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Curing question concerning salinity

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Would someone please explain to me how the salinity of a brine or cure increases with time?

 

For years it has been my understanding that when curing a product wet or dry that the idea was to get 100% saturation of the cure with a known % salinity and pH.

 

I continually monitor on this forum statements such as, "If you leave it in the brine or cure over a X amount of time, it gets too salty". It's been my opinion that the recommended curing times in trustworthy recipes should reflect the minimum time for complete saturation. Further time in the cure wet or dry should not make any difference in the % salinity.

 

It's been my experience that curing products such as bacon or fish beyond the recommended time needed to get 100% saturation has had absolutely no discernible differences in the finished product. It would seem that if a product continues to get salty, it has not reached 100% saturation and if becomes too salty for taste, maybe the recipe and time should be explored further.

 

Update: 

 

We know that sugar counteracts the harshness of salt.  As salt enters meat at a faster rate than sugar, time must be given to allow the sugar to equalize with the salt within the bacon or the bacon will taste salty.

 

Related threads:  Salt vs Sugar Absobtion Rate?Bacon curing time using Tender Quick,

 

Tom


Edited by Mr T 59874 - 2/13/15 at 7:38am
post #2 of 13

:popcorn... I'm waiting for that answer.....

post #3 of 13
When the brine (or cure) has a much greater concentration of the active ingredient than the level we want in the meat one will not wait for equilibrium to be achieved - or the meat will be too salty. But still use such strong brines for faster results.
For weak brines (cures) like Pop's, one can leave the meat in the brine past the equilibrium point since the salt (cure) level at equilibrium is what one wanted.

At least that's how I think it works. Wade is running an experiment , using cures with different strengths. His results will clarify a lot of questions.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by atomicsmoke View Post

When the brine (or cure) has a much greater concentration of the active ingredient than the level we want in the meat one will not wait for equilibrium to be achieved - or the meat will be too salty. But still use such strong brines for faster results.

Correct me if I am wrong.  If the meat has not reached full equilibrium, it  is not evenly cured.

 

Are you saying the stronger the cure, the faster equilibrium is achieved?

 

T

post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr T 59874 View Post

Correct me if I am wrong.  If the meat has not reached full equilibrium, it  is not evenly cured.

Are you saying the stronger the cure, the faster equilibrium is achieved?

T
No, what I meant was the target level of salt/nitrite is faster achieved in a strong bribe/cure. However these levels are not consistent thruout the meat. Outter layers would have much more of the active ingredient. Once out of the cure these levels will even out (more or less) moving towards equilibrium.
post #6 of 13

Interesting 

 

Gary

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by atomicsmoke View Post


No, what I meant was the target level of salt/nitrite is faster achieved in a strong bribe/cure. However these levels are not consistent thruout the meat. Outter layers would have much more of the active ingredient. Once out of the cure these levels will even out (more or less) moving towards equilibrium.

Thank you for trying to help answer my question.

 

The target level of salt/nitrite is faster achieved in a strong brine/cure.  Can you provide info explaining this from a reliable institution?

 

Personally, I prefer using a recipe that provides 100% saturation while taking the guesswork out of when to remove it from the cure and having to do a fry test, but then my method takes 21 days to cure a 2" side of bacon and normally fish is cured overnight.  My fry test is done alongside a couple eggs, hash browns and hot biscuits

 

Thanks again for your input.

 

Tom 

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr T 59874 View Post

Thank you for trying to help answer my question.

The target level of salt/nitrite is faster achieved in a strong brine/cure.  Can you provide info explaining this from a reliable institution?

Personally, I prefer using a recipe that provides 100% saturation while taking the guesswork out of when to remove it from the cure and having to do a fry test, but then my method takes 21 days to cure a 2" side of bacon and normally fish is cured overnight.  My fry test is done alongside a couple eggs, hash browns and hot biscuits

Thanks again for your input.

Tom 

Whats your cure/ brine recipe?
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by c farmer View Post


Whats your cure/ brine recipe?

Sure, In short I dry cure using Morton's Tender Quick guidelines. 

 

Recipe: Per pound of bacon.

 

1 TBS Morton Tender Quick

1TBS brown sugar

1/4 tsp. granulated garlic

1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper

 

Cut skinless belly in half and place in two 2 gallon zip bags.  Apply measured cure to the bacon and massage in and place in cooler or fridge.  Turn daily for the entire curing process.  Example: A 2 inch side will require a minimum of 14 days in the cure.  After the minimum cure time has been reached give it a quick rinse then place on a meat hanger in the cooler for an additional two days for further equalization and pellicle formation.  Using pulverized pellets in a AMNPS placed in a external smoke collector, I smoke to a desired color, normally in a continuous smoke for 72 hours and at a temperature below 72°.  After smoking is complete the bacon is then placed back in the cooler for an additional 2 - 3 days.  It is then ready for consumption.

 

Due to the addition of nitrites it is recommended not to heat above 350°.  Therefore, I bake mine anywhere from 200° for a couple hours or 325° for approx. 25 minutes to desired crispness.

 

Hope this answer your question.

 

Related thread: Calculating bacon cure time using Morton® Tender Quick® or Sugar Cure® (Plain or Smoke Flavored)

 

Tom

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr T 59874 View Post

Thank you for trying to help answer my question.

The target level of salt/nitrite is faster achieved in a strong brine/cure.  Can you provide info explaining this from a reliable institution?
Well ...I don't have anything handy to quote but I recall something from university physics (or was it chemistry?) about laws of diffusion, the rate of diffusion being influenced by the difference in concentration between two fluids. It's kind of common sense too: a 1 cup of salt/gallon brine will make a turkey a lot saltier in 24h than 1tbs of salt/gallon brine.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by atomicsmoke View Post


 It's kind of common sense too: a 1 cup of salt/gallon brine will make a turkey a lot saltier in 24h than 1tbs of salt/gallon brine.

I understand the % salinity difference, but is there a difference in the rate of equalization between the two examples you offered?

 

To answer my original question, at present, without any scientific proof being offered , I take it that after osmosis is complete and a product reaches 100% equalization, the % salinity in the brine or cure does not increase with time.

 

I am trying to make sense of it all, the curing, then before the equalization is complete the product is fry tested, then some soak the bacon changing the water a couple times which seems to me would remove the cure they just took time putting in, then smoke it. 

 

Of coarse if those are happy with the results they are getting with the process they are using, by all means continue on with the same process.

 

Thanks again for your input atomicsmoke.

 

Tom

post #12 of 13
"To answer my original question, at present, without any scientific proof being offered , I take it that after osmosis is complete and a product reaches 100% equalization, the % salinity in the brine or cure does not increase with time."


I agree.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by atomicsmoke View Post

"To answer my original question, at present, without any scientific proof being offered , I take it that after osmosis is complete and a product reaches 100% equalization, the % salinity in the brine or cure does not increase with time."

I agree.

Great, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

 

Tom

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