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Cure Question

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

So I have some questions on curing concentrations and time in cure. Since it is a fairly complex, long winded series of questions, I’m going to break it down into a couple of messages. Let’s start with some recommended concentrations.

 

It appears, as a general rule, that; 1 tsp. (.20 oz.) of Prague #1, (a.k.a.; Insta Cure #1, Legg Cure, pink salt, etc.) with 6.25% nitrite to 93.75% salt will ‘adequately’ cure about (5) Five pounds (80 oz.) of meat, be that sausage, corned beef, ham, what have you.

That works out to about [0.20 oz. (1 tsp. Prague #1 by weight?) x 0.0625 (6.25% nitrite) = 0.0125 oz. nitrite by weight per teaspoon].  This produces a ratio of 0.0125 oz. nitrite to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.015625% (156.25 ppm) nitrite to meat.

 

It likewise appears, as a general rule, that; 1 tsp. (.20 oz.) of Prague #2, (a.k.a.; Insta Cure #2) with 6.25% nitrite, 4% nitrate to 89.75% salt will ‘adequately’ cure about (5) Five pounds of meat, be that sausage, corned beef, ham, what have you.

That works out to about [0.20 oz. (1 tsp. Prague #1 by weight?) x 0.0625 (6.25% nitrite) = 0.0125 oz. nitrite by weight per teaspoon].  This produces a ratio of 0.0125 oz. nitrite to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.015625% (156.25 ppm) nitrite to meat.

And,

That also works out to about [0.20 oz. (1 tsp. Prague #1 by weight?) x 0.04 (4% nitrate) = 0.008 oz. nitrate by weight per teaspoon].  This produces a ratio of 0.008 oz. nitrate to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.0001% (interestingly 1 ppm) nitrate to meat.

 

It likewise appears, as a general rule, that; 7.5 tsp. (1.15 oz.) of Morton Tender Quick or Sugar Cure, with 0.5% nitrite, 0.5% nitrate to 99% salt (actually salt, sugar, dextrose, and other) will ‘adequately’ cure about (5) Five pounds of meat, be that sausage, corned beef, ham, what have you.

 

So if you look at the active ingredients (nitrite/nitrate) of that 7.5 tsp. of QT:

 That works out to about [1.15 oz. (7.5 tsp. QT by weight?) x 0.005 (0.5% nitrite) = 0.00575 oz. nitrite by weight in 7.5 teaspoons].  This produces a ratio of 0.00575 oz. nitrite to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.000071875% (0.71875 ppm) nitrite to meat.

And,

That also works out to about [1.15 oz. (7.5 tsp. QT by weight?) x 0.005 (0.5% nitrite) = 0.00575 oz. nitrate by weight in 7.5 teaspoons].  This produces a ratio of 0.00575 oz. nitrate to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.000071875% (0.71875 ppm) nitrate to meat.

 

That seems like a pretty broad range for the percent (or ppm) of nitrite to meat. Is my cure all mixed up or is my math off somewhere?

post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by elham View Post
 

So I have some questions on curing concentrations and time in cure. Since it is a fairly complex, long winded series of questions, I’m going to break it down into a couple of messages. Let’s start with some recommended concentrations.

 

It appears, as a general rule, that; 1 tsp. (.20 oz.) of Prague #1, (a.k.a.; Insta Cure #1, Legg Cure, pink salt, etc.) with 6.25% nitrite to 93.75% salt will ‘adequately’ cure about (5) Five pounds (80 oz.) of meat, be that sausage, corned beef, ham, what have you.

That works out to about [0.20 oz. (1 tsp. Prague #1 by weight?) x 0.0625 (6.25% nitrite) = 0.0125 oz. nitrite by weight per teaspoon].  This produces a ratio of 0.0125 oz. nitrite to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.015625% (156.25 ppm) nitrite to meat.

 

It likewise appears, as a general rule, that; 1 tsp. (.20 oz.) of Prague #2, (a.k.a.; Insta Cure #2) with 6.25% nitrite, 4% nitrate to 89.75% salt will ‘adequately’ cure about (5) Five pounds of meat, be that sausage, corned beef, ham, what have you.

That works out to about [0.20 oz. (1 tsp. Prague #1 by weight?) x 0.0625 (6.25% nitrite) = 0.0125 oz. nitrite by weight per teaspoon].  This produces a ratio of 0.0125 oz. nitrite to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.015625% (156.25 ppm) nitrite to meat.

And,

That also works out to about [0.20 oz. (1 tsp. Prague #1 by weight?) x 0.04 (4% nitrate) = 0.008 oz. nitrate by weight per teaspoon].  This produces a ratio of 0.008 oz. nitrate to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.0001% (interestingly 1 ppm) nitrate to meat.

 

It likewise appears, as a general rule, that; 7.5 tsp. (1.15 oz.) of Morton Tender Quick or Sugar Cure, with 0.5% nitrite, 0.5% nitrate to 99% salt (actually salt, sugar, dextrose, and other) will ‘adequately’ cure about (5) Five pounds of meat, be that sausage, corned beef, ham, what have you.

 

So if you look at the active ingredients (nitrite/nitrate) of that 7.5 tsp. of QT:

 That works out to about [1.15 oz. (7.5 tsp. QT by weight?) x 0.005 (0.5% nitrite) = 0.00575 oz. nitrite by weight in 7.5 teaspoons].  This produces a ratio of 0.00575 oz. nitrite to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.000071875% (0.71875 ppm) nitrite to meat.

And,

That also works out to about [1.15 oz. (7.5 tsp. QT by weight?) x 0.005 (0.5% nitrite) = 0.00575 oz. nitrate by weight in 7.5 teaspoons].  This produces a ratio of 0.00575 oz. nitrate to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.000071875% (0.71875 ppm) nitrate to meat.

 

That seems like a pretty broad range for the percent (or ppm) of nitrite to meat. Is my cure all mixed up or is my math off somewhere?


Too much math for me... Sorry... :77:

 

I personally just use tenderquick not and stick to the .5oz per pound recommended by the directions and their website. I used to use cure #1, but was always confused by all of the conflicting information out there, and will only ever use #1 for wet cures (if I ever do them).

 

That is an interesting discrepancy though, and hope someone can offer an answer. I know @CrankyBuzzard is really good with the percentages and rules on cure, and hes helped me numerous times with cure questions.

post #3 of 16
Stick with cure #1 (and aliases at 6.25% nitrite) as you can adjust the salt to your preference... Cure #2 is designed for meats that are not intended for cooking... Prosciutto, Parma Ham... etc.... long term curing where the nitrates convert to nitrite by bacteria in a ~50 degree F atmosphere....

Cure #1 also allows for the different nitrite rate allowed in different meats..... bacon 120 Ppm ingoing nitrite allowed in a brine, pump, massage method.... and 200 Ppm ingoing nitrite allowed when dry rub brining technique is used... and max allowed ingoing nitrite for sausage etc. at 156 Ppm.....

Using cure #1 you will be "golden to go"....

You have the math correct... The nitrates in TQ substitute for nitrites after the long haul of the dry aging process and the bacteria has done it's job.. The nitrites are there for the short term part of the long term curing process before the bacteria has gone to work.....
post #4 of 16

And make sure you go by weight, NOT by volume.  Invest in a scale that measures down to tenths of grams, and you will be spot on and good to go.

 

Easy general rule for Cure #1 is 0.25% the weight of the meat for Cure #1.  Just multiply your total meat weight (in grams) by 0.0025 and you have the weight of Cure #1 you need for that weight of meat.  Simple.

 

For Cure #2 it can vary a bit by recipe or preference, but most recipes call for 0.25%-0.40% of Cure #2 by weight. 

So you would multiply the weight of meat in grams by 0.0030 if you wanted 0.30% of Cure #2 for example.

 

Stick with weights as a percentage and you won't have any problems.


Edited by harleykids - 12/24/15 at 8:07am
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Harleykids – you provide a general rule of “0.25% the weight of the meat for Cure #1.  Just multiply your total meat weight (in grams) by 0.0025 and you have the weight of Cure #1 you need for that weight of meat.  Simple.”

 

Is that universal rule for both dry rub and wet cure? Matters not the concentration / ratio of cure to water, if you have 5 pounds of meat, that is 2268 grams of meat x 0.0025 = 5.68 grams (or 1 teaspoon = 0.2 oz. Cure #1 = 5.67 grams) of Cure #1, and it matters not if that is in a direct dry rub, or in 1 gallon, or in 5 gallons of water? And is time in cure also a factor, or does it not matter if it is in the cure for one hour or ten days? If the rule of thumb says 1/4-inch penetration per day from both sides (or one-half inch per day per inch of thickness) and let us say our 5 pounds of meat is a 2-inch thick slab of beef; that works out to about four days. Would it matter if it was in there for two weeks?

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

I thank you all for your quick responses, and please bear with me as I fall ever further down the rabbit hole;

 

So by regulation, it appears that due to the possibility of toxicity that nitrite concentrations are generally given in maximum values (i.e., 120ppm in brine, 200 ppm dry, and 156 ppm in sausage). Are there then also standards/practices/listings/regulations for minimum concentrations to produce a safe product?

 

With sausage that is typically the 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of meat consistent with the 156 ppm calculation of the original post.

However; with wet/brine cure I have seen recipes for corned beef for example that vary from 2 - 4 teaspoons nitrite to one gallon of water, with time frames ranging from 5 – 7 days and meat weights in the 4 – 5 pound range.  Wet ham brine recipes seem to vary from say 3 Tablespoons of nitrite to 3 gallons of water (1 teaspoon per gallon), up to about 3 - 4 teaspoons of nitrite to 2 liters (about one-half gallon) water (a whopping 6 - 8 teaspoons per gallon), with Pops’ here famous wet curing brine holding the middle ground at 1 Tablespoon (3 teaspoons level/4 teaspoons heaping).  Recommended ham cure times run from 7 days up to about a day per pound.

 

Nobody ever seems to say specifically what exactly they are curing for . . . simply nice flavor and texture, or for the prevention of botulism either in hot or cold smoking, or for long time dry cure for preservation for storage without refrigeration. What the fear mongers do say is; “if you don’t get this right you’ll kill people,” or “never, ever, cold smoke at home,” or simply “botulism kills”.

 

I realize that sausage (especially cold smoking or dried non-cooked sausages) have the potential for producing botulism due to the anaerobic environment and extended smoking / curing times.  Even hot smoking sausage appears to present a possible risk.

 

Now from what I can deduce, hot smoked ham or smoked corned beef (pastrami) for example do not appear to carry the same levels of risk. You often see the 40 to 140 degrees in less than four hours rule of thumb used as a reference. Smoking stall could trump the 40 to 140, but nobody seems too awful concerned, and since you can smoke a non-cured pork butt without issue – is curing really even necessary in such cases, or is it simply a matter of producing texture and flavor?

 

Experimenting, I have had some corned beef with a 1 teaspoon of nitrite per 5 pounds of meat and a pretty light salt concentration in a 1-gallon wet cure brine come out to produce what I would call “cure jerky.” The flavor and salt concentration were good, but it appeared to be what I might term as over-cured. Is that possible – and is time a critical factor? With salt, meat will equilibrate, that is, if the salt concentration of the brine is correct, you essentially cannot over-salt the meat, whereas that does not necessarily appear to be true of nitrites.

 

So that is my real question here – if hot smoking, boiling or roasting cured meats (other than sausage); is there a minimum concentration of cure, specific time to cure concentration ratios, or other guidelines that must or should be followed? And even with proper minimum concentrations, is time a significant factor – were you can over-cure?

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by elham View Post
 

So I have some questions on curing concentrations and time in cure. Since it is a fairly complex, long winded series of questions, I’m going to break it down into a couple of messages. Let’s start with some recommended concentrations.

 

It appears, as a general rule, that; 1 tsp. (.20 oz.) of Prague #1, (a.k.a.; Insta Cure #1, Legg Cure, pink salt, etc.) with 6.25% nitrite to 93.75% salt will ‘adequately’ cure about (5) Five pounds (80 oz.) of meat, be that sausage, corned beef, ham, what have you.

That works out to about [0.20 oz. (1 tsp. Prague #1 by weight?) x 0.0625 (6.25% nitrite) = 0.0125 oz. nitrite by weight per teaspoon].  This produces a ratio of 0.0125 oz. nitrite to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.015625% (156.25 ppm) nitrite to meat.

 

It likewise appears, as a general rule, that; 1 tsp. (.20 oz.) of Prague #2, (a.k.a.; Insta Cure #2) with 6.25% nitrite, 4% nitrate to 89.75% salt will ‘adequately’ cure about (5) Five pounds of meat, be that sausage, corned beef, ham, what have you.

That works out to about [0.20 oz. (1 tsp. Prague #1 by weight?) x 0.0625 (6.25% nitrite) = 0.0125 oz. nitrite by weight per teaspoon].  This produces a ratio of 0.0125 oz. nitrite to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.015625% (156.25 ppm) nitrite to meat.

And,

That also works out to about [0.20 oz. (1 tsp. Prague #1 by weight?) x 0.04 (4% nitrate) = 0.008 oz. nitrate by weight per teaspoon].  This produces a ratio of 0.008 oz. nitrate to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.0001% (interestingly 1 ppm) nitrate to meat.

You forgot to move the decimal place when converting to a percentage. So, 0.0080 oz nitrate to 80oz of meat =0.0001 which converts to 0.0100% (100ppm) nitrate to meat.

 

It likewise appears, as a general rule, that; 7.5 tsp. (1.15 oz.) of Morton Tender Quick or Sugar Cure, with 0.5% nitrite, 0.5% nitrate to 99% salt (actually salt, sugar, dextrose, and other) will ‘adequately’ cure about (5) Five pounds of meat, be that sausage, corned beef, ham, what have you.

 

So if you look at the active ingredients (nitrite/nitrate) of that 7.5 tsp. of QT:

 That works out to about [1.15 oz. (7.5 tsp. QT by weight?) x 0.005 (0.5% nitrite) = 0.00575 oz. nitrite by weight in 7.5 teaspoons].  This produces a ratio of 0.00575 oz. nitrite to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.000071875% (0.71875 ppm) nitrite to meat. Same math error here too. Should be 0.0071875% (71.875 ppm).

And,

That also works out to about [1.15 oz. (7.5 tsp. QT by weight?) x 0.005 (0.5% nitrite) = 0.00575 oz. nitrate by weight in 7.5 teaspoons].  This produces a ratio of 0.00575 oz. nitrate to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.000071875% (0.71875 ppm) nitrate to meat. Same math error here too. Should be 0.0071875% (71.875 ppm).

 

That seems like a pretty broad range for the percent (or ppm) of nitrite to meat. Is my cure all mixed up or is my math off somewhere?

I am not trying to be rude here but just noticed some math errors that are easy to make. I only pointed out the errors because you asked in your question. I would hate for someone to get confused and use to much or to little cure resulting in a dangerous product.

 

I cannot guarantee that 7.5tsp (1.15 oz) of Morton Tender Quick for (5) pounds of meat is per the manufacture's directions. I have never used MTQ or read the directions. Just making corrections with the numbers provided.

 

Again, not trying to make anyone feel bad, just trying to be helpful.


Edited by T-L-K - 12/28/15 at 12:26pm
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-L-K View Post
 

I am not trying to be rude here but just noticed some math errors that are easy to make. I only pointed out the errors because you asked in your question. I would hate for someone to get confused and use to much or to little cure resulting in a dangerous product.

 

I cannot guarantee that 7.5tsp (1.15 oz) of Morton Tender Quick for (5) pounds of meat is per the manufacture's directions. I have never used MTQ or read the directions. Just making corrections with the numbers provided.

 

Again, not trying to make anyone feel bad, just trying to be helpful.


You are correct, I don't know how I got it right to 156 ppm, but forgot to multiply by 100 for the remainder. That makes the ppm much closer and makes more sense.

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by elham View Post
 

 

 

It likewise appears, as a general rule, that; 7.5 tsp. (1.15 oz.) of Morton Tender Quick or Sugar Cure, with 0.5% nitrite, 0.5% nitrate to 99% salt (actually salt, sugar, dextrose, and other) will ‘adequately’ cure about (5) Five pounds of meat, be that sausage, corned beef, ham, what have you.

 

So if you look at the active ingredients (nitrite/nitrate) of that 7.5 tsp. of QT:

 That works out to about [1.15 oz. (7.5 tsp. QT by weight?) x 0.005 (0.5% nitrite) = 0.00575 oz. nitrite by weight in 7.5 teaspoons].  This produces a ratio of 0.00575 oz. nitrite to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.000071875% (0.71875 ppm) nitrite to meat.

And,

That also works out to about [1.15 oz. (7.5 tsp. QT by weight?) x 0.005 (0.5% nitrite) = 0.00575 oz. nitrate by weight in 7.5 teaspoons].  This produces a ratio of 0.00575 oz. nitrate to 80 oz. of meat, or 0.000071875% (0.71875 ppm) nitrate to meat.

 

That seems like a pretty broad range for the percent (or ppm) of nitrite to meat. Is my cure all mixed up or is my math off somewhere?

 

Your TQ amount is not right for Ground meat.

When using TQ, the proper amount is:

1/2 Ounce (1TBS) of TQ per pound of whole meat.

And 1/4 Ounce (1/2TBS) of TQ per pound of ground meat.

 

So to compare to your 5 pounds of meat, you would use 7.5 tsp of TQ with 5 pounds of Whole Meat.

But you would only use 3.75 tsp of TQ with 5 pounds of ground meat.

 

 

Bear

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcarver View Post
 

 

Your TQ amount is not right for Ground meat.

When using TQ, the proper amount is:

1/2 Ounce (1TBS) of TQ per pound of whole meat.

And 1/4 Ounce (1/2TBS) of TQ per pound of ground meat.

 

So to compare to your 5 pounds of meat, you would use 7.5 tsp of TQ with 5 pounds of Whole Meat.

But you would only use 3.75 tsp of TQ with 5 pounds of ground meat.

 

 

Bear

Bear – thanks for the correction. So, with Tender Quick 1/2 oz. (or 1 Tbsp. = 3 tsp.) would be the amount for whole meat, and for 5 pounds of whole meat that would be 5 Tbsp. which at 0.5% nitrite works out to:

0.5 oz. x 5 lbs. = 2.5 oz. TQ for 5 pounds of meat

2.5 oz. TQ x 0.005 (0.5% nitrite) = 0.0125 oz. nitrite to 5 lbs. (80 oz.) meat or a ratio of 0.0125 oz. to 80 oz. or 0.015625% = 156.25 ppm (exactly the same ratio/ppm as of Cure #1)

 

That make perfect sense – and the smoke begins to clear. Thank you also for the correction on solid vs. ground meat when utilizing TQ.

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by elham View Post
 

Bear – thanks for the correction. So, with Tender Quick 1/2 oz. (or 1 Tbsp. = 3 tsp.) would be the amount for whole meat, and for 5 pounds of whole meat that would be 5 Tbsp. which at 0.5% nitrite works out to:

0.5 oz. x 5 lbs. = 2.5 oz. TQ for 5 pounds of meat

2.5 oz. TQ x 0.005 (0.5% nitrite) = 0.0125 oz. nitrite to 5 lbs. (80 oz.) meat or a ratio of 0.0125 oz. to 80 oz. or 0.015625% = 156.25 ppm (exactly the same ratio/ppm as of Cure #1)

 

That make perfect sense – and the smoke begins to clear. Thank you also for the correction on solid vs. ground meat when utilizing TQ.


I don't clutter my old Brain on Nitrite calculations.

I just use 1/2 ounce (1 TBS) of TQ per pound of whole meat, and half as much for Ground meat.

 

And on the whole meat, I add about 2 tsp of Brown Sugar per pound also.

 

Note: This is all for Dry curing the whole meat.

 

 

Bear

post #12 of 16

Take a look at the link below. Very detailed on the use of cure. As far as the 40 to 140 in 4 hours. This ONLY applies to UNCURED meat that is not intact. This is ground meat and anything Injected, had whatever (Garlic and Herbs) punched into the interior and meat that is Boned, Rolled and Tied. So if you use Cure #1/TQ on the meat you can smoke at any temp above freezing to 170°F +/- for 1 hour up to 7 days,depending on you goal...JJ

 

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

Take a look at the link below. Very detailed on the use of cure. As far as the 40 to 140 in 4 hours. This ONLY applies to UNCURED meat that is not intact. This is ground meat and anything Injected, had whatever (Garlic and Herbs) punched into the interior and meat that is Boned, Rolled and Tied. So if you use Cure #1/TQ on the meat you can smoke at any temp above freezing to 170°F +/- for 1 hour up to 7 days,depending on you goal...JJ

 

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf

yeahthat.gif

 

There ya go.

 

Bear

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by elham View Post
 

Harleykids – you provide a general rule of “0.25% the weight of the meat for Cure #1.  Just multiply your total meat weight (in grams) by 0.0025 and you have the weight of Cure #1 you need for that weight of meat.  Simple.”

 

Is that universal rule for both dry rub and wet cure? Matters not the concentration / ratio of cure to water, if you have 5 pounds of meat, that is 2268 grams of meat x 0.0025 = 5.68 grams (or 1 teaspoon = 0.2 oz. Cure #1 = 5.67 grams) of Cure #1, and it matters not if that is in a direct dry rub, or in 1 gallon, or in 5 gallons of water? And is time in cure also a factor, or does it not matter if it is in the cure for one hour or ten days? If the rule of thumb says 1/4-inch penetration per day from both sides (or one-half inch per day per inch of thickness) and let us say our 5 pounds of meat is a 2-inch thick slab of beef; that works out to about four days. Would it matter if it was in there for two weeks?

May I correct you on your assumption....

 

5#'s of meat indeed does need ~5.68 grams of cure #1....   BUT, when you add 5#'s of water, or 10#'s of water, you must correct the amount of cure to get the correct Ppm nitrite....

Ppm is based on weight per unit weight....  5#'s meat + 5#'s water = 10#'s of stuff.....  so you need to add the amount of cure #1 to your 10#'s of stuff to come up to 156 Ppm nitrite..  which would be ~11.36 grams of cure #1....  only then will the amount of cure be correct...

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

Okay JJ – so the link to the USDA site is very informative, and while it appears to be directed at mass producers of huge quantities of product rather than small home smoking / curing / sausage making operations, the information and concepts remain absolutely valid for small batch preparations.

 

And yes, Dave, you my correct me – indeed correction is exactly what I seek. I know little of nothing about this stuff, and finding hard and fast / accurate information has been very difficult. The USDA site is very good and reinforces your correction, where the weight of all things in solution must be considered, and appears to support concentrations based on weight.  

 

Which sort of leads into my next question (please forgive me in advance, as I am an ultra-inquisitive slow learner). When you look at Tender Quick, it appears the package label indicates; “For brine curing, dissolve 1 cup Tender Quick in 4 cups cool water. Place meat in brine, using a ceramic plate or bowl to submerge it entirely. Prepare more brine if needed. Refrigerate and allow to cure for 24 hours. Rinse meat after brining. Cook meat until done.”

 

There appears to be no mention of meat block weight, other ingredients, or liquid weight. It does not appear to dictate a cure time based on thickness, nor does it appear to state parameters for weight. Based on the USDA information; should not there be some sort of statement like; “this amount of cure solution is good for meat weights between X and Y pounds” (for an equilibrium cure), or “apply only to meat between X and Y-inches thick” (for a time and concentration based cure)?

 

I think I need to stick with Cure #1 and develop immersion curing solutions based on the weight of meat and solution to determine the weight of nitrate. More questions to follow extensive reading / research on percent pick-up vs. balanced (equilibrated) solutions.

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by elham View Post
 

Okay JJ – so the link to the USDA site is very informative, and while it appears to be directed at mass producers of huge quantities of product rather than small home smoking / curing / sausage making operations, the information and concepts remain absolutely valid for small batch preparations.

 

And yes, Dave, you my correct me – indeed correction is exactly what I seek. I know little of nothing about this stuff, and finding hard and fast / accurate information has been very difficult. The USDA site is very good and reinforces your correction, where the weight of all things in solution must be considered, and appears to support concentrations based on weight.  

 

Which sort of leads into my next question (please forgive me in advance, as I am an ultra-inquisitive slow learner). When you look at Tender Quick, it appears the package label indicates; “For brine curing, dissolve 1 cup Tender Quick in 4 cups cool water. Place meat in brine, using a ceramic plate or bowl to submerge it entirely. Prepare more brine if needed. Refrigerate and allow to cure for 24 hours. Rinse meat after brining. Cook meat until done.”

 

There appears to be no mention of meat block weight, other ingredients, or liquid weight. It does not appear to dictate a cure time based on thickness, nor does it appear to state parameters for weight. Based on the USDA information; should not there be some sort of statement like; “this amount of cure solution is good for meat weights between X and Y pounds” (for an equilibrium cure), or “apply only to meat between X and Y-inches thick” (for a time and concentration based cure)?

 

I think I need to stick with Cure #1 and develop immersion curing solutions based on the weight of meat and solution to determine the weight of nitrate. More questions to follow extensive reading / research on percent pick-up vs. balanced (equilibrated) solutions.

 

 

Excellent choice....

 

From what I can discern about equilibrium brining, using about 1/3 weight of meat for your brine solution works best... 

 

The reason....    example:...   6#'s of meat needs ~ 2#'s of a brine solution...  Total 8#'s for calculating ingredients for an equilibrium brine...

Salt at 2% and sugar at 2%....   8# x 454 = 3632 grams..  x 0.02 = 72 grams of salt and 72 grams of sugar... 

 

Figuring the concentration of the brine solution....  72 grams in 2#'s or 918 grams water = 7.8% solution of salt etc...   or 3.9 times higher than the end goal...  This increase in concentration FORCES the equilibration process...   when compared to say a 2# hunk of meat in an 8# brine solution...

 

 

Personally, I have taken this process one step further...    I weigh out the meat and salt, sugar, cure etc. to the exact needs of the hunk of meat...   dissolve these in water at 10% of the weight of the meat and totally and fully inject ALL of the liquid...  I use the "stitch pump" theory injection every ~1.5 inches for thorough coverage ...  and pay special attention to bones and joints to insure they are covered...

Using this technique, EVERYTHING is already in the meat...   It has to move/migrate maybe ~3/4" for complete contact...  Shorter curing times... (I allow for 6 days in the refer for curing times...  USDA recommends 7 days per inch.. I'm a little over at  ~8 days per inch)...

 

I use a syringe that comes with basting injections...   inject about 5-10 mls per injection..   They work very well...

 

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