confused on per/lb of dry cure mix for bacon

Discussion in 'Curing' started by seapro220, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    Hello all -

    I'm looking for some help on a per-pound mixture for a dry rub.  I picked up a little over 9 lbs of pork bellies but have cut it down into some manageable sizes for my baggies.  I've read several articles (should have book marked them) on the correct ratio of salt/cure/sugar per pound.  I will measure out the 2 sides and make adjustments according but need to know on a 'per-pound' - what is the correct mixture of pink salt/sugar/regular kosher salt.  I'll add the black pepper on 1 to see how it goes.

    I think the general term is 1 tsp per 5 lbs for pink salt but don't know the other ingredents so a per-pound would be best if anybody knows.
    I believe I've seen 1/2 tap of pink salt (#1) per lb but nothing else about the kosher salt on a lb. I've also seen where some remove the fat from the back and cure which makes sense because some cure with the mix on it..then cut it off to smoke.

    my plan is to make up 2 different kinds and have them cure in the fridge for a week or so. Then after I test both of them, I'll probably smoke then freeze some of it for later enjoyment.


    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  2. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How you mix it is up to you and what you like, as long as you use 0.25% pink salt/cure #1.
    I like my bacon a little less salty then most people so I go with ,
    (Percent of meats weight)
    Salt 1.85% (You could go as high as 2.5% if you like it salty)
    Sugar 1%

    Sorry I can't offer spoon or oz measurements, I do everything in metric weights for easy measuring
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It's time to go metric.... get a grams scale... 1.85% of 800 grams is easier than 1.85% of 1.76 #'s......
  4. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    Thanks. I don't know why I have been "programmed" to get the "cure mix" per pound whenever j should have been spending my time making up a batch, and then using it as needed. Checked my Charcuterie book and found a single mix. I'll use what I need per portion, and continue on. What I made up was the following..

    1 lb kosher salt
    8 oz sugar - I chose dark brown sugar
    8 tsp pink salt

    I'll let everyone know how it turns out the receipt calls for the slabs to be "dredged" in the mix, but I'll dish out what's needed to thoroughly coat the slabs before I put in bags.

    Next, I need to trim the fat and get started.
  5. seapro, you are exactly where I am right now in my 1st batch of bacon....confirming measurement. Just a note, be sure to rub a larger percentage of the cure mixture into the meat site (80-90%) and the remainder onto the fat side. Good luck!
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How do you know how much cure and other stuff you are adding to the product.... just curious...
  7. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    How much of the fat side do most people leave on for the curing process? I have about 1/2 " which I this is too much and was thing of trimming it all down and saving for my sausage making later. Most receipes I've seen call for the cure to be done w/o the fat ring so I'm curious . Suggestions on trimming the fat ring? I already know that I'll be curing for longer as some 1 of the side is almost 2" thick and the other is just over 3/4 ". As I've never bought or done this before, does this seem like good or average measurements for my sides? The actual weight was 9.16lb .
  8. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    Well, as far as the mixture/per product I have to go with this ..

    amount of cure + ingredients = volume of 'mix' that I will be dredging or applying.

    amount or pounds of sides will always vary - whether it's 3.6 lbs, 7.25, or 15lb exact.

    so the formula becomes - volume of mix, rubbed liberally into the pork and then cured. 

    so my thinking is to use a proven method, which is also FDA approved and just apply as needed.  I'll always adjust my cure-time as needed depending on the thickness - but have to do that any way.

    I don't want to complicate this process so much that I have to do some 'heavy' math every time I want to make some bacon because my meat weight is never constant.  It's easier to take a good 'mix' and adjust for flavors and then apply every time ... don't you thing/agree?
  9. seapro, I got a little confused just reading your explanation of your plan :)

    In my opinion, multiplying the weight of your slab by 3 percentages (Cure, Salt, Sugar) each time is easy and MUCH more accurate. Personally, I'm much more comfortable mixing spices every time when dealing with cured products.

    For example, I've got a 7.5 lb belly at home. I'm planning to cut it into 4 pieces to fit into the zip lock bags. Then I'll weight each, calculate the measurements and mix and cure. The added time to weight out the spices separately might cost me 5-10 minutes extra. After all, are you doing this to save time or make something that's truly homemade and special? 

    Just my .02
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you like 2% salt and 1% sugar, as an example.... weigh out 100 grams of salt and 50 grams of sugar.... mix them.... you have 150 grams of mix...

    3 grams of mix per 100 grams of meat = 2% salt and 1% sugar... 30 grams of mix will take care of 1000 grams of meat...

    For a 156 Ppm nitrite addition to the meat, we need to add 0.25% cure #1 to the weight of the meat... 1000 grams X 0.0025 = 2.5 grams of cure per 100 grams of meat....

    So... for every 30 grams of salt, sugar mix we have, that we know will treat our 1000 gm. meat perfectly for our flavor, we will add 2.5 grams of cure... and mix thoroughly......

    If you have 150 grams of mix add 150 / 30 = 5 X 2.5 grams of cure = 12.5 grams of cure to 150 grams of mix...

    When adding to new hunks of meat, add at a rate of 3% mix... It will have 2% salt, 1% sugar and 156 Ppm cure.. or close enough....

    When you weigh the meat, say you have 500 grams of meat... and you want to add your salt sugar mix... 500 X 0.03 = 15 grams of mix to add.....
  11. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    Been a while as I guess I'd forgotten that I needed to make another trip out before Christmas tomorrow, wife gently reminded me of such - so here back to the bacon ..

    Trimmed the fat and ended up with a 3lb 7/8 and a 3.7lb slab.  Boy, they look good.

    Saving the fat for later on -

    packaged up and into the fridge for 7 to 10 days.  BTW - I added some black pepper to the mix also.  Ended up using about 3 cups or so of the mix to thoughly coat all sides -

    More later - hope everyone has a good Christmas and thanks for the tips and advice earlier.
  12. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    might be a little salty.
  13. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter


    I think that making up 4 the cure in "batches" and simply having ready is really simple and once I have the "exact" flavor correct - then it'll be like magic. Hee hee. Whenever I have a 2 lb or 3.76lb or even 22 lb slab that I want to use, I just apply and go on about it. I don't have to get the scales out and re measure every time i trim something, or worry about having enough mix depending on the size of meat.
    So, I guess this recipe or mix is, hopefully , to accomplish both the speed, and custom flavors. Will let you know how everything proceeds.
  14. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You really need to weigh each trimmed piece and apply the proper amount of cure for the weight of that piece of meat when using a dry rub. A wet brine like Pop's brine doesn't require weight the meat. For dry brining though you really need to weigh each cut piece and cure.
  15. +1!!

    You should, for safety sake, weigh each piece of meat, and prepare your rub/cure ingredients accordingly. Nitrites are not to be taken lightly. Too little and you create the perfect breading environment for botulism. Too much and you risk other health issues.

    Your method of mixing and adding "as much as I need" is a little haphazard. You have no controls in place, your technique of adding your mix, will never give you consistent results. If you do a cure by weight, and something needs changing, its simple. Change an ingredient's percentage, and record it. Regardless of the size of any piece of meat, the same results can be expected by adding the same percentages.

    These guys are correct, and are trying to help you do things correctly. And in doing so, possibly keep you alive!
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    seapro220, morning..... On this forum, we make a very serious attempt to lead folks in a safe direction when curing meats...

    Using the dredge method, you are speaking of, you still need to weigh the product, before and after the dredge.... that insures the proper amount of salt, sugar and nitrite has been added.... and the product will be safe to eat....
  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    [​IMG]    Exactly!!

  18. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you used 3 cups of the mix you posted;
    1 lb kosher salt
    8 oz sugar - I chose dark brown sugar
    8 tsp pink salt

    this would be about 2.7 cups total.

    For your 7.7 lbs of belly then you are way over on cure....good thing is you're so far over on the salt it might not be eatable
    If a pound of salt is 1.58 cups then you got then you got close to 13% salt on the belly, 2% would work fine....sea water is like 3.5%

    But the bad part is you have 8 tsp of cure on the 7.7lbs of meat that's enough for 40 pounds for meat.
    Your running about 800 ppm where 120-150 would be good.

    It's quite possible i'm missing something here, I"m a little rusty at the calculations, but like others have said, weigh the piece out and mix the cure for that weight. trust me, we don't do it like that cause it's the hard way.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  19. So you have 3436 grams of meat

    There are +-270 grams in a cup of mix X 3 cup's or so you used (not including your guesstimated extra) equals 810 grams of your mixed cure/rub

    Using Daves numbers, you needed only 227.25 grams of mix to get to the necessary levels of salts, sugars, and most importantly, cure.

    In my opinion, you are way over!! By winging it, there is no way to be accurate, or safe.

    EDIT- DanMcG beat me on the typing, but the results are clear. Weigh, measure, record.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  20. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    Hello all,

    Some corrections need to be made after further reviewing my measurements - and I was incorrect the first time.

    I ended up with almost 4 1/2 cups of 'total' mix that I will be using for my dredging process.  

    I just remeasured what was left and have 2 1/3 cups of mix  

    I applied through dredging and coating the 7.7lb slabs an approx 1 3/4 cup of mix.  

    I'd thought I was using a 'full' cup to dip my mix from it's bag, but while I was putting it away i noticed that it was 1/3 cup - and since i used approx 4 of those to coat the meat, it appears that I used about 1 1/2 + cups of mix on the meat ... instead of a little over 3 cups.  The mix might still be a little salty, but won't know for another week.  

    Here's a curious question I hope someone can answer for me.  If 1 tsp is pink salt is all that is needed for 5lb of meat, then it would stand to say that approx 1/5 tsp of pink salt is needed for 1 lb of meat.  If this is true, how to you get 1/5 tsp to thoroughly coat 1 lb of meat ??  Just curious and don't misunderstand me - I'm not trying to say that more is needed or anything like that, I'm just trying to figure out how such a little amount - which might might lightly coat a 4x4 area of a 1 lb of meat (and certainly not both sides or the whole thing).  The same can also be true as to how you can accurately cover a 5 lb of meat with only 1 tsp.

    I know that the pink stuff is really bad news, and am glad that my numbers are more in line with current recommended methods.  I also have to believe that it's possible to dredge with a mix w/o having to always measure/ weigh / everything / every time / etc?  How have people been doing it for thousands of years ?  Maybe I'm just being naive - but am trying to learn .. both the old methods of Charcurturie as well as newer methods of smoking/brining/curing/etc ..

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