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Moldy brine?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I put four small hams in brine three weeks ago. (Will be three weeks this Sunday.) Meant to smoke them sooner, but the holidays got in the way. They have remained submerged, but there is now a fuzzy white mold growing on the surface of the water. Are they ruined? My brine solution was 2 gallons water, 3 cups kosher salt, 4 cups brown sugar, & 16 teaspoons of pink salt. (Doubled the recipe for wet cured ham from the Charcuterie book by Ruhlman.)
post #2 of 23

I know this may sound like a stupid question, but are the hams in the fridge?

Your brine mixture seems fine.

I've had hams in the brine in the fridge for over 3 weeks & never seen any mold.

Maybe someone with a better answer will be along soon.

Since this is your first post, would you swing by "Roll Call" & introduce yourself, so we can all welcome you to SMF!

 

Al

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yes, I forgot to say they are in a fridge.
post #4 of 23

Brown sugar has impurities in it...  That could have contributed to the mold....   

 

About the amount of cure...   Cure #1 is recommended to be used at a rate of 1 tsp. per 5#'s of stuff...  that will give you approx. 150 ish Ppm nitrite in the final product.....  2 gallons of water + salt, sugar etc. weigh about 10 #'s per gallon...  4 small hams at  ? 5#'s ? each add another 20#'s...   so you have 40#'s of stuff..  that calls for 8 tsp. of cure #1 in the 40#'s of stuff..   FWIW....

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
So if the mold is on the surface only, can I pour it off and still cook the hams? Or are they just trash now. :(
post #6 of 23

If the meat looks and smells fine you should be okay. I've had mold form on top of brine cure before.

 

Here is the brine cure that most here use:

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/110799/pops6927s-wet-curing-brine

post #7 of 23

From an Old Time Booklet on curing...   Same applies today....

 

 

 

...

post #8 of 23
Pull the meat out wash it and smell it. If no funny smell make another brine and finish the process. I had weird floaters in my cure once, meat was good.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I double checked the temp in the fridge and the brine was 36 degrees - laser & probe checked. I poked one of the mold thingys and it was jelly/ropey. Will wash them & see how they smell in the morning and report back. If I have to toss them it won't be too heartbreaking. These two boars had taint, just in the fat, so I didn't have high hopes for these hams to begin with. (Though my BF will probably be sad since he can't taste taint...lucky guy!)
post #10 of 23
What's taint?
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Boar taint. It can come from two sources - environmental from being confined in their own filth or just genetic in males - each causes a different chemical to build up in the fat. Ours is genetic because they're on pasture and I change their bedding religiously. It's also genetic for people to detect it. I can smell & taste it - like flowers/rubbing alcohol/moth balls. I can eat the lean cuts like chops, but the bellies & sausage are inedible to me. After tasting it, I now smell it in my remaining boar's saliva when he gets to drooling at meal time. It's eliminated by castration (or if processed by 6 months), but I didn't work up the nerve to do it when they were piglets.
post #12 of 23
You raise boars? Cool.

I remember my grandpa (at some point he was taking care of the kolkhoz's breeding pigs) telling me unneutered adult males don't taste very good. Now I know what taint is.
post #13 of 23
Grandpa raised hogs. Mom described Boar meat as Pissy and hated it. Growing up I never noticed much more than a slight gamey, aged, flavor in boar, add all the garlic and seasoning in the Kielbasa and even that goes away...JJ
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
They say women are more sensitive to it than men. Been doing a ton of research and apparently it's a similar chemical to truffles. That's why sows are used to sniff them out in Europe - makes them feel amorous.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by EggieRoe View Post

They say women are more sensitive to it than men. Been doing a ton of research and apparently it's a similar chemical to truffles. That's why sows are used to sniff them out in Europe - makes them feel amorous.
Shouldn't then taste good?
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
You would think, but to me it's not bad - pissy or gym socks - it's just weird. It's like someone dumped perfume or cologne in the sausage.
post #17 of 23
Right...Some flavours don't go well together.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
So I skimmed the floaties off and they were slimy blobs. The brine itself was slightly thickened - like warm corn syrup. Smelled fine - both the brine and the rinsed ham. Made my BF sniff them too and he said it was good. Internal temps of the two hams were 37 & 38 degrees when put on the grill. Other two I put back in fridge for later tonight or tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
. Success! Unless I die in my sleep...
post #20 of 23

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