Montreal Steak Seasoning Cured Belly Bacon - with Qview & CUREview

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by twinfallsid, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. For presents last Christmas I made 45 pounds of belly bacon using Montreal Steak Seasoning (MSS) as the primary flavor component.  Everyone who got some really enjoyed it; some said it was the best bacon they ever had.  The thread for that smoke is here: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/132119/45-lbs-is-5-bellies

    Today I brought home another box of bellies to make the MSS recipe again.  There were five bellies in the box again, so I decided to freeze two of them for the next Christmas smoke of 7 bellies in November, and start curing the other three bellies tonight.

    Last time I estimated that MSS was one-half salt.  Instead of guessing again I decided to figure out the salt content of MSS from available information.

    The mass ratios of Sodium and Chlorine in table salt is 39.3% Sodium, and 60.7% Chlorine.

    Per the package nutrition panel, Montreal Steak Seasoning (MSS) has 170 mg of sodium per 800 mg serving.

    At the mass ratio for the two elements in salt, 170 mg of sodium is bound to 262.57 mg of Chlorine, making 432.57 mg of salt, in one 800 mg serving of MSS.

    Thus MSS is 54.07% salt.

    To add 100 grams of table salt to a cure mix, you would add 185 grams of MSS.

    To add 250 grams of table salt to a cure mix, you would add 463 grams of MSS.

    To add 500 grams of table salt to a cure mix, you would add 925 grams of MSS.

    So my previous guess of 50% was not far off the mark.

    I'm using pink curing salt again this time.  It is 6.25% sodium nitrate.  The directions say to use 4 oz. with 100 pounds of meat.  I will use this Dry Cure Bacon calculator: http://www.localfoodheroes.co.uk/calculator/dry_cure_bacon/

    to determine the amount of table salt (contained in the MSS) to add to each slab of belly.  I'm going to shoot for 2.25% salt content in the bacon.

    OK, so much for the intro.  Now I'm off to weight each slab and calculate the cure mix for each piece.  More to be posted soon.
     
  2. [​IMG]    I'm in for this one  [​IMG]
     
  3. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    My head hurts now! Lol... I'm in
     
  4. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Im a ready as well... I really want to do some bacon for the first time as soon as the weather cools off here.... 

    Good read so far.. Keep it up please :)

    Mike
     
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I double checked your Calculator and it is accurate. It's a nice program thanks...JJ
     
  6. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I love the calculator and I am looking forward to the bacon!

    Disco
     
  7. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yea no kidding.

    I am watching too.   
     
  8. I used a hanging fish scale to weigh the belly slabs. 

    I decided to go with 2.15% salt in the finished bacon, I think that will be closer to what I had before. 

    Here are the cure calcs for each slab:

    3.530 kg Slab:

    Min. Pink:  6.78 gr.

    Sub-mean: 7.91 gr. [Edit for 140 ppm]

    Mean:  9.04 gr.

    Max Pink:  11.3 gr.

    Salt:   65.3 gr.

    MSS:  120.8 gr.

    Total Cure Weight: 128.7 gr. [Edit]

    3.671 kg Slab:

    Min. Pink:  7.1 gr.

    Sub-mean: 8.25 gr. [Edit for 140 ppm]

    Mean:  9.4 gr.

    Max Pink:  11.75 gr.

    Salt:   67.91 gr.

    MSS:  125.6 gr.

    Total Cure Weight: 133.9 gr. [Edit]

    4.231 kg Slab:

    Min. Pink:  8.12 gr.

    Sub-mean: 9.46 gr. [Edit for 140 ppm]

    Mean:  10.8 gr.

    Max Pink:  13.54 gr.

    Salt:   78.27 gr.

    MSS:  144.8 gr.

    Total Cure Weight: 154.3 gr. [Edit]

    The cure calculator I used gives a minimum an maximum weight for the nitrate curing salt, I will use the mean between those two (add the two numbers, then divide by 2).  [Edit] DigginDogFarm - Martin - recommends less pink salt, so I edited the calcs above to use a Sub-mean, which is the mean between the minimum pink salt and the previously calculated mean.  That will work out to 140 ppm of nitrate.

    I got the weight of the MSS using the 100 gram rule in my first post.  100 is 100, whether its grams or percents.

    The 3.530 kg slab needs 65.3 grams of salt.  That is 65.3% of the 100 gram rule.  So we multiply 185 grams of MSS by .653 (a percentage) to get the 120.8 grams of Montreal Steak Seasoning we need, which will add 65.3 grams of salt to the cure.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  9. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I grant you the Doctorate of Cure!

    [​IMG]

    Disco
     
  10. I would use 120ppm to 156ppm nitrite.
    I don't recommend using that calculator.
    It's calculating the the maximum at 200ppm and the minimum at 120ppm, so the mean would be 160ppm.



    ~Martin
     
  11. Martin - So you would recommend the mean between the minimum and the original mean?  We will call that the Sub-mean, which would be 140 ppm..

    3.530 kg slab would need 7.9 gr. of pink salt, for a total cure weight of 128.7 gr.

    3.671 kg slab would need 8.25 gr. of pink salt, for a total cure weight of 133.9 gr.

    4.231 kg slab would need 9.46 gr. of pink salt, for a total cure weight of 154.3 gr.

    Thank you for the recommendation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  12. Well...the mean in the first result is a little high.
    If you've already applied it I wouldn't worry about it, but if not, it's easier to just use my calculator.
    http://www.diggingdogfarm.com/page2.html



    ~Martin
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  13. I opened up the packages that the three slab bellies came in and decided to re-weigh each slab and recalculate the cure:

    Slab 3.545 kg - MSS = 122g and 7.9g pink salt

    Slab 3.610 kg - MSS = 123.5g and 8.1g pink salt

    Slab 4.173 kg - MSS = 143g and 9.3g pink salt.

    I used the fish scale to weigh each slab:


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    The scale can be switched from Lbs/oz to Kg/gr:


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    The platform scale and the coffee grinder are essential.  The scale is accurate to about 1/2 gram for getting the pink salt right, and the grinder is re-purposed as a spice grinder.  Since MSS has several aromatic spices it is a good idea to finely grind the MSS and pink salt to mix, and better release the flavors.  Be careful not to grind the mix too fine.  Slightly smaller than table salt is about right.  If too fine, the mix will gum up on your hands as you rub it onto the belly.


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    Here the mix is poured into a bowl so it is easier to spoon onto the belly so it can be rubbed.


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    A fine looking belly:


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    Fat side rubbed:


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    Meat side rubbed:


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    All four edges rubbed:


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    Bagged into a tall kitchen trash bag:


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    Stacked into the refrigerator:


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    The thickest part was just at 2 inches, so that works out to a minimum of 6 days, flipping the stack daily so the juices can get all around.  I will probably let this stack cure for about 10 days.
     
  14. It should be good. I have some bacon in brine now.

    Happy smoken.

    David
     
  15. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looking good so far. Love the tutorial. Ear marking this for the day I finally take a stab at bacin' makin'!
     
  16. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice looking Belly slabs. I really do need to get a new digital scale so I can do some more dry rubbed cures!
     
  17. The 3 slabs are about 1/2 way cured.  Here are some pics.  The slabs have lost their softness and are pretty hard.  When flipping them over and restacking, I put the one in the middle on the bottom, the one on top in the middle, and the one on the bottom on the top.  I reposition the extra bag material, wrapping it around the slab, to make sure the juice doesn't leak out.

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  18. This evening I took the slabs out of the bags and washed them off under running water.  I wiped them dry with paper towels and stacked them on cookie racks in the bottom of the refrigerator.  The air-space between each from the racks allows the pellicle to form as they finish drying over night.  I put the bacon hooks in the slabs so I don't have to handle them too much.

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    Racked in the 'fridge for pellicle


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    Washed meat side


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    Washed fat side


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    Unwashed meat side, straight from the bag.


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    Unwashed fat side.


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    In the morning around 3 AM, I'll get the smoker loaded and going with wet hickory chips in the electric smoke box.  It should be just below 60F outside around then.  Hopefully it will take two piles of chips smoking, before it gets up to 105F inside the smoker.
     
  19. Its 3am and the three slabs are just now in the smoker with a pile of soaked hickory chips in the chip box.  The starting temp of the smoker was 59F.  I disabled the two primary heaters at the bottom of the plenum, the sole source of heat for this run is the electric element in the chip box.

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    Time to fire up the esspresso machine and wait to see how fast the temp rises compared to the amount of smoke generated.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  20. After a half hour the smoker got up to 85F; the 1st round of chips were 80% gone up in smoke.  I turned off the power for a half hour and let it coast down to 80F.  Thirty minutes later I opened the door to let it cool down.  The slabs showed a surface temp of 58F.  As soon as the laser surface thermometer shows that smoker has cooled inside below 65F, I'll close it up again and plug it back in for the 2nd smoke. 
     

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