-up (Bear’s Method)

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by bearcarver, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Curing Fridge Set-up (Bear’s Method)

    I figured I’d post this in case anyone’s interested. This method works good for me. I’ll explain it the best I can:

    When I started Dry Curing meat, 6 years ago, I read that the temp should be between 34° and 40°. Any lower than 34° could slow the curing process, and any higher than 40° could be a problem with spoilage. I decided to hold my temp right in the middle of that range.
    So I didn’t like checking the temp by opening the door, because that just lets warm air into the fridge, and if you look at a thermometer in the fridge, it might say 30°, because that may be the air temp at that time, or it could say 45°, because that could be the air temp at that time.
    So what really is the meat temperature??-----Who knows???

    So I figured since the best way to monitor your smoker is with a wireless digital thermometer, why not use that same system to get accurate Refrigeration temps. So for the air temp of the inside of the Fridge, I just hang my Maverick smoker probe on a Fridge rack, but that just tells the air temp as it cycles from the low temp to the peak temp, as the cold cycles on & off in the Fridge.

    Then to get the temp of the inside of the meat that’s curing in the Fridge, instead of sticking a probe in a piece of meat, I filled a bottle about 3/4 full with water, and dropped my Maverick Meat Probe in the bottle.

    It takes awhile, and some adjustments to the setting to get it to where you want it, but I had the water temp holding between 37° and 38°, and for quite some time now I’ve had it holding exactly 37°, which I figure is also the temp of the inside of the meats, and the air temp of the Fridge just continues to cycle from a Low of 31° to a High of 43°.

    So this is how I’ve been doing it for 6 years, and using the curing times calculations that I use with my Dry Curing, I have never had anything that wasn’t cured to center, and nothing has ever been too salty. I think the temperature while curing is one of the factors in proper curing.

    Below are a few pics of what I just explained. I’m sure there are other ways of doing this, but this is the way I’ve been doing it.


    Here’s a shot of the inside of my Basement Meat Fridge:
    At this time I had Pork Loin curing for CB on the top shelf, and Pieces of Pork Butt curing for BBB on the shelf below that.
    However the thing I want to show here is the Maverick ET-73 probes on the right side of the lower shelf.
    The one hanging is monitoring the Air Temp of the Fridge all the time.
    The Meat Probe is in water inside the Gatorade Bottle.
    At the point I have that fridge set, the air temp cycles from 31° to 43° continuously, and the one in the bottle holds exactly 37° at all times.
    I keep the receiver unit upstairs on the Hutch in my Dining Room, so I can see what the temps are whenever I pass by.

    Here is a shot of my receiver showing the low point of the Air Temp cycle at 31°, and the Water temp in the bottle is at the 37°.

    Here I got the camera out a couple seconds too late to get the Air Temp peak, which was at 43°, and the Water temp was at 37°.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  2. Good Info. This should help a lot of folks.   [​IMG]

  3. ndkoze

    ndkoze Smoke Blower

    Do you leave your thermometers running all the time? Or was this just to calibrate your fridge dial?

    Just wondering how long your batteries last if you leave them running all the time.
  4. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Makes sense. Saw the same principle in someone's temp controlled wine cellar. He had the thermostat probe inside a wine bottle (filled with water).

    My I suggest you make a clarification for some who might confuse this with a dry curing chamber setup?
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bear takes this stuff serious... EXCELLENT IDEA !!
  6. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's a great idea Bear, thanks for sharing your setup ! Thumbs Up
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I leave it set up like that 24-7-365. Have to change batteries twice a year at the most.

    Thanks Atomicsmoke.

    I thought about that, but didn't know how best to state it.

    I only use this for normal short time Dry curing, such as Belly Bacon, Canadian Bacon, Buckboard Bacon, Dried Beef, Bacon-on-a-stick, etc, etc.

    With this kind of curing, I don't worry about what the Humidity is.

    ndkoze likes this.
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Gary!!!

    And Thanks for the Point !!

    Thank You Dave!!

    I Appreciate it.

    And Thanks for the Point too!!

  9. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Excellent method, Bear! Points!

    I can't help but notice that empty rack space though [​IMG]
  10. ndkoze

    ndkoze Smoke Blower

    Thanks Bear,

    If I ever save up the dough for a dedicated meat/cure fridge, I will definitely be getting an extra Maverick to go along with it.
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thank You Justin!!

    And Thanks for the Point !!

  12. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    John that is good info it should help some.I do that some times just I do not leave the probe for more then a day or 2.Will be doing it later,have a new fridge for the basement coming today.


  13. halfsmoked

    halfsmoked Master of the Pit Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    And the Bear comes through again !!!! great info Bear nice to have the time to work all this up for us.
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thank You Richie!!

    The good thing about having it in there all the time, is it takes awhile to get the Temp right where I want it.

    I don't use the top freezer in this Fridge, because when holding the Fridge at 37° or 38°, the freezer is not low enough for my liking. I like my Freezer at ZERO.

    And Thanks for the Point !!

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
  15. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Warren!!

    And Thank You for the Point !

  16. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    John top freezer has its' own temp setting started making ice in about an hour. I have a cup of water in the fridge now with the probe in it.will tweak in the morning

  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup---Our 4 year old French Door Kenmore can be set anywhere with individual controls.

    However my Older "Cheapo" from Home Depot (curing Fridge) only has one control, and if I would set it so the freezer would hold ZERO, the Fridge would be at freezing.

    And holding the Fridge at 37°, like I do, makes the freezer too warm for my liking, so all I keep in that freezer is bottles of frozen water & paint brushes I use for painting my Log House.

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  18. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    John thanks for this post I always checked mine with just the probe.That bottle is a great idea,I used a coffee cup it was handy LOL.Checked at 5:00 AM 38* rechecked at 8:00 38* so the fridge is set.Now beaking in the new stove,have a bottom round roast in the oven.Thanks again Bud

  19. ndkoze

    ndkoze Smoke Blower


    Do you leave the thermometer in the water all the time? Or did you just do this to calibrate where the fridge thermostat needed to be set?
  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds Good Richie!!

    I leave my probes in there 24/7/365 so I don't have to start over every time I cure something.

    Plus my original 6 year old ET-73 has a frozen on-off switch, and the only way I can shut it off is to remove the batteries.

    My other Fridge & Freezers only have the cheap little stand-up thermometers in them, and I just glance at them once in a blue moon.


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