Originally Posted by dirtsailor2003
Clarissa I am curious about the amount of cure to the amount of liquid in your brine. How did you come up with this ratio? I'm only familiar with Pop's brine which has 1 tbsp/gallon,
Thanks for checking out my re-post!
I just used the recommended Cure #1 amount from the Basic Wet Brine recipe in Bruce Aidells' "The Great Meat Cookbook". His Pickled Beef Tongue recipe calls out for using a 1/2 gallon of his Basic Wet Brine, and that calls for 3 Tbsp Instacure #1 per gallon water. His recipe also specified curing for 6 days; I went a couple of extra days because at 6 days the cure hadn't penetrated evenly where the weight plates were touching the tongue (my fault for being lazy and not stirring the brine halfway through the cure period).
Well, dang it, Case. Now you've made me curious. I took the Bruce Aidells' recipe on faith, as he is a reputable source of many meat cookbooks. But now I'm wondering how this compares to Pop's recipe and USDA guidelines. I would love it if someone could check my work for me here!!
1 1/2 Tbsp Cure #1 = about 25 grams (assuming 5.5 grams/tsp) = about .055 lbs (Bruce Aidells' Basic Wet Brine recipe)
1/2 Tbsp Cure #1 = about .018 lbs (Pop's Brine recipe)
1/2 gallon of water = 4.17 lbs
1 beef tongue = about 3 lbs
USDA Nitrite in Immersed Products: (nitrite ppm should be between 125 and 200 ppm)
Method 1 (used for bigger items like shoulders and bellies that take weeks to reach equilibium):
nitrite ppm = lb Cure #1 x .0625 x 1,000,000 x % pickup / lb pickle
Method 2 (equilibrium curing, generally used for small items with big surface area like pig ears and tails ): I think Pop's Brine recipe must assume this method (??)
nitrite ppm = lb Cure #1 x .0625 x 1,000,000 / (green weight meat + weight pickle)
If I had followed Pop's recipe using 1 Tbsp Cure #1 per gallon water and cured until equilibrium was reached, then my nitrite ppm using Method 2 would have been:
.018 x .0625 x 1,000,000 / (3 + 4.17) = 156 ppm (wow! perfect!)
If equilibrium is reached using Bruce Aidells' recipe, the nitrite ppm using Method 2 would have been:
.055 x .0625 x 1,000,000 / (3 + 4.17) = 479 ppm (hmm...not so perfect)
Using Bruce Aidells' recipe where equilbrium is not reached, here are the ppm amounts using Method 1 and assuming some different levels of pickup:
10%: .055 x .0625 x 1,000,000 x .1 / 4.17 = 82 ppm
25%: .055 x .0625 x 1,000,000 x .25 / 4.17 = 206 ppm
50%: .055 x .0625 x 1,000,000 x .5 / 4.17 = 412 ppm
Hmmm....I really hope that my actual pickup was around 25%. I didn't weigh my tongue before and after curing, so I have no idea what my actual % pickup was.
Now I'm thinking those 2 extra days of cure weren't such a good idea.......excuse me while I go put on some supplemental oxygen. (insert labored, panicked, breathing sounds)
So, Case. I'm glad you asked the question, because it was a good mental exercise. On analysis I don't know where my actual nitrite ppm came in at, although it seems likely it is somewhere between 82 and 479 ppm. Give or take.
Assuming you cure long enough to reach equilibrium, looks like Pop's Brine recipe is the safest option. I'm going to have to fiddle to see how much salt and sugar that would require. The problem is that beef tongue is boiled, so a lot of salt and sugar get leached out.
Next time I use the Bruce Aidells' recipe I'll weigh the tongue before curing and after the specified 6 days of curing, and see where I actually come out on % pickup and nitrite ppm. I'll also be sure to stir the cure and flip the tongue, so that I can stick with the specified 6 days of cure.
In the meantime, I'm going to EDIT my post above to be consistent with the Bruce Aidells' 6 day cure time, as I didn't appreciate before what a big difference in nitrite ppm the % pickup/cure time would make. A real eye opener. And here I thought saltiness was the biggest concern.
THANKS! For asking the question. I'm interested to hear feedback.
Have a great weekend!