Dry Cure Safety Question

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by cb24, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. cb24

    cb24 Newbie

    So I am making some bacon and have a question that I am looking for an opinion on. I have made several batches of bacon in the past using Rhulman's dry rub and adding some brown sugar to it. Last week I picked up 2 whole bellies and cut them into 4 pieces to cure. When I went to cure them I realized I only had 2 ziplocks left so I ziplocked 2 and wrapped the other 2  in plastic wrap. After a week the ones in the Ziplock looked as my bellies normally do nice and pink with a couple of slightly brown-ish spots from where the brown sugar pooled up on the belly I assume.

    The other 2 however were a bit different. There were some nicely pink spots and some spots that were much deeper brown-ish which I believe was still from the brown sugar, but it was a fair amount more pronounced and the meat underneath was not as vibrant pink. Some of the brine did leak out of the saran wrapped ones as well, but not until day 5. Being paranoid about these I gave them the sniff test and although they smelled fine, one of them has a slightly more "porky" odor than the others. It wasn't foul, but more like the smell you get when you open a cryo pack of ribs or pork loin and that concentrated pork flavor, if you get my meaning.

    Long story short, if I used the correct amount of cure (Roughly 1/4 cup per 5 lbs which is what I always use) and kept it cold, should I be concerned. I would hate to throw out 6lbs of belly. I would assume as long as the cure was on the belly it should have made enough meat contact correct? I just get paranoid about this stuff as my wife is a micro-biologist and she brings up all the things that could kill us daily. FYI I do also hot smoke my bacon as I do not yet have a cold smoker.

  2. Color variation is very common.
    As long as the cure is within recommended safe limits and there are no other signs of trouble, you should be fine.

  3. cb24

    cb24 Newbie

    That was what I was hoping. I know I used enough cure I was just concerned that because the liquid leaked out of the non-ziplocked bellies that the cure didn't have enough time on the meat. What do you think of that "porky" smell on the fat cap. Its possible I have had it before but I never did an up-close sniff test. What other signs of trouble should I be looking for other than smell? I'm letting it get a pellicle right now and will be smoking it tonight.
  4. The porky smell is not out of the ordinary.
    Spoilage is usually very obvious but extremely rare.

  5. beefmeister

    beefmeister Smoke Blower

    Did the belly's firm up like they should do from the curing ? I agree that color variation will be present.

    As to the porky smell, I recently did just over 6 lbs of "pastured" belly. The beast was slaughtered ( bless the Lord and the pig for nourishing  the wife & myself) the day before I picked it up. It was a beauty ! But when I opened the cryo-vac, talk about an odor.... it was quite strong. Had no idea that factory pork and locally raised and harvested pork were so vastly different.

    The finished bacon is far superior to any previous factory pork I've used. 

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