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Brining (wet) vs Wet curring

steves8860

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Assuming salt is the only ingredient, is there any difference between doing a wet brine and wet curing besides time? Is the salt solution different?

Also, I have read conflicting info about the time difference between doing dry curing (some call this dry brine it seems) and wet curing?

And besides an arbitrary time of 5 days, or 7 days, or whatever... is there a way to tell when curing is done (firmness of the meat or other methods)? Right now I am thinking in terms of pork belly for home made bacon.

Thanks for any help
 

kilo charlie

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Brining and Curing are two different things.

Brining is an attempt to add moisture and flavor to meats where Curing is how you take a pork belly to bacon or a whole shoulder to ham etc.

I am a fan of Pops Wet Curing Brine to make my bacon.

A warning though.. there are MANY different opinions on curing on this website and a lot of those will chime in about that.

Pops Wet Curing Brine is the easiest to make as you're simply making the same solution over and over. Others will have different methods that involve weighing the meats and water etc to get a certain value.

Please read through each method carefully and do not try to mix them together. Do not try to make any substitutions. Please keep food safety the number 1 priority at all times.
 

steves8860

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I appreciate the reply. I do understand why brining and curing are done, but my question is whether there's any difference in the salt content. I see lots of recipes for both but have found no simple explanation of what makes a brining solution and a curing solution fundamental different as far a salt content. I am suspecting it is simply time. First water goes in and then later salt goes in which kicks out the water.

Also, would like to know how to tell when the curing is done besides just following a recipe's number of days. There are variable such as the type of meat, the temperature, what's in the solution... There must be some tips to know that it's not done yet.
 

SmokinAl

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If you want to make bacon, IMHO a dry cure & cold smoke gives you the best result, as far as texture & flavor. Here is a calculator to give you the right percentages of salt, sugar, & cure#1.
All you need is a scale that weighs in grams. If you want to add any spices you can do that too, for us I use a few TBLS of black pepper.
Al
 

kilo charlie

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I appreciate the reply. I do understand why brining and curing are done, but my question is whether there's any difference in the salt content. I see lots of recipes for both but have found no simple explanation of what makes a brining solution and a curing solution fundamental different as far a salt content. I am suspecting it is simply time. First water goes in and then later salt goes in which kicks out the water.

Also, would like to know how to tell when the curing is done besides just following a recipe's number of days. There are variable such as the type of meat, the temperature, what's in the solution... There must be some tips to know that it's not done yet.
If you read Pops post that I linked above, the times are based not only on his many many years of experience but also his father's who came up with the process.

Most cures (to my limited knowledge) penetrate the meat at about 1/4 inch per day. Bones and whole muscles thicker than 2 inches should be injected with the curing brine so it's curing both inside out and outside in.

The difference is not the salt but Cure #1 also known as Prague #1 (likely some other names as well) which contains the nitrites that cure the meat. Do not confuse that with Cure #2 !

Unfortunately, I can't cite the science part you're seeking, but just experience from the people on this forum and my own years using Pops Brine.
 

smokerjim

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As far as telling if meat is cured all the way the only way I know is to cut the piece in half and see if its cured all the way, curing temps should be around 36 to 38 degrees for best results if I remember right. Usually every curing process dry or wet here on smf has the number of Days you should cure, follow that and you'll be fine.
 

SmokinEdge

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but my question is whether there's any difference in the salt content. I see lots of recipes for both but have found no simple explanation of what makes a brining solution and a curing solution fundamental different as far a salt content
With a dry brine you are applying 100% of the desired salt to the meat. In a wet brine, like Pop,s that is very popular here, and is about 3.5% salt, because the salt is diluted the meat can never be exposed to all the salt. It’s also much more difficult to control how much salt is picked up with a brine. Same goes for cure #1.
In a dry brine, we apply, say 2% total salt and 156ppm nitrite, these are not diluted and are more controllable in the amounts of direct uptake. Dry brines cure faster because the salt concentration is higher directly on the meat. Wet brining takes longer because less salt is acting directly to the meat.
 

PolishDeli

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Dry brines result in drier meat since a lot if water is released in the brining g process. The net weight of the meat will be lower after dry brining than before brining. The diffusion of salt into meat will be faster with a dry brine. This is because of a higher salt concentration gradient (see Ficks 1st law of diffusion).

Immersion brining results in a net weight gain because the meat can absorb the available water after the salt denatures the protein. Brining times may be shorter for immersion brining because injecting the brine is an option.

There aren't any good/practical "non destructive" test methodes for determining whether or not meat is done curing.
This is where science yields to art.
 

daveomak

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Steeve, Afternoon....
Each muscle group absorbs liquid at a different rate... That makes for absorbing of ingredients not too uniform....
Dry brining, where you add the dry WEIGHED ingredients to the meat is far more accurate...
AND, some meat cuts suck when they are filled with liquid...
 

Bearcarver

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And besides an arbitrary time of 5 days, or 7 days, or whatever... is there a way to tell when curing is done (firmness of the meat or other methods)? Right now I am thinking in terms of pork belly for home made bacon.

Thanks for any help

Hi Steve,
After curing, if you cut into the piece of meat you cured, you can see by the color if it was cured completely to the center. Below you can see the "Pink" & the "Gray/Brown" coloration of the inside of the cut.
The Pink is Cured, and the Gray/Brown is not. These pieces would not be safe to smoke "Low & Slow", because the centers have not been cured properly.
uncured cured pork.jpeg


Bear
 

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