TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!

Discussion in 'Curing' started by wrangler3878, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. Butchered a pig this weekend, while researching wet brine recipes there seems to be everything from nuts to bolts for info, but unfortunately a LOT of discrepancies!!  Apparently I can't even trust my local butcher, he told me a gallon of water equals 10 lbs, HUH?? I went to scool once upon a time and did the conversion and gallon of water is 8.33lbs, thats a pretty big difference I'd say...

    Anyways I just wanted to get your take on the brine we ended up creating, one for hams, and one for bacon.

    I'm using Prague Powder(mine does not specify #1 or #2 but it only has nitrite so I assumed #1)

    For the hams(~24lbs of netted hams)

    1gal(8.33lbs) of warm bottled water

    1/3 cup of prague powder (6.4%sodium nitrite)

    4 cups of liquid honey

    1 cup of brown sugar

    1/2 cup pickling salt

    1 tsp allspice

    For the bacons(15.1 of slabbed bacon)

    1gal(8.33lbs) of warm bottled water

    1/3 cup of prague powder (6.4%sodium nitrite)

    1 cup brown sugar

    1 cup pickling salt

    1 tbsp or coarse ground pepper

    Thoughts?  I couldn't find any reliable sources for how much of this prague powder to use, seemed to vary anywhere from 1 tsp to 4 oz!!  Hopefully I haven't poisoned anything, they just went in the brine last night and I was planning on taking the bacons out in 3 days to smoke, the hams in 5 days.  Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't use Prague Powder, but there is a big difference between #1 and #2.

    If I were you, I wouldn't go ahead without info from a couple of the experienced Pink Salt users on this forum.

    I wouldn't use warm water.

    Takes a lot longer than 3 or 5 days too,.

    Hopefully they'll be along soon.

    Bear
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wrangler, afternoon..... The 10#'s comes from the other stuff added to the gallon of water... salt, sugar etc. then you end up with close to 10#'s per gallon.....
    Netted hams....... is the bone in ????
    If so, they need to be injected along the bones.... otherwise, you will have bone sour which ruins the ham....

    Since there are 16 Tbs per cup, you are adding approx. 5.3 Tbs per gallon of cure ( 5.3 0z approx.)...

    Below is pop's6927's brine... is has been approved by the USDA.......
    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/110799/pops6927s-wet-curing-brine

    real simple curing brine:

    for every 1 gallon of water, add:

    1/3 - 1 cup sea salt (depending if you're on a lo-salt diet)

    1 cup granulated sugar or Splenda®

    1 cup brown sugar or Splenda® brown sugar mix

    1 tbsp cure no. 1 pink salt

    stir thoroughly until clear amber color, pour over meat, inject if necessary to cure from inside-out as well as outside-in

    weight down with a partially filled 1 qt or 1 gal. ziploc bag or bags to keep meat immersed

    Curing times vary with meat, but generally overnight to 2-3 days for chickens and turkeys, 8-10 days buckboard bacon, 10-14 days belly bacon, pork shoulder, whole butts, 3-4 weeks whole hams, 10-20 days corned beef (fresh beef roasts, briskets, rolled rib roasts, etc.) If whole muscle is more than 2" thick, then inject so it can cure i/o as well as o/i, and/or in and around bone structures, etc.

    You can add any other flavorings you'd like, this is just the basic curing brine. 1 heaping tablespoon of cure is about 1 ounce. The maximum concentration allowed safely is 3.84 ounces per 1 gallon of brine (24 lbs.per 100 gallons: 16 oz. x 24 = 384 ounces, 1/100th is 3.84 ounces). You can experiment with different concentrations as long as you keep it between those parameters:
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  4. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Curing Times:

    “Curing times vary with meat, but generally overnight to 2-3 days for chickens and turkeys, 8-10 days buckboard bacon, 10-14 days belly bacon, pork shoulder, whole butts, 3-4 weeks whole hams, 10-20 days corned beef (fresh beef roasts, briskets, rolled rib roasts, etc.) If whole muscle is more than 2" thick, then inject so it can cure i/o as well as o/i, and/or in and around bone structures, etc.”

    As you have already noticed there are more recipes than there are opinions. AND I found the best policy is to NOT mix and match 'em to suit what you want. Best way is to find one you trust, try it following directions verbatim. Then the next attempt you'll know what to expect, and what envelopes you want to push.

    Here on these boards we have pretty basically two standardized recipes. One a dry/rub cure, the other a wet/brine cure.

    If you want to understand the differences in the curing salts and why they do make a difference I found this site extremely helpful.:

    http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showthread.php?736-Curing-Salts

    If you want a brine cure that is known to work every time and has some great feedback,

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/124885/bacon-made-the-easy-way

    The biggest thing I can offer, is find one you want to live by. If a recipe says its done in 7 days you can't use another and expect to see the same results.

    I can testify to the above brine cure, I have made both hams and bacon from the same cure.

    Hope it all works out for you and you get what you want from your hams and bacon.
     
  5. Thanks for the advice folks...

    DaveOmak - the hams are netted, no bones, but I did inject the hell out of them...

    Whats got me concerned is that I used 1/3 of a cup and that recipe only call for 1 tbsp of pink salt (which I assume is the same as prague powder cept mines not pink, it's white)

    Wondering if I should pul everything out of the brines and start over? or is it too late now?  I couldn't seem to find a trend in anyone's recipe's as far as how much cure and how much salt.  Then there were different KINDS of cure such as morton's tender quick which I believe is a LOT less concentrated than the Prague powder (ie.-0.5% nitrite and 0.5% nitrate) so I can't really rely on THOSE recipes...

    Looks like I used a little under 3oz. of cure in my brines, which I have no idea how it will work, but it doesn't look like I would be over the USDA limit, I was shooting for the minimum (125ppm) of 3oz./gal of water = roughly 140 ppm nitrites

    What do you guys think?  I AM guilty of doing a little mixing and matching between recipes as far as salt sugar and cure goes, I was aiming for a sweeter ham, hence the extra sweets in that brine...once again, appreciate the advice/input.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wrangler...... evening..... since you have injected..... I would double the amount of water in the bucket... If you had 1 gallon with 5.3 oz in it.... That would give you 2.6 oz per gallon...... If you added 2 more gallons, that would give you1.8 oz per gallon.... somewhere near what you were looking for..... That also would reduce the ingoing nitrite.... considering you injected with the higher concentration, 5.3 stuff, at about 10% of the weight of the ham, you have effectively injected enough nitrite to cure almost 1/2 the ham.... with the new reduced nitrite in the bring at the lower concentration. it will be "safe", within guidelines....
    You could add a 3rd gallon and reduce the brine to 1.3 oz / gallon or even go to a 4th gallon and reduce it to 1.03 oz / gallon .....
    Considering the initial injection, I would go with the 1 oz./gallon (1 Tsp / gallon effectively) and brine for the maximum time in the refer to help dilute/redistribute the injected brine.....
    One more consideration..... when smoking, a temperature of over approx. 130 IT of the meat, the nitrite breaks down so any further risk is reduced..... don't know how much.....
    I would smoke that stuff at 130 - 140 degrees for 24 hours, and the bacon should be about 130 IT and done...... Up the temp to 160-165 and finish the ham at 140 ish ....not adding smoke all the time.... maybe the first 4 hours or so...
    both will have to be cooked before eating... You could take the ham up to 150 ish and call it good, if you like rare ham...

    Dave
     
  7. Thanks Dave, I'm still not following you on the 5.3 oz = 1/3 of a cup, I googled a BUNCH of sites and keep getting just under 3 oz...
     
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    16 Tbs. = 1 cup 1 Tbs. = 1 oz. 1/3 cup = 5.3 Tbs. = 5.3 oz or something close..... that is the long way around....

    That's the way I figured it using pop's numbers..... he noted 1 heaping Tbs = 1 oz...

    Now that I looked it up.... 1 Tbs = 0.46 oz, I can see why you were concerned....

    Cut all those numbers I put up in half...... I know better than to do that..... Stupid, stupid, stupid..... slap me upside the melon...

    sorry for making such a stupid error...... thanks for questioning it..... :2thumbs:
     
  9. No worries Dave, I'm just glad you were getting the same conversion as I am, was starting to question my sanity!!!  Or maybe there was some secret club of the royal meat smokers that had there own conversions!!



    I should clarify that I only want to make the hams pink, smoke them to get some smoke flavour in them, then vac pack and freeze them, once thawed they will be cooked to the proper temperature in the oven, does this make any difference to the game plan I laid out above?  Same with the bacons, smoke them enough to get some smoke flavour, I think I will crust some of them with more pepper then vac pack and freeze the slabs whole, to be thawed, sliced and fried as needed.



    If I DO add more water, will I not need to add more sugar, salt, honey, etc.?



    Sorry for all the questions but I am REALLY new to this, and want to get this right the first time, I spent 2 full days butchering and packing 3 pigs, would be fairly furious with myself if I screwed it all up!!


    Also, the minimum requirement of 125 ppm stated by the USDA, is that the minimum if you wanted to NOT cook the ham in the oven, and just eat it after it is cured? If not what if any are the ramifications of putting less than the minimum ppm in the brine??
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  10. Ok, well I was hoping to get a response before I went out to the shop tonight to add water and stir the meat, its a frigid -28 Celsius out tonight!!  I'll go out and add some water to each brine to dilute it, I didn't inject the bacons if it makes any difference (not even sure if anyone DOES that or not).  Think I will just add a half gallon to each pail which should bring the concentration down below 125ppm(still not sure if that will cause me any grief since we DO intend on cooking the hams in the oven before eating)  Not sure about brine times, my neighbour said to take the bacons out in 3 days and smoke for 2-3 hrs at 165, and the hams after 5 days and smoke for 2-3 hrs.  I know you guys are connoisseurs of smoked meats, I just don't think I can realistically smoke something for 24 hrs, call it lack of patience or A.D.D. I have to go to work and my wife's gotta cart the kids off to god knows where...
     
  11. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    We all started just like you. Belly bacon, then back bacon, then you'll have to do a ham, then its a cured turkey, cured Spare ribs, Montreal Meat, etc etc etc... and you wake up and realize you are a junkie!  

    You don't have to smoke 24 hours continuously. Matter a fact you are better off allowing it to cool and relax and start again....LOL Of course at -27 C you may not have a problem there. You can smoke it 4ea. 6 hours smokes or 2 ea. 12 or whatever you like. You smoke it to what you like, its your bacon.

    I will suggest when you do smoke it, afterwards you allow it to rest a few days to mellow. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes. After my first batch, I let mine rest a week. If a little is good a lot is better kind of thinking. 

    I am sure you are going to make some killer bacon. Just relax and enjoy the process.
     
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you like the recipe and it makes mama happy, I would add sugar, honey, spices, salt etc. to make the final concentration of stuff "normal".... Nitrite is the concern at this point.... dilution will handle it...

    Someone else can jump in here... If I remember correctly, hams should be partially cooked to 135 or something like that before freezing... they are called "cooking required" hams or something similar... The bacon should be OK with the diluted brining for 6-8 more days.... cold smoke, rest for a day or so in the refer then partially freeze, slice and vac-pack.... that's how I treat bacon...
     
  13. We noticed that the first hams we tried last year were REALLY pungent and almost a little "bitter", we froze them all right after smoking but they seemed to get better the longer they had been in the freezer.

    So you guys really think I should stick to a lower temp for longer, and vary the length of actual smoke during the process?  I read that you should never let your wood chips burn to ash or you WILL get a bitter taste, any thoughts?

    I assume 130 IT mean internal meat temp?

    I have a masterbuilt smoker, works well but I think the temp gauge reads hotter than it actually IS inside, I stuck a turkey fryer thermometer in the vent and it seemed to be about 10 degrees cooler, I should buy the electronic one with the prob and double check.  Lots to learn, lots to learn...Thanks guys
     
  14. So you think 3 days for the bacons and 5 for the hams will be ok?  Also we have to go to a wedding this weekend, would it do any harm to leave the bacon in the brine for 5daysand the hams for 6?  I was told they will reach an "equilibrium" where they won't soak up anymore salt, sugar or brine?  Any truth to that?
     
  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Curing takes time... It's not a good idea to deviate from a tried and true recipe..... I would follow the recipe that was noted.....

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  16. No problem Dave, I just wasn't sure that my recipe would be the same as "Pop's" recipe in that I used a whole lot more cure than he calls for, just being a worry wart I guess!?!

    So 10-14 days for the bacons and a 3-4 weeks for the hams?  The hams are pretty small, like I'm talking 4-5 lbs max each, would they NEED as long in the brine?
     
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Curing takes time... It's not a good idea to deviate from a tried and true recipe..... I would follow the recipe that was noted.....

    Dave
     
  18. So your repetitious reply leads me to believe there should be NO difference in curing time relative to the amount of cure I used as oposed to what "Pop" called for?
     
  19. Is there any VISUAL cues you guys use to determine if it needs more or less time curing?  i.e.-pinkness of the meat?
     
  20. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Too much cure does not speed up the curing process....

    Cure #1 is...... 62,500 Ppm sodium nitrite........ When you submerge meat in a cure enhanced brine, the outer portion of the meat is extremely high in nitrite.... and probably close to being poisonous....
    Over time, the cure penetrates the meat..... and equilibrium state should be achieved, either during the brining process, or during the "rest or blooming" period after the brining is complete so the meat has a uniform deposition of cure, salt etc. throughout the meat..... Injecting becomes necessary when the thickness of the meat exceeds 2", to help in the uniform distribution of nitrite...
    The curing process is controlled by the "laws" of physics....
    There has been significant amount of study to determine the "adequate" time in relation to temp, salt content, sugar content etc.....

    I am not even close to being smart enough to determine whether or not "your process", amounts, temps. injecting, etc. have sufficiently penetrated the meat and been uniformly distributed to be properly cured and safe for consumption...

    To err on the safe side, I recommend the original times, temps be followed.... That is my ONLY option....

    It "should" be your choice to follow the recipe directions also..... That being said.........

    We are not the food police and it is "your choice" to do as you please....

    Dave
     

Share This Page