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Bacon Cure without Sodium Nitrate

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 

I plan on making my first bacon and I prefer to not use sodium nitrate.  My plan is to cure the pork belly for 6-7 days in the refrigerator with kosher salt, maple sugar, and maple syrup.  I plan on using 2 ounces of kosher salt, 1/4 cup maple sugar, and 1/4 cup maple syrup per 5lb of pork belly.  Then I plan on letting it sit in refrigerator for 1-2 days and then on the smoker at ~175 degrees until meat reaches 150 degrees.

 

My biggest questions:

  1. Do I need to use sodium nitrates in the curing process?  I am thinking I don't since I will be smoking to 150 degrees.  
  2. Does my salt/sugar/syrup ratios look appropriate for a 7 day cure?
  3. Any other pointers would be great

 

Thanks for your feedback.

post #2 of 52
Thread Starter 

Sorry, I believe this should have been posted in smoking, not cold smoking.  It doesn't look like I can delete and repost.

post #3 of 52

Its in a good place. I am not an expert on bacon but I am pretty sure you need cure to make bacon. If using salt, all you will be doing is brining.

post #4 of 52

Just outa curiosity..why no cure/nitrites????

 

Most of use nitrite...not nitrate...

post #5 of 52

Is there a reason you don't want to use a proper cure? Cure #1 does not contain sodium nitrate it contains sodium nitrite...

post #6 of 52
post #7 of 52
Thread Starter 

I'll be sharing the bacon with a group of people that eat "Paleo" or "Primal" so I would like to keep all ingredients natural.  I also try to cook with all natural ingredients if possible.  Nitrates don't really scare me personally as I eat a ton of sausage with nitrates.  However, I would like to keep it natural for the group I will be cooking for.  Thanks!

post #8 of 52
What you plan on doing might be safe but it will just be a pork roast at best. and are you leaving it the brine for 1 or 2 days or 7? you mentioned both
post #9 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanMcG View Post

What you plan on doing might be safe but it will just be a pork roast at best. and are you leaving it the brine for 1 or 2 days or 7? you mentioned both

I would like to "dry cure" the pork belly for 7 days.  Then let it sit in the refrigerator for another day or two before smoking.  I really don't think the result will be a pork roast but would love to hear from others on this.  I would hate to waste some good meat.

post #10 of 52

Paleo or Primal....Like to keep ingredients all natural...Sodium Nitrite: 

Description

Sodium nitrite is a naturally occurring mineral salt that can be extracted, or be synthetically produced from sodium nitrate. It acts as a curing agent, a preservative, an anti-bacterial agent to inhibit the growth of the botulism-causing bacterium (Clostridium botulinum), and as a colour retention agent that fixes the colour of meats and fish, making them look fresh and more appealing to buy.


Common Uses

Used in processed and cured meats, luncheon meats, bacon, sausages, ham, hot dogs, salami, smoked and cured fish. Found naturally in root vegetables.

 

http://www.foodditive.com/additive/sodium-nitrite

Better Safe than Sorry! th_dunno-1[1].gif Merry Christmas...JJ

post #11 of 52
Thread Starter 

I do believe curing salt #1 is synthetic and not from a natural source.  Has anyone had any experience with celery powder?

post #12 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by tstruck View Post

Has anyone had any experience with celery powder?

Some celery powder isn't natural either.
Some of the natural nitrate has been pre-converted to nitrite.

~Martin
post #13 of 52

My understanding is that a low-oxygen environment (as you would theoretically have when smoking, either hot or cold) is one of the risk factors for growth of the bacteria that can cause botulism. But I'm sure you are planning to cook your bacon after smoking, and cooking food to 180 deg F for 10 minutes will theoretically neutralize the botulinum toxin. However, this will not eliminate botulinum spores.

 

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fs104

 

If you are dead-set against using sodium nitrite in your cure mixture, you might be playing it safest if you just used your oven to bring the bacon up to 150 deg IT. That will eliminate the risk of the smoky anaerobic environment.

 

BTW, my understanding is that most paleo/primal eaters would also be against having sugar in your cure.  I belive that strict paleo/primal calls for eliminating added sugar from your diet. So ideally you would just use sea salt and seasonings in your cure if you are trying to be strict paleo. If you are going to go with sugar in your cure anyway, I vote for thowing in the appropriate amount of Cure #1, smoking the belly, and giving them real bacon.

post #14 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnorkelingGirl View Post

My understanding is that a low-oxygen environment (as you would theoretically have when smoking, either hot or cold) is one of the risk factors for growth of the bacteria that can cause botulism. But I'm sure you are planning to cook your bacon after smoking, and cooking food to 180 deg F for 10 minutes will theoretically neutralize the botulinum toxin. However, this will not eliminate botulinum spores.

 

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fs104

 

If you are dead-set against using sodium nitrite in your cure mixture, you might be playing it safest if you just used your oven to bring the bacon up to 150 deg IT. That will eliminate the risk of the smoky anaerobic environment.

 

BTW, you do realize that most paleo/primal eaters would also be against having sugar in your cure, right?  They avoid added sugar. You should just use sea salt and seasonings in your cure if you are trying to be strict paleo. If you are going to go with sugar in your cure, I vote for thowing in the appropriate amount of Cure #1, smoking the belly, and giving them real bacon.

Thanks, I'm still weighing my options.  For some reason, maple syrup and maple sugar is considered an okay Paleo sweetener.  I've seen maple sweeteners it in some Paleo recipes.  I don't quite understand it fully and it's not real clear why this sweetener might be okay.  The way I look at it, a caveman would eat bacon no matter what way it is prepared.  Nitrates, sugar, or whatever.  I'm still not ruling out curing salt #1.  Thanks also for the in the oven vs. smoker.  But to be honest, I would choose curing salt #1 before I decided to put this in the oven.

post #15 of 52

I would recommend your friends stay away from things like cauliflower, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, celery, and root vegetables such as carrots.

 

Good luck and good smoking.


 
post #16 of 52

I cure my own bacon without nitrates and have had great success. I use 1/2 sugar and 1/2 salt. MY grand parents are both from Italy and they would cure thier own prosciutto just using salt .. I remember my grandfather rubbing the salt in every day and hanging it in the basement. I have some pics of my bacon and I did over cure once and it came out like prosciutto .. It was the best bacon I ever had..

 

Joe

post #17 of 52

I found the pic of the bacon cured with no nitrates.

700

 

Joe

post #18 of 52
Thread Starter 

Thanks Joe!  The bacon looks great.  I thought maybe it would look more grey without the nitrates.  Does your bacon with just salt and sugar taste like bacon?  Or does it taste like uncured pork?

post #19 of 52

Joe, morning...   "Bacon" , salted pork belly looks good....   We try to encourage folks to use nitrites when curing foods to reduce the risk of food borne parasites, bacteria, pathogens and botulism, just to be on the safe end of the spectrum....  

Dry curing without nitrites takes some special precautions and a fair amount of expertise to be safe...   Nitrites eliminates a lot of those problems....

Most folks don't understand that nitrites are prevalent in their daily diets at much higher levels than can be found in properly cured bacon... 

Our motto is food safety first... we attempt to follow USDA, FSIS and other alphabet agencies guidelines to insure our members cure safely... 

 

Dave

post #20 of 52

Looks like bacon, smells like bacon and taste like bacon ... I'm guessing it's bacon .. :)

 

 

Joe

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