# Cure #1 and Cold/Cool Smoking

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#### SmokinEdge

##### Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
This absolutely does help. Thanks for sharing, very cool. Is this just for dry curing? Would I calculate the same except, total weight for wet cure? Or does it not work like that?
Yep calculate the same for wet cure, including weight of meat and water together. There are 8.33 pounds per gallon of water, and 1 liter of water weighs 1 Kg or 1000 grams.

hooked on smoke

#### hooked on smoke

##### Smoking Fanatic
Yep calculate the same for wet cure, including weight of meat and water together. There are 8.33 pounds per gallon of water, and 1 liter of water weighs 1 Kg or 1000 grams.

#### dr k

##### Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Yep calculate the same for wet cure, including weight of meat and water together. There are 8.33 pounds per gallon of water, and 1 liter of water weighs 1 Kg or 1000 grams.
The USDA drops the 156ppm cure 1 for dry curing to 120ppm for wet curing brine. A lot of people bring this up on FB page Makin Bacon (the original). 156ppm should be just fine but if someone has details on this I'd like to find out why the drop to 120ppm.

#### Fueling Around

##### Master of the Pit
The USDA drops the 156ppm cure 1 for dry curing to 120ppm for wet curing brine. A lot of people bring this up on FB page Makin Bacon (the original). 156ppm should be just fine but if someone has details on this I'd like to find out why the drop to 120ppm.
Commercial bacon that is injected must be maximum 120 ppm nitrites PLUS an ascorbate, typically sodium erythorbate. The sodium erythorbate ensures reduction of excess nitrites to reduce the possible formation of nitrosamines with high temperature cooking of bacon.

All my links to the documentation is in my home computer.

dr k and SmokinEdge

#### SmokinEdge

##### Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
The USDA drops the 156ppm cure 1 for dry curing to 120ppm for wet curing brine. A lot of people bring this up on FB page Makin Bacon (the original). 156ppm should be just fine but if someone has details on this I'd like to find out why the drop to 120ppm.
Fueling has you covered on the base of the question.

With brining, this is a bit different in that the whole process depends on the meat uptake of the ingredients of the brine, if not injected. So we need a laboratory to test and analyze every cure we do on every piece of meat to know how much nitrite actually took inside the meat. Things like meat type, cell structure, moisture content and fat content all play a role in uptake, it’s really just an educated guess the final uptake total, but we do know that the final uptake will not be what is in the brine, not even 10% of brine strength. Much closer to 4% of brine strength.

Brines work, but they are interesting to try to understand. Are they Equilibrium, or are they gradient? These work differently by time and also uptake. USDA approves a brine with nitrite concentration of 1972ppm, wrap you mind around that, but think no more that 10% uptake.

Fueling Around

#### dr k

##### Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Fueling has you covered on the base of the question.

With brining, this is a bit different in that the whole process depends on the meat uptake of the ingredients of the brine, if not injected. So we need a laboratory to test and analyze every cure we do on every piece of meat to know how much nitrite actually took inside the meat. Things like meat type, cell structure, moisture content and fat content all play a role in uptake, it’s really just an educated guess the final uptake total, but we do know that the final uptake will not be what is in the brine, not even 10% of brine strength. Much closer to 4% of brine strength.

Brines work, but they are interesting to try to understand. Are they Equilibrium, or are they gradient? These work differently by time and also uptake. USDA approves a brine with nitrite concentration of 1972ppm, wrap you mind around that, but think no more that 10% uptake.
Should I stick with 156ppm or drop to 120ppm? I have been doing an eq, adding water weight that covers the meat to the meat weight and plugging into digging dog farms calculator. It's a big deal for this FB page Makin Bacon (the original) to preach drop to 120ppm. It appears that the FDA and USDA are not only contradicting each other where by there are are two Federal agencies but they contradict themselves with there own papers, confusing people rhat just want a straight answer.

#### Fueling Around

##### Master of the Pit
I use the 156 ppm for dry or wet curing.
We are home producers. Why do we need to follow commercial rules as they use a completely different method.

dr k and SmokinEdge

#### SmokinEdge

##### Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Should I stick with 156ppm or drop to 120ppm? I have been doing an eq, adding water weight that covers the meat to the meat weight and plugging into digging dog farms calculator. It's a big deal for this FB page Makin Bacon (the original) to preach drop to 120ppm. It appears that the FDA and USDA are not only contradicting each other where by there are are two Federal agencies but they contradict themselves with there own papers, confusing people rhat just want a straight answer.
Dropping the ppm for bacon is your call. I personally would not. Here is a little background/perspective.

USDA requires Maximum of 120ppm on commercial bacon processors and requires the addition of an ascorbic acid. This is because of the fear of residual nitrite in the finished product, which if fried could form nitrosamines, which according to the state of California could cause cancer.

This is all because commercial bacon manufacturing is all completed in about 36 hours. This is from swinging carcass to cured, smoked, sliced and packaged bacon. Potentially there just isnt enough time to deplete all the nitrite, and since bacon is generally cooked at high heat there is a potential concern.

However, nitrite reduces quickly over time. For the home producer there is little difference between 120ppm and 156ppm. This is because we make a more artisan bacon product where we take our time to cure and equalize the belly. This time, is all that is needed to sufficiently reduce nitrite, something the commercial makers don’t have, time. No way they will or can take 14 days to make bacon, they would go broke.

If you are concerned about it, there are steps you can take to insure a safe product. The process is very important. I try to do my curing and smoke time in about a 14 day window then rest the smoked bacon about one additional week for equalization of smoke and flavors. Then slice and package. This extra time insures the depletion of nitrite but also produces a bacon with superior taste and texture. The other thing you can do is add sodium erythorbate to your cure mix, I do and really like the results. Plus it adds color fasting and reduces fat rancidity when frozen, really no down side to it and not an expensive addition. This erythorbate (NaE), which is the sodium of ascorbic acid or vitamin C, also accelerates the transformation of nitrite into nitric oxide, insuring complete nitrite depletion, but on the chance there is some remaining nitrite in the bacon when fried, the NaE stops the formation of nitrosamines.

Cody_Mack and dr k

#### dr k

##### Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
I use the 156 ppm for dry or wet curing.
We are home producers. Why do we need to follow commercial rules as they use a completely different method.
I've used 156ppm for borh and have been doing more dry curing. Started with pops wet curing brine then went to scales up to 6lb and cure scale 1lb max to a hundredth of a gram. So the FB page is right with 1.5% salt min and off on the 120ppm home belly bacon.

#### dr k

##### Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Dropping the ppm for bacon is your call. I personally would not. Here is a little background/perspective.

USDA requires Maximum of 120ppm on commercial bacon processors and requires the addition of an ascorbic acid. This is because of the fear of residual nitrite in the finished product, which if fried could form nitrosamines, which according to the state of California could cause cancer.

This is all because commercial bacon manufacturing is all completed in about 36 hours. This is from swinging carcass to cured, smoked, sliced and packaged bacon. Potentially there just isnt enough time to deplete all the nitrite, and since bacon is generally cooked at high heat there is a potential concern.

However, nitrite reduces quickly over time. For the home producer there is little difference between 120ppm and 156ppm. This is because we make a more artisan bacon product where we take our time to cure and equalize the belly. This time, is all that is needed to sufficiently reduce nitrite, something the commercial makers don’t have, time. No way they will or can take 14 days to make bacon, they would go broke.

If you are concerned about it, there are steps you can take to insure a safe product. The process is very important. I try to do my curing and smoke time in about a 14 day window then rest the smoked bacon about one additional week for equalization of smoke and flavors. Then slice and package. This extra time insures the depletion of nitrite but also produces a bacon with superior taste and texture. The other thing you can do is add sodium erythorbate to your cure mix, I do and really like the results. Plus it adds color fasting and reduces fat rancidity when frozen, really no down side to it and not an expensive addition. This erythorbate (NaE), which is the sodium of ascorbic acid or vitamin C, also accelerates the transformation of nitrite into nitric oxide, insuring complete nitrite depletion, but on the chance there is some remaining nitrite in the bacon when fried, the NaE stops the formation of nitrosamines.
Thanks for the detailed information.

SmokinEdge

#### Fueling Around

##### Master of the Pit
Sorry been busy so on and off the board.

SmokinEdge founds the words I couldn't get out about the commercial bacon process and the (actually rather arbitrary) 128 ppm nitrite.
According to Marianski nitrite can go as low as 75 ppm but that again takes time which the commercial process wants to minimize.

The 1.5% salt isn't fixed in stone, either. That is a number that a lot of people prefer in taste with 0.5-1.0% sugar to achieve a sweet and salty flavor desired in belly bacon.
Now to twist things up does that mean 1.5% salt or 1.35% salt plus the roughly 0.15% salt carrier of the 128 ppm cure #1.

Go back to Chef Jimmy's original post.
"In general, any meat you wish to smoke below 225 to 180°F requires the addition of Cure #1 to your mix of 1 to 3% Salt and any other spices or sweeteners you like.
..."
This was his response to other threads that came up about cold to warm smoking UNCURED products. The 1 to 3% salt levels he posted was the approximate range many people use in sausages and cured products plus found in many popular recipes.

I cure my loins at 1% salt and no sugar. It just takes a lot longer to get a cured product without the salt and sugar carrying the nitrite.
This summer, I am going to try using sodium erythorbate.

#### SmokinEdge

##### Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
I cure my loins at 1% salt and no sugar. It just takes a lot longer to get a cured product without the salt and sugar carrying the nitrite.
This summer, I am going to try using sodium erythorbate.
Yes sir.

Fueling Around

#### DougE

##### Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
I think one thing that gets lost is that cure+salt isn't a magic bullet that keeps the meat safe no matter what you do with it. One still has to be mindful of the pathogens that will still grow in their presence. Running smoker temps below 80~90° F affords you a lot more time to safely smoke than running above those temps.

SmokinEdge

#### SmokinEdge

##### Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
I think one thing that gets lost is that cure+salt isn't a magic bullet that keeps the meat safe no matter what you do with it. One still has to be mindful of the pathogens that will still grow in their presence. Running smoker temps below 80~90° F affords you a lot more time to safely smoke than running above those temps.
This is especially true with our modern low salt cure recipes. This was not the case 100 years ago.

#### SmokinEdge

##### Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
There is so much confusion in and on curing. With methods and time frame. I would really like a good discussion on this, but I am afraid most would be lost in the details. Most just want to know what works, not at all why or how. I do think this this is an important topic.

#### DougE

##### Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Most just want to know what works, not at all why or how.
Maybe it's a curse, but the how and why something works has always been as important, if not more important to me than the overall process. Not just curing, but anything. You tell me to do X and Y will result. The fact that it works is great, but I want to know the how and why behind it. I think it would be a worthwhile discussion for many.

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