PPM for Immersion, Equilibrium, Injection curing

Discussion in 'Curing' started by fpmich, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Every time I think I've learned something about cures, a whole new world of ignorance opens up for me.  When I try to use on-line calculators for cure ratios, they seem to be only for ground meats, cure directly added. (1 tsp. (5 grams) to 5 lb.) meat.

    When I try to get ppm of a gal (8.33 lb) brine like Pops (of 1 ounce (28 grams) or less), it shows WAY over the limit. A whopping 464 ppm!

    Yet everyone says his is a weak cure/brine.  And yet you don't have to figure weight of meat into it. Just so it's covered.

    You can see why I am confused.

    I'm not doubting Pops at all. I've used his brine. I just don't understand the strength as being weak.

    So - in layman terms Please!

    What is the "upper" and "lower" ppm limits of cure#1 in

    1. Immersion brine? (I assume this ppm is much higher, due to small amount of pick up by meat?)

    2. Injection?  Is this mixed difference than over all brine?  Stronger or weaker?

    3. Equilibrium? (I think this ratio is the the same as directly applying to meat. (1 tsp or 5 grams to 5 lb.) 

    4. Is there a different cure ratio for different meats, or just the salt & times?

    For right now, don't give me calculations for computing ppm. Just give the upper and lower ppm limits please.

    I'll deal with the calculations with a "calculating guru" on the site who loves his math. LOL

    He's pretty good, and I'm pretty slow, but we'll get there. LOL

    Remember... the KISS principle.

    After all, look at who you're trying to help.  I have to start slow, and continue slow.  It's the way I am.  Sorry for that.

    Thank you for your help.  I appreciate it.
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Frank, morning...... This is not the KISS method...... Below is the federal inspectors handbook.... It is confusing at best, when you first look at it... Picking through each section and figuring out what the intent is, then figuring if it applies to you and your process is what's needed to end up with an amount of cure...

    In every ones defense, including mine, when a question is posed, not all the contributing factors are mentioned in the question.... Looking at the question and how in depth it is, and all the contributing pieces that go into determining the proper amount of cure for every method, type of meat, additives, whether it is cooked and shelf stable, processed for refrigeration etc.... 50 Ppm can be minimum.... 156 max in ground... 200 max in immersion/pumped.... 625 Ppm max in dry cured...... can be maximums..... And BACON has different standards.,, whether the pig skin is attached or removed, additives used..... Then there's the assumption that ALL the nitrite is absorbed into the meat or 50% is absorbed.... and calculations representing those methods is addressed....

    And all of the above can not get confused with the nitrate process.... 700-2187 Ppm nitrate in meats... depending on process etc....

    When reading the FSIS handbook, it is important to remember they are talking about NITRITE or NITRATE and NOT cure #1 or #2.... there is a big difference....


    I sure do wish this was simple.... Trying to answer a question and not know how familiar someone is with curing is difficult... not knowing if both are using the same terminology.. not knowing if ascorbates or other additives are used....

    Even I get confused trying to figure this [email protected] out.....
  3. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    OK "math guru" :)  (now everyone knows who that is)  lol

    Let me rephrase the question...

    WHY is the ~~PPM for Immersion, Equilibrium, Injection curing, so different?

    I'm not trying to learn the "exact amounts" for each with this question, but rather, the "why" behind each.

    The ppm for bacon vs other meats, I'll leave for another day.  It does make me wonder why tho.  Don't answer the bacon question for now tho.  Won't be doing that until next fall.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Morning..... It is my understanding, from listening to Pops and reading stuff, the finished product is tested for remaining Ppm nitrite or nitrate or both, after completion of the recipe (method) to insure adequate nitrite is there to stop/kill any bad stuff...
    If the nitrite is too little, or too much remaining, the method was adjusted.....
    So, the rules were put in place for ingoing nitrite so the outgoing nitrite was safe, but would kill all the nasties, bad stuff etc. and nitrites were at a minimum level to still do a good job.....

    If you think about it..... that is the only way to develop a method to insure food safety ..... continually measure the finished product for quality....

  5. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Dave,

    I still don't think I've explained myself very well.  I wish I could speak better with my fingers on keyboard.

    I'm not questioning the validity of various curing methods, nor their strength (ppm).  I'm trying to understand "the why".

    They seem to vary so widely on ppm of cure for each method.  I assume it how much nitrite is picked up by the meat in each method.

    I'm new and ignorant in of all of this.  So being that way, it seems to me that there would be one cure amount for each of the three methods.  I think I understand that more salt in brine would speed up the curing absorption, but shouldn't the cure amount stay the same?

    So much cure for method #1

    So much cure for method #2

    So much cure for method #3

    and so on...

    For instance;  

    Pops wet cure has less salt than a lot of people use.  A weak brine as some have said, due to low salt I assume.

    But the cure amount stays the same.   Near as I can figure, the only thing he varies to make up the difference of salt, is time spent in the cure/brine.  The ppm of cure stays constant regardless of amount/weight of meat added to it as long as it is fully submerged.  Only time or salt varies.   And it doesn't seem to matter what kind of meat, fish, beef, poultry etc.  One size fits all pretty much. 

    Meat weight doesn't seem to matter other than time spent in brine/cure.

    Is it that the pick up of nitrite is much higher with a dry, or equilibrium brine, than a wet/pickle brine like Pops, or what?

    I know, I know.  There is no KISS with this stuff,  Only the SS (Simple, Stupid part) as yours truly.  LOL

    It too dang cold and snowy for me to go out and smoke in this cold winter, so I'm trying to spend my snowbound time learning, while I wait for 45*-50* outside again.

    As far a figuring my own cures?  I'll stick to the tried and true from OTBS members.  Yeah, I'm a chicken.  Don't smoke me though.  [​IMG]  
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
  6. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  7. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sorry if I confused the issue even more , but I hope it shed some light on it for ya.
    The link to the FSIS that Dave posted is you best bet on understanding the methods, even though they don't answer a lot of the whys.
  8. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you Dan.

    Every little bit helps me get closer to understanding.  I hope.

    Equilibrium curing is mentioned quite a bit here.  You weigh your meat plus liquid, and add cure for the total weight, as I understand it.

    1 tsp. to 5 lb. (except for bacon).
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013

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