Curing Fridge Set-up (Bear’s Method)

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Bearcarver

Gone but not forgotten RIP
Original poster
OTBS Member
Group Lead
Sep 12, 2009
45,279
18,184
Macungie, PA
Curing Fridge Set-up (Bear’s Method)

I figured I’d post this in case anyone’s interested. This method works good for me. I’ll explain it the best I can:


When I started Dry Curing meat, 6 years ago, I read that the temp should be between 34° and 40°. Any lower than 34° could slow the curing process, and any higher than 40° could be a problem with spoilage. I decided to hold my temp right in the middle of that range.
So I didn’t like checking the temp by opening the door, because that just lets warm air into the fridge, and if you look at a thermometer in the fridge, it might say 30°, because that may be the air temp at that time, or it could say 45°, because that could be the air temp at that time.
So what really is the meat temperature??-----Who knows???

So I figured since the best way to monitor your smoker is with a wireless digital thermometer, why not use that same system to get accurate Refrigeration temps. So for the air temp of the inside of the Fridge, I just hang my Maverick smoker probe on a Fridge rack, but that just tells the air temp as it cycles from the low temp to the peak temp, as the cold cycles on & off in the Fridge.

Then to get the temp of the inside of the meat that’s curing in the Fridge, instead of sticking a probe in a piece of meat, I filled a bottle about 3/4 full with water, and dropped my Maverick Meat Probe in the bottle.

It takes awhile, and some adjustments to the setting to get it to where you want it, but I had the water temp holding between 37° and 38°, and for quite some time now I’ve had it holding exactly 37°, which I figure is also the temp of the inside of the meats, and the air temp of the Fridge just continues to cycle from a Low of 31° to a High of 43°.

So this is how I’ve been doing it for 6 years, and using the curing times calculations that I use with my Dry Curing, I have never had anything that wasn’t cured to center, and nothing has ever been too salty. I think the temperature while curing is one of the factors in proper curing.

Below are a few pics of what I just explained. I’m sure there are other ways of doing this, but this is the way I’ve been doing it.


Bear



Here’s a shot of the inside of my Basement Meat Fridge:
At this time I had Pork Loin curing for CB on the top shelf, and Pieces of Pork Butt curing for BBB on the shelf below that.
However the thing I want to show here is the Maverick ET-73 probes on the right side of the lower shelf.
The one hanging is monitoring the Air Temp of the Fridge all the time.
The Meat Probe is in water inside the Gatorade Bottle.
At the point I have that fridge set, the air temp cycles from 31° to 43° continuously, and the one in the bottle holds exactly 37° at all times.
I keep the receiver unit upstairs on the Hutch in my Dining Room, so I can see what the temps are whenever I pass by.
DSCN2043.jpg



Here is a shot of my receiver showing the low point of the Air Temp cycle at 31°, and the Water temp in the bottle is at the 37°.
DSCN2052.jpg



Here I got the camera out a couple seconds too late to get the Air Temp peak, which was at 43°, and the Water temp was at 37°.
DSCN2051.jpg
 
Last edited:
Good Info. This should help a lot of folks.   
points1.png


Gary
 
Do you leave your thermometers running all the time? Or was this just to calibrate your fridge dial?

Just wondering how long your batteries last if you leave them running all the time.
 
Makes sense. Saw the same principle in someone's temp controlled wine cellar. He had the thermostat probe inside a wine bottle (filled with water).

My I suggest you make a clarification for some who might confuse this with a dry curing chamber setup?
 
 
Do you leave your thermometers running all the time? Or was this just to calibrate your fridge dial?

Just wondering how long your batteries last if you leave them running all the time.
I leave it set up like that 24-7-365. Have to change batteries twice a year at the most.

Bear
Makes sense. Saw the same principle in someone's temp controlled wine cellar. He had the thermostat probe inside a wine bottle (filled with water).

My I suggest you make a clarification for some who might confuse this with a dry curing chamber setup?
Thanks Atomicsmoke.

I thought about that, but didn't know how best to state it.

I only use this for normal short time Dry curing, such as Belly Bacon, Canadian Bacon, Buckboard Bacon, Dried Beef, Bacon-on-a-stick, etc, etc.

With this kind of curing, I don't worry about what the Humidity is.

Bear
 
  • Like
Reactions: ndkoze
Thanks Bear,

If I ever save up the dough for a dedicated meat/cure fridge, I will definitely be getting an extra Maverick to go along with it.
 
John that is good info it should help some.I do that some times just I do not leave the probe for more then a day or 2.Will be doing it later,have a new fridge for the basement coming today.

Richie

points.gif
 
 
John that is good info it should help some.I do that some times just I do not leave the probe for more then a day or 2.Will be doing it later,have a new fridge for the basement coming today.

Richie

points.gif
Thank You Richie!!

The good thing about having it in there all the time, is it takes awhile to get the Temp right where I want it.

I don't use the top freezer in this Fridge, because when holding the Fridge at 37° or 38°, the freezer is not low enough for my liking. I like my Freezer at ZERO.

And Thanks for the Point !!

Bear
 
Last edited:
 
Thank You Richie!!

The good thing about having it in there all the time, is it takes awhile to get the Temp right where I want it.

I don't use the top freezer in this Fridge, because when holding the Fridge at 37° or 38°, the freezer is not low enough for my liking. I like my Freezer at ZERO.

And Thanks for the Point !!

Bear
John top freezer has its' own temp setting started making ice in about an hour. I have a cup of water in the fridge now with the probe in it.will tweak in the morning

Richie
 
 
John top freezer has its' own temp setting started making ice in about an hour. I have a cup of water in the fridge now with the probe in it.will tweak in the morning

Richie
Yup---Our 4 year old French Door Kenmore can be set anywhere with individual controls.

However my Older "Cheapo" from Home Depot (curing Fridge) only has one control, and if I would set it so the freezer would hold ZERO, the Fridge would be at freezing.

And holding the Fridge at 37°, like I do, makes the freezer too warm for my liking, so all I keep in that freezer is bottles of frozen water & paint brushes I use for painting my Log House.

Bear
 
Last edited:
 
Yup---Our 4 year old French Door Kenmore can be set anywhere with individual controls.

However my Older "Cheapo" from Home Depot (curing Fridge) only has one control, and if I would set it so the freezer would hold ZERO, the Fridge would be at freezing.

And holding the Fridge at 37°, like I do, makes the freezer too warm for my liking, so all I keep in that freezer is bottles of frozen water & paint brushes I use for painting my Log House.

Bear
John thanks for this post I always checked mine with just the probe.That bottle is a great idea,I used a coffee cup it was handy LOL.Checked at 5:00 AM 38* rechecked at 8:00 38* so the fridge is set.Now beaking in the new stove,have a bottom round roast in the oven.Thanks again Bud

Richie
 
Bear

Do you leave the thermometer in the water all the time? Or did you just do this to calibrate where the fridge thermostat needed to be set?
 
 
John thanks for this post I always checked mine with just the probe.That bottle is a great idea,I used a coffee cup it was handy LOL.Checked at 5:00 AM 38* rechecked at 8:00 38* so the fridge is set.Now beaking in the new stove,have a bottom round roast in the oven.Thanks again Bud

Richie
Sounds Good Richie!!

Bear
 
Bear

Do you leave the thermometer in the water all the time? Or did you just do this to calibrate where the fridge thermostat needed to be set?
I leave my probes in there 24/7/365 so I don't have to start over every time I cure something.

Plus my original 6 year old ET-73 has a frozen on-off switch, and the only way I can shut it off is to remove the batteries.

My other Fridge & Freezers only have the cheap little stand-up thermometers in them, and I just glance at them once in a blue moon.

Bear
 
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Clicky