Someone watch this video and clarify something for me.

Discussion in 'Curing' started by haywire haywood, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. haywire haywood

    haywire haywood Smoke Blower

    I've got my first batch of bacon in the fridge curing and after doing some reading, am second guessing what I'm doing.  This is my first time out and am following this video.  Is the lack of nitrates going to cut my life short? LOL  Surely they didn't go out and buy Cure #1 from back in the day.  I bought some Morton's QT, but from my reading it's kinda pre-diluted as compared to the # cures and I'm guessing I'd have to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe by the same amount of QT required according to meat weight.  The instructions on the bag also talk about a cure time of 4-24 hours and this recipe is calling for a week without the cure.  If you've got a minute, check this video out and give me some feedback. 

    thanks, Ian

  2. I have not used tender quick cure. I am thinking on this site there was a conversion chart some place but can't find it.

     TQ compare to cure #1. Its the percentage of cure per volume of meat. I dry cure my bacon for 10 days with cure #1.

     Way back when, my folks cured in salt, then smoked. Course can't remember the the time lines. 

    Do a search on this site for "tender quick compare cure #1" this will bring up lots of info. CF
  3. haywire haywood

    haywire haywood Smoke Blower

    Yep, I found that reference in my reading here a couple hours ago.  The nagging question I have is this... Does the process described in the video sound valid?  It's a production put on by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Game, so my instinct is that it's ok, but the reading I've been doing here that stresses nitrates has me questioning that.

  4. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Weird, I was watching a bunch of those guys' videos this morning. They're showing very old world curing methods and you'll notice the weather looks pretty warm. I don't mean to sound untrusting, but just because you can make a video and put it on YouTube it doesn't make you an expert. I'd be wary of using their methods unless I was DAMN SURE I had all the info and was doing it correctly.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Do not use the recipe in the video..... It is not safe.... there is no nitrite in it....

    Morton's Tender Quick TQ us ready to apply.... Add 1 level Tbs. per pound of belly.... rub it in good and leave in a zip bag and refered for 7 to 10 days, turning daily and giving a periodic massage... you do not need, nor should you, add any additional salt.....

    The amounts in the link below are for sausage, ground meats..... but there is some good info in there...
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014
  6. haywire haywood

    haywire haywood Smoke Blower

    Alright, that was just bothering me.  It's been in the fridge about 30 hours with the video recipe on there.  I took it out, rinsed the other stuff off, rubbed in a tablespoon of the QT and applied the sugar and maple syrup per the recipe over that.  I feel better about it now.  I figure I bought the stuff (at Meijer's if anyone is curious), and might as well use it before I get too far into the process.


  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Here is the science behind this. The Salt and Sugar are hygroscopic and bind up the water any surface bacteria needs to live and multiply. Additionally the salt in an attempt to equalize the concentration levels, will enter the bacteria cells through the diffusion and osmosis process, killing them.  With the recipe above the surface bacteria would have been killed. The only remaining issue is, are there any Clostridium Botulinum Spores, the Botulism causing bacteria that are dormant in a protective covering, on the meat? The use of cure with Sodium Nitrite would kill these eliminating the risk that these spores would come to life during the low temp smoking and generate their deadly toxin. We therefore recommend always adding Nitrite Cure to your dry mix or brine.

    Here is the reality of curing Bacon and ONLY BACON, as in THIS example, with a rub of salt, sugar, etc. Simply Washing a hunk of belly and sanitizing your hands and work surface goes a long way to reducing bacteria. Adding the salt and sugar will eliminate the remaining bacteria or at a minimum, stop them from multiplying and producing toxins. Now the cure time is past, that bacon is washed, again, and dried to form a pellicle, bacteria can't grow on a dry surface. Now, could any spores or bacteria still be there, barring re-contamination from poor hygiene? In the very unlikely event that there are any Spores still on the meat that may activate, very unlikely on the dry surface of the bacon after forming a pellicle, and multiply to sufficient levels to produce enough toxin to make you sick, also very unlikely...Frying the Bacon, as who eats raw bacon, will destroy the Toxins, any living Bacteria and render that bacon completely safe...Period! Them's the facts.

    Now, I specify " in this example " and similar surface curing with a dry rub of salt and sugar because Brines and Injections act differently and the use of TQ or Cure #1 is the only way to make it safe. Additionally the grinding of meat to make Sausage mixes bacteria in to the interior and again the use of Nitrate/Nitrite Cure is absolutely necessary for guaranteed safety...JJ

    Based on the fact that I have no idea if the OP has a knowledge of Safe Food Handling procedures, I assume he does since he is here asking questions, or that any other reader knows what they are doing...I highly recommend the use of a Nitrite Cure and on behalf of SMF recommend the use of a Nitrite Cure as well...JJ
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    JJ.... morning.... Did you just say the method was SAFE ???
  9. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That bacon cooked up awful red looking for not having nitrites in it...just sayin
  10. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I wrote up an article about hydrogen peroxide as an anti-bacterial agent, and it was a similar situation. In some cases (aerobic bacteria vs. anaerobic) it doesn't kill the bacteria but it does keep them from multiplying.
  11. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I quit watching when he sliced it open. Didnt look like bacon to me
  12. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The video shows a fairly traditional way of producing bacon that is made to be eaten quickly and not meant to be stored/matured. Last year I attended an artisan meat smoking course and their method for making bacon was very similar to this - and also nitrite free. JJ has gone into great detail as to why this method is not as unsafe as it may initially appear. The pork used is quite thin and the salt and sugar would both remove water from the meat and bind much of the water that remains. Bacteria need to have free water in order to multiply and its availability is measured as Water Activity or Available Water (aw). It may seem fairly unintuitive but you can actually have liquids (e.g. sauces) where the water is effectively bound in such a way that bacteria are unable to multiply.

    The curing time in the video is quite short and it is in the fridge for the whole time. The risks are minimal. One part of the video I find hard to believe though is the way the bacon looked after only 4 hours in the smoker - which actually didn't appear to have much smoke in it. For a quick batch of bacon that is to be eaten straight away then this would be fine providing good food hygiene practices are adhered to.
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Greeting and Happy Holidays to you and your's Dave...Yes, with proper handling, reputable butcher, intact surface, washing before and after cure, forming a pellicle, and refrigeration with the exception of the 4 hours in smoke then pan cooking or a Hot Smoke cooking as told by the producer, the procedure used above is safe for Bacon and only Bacon. The use of Salt and Smoke only is far older than the use of Nitrite. Additionally an Intact salted and dried surface that will be cooked before consumption will eliminate the remote possibility that any bacteria or Botulinum toxin can cause harm. It IS NOT allowed for sale but is a traditional type of curing bacon that if " I " followed that " recipe " would have no issue eating or serving to my family.

    Based on the fact that I have no idea if the OP has a knowledge of Safe Food Handling procedures, I assume he does since he is here asking questions, or that any other reader knows what they are doing...I highly recommend the use of a Nitrite Cure and on behalf of SMF recommend the use of a Nitrite Cure as well. But for the purpose of this discussion and only this situation, I just wanted to point out that the recipe can produce safe bacon...JJ

    I have added the use of Nitrite recommendation to my original post.
  14. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    The place I work at makes bacon without nitrites.
  15. haywire haywood

    haywire haywood Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the additional input guys.

  16. zalbar

    zalbar Fire Starter

    Then it's not bacon, it's salt pork.
  17. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    This has been argued so many times.... I guess you can call it what you want. Salt pork, green bacon, fresh bacon, bacon...There will be no winner.  Its a traditional way of making bacon. Another member who made this said in a post I read if it feels and tastes like bacon, its bacon. The op's question was is it safe. Jimmy and wade said it was safe using Safe Food Handling procedures and risks are minimal with good hygiene practices.... that's good enough for me

    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
  18. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes, times have changed and food safety has changed, and we are now living now longer.

    Yes, some of my European friends salt their bellies, refrigerate them and call them bacon.  We would call that more like salt pork or salt back.

    For food safety, Chef JJ and Dave have spoken and I have nothing to add to or dilute their comments.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  19. haywire haywood

    haywire haywood Smoke Blower

    Well that was a disappointing bust.  The day I pulled it out of the fridge after drying, the weather decided to blow and rain.  The propane burner kept blowing out.  I chucked the meat back in the woods for the animals. After being in the fridge for a week, I'm not messing around trying to save it.  I started another pound curing today, hopefully next week will be better.

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