# BACON CURE QUESTION

#### Slow42

##### Smoke Blower
After all the posts about bacon time I went to the butcher and purchased a pork belly and pork Boston butt. My question is about the pork butt. I cut the butt into 3 equally thick cuts, different weights. Can I make a cure for the combined weights of the 3 together and put them in the same bag for curing? I cut the belly’s in half and they will go in separate bags because of size.

#### 73saint

##### Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Yes. For example, sometimes I have to cut my belly in half because my scale maxes out at 11lbs. In situations like that, I weigh each slab, then add the weight (in grams) together, and put that total amount into my bacon calculator. Which seems to me to be the same thing that you are essentially asking...

#### JC in GB

##### Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
If you are doing your cure by weight, then you can cure different sized pieces at the same time. The thicker pieces will take more time to cure so try to keep them as close as possible. Are you doing a dry or wet cure? If doing a dry cure, I would not mix all pieces together as you may not get proper salt distribution in your pieces.

A submersion brine will equalize the solution to 156 PPM for all pieces in your brining bucket or bag.

For example:

3 kg of meat
4 kg H20

7 kg total weight:

106 g NaCL
17.5 g Cure #1

This will give your meat a salt content of 1.75% and an equilibrium PPM of 156 for NaNO2

You will have to tailor your sugar content to your liking.

Hope this helps....

JC

#### Slow42

##### Smoke Blower
Thanks but I will be dry curing; so I need separate bags and cure amounts. Should have left it in one piece. To much effort for such small pieces. I’ll make something else with the butt.

#### 73saint

##### Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Thanks but I will be dry curing; so I need separate bags and cure amounts. Should have left it in one piece. To much effort for such small pieces. I’ll make something else with the butt.
I dry cure. You don't need sep bags. just weigh them out and put the total weight in your calculator. Easy Breesy

#### JC in GB

##### Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Thanks but I will be dry curing; so I need separate bags and cure amounts. Should have left it in one piece. To much effort for such small pieces. I’ll make something else with the butt.
You can use the 10% cure method and still do your pieces.

Example:

Weight of meat: 4 kg
weight of water: 400 grams (10% of meat weight)

11 g Cure #1
66 g salt for 1.75% salt content

I use the 10% method because I don't have room for brining buckets.

JC

#### JC in GB

##### Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
I dry cure. You don't need sep bags. just weigh them out and put the total weight in your calculator. Easy Breesy
73saint you don't find that smaller pieces get more salt when you do a multi-piece dry cure? I can see not much of a difference if you have closely matched weight pieces. Would the dry cure still work if you had say three pieces 1kg, 2kg, 3kg each?

I know that eventually the cure will equalize in all pieces. My concern is will this happen during the normal cure time or would this require a longer cure to insure equilibrium in all pieces?

JC

#### 73saint

##### Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Hmmm. Well, I'm not sure. I usually have almost identically sized pieces; but ever since I started to dry cure for 14 days, my salt levels have remained so consistent that I never even give it any thought any more.

#### JC in GB

##### Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Hmmm. Well, I'm not sure. I usually have almost identically sized pieces; but ever since I started to dry cure for 14 days, my salt levels have remained so consistent that I never even give it any thought any more.
I have done both and they work well. I think the dry cure will work as long as the pieces are of similar size and thickness. If not, the 10% brine will do the trick.

#### Slow42

##### Smoke Blower
These are the results of my bacon adventure. After curing for 15 days and one day over night in the refrigerator, after soaking and seasoning, this is what they looked like. I smoked them for 6 hours between 120 and 130 degrees. Final temperature was about 110 degrees. Not sure why the black lines on the meat the racks were cleaned when I put them in. They smell wonderful. Fun project. Thanks for all the great information on this site.

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#### JC in GB

##### Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Black lines may be caramelized sugar. How about come pics of slices?

JC

#### Bearcarver

##### SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Not to be disagreeable, but when I dry cure pieces of Belly or Butt, I always use separate bags to make sure one piece doesn't get all or most of the cure & the other gets left out.

Bear

#### Slow42

##### Smoke Blower
The bacon is in the refrigerator resting at this moment. I will slice some up and post a few pictures.

I understand on the separate bags for getting the correct amounts of cure on the meat but when all the pieces are about the same size I can’t see what difference it makes. It’s like cutting a slab of bacon into several pieces, pushing them back together, put on the cure evenly and place them in a bag. I even think it might be a better idea as there is now more surface area for the cure to do its thing.

#### Bearcarver

##### SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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The bacon is in the refrigerator resting at this moment. I will slice some up and post a few pictures.

I understand on the separate bags for getting the correct amounts of cure on the meat but when all the pieces are about the same size I can’t see what difference it makes. It’s like cutting a slab of bacon into several pieces, pushing them back together, put on the cure evenly and place them in a bag. I even think it might be a better idea as there is now more surface area for the cure to do its thing.

Spreading the cure evenly on the surface only matters for the first few minutes.
Once it draws liquid out of the meat, it is the juice in the bottom of the bag that gets into the meat to do the curing. Now that could possibly be uneven when in one piece, but having two pieces of meat in the bag can be much worse, and could lead to one piece getting more cure than the other, especially if they aren't laying perfectly flat. I've seen bags of curing meat stacked in a fridge---If one piece is an inch lower in the bag that the other piece in the bag, the lower piece will get all the cure & the upper one ZERO. But all I can do is suggest it. You do what you like.

Bear

#### chopsaw

##### Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
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I always do separate pieces in separate bags with the proper amount of cure in each bag . No matter what .

#### Slow42

##### Smoke Blower
I agree in theory that a single large piece of meat should be placed in a separate container but for different reasons. Many recipes requiring a cure use cubed meat. The cure is added to the cubed meat and allowed to cure for the approximate time. The idea that a cure that has been evenly disturbed on any size meat is dependent on the liquid removed for equal distribution of even cure sounds flawed. The amount of liquid released from meats can be a lot to very little. There is not way a piece of meat would get zero cure if cure is equally distribute liquid or not. I appreciate everyone’s input and I will do what I like based on factual information.

#### Bearcarver

##### SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
I agree in theory that a single large piece of meat should be placed in a separate container but for different reasons. Many recipes requiring a cure use cubed meat. The cure is added to the cubed meat and allowed to cure for the approximate time. The idea that a cure that has been evenly disturbed on any size meat is dependent on the liquid removed for equal distribution of even cure sounds flawed. The amount of liquid released from meats can be a lot to very little. There is not way a piece of meat would get zero cure if cure is equally distribute liquid or not. I appreciate everyone’s input and I will do what I like based on factual information.

So if the bag is in a stack, and one side of the bag & one of the pieces of meat is lower, like a "step", and all the juices (including the cure) is in that lower step, and no juices are in the upper step, how does the cure jump up into the upper step to the other piece of meat.
That's the best I can explain it. You know better, so go by your factual information, not the ramblings of an old Man.

#### chopsaw

##### Smoking Guru
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Reminds me of Joe Friday ,

#### dirtsailor2003

##### Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
So if the bag is in a stack, and one side of the bag & one of the pieces of meat is lower, like a "step", and all the juices (including the cure) is in that lower step, and no juices are in the upper step, how does the cure jump up into the upper step to the other piece of meat.
That's the best I can explain it. You know better, so go by your factual information, not the ramblings of an old Man.
This is exactly why I use separate bags when dry curing separate pieces of meat. For a wet brine plop as much in the pot as can fit for the amount of cure. Each bag gets marked with cure amount and each piece gets the right amount of cure.

Can't reason out why not to use more than one bag, they don't cost that much and don't take up anymore space. In fact individual bags can usually fit better than one big one.

#### Slow42

##### Smoke Blower
Thanks dirtsailor2003 nice looking pictures of bacon. I just finished watching a video by Disco on the bacon making process. Like my bacon, his and what appear to be yours the bacon is of different thicknesses. When bagged whether zip lock or vacuum bags one end of the bacon will be thicker than the other that’s a given. When the bacon juices come out, one end of the bacon is not going to be in the liquid as Bearcarver states as it is thicker at one end vs the other. Understandable and hence the turning of the bag on a regular basis. I see no different with multiple pieces of meat of approximate size being in one bag. This has nothing to do with the cost of bags. Disco put on the cure as evenly as he could but it appeared he was applying the same amounts over the bacon thick to thin end. I assume as Bearcarver states that the liquid would be distributed equally with regular turning. So what difference does it make if the pieces of meat are the same size or not? I‘m not trying to be controversial just looking for input.

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