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Curing Fridge Set-Up?

Discussion in 'Curing' started by Atl1530, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Atl1530

    Atl1530 Newbie

    OK, pops6927 assured me there were no stupid questions on this forum. I’m gonna test that.



    I’m looking over Bear’s database of tutorials. Under the heading Cured and Smoked products, there’s a subheading called Curing Fridge Set-Up.


    The tutorial doesn’t talk about why or when you would use this fridge.


    The photos of the meat inside the fridge don’t appear to be in a brine so I’m not sure what’s going on.


    Anyway thanks for the clarification
     
  2. He is useing a dry brine in the setup and is simply showing how he maintains the proper temp in his fridge for cureing things like bacon. If you read the step by steps for bacon in his step by step posts following the fridge set up he explains the method he uses and you should understand from that. Glad to have you aboard and no there are no dumb questions. Dumb would be to proceed with curing meat without knowing the proper safe methods.
     
    Atl1530 likes this.
  3. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is a 1000 foot general overview. There can be lots of nuisances depending on what you are making:

    "Curing" : is the amount of time the nitrate/nitrites take to penetrate the meats. Ground meats do not take long to cure generally a couple of days. For the 1st phase "curing" you need to keep the meats at 37*F +/- a couple degrees and covered to keep from drying out until the "cure" has penetrated the meats.

    Here is a thread I posted a while back. What most people call a "curing chamber" is actually a "drying/aging" chamber.


    After the meat is cured then you move to fermentation phase 2. the cured ground meats are stuffed into casings and other chemicals/good bacterial added if desired to aid in the fermentation. Then the meats are hanged at much higher temperatures like 80/85*F and 80 or 90% humidity for a few day until the PH drops. This stage can also be used to establish mold on the exterior of the casing.

    Then move onto the 3rd phase aging and drying. This is done around 57*F and 60 to 80% RH until the meat loses 30 to 50% of it weight depending on the texture and firmness you desire.

    So the reality is you need 3 chambers or one chamber that can be adjusted to accommodate the phase the meat is in:

    1. Curing chamber - A home fridge works nicely as this is where they typically should be run as related to ideal curing temperature.

    2. Fermentation chamber - Temp and humidity run much higher than home fridge (meat is in the danger zone that is why we cure it 1st to protect it from growing harmful bacteria like botulism) also to all PH to drop to help ward off nasty bacterial and add flavor.

    3. Aging/drying chamber - Temp and humidity run lower than the fermentation chamber but higher then the home fridge. In this stage we are slowly drying the meats to develop flavor and texture. Just like in the fermentation phase the meats are in the danger zone and the cure is still protecting the meats from botulism until they dry enough (30 to 50%) to a point where botulism and other nasties cannot thrive.
     
  4. Atl1530

    Atl1530 Newbie

    Can the Fermentation chamber and Aging/drying chamber be done at home? I have a freezer that I can control the temperature accurately. How do you add humidity?

    If I understand the little I have read, the fermentation chamber and Aging/drying chamber are not always necessary. Like for Bacon as an example, It goes from curing chamber to the smoker. Right?
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  5. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes a curing chamber and a drying and aging chamber can be easily set up at home.

    For a curing chamber you are only worried with temperature control.

    For a drying/aging chamber you are concerned with temperature and humidity.

    • Refrigerator is good for a "curing" chamber.
    • A freezer with an ancillary temperature controller (to hold it at a higher temp than a freezer is accustom too)
    • A refrigerator or freezer with temp/humidity controllers and a few other small pieces of equipment can be made into a drying/aging chamber.
    The nice thing is if you spend the money upfront setting up a drying/aging "curing" chamber by quickly resetting the temperature and humidity levels.

    Here is a comprehensive guide I did for building D/A chamber out of a beverage cooler. A fridge or freezer would work equally well.

    https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/drying-aging-chamber-diy-how-to-w-pictures.281390/

    If you have questions please ask. I am only to glad to help.
     
    Atl1530 likes this.