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Dry or Brine

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I've made all the stuff I need to cure and smoke my first pork belly, to be transformed into mouth watering, lip smacking, ace,... bacon.  


I'm going to follow Pop's recipe and method.

What I'd like to know.  What is the difference in brine cure and dry rub cure?


To my way of thinking is - As we know Prague No1 powder can be harmful if the weight recommended, is not adhered to.  With a brine the powder is dissolved in water, where as a dry rub is well - 'rubbed in'  creating the possibility of lumps of the powder remaining on the pork and it not being evenly mixed.  However there must be many who dry rub, with no ill effects.


Am I being paranoid?



post #2 of 17

  If I remember right, after curing with a dry rub, you will then rinse the belly. Also the dry rub mixture should be well mixed prior to rubbing to spread all ingredients throughout. I have not tried it yet but hear that Pop's brine is the easiest way to go. Hope that helps some.



post #3 of 17

I have not tried a dry rub yet, but pops brine is awesome.


Plus you can pm him with questions and he will help you out doing it.

post #4 of 17

Hello Gary.  I have not tried Pop's brine YET!  I plan to do soon.  As I read it, it sounds to me to be an excellent safe way to produce a good quality bacon.  And Pop's has written it up in such a way as even a dumb redneck like me can follow it.  Pretty much idiot proof.  I'd go with that one first before I got too adventurous.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!


post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks Mike, C Farmer and Danny, ye, I'll go with Pop's brine and method, can't wait to get my bellies:)



post #6 of 17

Here's some more reading using Pops method..





post #7 of 17


I have done both wet and dry. For bacon i would go with Pop's brine. For pork chops  would use Dry. With dry you have to pay better attention to amounts. Not a big deal With Pop's you can add extra ingrediants. to add what ever flavor you want. you don't have to turn it if you use brine. You do have to turn it if you use dry.

Hope that helps.

Happy smoken.


post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks David, I'll give dry curing a go one day, but I'll get my feet wet with brine first.   I just read what I wrote, so can I assure everyone that my feet will be nowhere near my bacon, not now not ever.



post #9 of 17

Gary, evening....   I use the dry rub often.....  I weigh the meat, sugar, salt, spices and cure....  the amounts weighed, are a percentage of the weight of the meat and are based on personal preference.. 2% salt, 1% sugar, 0.25% cure and spices to taste.....( I use a grams scale to weigh my stuff)...  mix all together and rub in the meat very well....  zip bag and turn daily for 2 days per 1/2" thickness...  rinse and rest for several days in the refer for the meat to come to equilibrium with all the stuff that has been added in the rub....

Clumping is not a problem when the cure is added like mentioned above...  There are many "recipes" for curing....   The only thing that doesn't change is the cure amount...   that's pretty much a given....  keep within safe limits and all is good.....  

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Evening Dave, thank you, I'll copy and paste to word, your advice, I will give it a go as I'd like to compare dry and brine for myself.  

Hi Craig, thanks for the link apologies for not posting earlier, I'll print it off - I seem to take things in better if I read from paper and also just before bed time.  Thanks both.



post #11 of 17


Edited by Black - 10/16/13 at 5:50pm
post #12 of 17
Originally Posted by Black View Post

Evening Dave, is that cure #1 or cure #2 in your dry rub ?

Lee, morning....   Cure#1....   

post #13 of 17


Edited by Black - 10/16/13 at 5:50pm
post #14 of 17

I have done both and used to always do dry rub cure. Then my scale for weighing the ingredients broke and hasn't been replaced. So all of my batches this last winter were with Pop's brine. I do think that there is a bit of a texture difference, and I also think that the flavor profiles are more intense with the dry rub. With that said my family raved about the bacon we did in Pop's Brine. Especially the Buck Board Bacon (now are favorite bacon). Once I get a scale again I plan on doing some more comprehensive side by side samplings of both. One thing about dry rub curing is it doesn't eat up as much real estate in your fridge as brining does.

post #15 of 17

Lee.......Cure #2's primary use is for meats that will not be cooked.... dry aged hams etc.   like proscuito..... aged for months or  longer without the aid of refrigeration.......  

In the US, the FDA or the USDA or the FSIS has determined nitrate is not allowed in bacon, in a commercial processing facility...


Home bacon makers have been using Moton's TQ to make bacon for years....  It has nitrate and nitrite in it...


I don't recommend using nitrate for curing bacon..  That is up to the individual, on how they process the meat they will eat....


Cure #2 has nitrate and nitrite in it... Below is an explanation from another source.... John D. Lee


What’s the Difference Between Insta Cure #1 and Insta Cure #2? Understanding Which You Need, and Why!


If you’re interested in curing meat you are definitely reading recipes that call for things like sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate, or Prague powder # 1 or #2 or Insta cure 1 or #2.
Here, as follows, is a brief explanation of what each of these ingredients is and what each is used for. I am not a scientist, so my explanations are only superficial in nature, but should be enough for most cooks who are trying to understand what they’re working with.


  1. Insta cure #1 and Prague powder #1 are the same
  2. Insta cure #2 and Prague powder #2 are the same


  1. Insta cure #1 contains 6.25% sodium nitrite and 93.75% salt
  2. Insta cure #2 contains about 6.25% sodium nitrite and about 1% sodium nitrate and about 92.75% salt

What Are Both Cures Used For?

These cures are used in meat preservation, often in the making of things like bacon, ham or sausages, or air dried products, like dried sausages.

Cures are used to:

  • Prevent the possibility of botulism in the meat
  • To aid in preservation slightly
  • To improve the flavor of the finished product
  • To render the finished cooked product pink in color (If you don’t use a cure, your bacon will be grey)

What’s Insta Cure #1 Used For?

Insta Cure #1 is used for any type of cured meat product that will require cooking, such as bacon, hams that are not air dried, smoked but not dried sausages etc.

2 tsps of insta cure #1 is enough to cure roughly 10 lbs of sausage or bacon.

What’s Insta Cure #2 Used For?

Insta Cure #2 is used for meat products that will be air dried and not cooked, such as dried salamis, pepperonis etc, and some air dried hams.

The reason a cure with the addition of sodium nitrate (Insta Cure #2) is used for such long curing products is because it breaks down very slowly over a period of time into sodium nitrite. In the words of the great sausage maker, Rytek Kutas, the sodium nitrate works like an extended release medication for meats that require very long curing times, like dry cured sausages.

Why Are the Cures Dyed Pink?

Cures are dyed pink so that you won’t confuse them with table salt and use them in quantities that might put people in danger.

Sodium nitrite, even in small quantities, is very dangerous, and can kill. The lowest known lethal dose of sodium nitrite is 71mg per kg of body weight. At this level, about a tsp of pure sodium nitrite could be enough to kill an average sized adult.

This is why it is mixed in small quantities with salt, dissolved into water, then turned back into a uniform crystal and then dyed pink.

Don’t be afraid to use curing salts, but do respect their potency, do keep them safe from the hands of those who don’t know how to use them and do make sure you understand how much you should be using in any given situation. When using the internet as a source, you should also be sure to double or triple check on other sites any information given about nitrite quantities, to verify that what you are going to do is in fact safe for you and your family.

post #16 of 17


Edited by Black - 10/16/13 at 5:49pm
post #17 of 17

My pleasure.....   Good curing and smoking.....

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