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Bag cure bacon - cure time?

SmokinEdge

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I soaked my belly pieces in cold water this morning for two hours, and I switched the water out after one hour. I also test fried some pieces cut from the center part of different slabs. It's certainly quite salty, but definitely still edible. Whew!
All “pink”?
 

SmokinEdge

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We posted at the same time.
Looks great to me.
Now let’s get you a recipe put together before you do this again.
 

SmokinEdge

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You did a fine job, and the recipe is fine, we just need to cut the salt back to 1.5-2.0% and add 0.5-1.0% sugar to balance the salt. You will be much happier.
 

thirdeye

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I soaked my belly pieces in cold water this morning for two hours, and I switched the water out after one hour. I also test fried some pieces cut from the center part of different slabs. It's certainly quite salty, but definitely still edible. Whew!
You basically sampled what we called 'streak-o-lean' bacon, meaning cured belly that has not been smoked. Smoking and mellowing can concentrate the saltiness. There is nothing wrong with additional soaking just to play it safe.
 

Lima Delta

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You basically sampled what we called 'streak-o-lean' bacon, meaning cured belly that has not been smoked. Smoking and mellowing can concentrate the saltiness. There is nothing wrong with additional soaking just to play it safe.
Ok, I wondered if there was a name for this. I was saying to my son as we tasted it that we couldn't really call it bacon until after it was smoked.
 

Lima Delta

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You did a fine job, and the recipe is fine, we just need to cut the salt back to 1.5-2.0% and add 0.5-1.0% sugar to balance the salt. You will be much happier.
Thanks. I'm going to be making a bunch of notes in my "meat journal" so I won't forget next time. I sure find it helpful to keep a journal for this stuff. Same with gardening. I'd forget all kinds of things otherwise, then remember too late lol
 

SmokinEdge

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Thanks. I'm going to be making a bunch of notes in my "meat journal" so I won't forget next time. I sure find it helpful to keep a journal for this stuff. Same with gardening. I'd forget all kinds of things otherwise, then remember too late lol
I have binder notebooks full of notes and such. Don’t use them much these days, but I’ll never get rid of them. I do dig through and reference them occasionally, they are priceless and can be handed down. Curing, sausage, charcuterie. All good info.
 

Cody_Mack

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What a great thread; lots of knowledge and willingness to share. Love it!

Rick
 

Cody_Mack

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Another knowledgeable and helpful member the other day helped me with a turkey brine, where the turkey had already been “enhanced” with its own solutions, maybe up to 9%. He also brought up the Equilibrium brine and explained it very well to me. A key note that I took away is, percentage of Cure, Salt, Sugar is based on total weight of product weight + water weight (water that it takes to cover in your brining container).

Then I get to realizing that I have also read about a wet cure where your quantity formula is based “per gallon of water”, and you are golden as long as that gallon that you brewed up will cover your product. And therefore the formulas do not factor the weight of the meat at all. Is this also correct?

Rick
 

DougE

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Then I get to realizing that I have also read about a wet cure where your quantity formula is based “per gallon of water”, and you are golden as long as that gallon that you brewed up will cover your product. And therefore the formulas do not factor the weight of the meat at all. Is this also correct?
That's how I understand Pop's brine to work. No need to weigh water and meat. Just mix the brine up, and long as it covers the meat, you're golden. That said, I am also confused as to how this method works the same as taking the weight of meat and water, and calculating from there to get your salt/sugar/cure#1 amounts.
 

SmokinEdge

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Another knowledgeable and helpful member the other day helped me with a turkey brine, where the turkey had already been “enhanced” with its own solutions, maybe up to 9%. He also brought up the Equilibrium brine and explained it very well to me. A key note that I took away is, percentage of Cure, Salt, Sugar is based on total weight of product weight + water weight (water that it takes to cover in your brining container).

Then I get to realizing that I have also read about a wet cure where your quantity formula is based “per gallon of water”, and you are golden as long as that gallon that you brewed up will cover your product. And therefore the formulas do not factor the weight of the meat at all. Is this also correct?

Rick
Enhanced meat is tricky, but workable.

As to the difference in equilibrium brine and something like “Pop’s brine” don’t get caught up in it all. Pick one or the other. They both work fine.
 

Cody_Mack

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As to the difference in equilibrium brine and something like “Pop’s brine” don’t get caught up in it all. Pick one or the other. They both work fine.
But I want to get caught up in it; I'm here to learn. I don't want fine, I want the best. Your comments in this thread are top-notch, so keep 'em coming, please.
 

DougE

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As to the difference in equilibrium brine and something like “Pop’s brine” don’t get caught up in it all. Pick one or the other. They both work fine.
What I think most of us just getting started with curing want to know is this. Pop's brine you just mix up and as long as you have enough liquid to cover the meat, you're good to go. Other wet curing recipes call for you to weigh the meat and liquid to cover it, and base everything on that. It seems like a contradiction to any of us who do not understand the difference between Pop's and other wet brine recipes.
 

SmokinEdge

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But I want to get caught up in it; I'm here to learn. I don't want fine, I want the best. Your comments in this thread are top-notch, so keep 'em coming, please.
What I think most of us just getting started with curing want to know is this. Pop's brine you just mix up and as long as you have enough liquid to cover the meat, you're good to go. Other wet curing recipes call for you to weigh the meat and liquid to cover it, and base everything on that. It seems like a contradiction to any of us who do not understand the difference between Pop's and other wet brine recipes.
Ok. I’ll try to be as honest as I can. If I miss anything, let me know.

Curing meat effectively actually has a range to it. It’s not a set value, but does have minimum and maximum values. As long as you are within those parameters your meat will be cured. This is not voodo science, but actually very scientific but with a range.

To effectively cure meat, we need 50 parts per million of nitrite maximum allowable is 200ppm. this is accomplished with Cure #1 or Prague powder #1, all same. This cure salt contains 6.25% nitrite and 93.75% pure salt. It’s a standard here in the U.S. from here it’s all math to get to ppm, I can go over that if you wish, but for now we will deal with known values that give us known results.

Pop’s brine is a long story. This was actually his father’s recipe. He owned a butcher shop and cured meat. His philosophy was to brine meat longer with less salt and less nitrite than standard protocol. This would in theory produce a finished product that was more tender, more palatable ( less salt) that could be cooked immediately, not soaked in water prior to cooking, but rather purchase brought home and prepared for supper the same day. (1940’s) The local state USDA disagrees and demands brine testing every month. Of which he passes every test. He was tested this way for something like 20 years. The state kept a close eye, but Pop’s method was in fact safe And effective. This is basically a recipe of 1 gallon water, 1 cup salt and 2 cups sugar. One white and one brown, with 1 heaping Tablespoon of cure #1 (about 1 oz.)

USDA says we need 3.84oz of cure #1 to a gallon of water. So Pop’s is only about 1/4 the cure the USDA recommended. That was the problem for the government. (But was the point for Pop’s dad)

Pop’s brine though works, and works well and is safe. Many folks use it with wild success. I’ve used it and can attest to this fact.

When using pop’s brine, the process takes a bit more time. It’s the salt and nitrite concentration that dictates curing time. The stronger the shorter time, weaker is longer time.
 
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