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cure question

Discussion in 'Curing' started by smokerjim, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. pc farmer

    pc farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Keep it civil you two. So far this thread as been helping others until you two started bickering.

    Keep helpful information coming.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This is not FDA or USDA, it's High School Chemistry 101. Salts and in this case the Sodium Salts, Sodium Chloride (NaCl), table salt and Sodium Nitrite (NaNO2), in Cure #1, break into Ions when dissolved in water. Ions are chemically charged particles that gain or lose an electron becoming Polar compared to the electrically stable molecules. The Ions are attracted to ions or compounds with opposite charges and are repelled by like charges. Think Magnets. When you mix Salt and Cure in water, the stable compounds essential dissolve intof various Sodium Ions. The now Brine loaded with tightly packed Like charge ion NEED to separate. Since there is a big chunk of meat with no or few Sodium Ions, into the meat is the only place to go. The Ions move from the High concentration, brine, to the area of Low concentration, meat, until the entire System is in balance aka, Reaches Equilibrium, same amount of Salt and Cure Sodium Ions in the meat and in the brine. Below is a more detailed explanation...

    Water is NOT always inert. First Gases can be inert as in they can prevent other chemical reaction or are Non-reactive them selves. Water can be inert when it dissolve a molecule but does not form a new compound. But Water is a Polar Compound. It has both a reactive Positive Charge, the Hydrogen end of the molecule. And a reactive Negative Charge, the double atom Oxygen end of the molecule. Adding electrically stable compounds, Table Salt, Cure and thousands of others, to water will cause them to dissolve as the charged water molecules pull them apart. There are many reaction where water combines to form a new compound.

    Equilibrium Curing

    As a method, equilibrium curing differs from the more traditional methods of packing the meat in salt (the Salt Box Method) or submerging it in a concentrated saline solution (Brining). While traditional methods have the virtue of diffusing a lot of salt (more accurately, sodium ions) into the meat quickly (and thus accelerating curing and preventing spoiling), equilibrium curing has the virtue of eliminating the risk of the cured meat becoming too salty. Thus the equilibrium curing method is less wasteful of curing salts can be particularly useful for beginners.

    The Method
    This method is quite straightforward, as long as you know the weight of the meat in the item you're curing and the desired concentration of salt in the final product. When calculating the weight of the meat, you will need to subtract the weight of any bones, which will not absorb salt. (In the case of whole poultry, this can be significant, with bones accounting for up to 40% of total weight of the bird.) To the weight of the meat, add that of the water used (if brining), and then calculate the amount of salt you need. The metric system makes this particularly easy. For example, say you want a final salt concentration in the cured meat of 1.75%. Your meat weighs 0.5kg and you're using 0.5kg (500ml) of water, for 1kg total weight. 1.75% of 1000g is simply 17.5g of salt you will need to dissolve in the water. To be strictly accurate, you would also need to take the weight of the salt into account and add an extra 0.31g to compensate, but in practical terms this is insignificant, as, in the example given, it only lowers the final sodium level by 1.77% for a final concentration in the meat of 1.72% instead of the target of 1.75%. Perhaps a simpler way to do this is to reduce the amount of water in the brine, so that the weight of the water PLUS the cure equals the target weight for the brine.

    At first, all this sodium will be in the water and not in the meat, but it will gradually diffuse through the meat until the salt concentration in the meat and the water are the same or in "equilibrium." No matter how long the meat sits in the brine, it cannot become saltier than it, and so there is no risk of over-salting.

    Equilibrium brining can be done in a container or in a vacuum-sealed bag. In either case, it's desirable to agitate the water occasionally, in order to keep the sodium evenly dispersed. If vacuum-sealing, you can even eliminate the added water. The desired amount of salt is simply applied to all surfaces of the meat (for 500g of meat, 8.75g of salt will yield a concentration of 1.75%) and vacuum-sealed with it. The salt will extract moisture from the meat and create a concentrated brine around it.

    Modified Equilibrium Curing
    The rate at which sodium ions are absorbed is not linear, but follows a curve, in which the cure enters the meat quite quickly initially and becomes slower over time, taking awhile to reach true equilibrium. A limited test of this method by individuals on the sausagemaking forum found that 50% of the desired amount of sodium had been taken up by the meat in just a few days while full equilibrium was unlikely to be reached in less than about 19 days per kg of meat. As a result of these findings, they recommended a modified equilibrium curing method that significantly reduces the curing time.

    Since their test indicated that 85% of equilibrium was reached in about 10 days, they recommend increasing the initial amount of the cure by 17.5% in order to reach the desired sodium concentration in the meat in 10 days or half the time it would take for a true equilibrium cure. Using this modified method, it's important to note that the sodium will not be evenly distributed throughout the meat (as it would if it had reached true equilibrium), and so the meat will still need a resting period after curing to allow the sodium to equalize.

    Notes and Limitations
    If a whole muscle is going to be dried after curing, then the moisture loss during drying has to be taken into account when calculating the salt. For example, if a final salt concentration of 3% is desired, and the meat weighs 1kg, but will eventually be hung to dry until it loses 40% of its weight, ie achieves a final weight of 600g, then the amount of salt needed is 3 X 6 or 18g (assuming no added water).

    It is also important to note that vacuum-packing meat with salt is not necessarily the same as equilibrium curing. Unless the meat stays in the cure long enough to reach equilibrium with the brine, this is simply a modified version of the Salt Box Method.

    Finally, it's important to understand that the equilibrium is between the meat and the surrounding brine and does not refer to the diffusion of sodium within the meat, although in practice it comes to the same thing. By the time the meat reaches equilibrium with the brine, sodium will be relatively evenly dispersed throughout the meat. In contrast, with traditional cures, the meat will come out of the cure sooner, but then it will still need a resting period to allow the salt levels to equalize throughout.


    Nathan Myhrvold et al., Modernist Cuisine
  3. MeatSkull

    MeatSkull Meat Mopper

    As much as I hate the gooberment I'll trust them to keep the country safe as I don't trust you regulating meat production and recalls. Water is inert, check your sources. As far as the rest of your post I won't read it as I'm sure most is blah blah as the first two I challenged.
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wiki says, "water is a solvent".... Water is the most common solvent we have... It dissolves sugar, salt, honey, coffee flavors....
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You CLAIM I am wrong on Cure Diffussion YOU PROVE IT! And No Wikipedia BS, as anybody can post or change definitions on Wikipedia no matter how ignorant they are.

    Ok, my mistake, as a Solvent water is relatively inert, in some situations. I used a inaccurate example under the circumstances you are referring to. However, there are many chemical reactions that water Does form a new compound and is not inert. Water H2O in the presence of Sulfur Dioxide, reacts to form H2SO4 a new compound aka, Sulfuric Acid.
    Shame you won't read my post and an article that explainS a simple chemical process. I guess I give up. All I have left is the College level Culinary Chemical Reactions, I taught as an Instructor. That gets even deeper...JJ
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Folks...Disagreement, when there are so many way to skin a cat, will happen. Discussion and even friendly debate is fine. But when your argument boils down to, " I'M RIGHT AND EVERYONE ELSE IS WRONG! I don't have to prove anything." Followed by sarcastic comments and childish remarks, We can Guarantee, you won't be around long.
    Please respect each other and keep it friendly...Thanks...

    chopsaw likes this.
  7. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You are so very right debate is fine rudeness will not be tolerated and once warned by a Moderator you had best listen or you won't be a member for much longer
    chopsaw, pc farmer and chef jimmyj like this.
  8. smokerjim

    smokerjim Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks again, I am only using cure #1, I agree disagreeing is one thing but attacking is is rude and uncalled for, I enjoyed most of the debates in this thread, I will say I learned quite a bit from all of you.i will keep you updated on how these come out. Thanks again jim
  9. jcam222

    jcam222 Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Do you suppose that its ok to substitute Splenda for sugar in these cure recipes?
  10. smokerjim

    smokerjim Smoking Fanatic

    I don't see why not, I'm sure some of the pros will be around to give you a definite answer .
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There should be no issue. I know Pop's uses Stevia without issue...JJ
    jcam222 likes this.
  12. smokerjim

    smokerjim Smoking Fanatic

    Getting ready to smoke tomorrow , pulled out for fry test today after 14 day cure, probably a little long but with work schedule best I could do. Fry test was just a little salty but not to bad, will soak for 1/2 hour or so and put in fridge to dry over night. If I can figure out how to post pictures I will post them, (just a computer dummy) maybe not just a computer dummy!! Thanks again for all the help
  13. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Well, @smokerjim …. How did it turn out? Please post pics if you can.
  14. smokerjim

    smokerjim Smoking Fanatic

    Turned out good, I ended up using yours and digging dogs recipe, I really can't taste any difference , I will work on the pictures, I have them on my phone (flip phone) I think I have to send them to my email and somehow get them on here, not sure how but will work on it. Thanks again
  15. nanuk

    nanuk Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I use Imgur.com.

    load you pic there, then link to it from here using the "Image" icon above.
  16. smokerjim

    smokerjim Smoking Fanatic

    I did get them to my email, how do I load them to imgur, thought I was halfway intelligent until trying to get pictures on here
  17. smokerjim

    smokerjim Smoking Fanatic

    Testing I1541530276.jpg
  18. smokerjim

    smokerjim Smoking Fanatic