Curing bacon without #1??

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Pigfarmin101

Fire Starter
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SMF Premier Member
Nov 3, 2023
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Idaho
Hey smoking gurus and fellow carnivores! I have a question about curing bacon. Let me start with my plan. I plan on using a natural nitrate to cure my bacon for 8-10 days, I believe I’ll let it sit for a day in the fridge afterwards (not sure if that’s necessary), and then smoking at 200 till 145-150. Based on my knowledge the nitrates are needed because of the longer, colder smoke which obviously is not my plan. I talked to a butcher today and he said that I don’t have to use cure number 1 because of the temp I’m cooking it at. He gave me a natural brine recipe and here it is for three pork bellies:
3 gallons water
20 ounces of pineapple juice
1 pound kosher salt

He said there are natural nitrates in pineapple juice which will cure the bacon. Here’s my problem, I don’t like pineapple. So does anyone have any better ideas? Or recipes? Also if any of my plan is not right let me know so I don’t screw something up!
 
Pineapples can contain fairly high concentrations of nitrate (I confess, I didn't know that until I just looked it up), but the problem with relying on that for a cure is that the nitrate concentration can vary A LOT with when and how the pineapples were grown, and whether they are sold and juiced fresh, or canned first.

Working with Cure #1 requires fairly careful measurement to make sure the concentration is sufficient to insure food safety, without being dangerously high. That's easy enough to do when weighing out the powder. When using pineapple juice, I don't think there is any good way at home to know how much nitrate is actually being used.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0260877414004713

https://www.joaat.com/uploadfile/2014/0611/20140611045408678.pdf
 
Nitrates and bacon is not a wise move. Nitrate requires bacterial interaction to break the nitrate down to nitrite. Nitrates do not cure or interact directly with meat. Cure #1 is a mixture of nitrite and regular salt. With nitrates not only must the bacteria be present but present in sufficient quantities and temperatures should be in the 50’s to support those bacteria. I’d scratch that plan and just use cure #1 and make some delicious bacon, nitrites work directly on the meat and work well at refrigeration temps in the 30’s.
 
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Nitrates and bacon is not a wise move. Nitrate requires bacterial interaction to break the nitrate down to nitrite. Nitrates do not cure or interact directly with meat. Cure #1 is a mixture of nitrite and regular salt. With nitrates not only must the bacteria be present but present in sufficient quantities and temperatures should be in the 50’s to support those bacteria. I’d scratch that plan and just use cure #1 and make some delicious bacon, nitrites work directly on the meat and work well at refrigeration temps in the 30’s.
I may have misspoken about nitrates, I didn’t know there was a difference between the two and I knew it was one of the two. Probably will just use cure #1. Do you know of a good recipe for the cure?
 
Pineapples can contain fairly high concentrations of nitrate (I confess, I didn't know that until I just looked it up), but the problem with relying on that for a cure is that the nitrate concentration can vary A LOT with when and how the pineapples were grown, and whether they are sold and juiced fresh, or canned first.

Working with Cure #1 requires fairly careful measurement to make sure the concentration is sufficient to insure food safety, without being dangerously high. That's easy enough to do when weighing out the powder. When using pineapple juice, I don't think there is any good way at home to know how much nitrate is actually being used.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0260877414004713

https://www.joaat.com/uploadfile/2014/0611/20140611045408678.pdf
Thanks for the info, think I’ll switch to cure number 1 based on what you guys are saying. Do you have a good curing recipe?
 
I may have misspoken about nitrates, I didn’t know there was a difference between the two and I knew it was one of the two. Probably will just use cure #1. Do you know of a good recipe for the cure?
Use the metric gram scale and apply every thing as a percentage to meat weight.

1.5% salt
.25% cure #1
.75% sugar.

This mixed up to meat weight and applied to a belly then bagged in a ziplock and refrigerated for 10-14 days then smoked will yield some fantastic bacon.
 
Use the metric gram scale and apply every thing as a percentage to meat weight.

1.5% salt
.25% cure #1
.75% sugar.

This mixed up to meat weight and applied to a belly then bagged in a ziplock and refrigerated for 10-14 days then smoked will yield some fantastic bacon.
That’s awesome, thanks! Once it’s done and I rinse, any recommendations on what to coat it with? One of the best bacons I ever had was a jalapeño bacon. But you can’t go wrong with bacon, it’s one of gods great gifts to mankind
 
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That’s awesome, thanks! Once it’s done and I rinse, any recommendations on what to coat it with? One of the best bacons I ever had was a jalapeño bacon. But you can’t go wrong with bacon, it’s one of gods great gifts to mankind
I use the same recipe as SmokinEdge SmokinEdge and it makes awesome bacon. No real reason to rinse after curing. I just put it on a wire rack in the fridge over night to dry out then smoke the next day. I don't use any rub before smoking, just smoke it as is.
 
I may have misspoken about nitrates, I didn’t know there was a difference between the two and I knew it was one of the two. Probably will just use cure #1. Do you know of a good recipe for the cure?
Yes there is a big difference. between nitrate and nitrite.
Various vegetables contain a natural high amount of nitrAtes, not nitrItes.
Anytime you see an "uncured" product of bacon or ham, it will be actually cured in a concentrated and cultured vegetable (usually celery) concoction. Cultured means the natural nitrates were converted to nitrites.
Pineapple does not have significant nitrates. Pineapple does contain bromelain which is a meat tenderizer similar to the papain produced from papaya and found in off the shelf products.
 
That’s awesome, thanks! Once it’s done and I rinse, any recommendations on what to coat it with? One of the best bacons I ever had was a jalapeño bacon. But you can’t go wrong with bacon, it’s one of gods great gifts to mankind
I apply my cure then let it rest 30 minutes or so to dissolve then I like to add white pepper and granulated garlic by eyeball, then bag it and let it cure. No rinse after just lightly dab dry with paper towel then into the smokehouse about an hour at 120* to dry no smoke then smoke added for 4-5 hours. Really remarkable bacon.
 
That’s awesome, thanks! Once it’s done and I rinse, any recommendations on what to coat it with? One of the best bacons I ever had was a jalapeño bacon. But you can’t go wrong with bacon, it’s one of gods great gifts to mankind
Speaking of Jalapeno bacon, does anyone have a recipe to make this.
I tried some last summer in Montana and it was out of this world delicious.
Would they just use a Jalapeno rub do you think? Anyone have a recipe they would be willing to share?

Thank you.
 
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