Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
- Joined Apr 13, 2010
Thanks for explaining. I think I get it now.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. 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.