Folks!!!! Given the fact that I used a curing product that is new/newer/different, please take a minute and review this information IF you plan on using Morton's Smoke Flavored Sugar Cure.
Both Bearcarver and Mudduck pointed out some difference in this cure and we want to make sure that folks do not mistakenly think it is across the board interchangable with regular Morton's Tender Quick, or other cures.
Bottom line - folks need to do their research and follow manufacturer instructions.. along with the information they get from any post on the forum.
In response to the questions and concerns brought up by two of our veteran curers here, I'm sharing this as there is a difference between TQ, Sugar Cure, and Smoke Flavored Sugar Cure.
I wanted to thank you both for the PM's on my bacon post. I read them as concerns or questions in the safety area, and I really appreciate that.... I'm by no means an expert on this shat!
I pulled out the package today, and here is exactly what it says:
COMPLETE READY TO USE MEAT CURE FOR HOME USE
For Dry Curing Hams and Bacon
Note amount of cure to use from chart below. Rub cure in well, especially around shank and aitch bone of the ham. Place meat in clean refigerator between 35-40 F. At seven day intervals, remove from refigerator and make second and third application of cure. Return to refigerator. When curing is complete, soak hams and bacon in lukewarm water for one hour to remove exces surface salt. Pat dry and return to refigerator for equilibration. Equliberate hams for 20 days, bacon for 2 days. After equilibratioon, full cure long cut hams may be aged at 70-85 F. Cook Pork to 160*
Hams 1st application 2nd application 3rd application
Mild Cure 2.5 - 100 lbs 2.5 to 100 lbs none
Full Cure " " " " 2.5 to 100 lbs
Bacon 1/2 oz/lb none none
Curing time: Seven days per inch of thickness
**This is the biggest notable difference. In essence, if a normal belly is 2" thick, it would double the cureing time from Morton's Tender Quick.
*Full cure hames are not skinned and are generally aged for about six months.
THIS PACKAGE CONTAINS A PACKET OF SPCIES. MIX SPICES THOROUGHLY WITH THE MEAT CURING INGREDIENTS, JUST PRIOR TO USE. dISCARD ANY UNUSED PORTIONS OF SPICE/CURE MIX REMAINING AFTER CURING. FOR SMALL BATCHES, COMBINE 1 -1/4 TEASPOONS OF SPICE MIX WITH ONE CUP OF MEAT CURING INGREDIENTS.
(I did not use the spice mix)
So... in looking at these instructions, there are two things from what I did that deviate from the above that until now, I guess I didn't realize.
1st - I didn't use lukewarm tap water, I used cold/cool tap water, for two hours instead of one. I'm good on the thickness part, I did pay attention to that both with the above instructions, and remembering Bear's, divide in half and then again by 1/4" rule. And the soaking step, per instructions, is to deal with surface salt.
2nd - So the equilibrium period would be the other thing that I could have done differently, but here was my process and given my cold smoking temps, and the temps outside, I'm wasn't concerned.
I did all of my soaking and testing frying on Saturday morning, then hung in my bellies in my smoker the rest of Saturday and started my cold smoke on Sunday morning at 6:30, with my smoker set at 80*. I let my smoker run until 4:30 pm, shut if off and let it cool down on its own which was probably another 2 hours of coal/smoke before the fire was completely dead, and let them hang until Monday evening, pulled them, wrapped them in plastic and let them sit in the fridge until yesterday.
The ambient temps here have been perfect - cooling off at night (low 30's), warming up to about 40/45 in the day. My smoker is insulated, so it kept them from freezing and in the day it held right around 38 to 40*.
I think they had plenty of time, at safe temps to equilibriate.
I know when I sliced them yesterday, they looked and taste great.
Again - know, use, and follow cure instructions in addition to the information found in posts like these. The inproper curing of meats can be a very serious health risk.
Again, my thanks to those members who are vigilant to accurate information and safety.
That be da' Bearcarver and da' Mudduck!!
I very much appreciate you guys checking into this and up on me. I'll go back and review my thread to ensure that I'm not giving anyone any missleading info... bottom line, EVERYONE needs to follow their cure directions... including me!
Thanks again you guys. If there is still something bothering about this, PLEASE let me know!
Edited by WALLE - 12/12/10 at 10:05am