I hear what you're saying, however if Pop's brine is 279ppm and the safe limit is 200ppm, how is this a safe amount?
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I get that, but there is no reference to weight of product anywhere in Pop's brine recipe.
In response to curing questions on ppm, here is the FSIS explanation:
Here is the way to calculate PPM:
*USDA Processing Inspectors' Calculations Handbook, page 7: Nitrite x 10% pump x 1,000,000 / weight of brine = ppm
First you need to find out how much Sodium Nitrite is in a specific amount of Cure. Let's say that we want to use 3oz of
InstaCure#1. You have to find what 3 oz is in LBS, this is done by dividing 3 by 16 (because there are 16 ozs in a pound),
this comes to 0.1875 lbs.
Cure #1 has 6.25% Sodium Nitrite. So, to find out how much Nitrite is in that 0.1875 lbs of Cure, multiply 0.1875 by that
percentage as a decimal… 0.1875 x 0.0625 = 0.01171 lbs Sodium Nitrite in 3 oz Cure.
The ‘weight of brine’ is simply how heavy the water/brine is… One gallon of water weighs approximately 8.33 lbs.
Now to find the Parts Per Million (ppm), here is the formula:
multiply nitrites by % pump by 1,000,000 and DIVIDE it by the weight of your brine.
Here is the ppm formula for 3 oz Cure#1:
Nitrite x 10% pump x 1,000,000 / weight of brine = parts per million
0.01171 x 0.10 x 1,000,000 / 8.33 = ppm
0.001171 x 1,000,000 / 8.33 = ppm
1171 / 8.33 = ppm
140 ppm nitrite in 1 gallon of water when using 3 oz of Cure#1.
My brine is considerably lower, 1/3rd as much. My dad argued, and won, with the State of NY Meat Inspection that his lower nitrite brine was safe and effective when left to cure longer and would produce a more tender, more flavorful, product and was allowed to continue for 40 years.
For the Metric side of the world:
*USDA Processing Inspectors' Calculations Handbook, page 7:
Nitrite x 10% pump x 1,000,000 / weight of brine = ppm
First, you need to find out how much Sodium Nitrite is in a specific amount of Cure.
Let's say that we want to use 85g of InstaCure#1. InstaCure #1 has 6.25% Sodium Nitrite.
So, to find out how much Nitrite is in that 85 grams of Cure, multiply 85 by 6.25% as a decimal… 85 x 0.0625 = 5.3125g Sodium Nitrite in 85g Cure.
The ‘weight of brine’ is simply how heavy the water/brine is… One gallon (3.78 l) of water weighs approximately 3,778g.
Now to find the Parts Per Million (ppm), here is the formula: multiply nitrites by % pump by 1,000,000 and DIVIDE it by the weight of your brine.
Here is the ppm formula for 85g Cure#1:
Nitrite x 10% pump x 1,000,000 / weight of brine = parts per million 5.3125 x 0.10 x 1,000,000 / 3,778 = ppm 0.53125 x 1,000,000 / 3,778 = ppm 531,250 / 3,778 = ppm
140 ppm nitrite in 1 gallon (3.78 l) of water when using 85 grams of Cure#1.
Edited after reading Pop's post.
Pop's, thanks very much for taking the time to explain this. It would seem that you and the Marianski's are on the same page. They said 4.2 oz for 200 ppm (actually 198.95 ppm per your formula above) and you're saying 3 oz for 140 ppm. Thank you I was really confused as to how 6 TBSP in one recipe is 200 ppm and 1 TBSP in another is 279. Short of one of them being down-right wrong, I couldn't figure out the difference. There seems to be a lot of confusion and mis-information floating around.
It would seem that your father's recipe is safer by erring on the low side. It also would seem that you're confirming that 40-50 ppm is effective for an ingoing brine, if your dad's recipe is about 42 ppm.
I can now go back to reading the Marianski's book without having to assume that the book is in error and the recipes are just wrong. So far, I've found it a helpful read.
Thank you again to taking the time to help educate me/us.
If you use the above formula that Pop's provided::
Nitrite x 10% pump x 1,000,000 / weight of brine = parts per million
for 4.2 oz (.2625 pounds) I get:
.2625 x 0.0625 = .01640625 nitrite
.01640625 x .10 x 1,000,000 = 1640.625
1620.625 / 8.33 = 196.95 ppm
Are you saying that the brine is safe for a 10% injection but not for a 2 week soak? Or, if you inject don't then additionally soak? What I read and what Pop's said seemed to jibe, I'm just trying to understand what the issue is. Thanks for any clarification.
I appreciate the emphasis here on food safety. I certainly don't want to hurt anyone or make someone sick (or dead). Thanks again for the education.
Okay. Here's maybe where my confusion is coming in. The Marianski's say:
The following is the safe formula for immersed products and very easy to measure: 5 gallons of water, 1 lb. of Cure #1. In the above formula at 10% pick-up the nitrite limit is 150 ppm which is plenty. Keep in mind that adding 1 lb. of Cure #1 to 5 gallons of water will give you 4.2% salt by weight and that corresponds to only 16 degrees brine (slightly higher than sea water). If we add an additional 2 lb of salt we will get: 5 gallons of water, 1 lb. of Cure #1, 2 lb of salt and that will give us a 25 degree solution which is great for poultry.
Marianski, Stanley (2013-02-01). Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages (Kindle Locations 1035-1039). Bookmagic LLC. Kindle Edition.
They seem to be assuming either a 10% injection, OR a 10% pick-up (by which I assume they mean absorption). Is there food science, or experience behind the 10% number? As in, if allowed to soak in said brine, meat that is less than 2 inches thick will only absorb 10% of the nitrite? I'm trying to figure out why a 10% injection is analogous to a 10% absorption in a brine.
It would seem to me that Pop's brine is safe for both injection and brining since it is 42ppm (using the prior mentioned formula) and therefore well below the 200ppm maximum. BTW, I did ask earlier about minimum effective rates in brine. I understand that the maximum can be 200ppm but do folks agree that 40-50ppm with injection and soaking is effective?
Just trying to understand.
They recommend using a brine tester. Supposedly a pretty inexpensive tool. From them:
The salinometer also known as salometer consists of a float with a stem attached, marked in degrees. The instrument will float at its highest level in a saturated brine, and will read 100° (26.4 % salt solution). This is known as a fully saturated brine measured at 60° F.
In weaker brines the stem will float at lower levels and the reading will be lower. With no salt present the reading will be 0°.
Marianski, Stanley (2013-02-01). Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages (Kindle Location 699). Bookmagic LLC. Kindle Edition.
They do seem to be saying that you can pump and soak in brine, just for not as long. In the section on corned beef, which is where the original question came from, it says:
Beef is corned with the same brine which is used for hams and other pork cuts. It is not unusual to include in curing brine spices such as bay leaf, allspice and garlic. The meat is usually immersed in brine for about 2 weeks for cuts 3” or less in thickness. If meat is injected with 10% pump, it may be immersed in leftover brine for 5 days only.
Marianski, Stanley (2013-02-01). Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages (Kindle Locations 13460-13463). Bookmagic LLC. Kindle Edition.
In any case, it would also seem that the true measure of "10%" comes from weighing the meat before and after injection and/or brining. Am I reading that right?
After you remove from the brine would you also allow it to rest in the refrigerator for a few days for the nitrite to establish an equilibrium throughout the cut of meat?
Thanks for the help. Lots of details and I would not only like to be able to follow a recipe but to understand "why" things are done the way they are in the recipe.