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Bacon cure salt conc - Which USDA rec? - and what's with Ruhlman's rec?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all the SMF members giving tips for curing bacon, they have made for great reading.

 

I started curing my first batch of bacon yesterday using the Ruhlman & Polcyn (2013, p. 81) maple-cured smoked bacon recipe. I trusted that their book's popularity meant the recipes were safe to use, which now appears to have been a mistake given that the recipe far exceeds any of the USDAs sodium nitrite recommendations (120-200ppm). Others have already noted this error on SMF, but I'll include it here to setup my questions.

 

Their recipe calls for 14g pink curing salt (6.25% sodium nitrite) per 5 lbs side pork (skin on) = 2.8g pink cure per 454g pork = .175g sodium nitrite per 454g pork = 385ppm.

 

First, how dangerous can this much sodium nitrite in bacon cure be if a second edition of a cook can put out with these ratios? If people were really getting sick from it wouldn’t there be litigation?

 

My second question is about the different values recommended for curing bacon with different methods, 200ppm for “Dry curing” and 120 for “Immersion cured” (wet cure). The method I used was to apply the dry’ish cure (salt, sugar, & maple syrup) and zip seal. As others have noted, this ends up more wet than a dry cure because the liquids drawn out of the pork mix with the cure but it’s drier than a wet cure. So, should I be shooting for 120ppm (0.87g pink salt per lb pork), 200 ppm (1.45g pink salt per lb pork), or somewhere in the middle using this approach?

 

Thanks in advance for any helpful comments,

post #2 of 6
Book recipes, internet recipes, blog recipes...... I'm sure they all use "old favorites" with no insight to food regs. in the US... OR, they don't proof read before stuff goes into print...

As far as the different amounts per method, the USDA tests the meat, AFTER the curing cycle, to determine what has been absorbed by the product.... It's a pretty in depth testing....
As an example, if you were to cure a leg of pig, to make a leg of ham, 625 Ppm nitrite is the max. allowable ingoing nitrite... applied over several days.... it is a dry rub also... and the leg is DRY AGED over months to years..... Sooo, I'm assuming there is considerable "loss" during the process....
Now, the amounts listed by the USDA are MAXIMUM allowable ingoing nitrite... they must have done some testing to come to those numbers... don't know what or how they arrived at them....

That being said, those numbers are for commercial processors selling to the public.... and infants are not allowed to have any nitrites in their food... and bacon is not allowed any nitrates....

The public has no regulations applied to their processing...
post #3 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarlemTwp View Post

Thanks to all the SMF members giving tips for curing bacon, they have made for great reading.



 



I started curing my first batch of bacon yesterday using the Ruhlman & Polcyn (2013, p. 81) maple-cured smoked bacon recipe. I trusted that their book's popularity meant the recipes were safe to use, which now appears to have been a mistake given that the recipe far exceeds any of the USDAs sodium nitrite recommendations (120-200ppm). Others have already noted this error on SMF, but I'll include it here to setup my questions.



 



Their recipe calls for 14g pink curing salt (6.25% sodium nitrite) per 5 lbs side pork (skin on) = 2.8g pink cure per 454g pork = .175g sodium nitrite per 454g pork = 385ppm.



 



First, how dangerous can this much sodium nitrite in bacon cure be if a second edition of a cook can put out with these ratios? If people were really getting sick from it wouldn’t there be litigation?



 



My second question is about the different values recommended for curing bacon with different methods, 200ppm for “Dry curing” and 120 for “Immersion cured” (wet cure). The method I used was to apply the dry’ish cure (salt, sugar, & maple syrup) and zip seal. As others have noted, this ends up more wet than a dry cure because the liquids drawn out of the pork mix with the cure but it’s drier than a wet cure. So, should I be shooting for 120ppm (0.87g pink salt per lb pork), 200 ppm (1.45g pink salt per lb pork), or somewhere in the middle using this approach?



 



Thanks in advance for any helpful comments,




120ppm to 156ppm nitrite is fine. There's no good reason to use as much as Ruhlman/Polcyn suggest....even 200ppm is more than enough for short-term curing.


=Martin=
post #4 of 6


Just don't believe everything you read!

post #5 of 6
I wouldn't loose any sleep over the amount you have used, but now that you have a better understanding of what you're making you can throttle the nitrite down some next time.

I like to use 1.1 grams per pound, and that will give me about 151ppm
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everyone for their comments, very helpful.

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