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Curing Cabinet build

Discussion in 'Slicers, Grinders, Tools, Equipment' started by buckscent, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. buckscent

    buckscent Smoke Blower

    hey all, I would like to invite you on my curing cabinet build with me, help me with this build because I am sure I will need all the help I can get. SO, below is step one. Took ,e a couple months to find the fridge I wanted, I knew I wanted a glass door one and those are harder to find. But I did find one

    <a href="https://postimg.cc/8sq8BF6m" target="_blank"><img src="https://i.postimg.cc/8sq8BF6m/fridge1.jpg" alt="fridge1"/></a><br/><br/>
    <a href="https://postimg.cc/9rT6xWP5" target="_blank"><img src="https://i.postimg.cc/9rT6xWP5/fridge2.jpg" alt="fridge2"/></a><br/><br/>

    A nice surprise was it already has a Emerson Temp controller in it that someone added


    I put a thermometer in it and set the Emerson to 60... Righ now it goes from 40 one minute then I go look at it later and it is right on 60, then 50 back to 40... Don't know ywt if it the thermometer yet or not but when it shows 40 it does feel like it inside


    I also have these ready to purchase but have not yet





    May need this IF the Emerson controller isin't working


    This is one item I do already have


    I think this is all I will need for the build but let me know if I have missed anything. I know a small fan but I will get one from Wal-Fart. I look forward to taking this journey with all of you
     
  2. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Smoking Fanatic

    If you want to really simplify the controls get

    Inkbird ITC-308 - temperature controller
    Inkbird IHC -200 - humidity controller

    Together on Amazon they are $70.99

    The beauty of there controllers are:

    1. They are plug-n-play
    2. They each are dual function Cool/Heat & Humidify and dehumidify
    3. They have hi/low audible alarms
    4. The temp controller has a compressor timer lockout function to keep the refrigerator compressor from cycling on/off
    5. They are very accurate and be set to be set to 1/10th degree/percent and the ability to set a dead band to keep over cycling of the chamber

    What you are potentially experiencing with the erratic temperatures swings is not having a dead band.

    Set you fridge to 40 degrees and after it reaches temp the compressor shuts off but since there is still some cool air falling the chamber will overshoot and go sub 40 degrees. If you don't have a 2 or 3 degree deadband as soon as the temp drops below the set point of 40 degrees the heat will kick on trying to keep the chamber at the 40 degree setpoint. But again since then thermostat isn't instantaneous the heat will overshoot past 40 degrees and then the cooling comes back on. Repeat over and over and you have a very unstable curing chamber and really stress the mechanical components and accelerate wear.

    So if you set a deadband of 2 degrees with a set point of 40 degrees the cooling will not cycle until the interior temp reaches 42 degrees then it will shut off at 40 but the temp can continue to drop to 38 degrees until the heat is commanded on. It really levels things out and the same goes for the humidify/dehumidify side of thing.

    I run my chamber at 58 degrees and 80% RH and I can stay +/- 2 points of either very easily w/o over taxing mechanical the components.

    Another thing that help temperature swings is thermal mass. When I only have one or 2 meats in the curing chamber I put a couple 6-packs of beer in there to help hold/maintain temperature.

    CC1_1115.jpg C6_1128.JPG C7_1129.JPG C5_1127.JPG
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
    SmokinAl likes this.
  3. buckscent

    buckscent Smoke Blower

  4. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Nice setup Holly!!
    Al
     
  5. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Smoking Fanatic

    Yes it is the dFF setting. Looks like factory set to 5 but adjustable from 1 to 30.

    2 degrees or 2 % has worked well for me. 5 is a little to much IMHO.

    Yes running a dehumidifier is important especially when freshly hanged “wet” meats are put in the chamber. Until they dry out a bit they produce a lot of moisture that’ll elevate the RH. While the refrigeration cycle will lower humidity early on in the aging presses it doesn’t run enough to compensate for the high moisture in the meat. So you need an alternate way to get rid of the excess moisture. Some folks dehumidifiy but opening the chamber door several times a day but I am a fan of keeping the door closed as much as possible so you are not per.

    Are you also running a heater and dehumidifier? If not I suggest you do if you want finite and steady control.

    Below as the curing chamber exists today with the ceramic heater also connected.

    Front left - Heater
    Rear left - humidifier
    Rear right - dehumidifier
    Front right - 3 outlets piped through the curing chamber wall and extended up to the corresponding plug (in the second picture) connected to the Inkbird controllers.

    Curing Chamber 1.jpg Curing Chamber 2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  6. buckscent

    buckscent Smoke Blower

    such good info thank you!!! So what heater and dehumidifer are those, hard to tell in pic. And what controls the heater? When does the heater come on? Sorry just so new at this and want to make sure I have everything I need for the build.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  7. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Smoking Fanatic

    The dehumidifier is a Ivation mini dehumidifier and the heater is a Honeywell desktop ceramic heater.

    Both of the Inkbird controllers are dual function. So the Humidity controller has a duplex 110v outlet as shown in th picture above. The top outlet (labeled cool) is where the refrigerator plugs in and the bottom outlet (labeled heat) is where the heater plug in.

    The heater will not get a lot of use if you keep the chamber in a conditioned space. My curing chamber is in a attached but unheated garage so in the dead of winter the cooling does not run at all and the heater is maintaining the chambers interior temperature
     
  8. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Smoking Fanatic

    Today is another situation where having a dehumidifier at you disposal is important. The weather this morning is the all too common rainy and a very high dew point. So the dehumidifier is running.

    I'll also mention another nice little addition to a curing chamber is a remote read temp/humidity sensor. I use an AcuRite model 00609SBLA1 (less than $20.00 at Lowes). Hang the sensor in the chamber and the display is setting at my desk so I can keep and eye on things remotely. While I trust the Inkbird controllers to do their job this sensor is just another set of check & balances. Its also nice to use as a calibration check.

    AcuRite.png
     
  9. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Smoking Fanatic

    Today is another situation where having a dehumidifier at you disposal is important. The weather this morning is the all too common rainy and a very high dew point. So the dehumidifier is running.

    I'll also mention another nice little addition to a curing chamber is a remote read temp/humidity sensor. I use an AcuRite model 00609SBLA1 (less than $20.00 at Lowes). Hang the sensor in the chamber and the display is setting at my desk so I can keep and eye on things remotely. While I trust the Inkbird controllers to do their job this sensor is just another set of check & balances. Its also nice to use as a calibration check.

    View attachment 378164
     
  10. buckscent

    buckscent Smoke Blower

    Well I got all my equipment in a couple days ago... I have been so busy at work then coming home and laying flooring, my wife has me replacing the carpet with wood. I hope to get working on my cabinet next week

    [​IMG]


    I did put the temp/humidity display in there just to see, I also went to Lowes and got the AcuRite Holly suggested and put them both in there. it looks like the Emerson that was in there is holding 60 after I made the change

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Smoking Fanatic

    Get ready to be impressed. You have everything you need to keep finite control and produce some very high quality meats. Turning a $3.39 cent a pound eye of round into a $40 a pound Bresaola is not something everyone can do. You are now in the club.

    Watching the curing chamber is also interesting as the seasons change. During the hot humid summer the humidifier ran to the point where I had to add water about every 3 day. This was because the refrigerator ran a lot to keep the chamber cool thus creating a dry environment. So when its dry the humidifier runs a lot to keep set point. A week ago we went from 89 degrees with a dew point of 80+ to then next day and beyond 55 degrees and 30 dew point. My dehumidifier has actually been running more because the refrigerator isn't cycling nearly as much as before. Actually over the hot humid summer I have emptied my dehumidifier twice. Both times it wasn't even near full I just didn't want a petri dish. Today I emptied it because it was full and have not heard the refrigeration run.

    If you have question do not hesitative to ask.
     
  12. buckscent

    buckscent Smoke Blower

    well don't know if I am in the club yet or not... let's hold off that high honor until I at least produce something edible :)
    I have my cabinet in the basement in the back corner against the blocks of the outside wall. it gets colder in there during the winter but in Alabama that still not to cold for very long. I am sure I will have many many questions once I get started curing, but that's a new thread for a later date
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018 at 3:16 PM
  13. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Smoking Fanatic

    A basement is a great and a lot more stable environment. My curing chamber is in an attached garage and in the summer is well over 100 degrees and in the winter is sometimes in the teens.

    I have also thought about moving my chamber to the basement but the convenience of walking buy the curing chamber daily or multiple times daily and being able to glance in through the glass to check the state of affairs makes me hesitant to move it.

    As for you 1st cure what are you thinking of doing? I would start with a Lonzino actually 3 or 4 Lonzino. Whole pork loins are very inexpensive.

    The hardest thing about curing its the wait. So up front it help to start several meats. It'll be a bit of a leap of faith but worth it.

    Buy 2 whole pork loin and cut them in 1/2. Cure 1 piece every 14 days to get a flow of meats established. Then when you start curing the 3rd piece the 1st piece is ready for the chamber. After you get the original 4 pieces of meats cured and into the chamber you can then back off curing to 1 piece (to replenish supply) every 3 to 5 weeks. What I try to avoid is lots of meats ready all at the same time.

    The leap of faith is you going to have 4 meats with an unproven flavor profile. But since you'll pick spices you already like and omit those you do not you've hedged your bet towards your taste buds being happy.
     
  14. buckscent

    buckscent Smoke Blower

    That is the exact cure I thought of doing...spot on. That or a duck Prosciutto. I am one when I do something I go wide open from the beggining, going to slow down this time as this can affect other people if I get them sick so yes, starting slow and working my way up as I learn processes and get comfortable
     
  15. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Smoking Fanatic

    I am the worlds most impulsive person but curing and/or any food prep is something for some reason I do not mind going the long way around.

    Duck prosciutto is a good thing to get you're feet wet as it cures and dries in a short durations. It'll give you something to sample while the other meats are aging.

    Here is a great Bresaola calculator that also works well for Lonzino. Cure, salt and sugar amounts are solid the spices you can add, omit or customize to you're liking.

    http://www.localfoodheroes.co.uk/?e=811