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Cure #1 and Chlorine

Sven Svensson

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When making a wet brine I see some folks are using distilled water. I think I read a while ago somewhere that chlorine in tap water reacts in some way with cure #1? Can someone smarter than me weigh in on this? Would filtered water be alright as it doesn’t have chlorine? Even boiled water? Thanks.
 
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Sven Svensson

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Giving this another bump hoping someone who’s smarter than me can give me some info.
 

Nefarious

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Another alternative is you could just use bottled water. Many have good minerals that might be good. Some have junk in them as well.
 

SmokinEdge

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When making a wet brine I see some folks are using distilled water. I think I read a while ago somewhere that chlorine in tap water reacts in some way with cure #1? Can someone smarter than me weigh in on this? Would filtered water be alright as it doesn’t have chlorine? Even boiled water? Thanks.
I use filtered water with no known issues. Unless I’m fermenting sausage, then I always use distilled water for the culture. Also consider that some water in different parts of the country do have a “taste” where distilled water doesn’t. The taste difference may show up in the final product, as for me I still drink water straight out of the tap, but I’m in the Rocky Mountains, ymmv.
 

Sven Svensson

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Northern California water definitely has a taste. It’s pretty horrid unless you’re in the Sierras or Cascades. I’m coastal, thus the funk. Thanks for the info. It’s a good reminder to change out my filters. Making bacon and ham sure has a lot of peripheral costs.
 

Nefarious

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Northern California water definitely has a taste. It’s pretty horrid unless you’re in the Sierras or Cascades. I’m coastal, thus the funk. Thanks for the info. It’s a good reminder to change out my filters. Making bacon and ham sure has a lot of peripheral costs.
I live is the seattle area and our water is so bad. I used to make beer and beer has to taste good, so i would use a combination of different bottled water and even some distilled water. Best of luck with your project.
 

Fueling Around

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It all depends on your water source.
Some municipal water sources are not chlorinated even if it has a "funk" odor.

At home in MN the chlorination level changes periodically and does get a "funk" now and then.
We use a Brita to reduce the odor for drinking.
I use distilled water for any cure.

Most municipalities use Chloramine nowadays. It is more persistent and will not flash off to vapor like Chlorine will, and can be used at very low concentrations.
Most water treatment converted to chloramine because they found chlorine contributed to the ozone depletion that caused the Freon ban.

I live is the seattle area and our water is so bad. I used to make beer and beer has to taste good, so i would use a combination of different bottled water and even some distilled water. Best of luck with your project.
I lived in Auburn. The best municipal water I have experienced.
 

DougE

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Making bacon and ham sure has a lot of peripheral costs.
Why not dry cure your bacon? Hams, being thicker need to be injected with brine, well, unless you're doing a traditional salt cured country ham, but that's a different discussion.
 

Sven Svensson

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Fueling Around Fueling Around I’m a former Minnesotan and we had a well so everything tasted like iron. The joke was your pee would all go to the north end of the toilet if you forgot to flush. Haha. The best big city water I’ve had is Chicago’s which they get from way out on the lake.

DougE DougE I do dry cure my belly bacon. I’m going to try buckboard bacon so that will need to be a wet cure because of the thickness. I’ll use Pop’s lower salt brine but I’ll start using filtered water.

N Nefarious Auburn does have great water. Agreed. Somewhere up near Redding there’s a town we stopped in with crazy amazing water. Wish I could remember where that was. Ran right down the mountain into a settling pond. Not even sure they treated it.
 

DougE

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I dry cure my buckboard. I use between 2 and 3 inch thick slabs of boneless butt.

bacon.jpg
 

DougE

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I weigh the meat in grams and do:
0.25% cure#1
0.75% sugar
1.5% salt

Combine cure, salt, and sugar, and apply half to each side of meat, including edges. Put in ziplock bag, along with any of the curing mixture that may have fallen off during the process, and place in fridge. Massage and turn over, daily. The cure will travel about 1/4 inch per day, so technically 4 days for a 2 in. thick piece, but add at least 2 days beyond the minimum. I leave mine go about 14 days to let the flavors all even out.

You can add spices to the curing mixture, if you wish, or apply the curing mixture to the meat, and dust with herbs/spices after rubbing the curing mixture into the meat.

Rinse off after cure is done, pat meat dry and place in fridge, uncovered, for a day or so. Smoke it up with the wood of your choice, rest in fridge a day or more. Slice up, fry, enjoy!
 
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Sven Svensson

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DougE DougE Thanks for the info. Doesn’t get too salty, I’m assuming? Looks like an easy ratio to work with.
 

DougE

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DougE DougE Thanks for the info. Doesn’t get too salty, I’m assuming? Looks like an easy ratio to work with.
Using the 1.5% salt will give you about 1.75% salt, including what's in the cure#1. I haven't needed to soak any of mine before smoking to get some of the salt out. It works out about perfect, and I'm not really big on salty foods, for the most part.
 

SmokinEdge

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Northern California water definitely has a taste. It’s pretty horrid unless you’re in the Sierras or Cascades. I’m coastal, thus the funk. Thanks for the info. It’s a good reminder to change out my filters. Making bacon and ham sure has a lot of peripheral costs.
While brines do work and lots of members here use them, there are better more consistent ways of curing. Just to keep things simple, brining works off of uptake, that is how much nitrite, salt, and sugar are taken into the meat through diffusion. This will vary from meat piece to the next due to muscle structure and fat content, brine strength plays a big roll as well.

However, as has been suggested dry curing meats 3” thick and less is very effective and the process is controllable by adding cure, salt and sugar at the desired amount based on percent to meat weight. The product finishes exactly how you applied the cure mixture. Not more and not less. Cure #1 is added at 0.25%, salt in a range from 1.5 to 3.0%, sugar doesn’t have to be added at all but apply to taste from 0 to 3% all to meat weight.

For meat thicker than 3” like hams or round roast, I use a liquid such as water or unsalted broth. I start with 10% of meat weight in liquid, slightly warm to maybe 90* then dissolve phosphate (0.5%) salt (1.5%) sugar (0.5-0.75%) cure #1 (0.25%) you can also add liquid garlic and/or liquid onion juice to taste, dissolve each one in the order listed then cool the brine and inject all over the meat. Especially around any bone. Inject all of this brine as evenly as can be, then into a zip bag or covered container and refrigerate for about 1 week.
 

zwiller

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SmokinEdge SmokinEdge VERY well said and totally agree.

I do not recall seeing any citations from reliable sources about any negative affects with cure and chlorinated water OR heating cure. I see lots of what I call "broscience" about it though. I concur it's no go for fermenting for sure. Easy ways to mitigate tho. Chlorine dissipates at room temp in 24hrs and you can add things like campden tablets to chloraminated water to remove it. For brewing, while it won't kill yeast like many say, it does give NASTY off flavors to homebrew. Band-aid is the hallmark. I use chlorinated tap for all my curing injections and no issues here. Here's my latest and best. Used Omak style but with erythorbate and think I am sticking to it. Best color and flavor I ever got but was also the longest smoke (24hrs) I ever put on a piece of meat. No filters or photo tweaks. I might do a distilled water run once to see what the effects are as I think there might be a small chance water hardness might affect the flavor a little and if I do I will try and remember to post. In short, I'd be worried about other things in tap water than chlorine and if it tastes fine it probably is fine to use to cure.

20220110_154330_resized.jpg
 

SmokinEdge

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SmokinEdge SmokinEdge VERY well said and totally agree.

I do not recall seeing any citations from reliable sources about any negative affects with cure and chlorinated water OR heating cure. I see lots of what I call "broscience" about it though. I concur it's no go for fermenting for sure. Easy ways to mitigate tho. Chlorine dissipates at room temp in 24hrs and you can add things like campden tablets to chloraminated water to remove it. For brewing, while it won't kill yeast like many say, it does give NASTY off flavors to homebrew. Band-aid is the hallmark. I use chlorinated tap for all my curing injections and no issues here. Here's my latest and best. Used Omak style but with erythorbate and think I am sticking to it. Best color and flavor I ever got but was also the longest smoke (24hrs) I ever put on a piece of meat. No filters or photo tweaks. I might do a distilled water run once to see what the effects are as I think there might be a small chance water hardness might affect the flavor a little and if I do I will try and remember to post. In short, I'd be worried about other things in tap water than chlorine and if it tastes fine it probably is fine to use to cure.

View attachment 522897
Bravo, well said zwiller zwiller .

As to erythorbate, I’ve taken to using it in all my hams and sausages. It is a cure accelerator, but most importantly it is an antioxidant and preservative and color fixer. It is also said to help stop fat rancidity. I do not see any negative or downside for it other than I’m not sure you can successfully use it with dry curing as it may burn off the nitrite before it can thoroughly penetrate the meat. Marianski suggests not to use erythorbate in dry cured products for this reason.
 

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