Did i add too much Cure #1 (Dry cured Bacon)

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by travisty, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. travisty

    travisty Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Did i add too much Cure #1!?

    I am new to the Forum, and also attempting to cure my first batch of bacon. I am very confused about adding cure #1 amounts, because i have found so much mixed info. the most consistant is that you can add 1tsp per 5lb, but then i found another that said that was for sausegas, and that you can add up to 4tsp for 5ld for a dry cure.
    Additionally what is considered the "bible" of curint meats, the Charcuterie book ( ), has a recipe that specifically lists 2tsp for a 5lb bellie.

    Anyway, due to the mix up i did one half (5lbs) of my bellies with the recipe from Charcuterie book, and the other half (5lb) i added the dry rub recomendation of 4tsp. I am very worried that the latter was too much cure for what i have found, and i am considering throwing it out. please help!!!
    As a note, i did a dry rub following a recipe in the book, and put them in plastic bags in the fridge to cure for 7 days, i will massage and flip them daily.
     
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Travis, afternoon..... Generally speaking....... curing bacon, use cure #1 at a rate of 120 Ppm nitrite, skin off (3/4 tsp. 5#'s).... skin on, 108 Ppm.... Those are max allowable amounts... they figure nitrite is not absorbed into the skin and the skin comprises 10% of the weight of the belly....

    Now for sausage, roasts (pork butts) when making other stuff.... cure #1 at a rate of 156 Ppm max.. (1 tsp. / 5#'s of meat)....

    The dry cure method mentioned that allows 625 Ppm.... max allowable, is a long term, months of curing method.... not something that those not familiar with those process should undertake..... That method is used in charcuterie and usually cure #2 is used for that also.... and meats that are intended to be eaten without cooking are what has been cured......

    Then there are mixed methods, that have usually been approved by the USDA, for specialty shops...

    Now.... most folks don't know the difference because the methods aren't explained in lay terms.... only terms that professionals understand...

    Soooo, the 4 tsp. batch is way to much nitrite... You could smoke it, add lots of honey and use it for bear bait... one of them brownies... One slice of home made honey coated bacon could bring a nice bear from about 20 miles away...... that way it wouldn't go to waste......

    Dave





    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_nitrite
     
  3. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Travisty,

    Welcome to SMF!

    You'll find lots of questionable recipes out there on curing bacon.  The most foolproof way of figuring out your Cure #1 amount is using the USDA guidelines for nitrite ppm, and calculating out the amount of Cure #1 by weight.  

    For dry-cured bacon (without the skin), USDA says not to exceed 200 ppm of sodium nitrite.  If your bacon still has the skin on, then don't exceed 180 ppm of sodium nitrite.  If you are making your bacon by curing it in a brine, then don't exceed 120 ppm for skin on, or 108 ppm for skin off.

    To calculate how much Cure #1 you need, here is the formula:

    Cure #1 weight in grams = (ppm sodium nitrite) * (weight of belly in grams) / (.0625) / 1,000,000

    1 tsp of Cure #1 weighs about 6 grams.  Cure #1 is 6.25% sodium nitrite and 93.75% salt.  

    So for 5 lbs of pork belly, here is out it calculates out:

    1 tsp of Cure #1 per 5 lbs belly = 165 ppm (meets USDA standards)

    2 tsp of Cure #1 per 5 lbs belly = 330 ppm (above the USDA limit)

    4 tsp of Cure #1 per 5 lbs belly = 660 ppm (3x above the USDA limit)

    This is why the standard calls for using 1 tsp of Cure #1 per 5# of belly.  I'd personally throw out the belly that you used 4 tsp of Cure #1 on, but that is just me.  Others may have other opinions about that.

    Anyway, hope this was helpful at showing where those numbers come from.  Here is the USDA reference that these values come from:

    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf

    Good luck!

    Clarissa
     
  4. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Dave,

    Sorry, must have been typing while you posted.  Great answer, as always!

    Have a great night!
    Clarissa
     
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Explanations on "Dry Curing" that explain what's happening.....

    NITRITE USED IN CURED, DRY PRODUCTS
    Introduction
    The amount of ingoing nitrite used in dry cured products, such as country ham, country style pork
    shoulder, prosciutto, etc., is based on the green weight of the meat or poultry in the product
    formulation. These products are prepared from a single intact piece of meat or poultry that has
    had the curing ingredients directly applied to the surface, and has been dried for a specified period
    of time. For large pieces of meat, the curing ingredients must be rubbed on the surface several
    times during the curing period. The rubbed meat or poultry cuts are placed on racks or in boxes
    and allowed to cure. Nitrite is applied to the surface of the meat or poultry as part of a cure
    mixture.

    http://www.sausagemaker.com/tutorials/chamber/curing_chamber.html

    And one more very good explanation..... by Martin.....

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/124452/confusing-dry-curing-with-dry-curing
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  6. travisty

    travisty Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Dumb question: What does "PPM" stand for?
     
  7. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    parts per million
     
  8. travisty

    travisty Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thank you guys so much! This is the best forum ever! Ive been thinking of trying som alternitive Halibut bait, and up here they dont have regulations for that, so i may try using the over Nitrited bacon to catch me some monsters! Ill let you know if it works!
     
  9. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Of course not a dumb question, but JckDanls got you covered.  

    A lot of forum members use a wet curing brine for making bacon that doesn't require you to do those calculations, and will turn out great bacon:

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/124885/bacon-made-the-easy-way

    I personally think it is good to know how to do these calculations, so that you can look at a recipe and figure out for yourself whether it is a safe recipe or not.  Even books like "Charcuterie" have mistakes in them.

    Have a great night!
    Clarissa
     
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Travis, I never tried bacon for bait...... my favorite halibut bait was octopus..... golf ball size hunks.....
     
  11. travisty

    travisty Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    As a follow up question, I did follow the recipe in Charcuterie exactly on one of the 2 batches, which had me add 2 tsp for the 5lbs of meat. According to the calculation this is over the USDA limit, but I would assume others have made the recipe and been fine. But I don't want this bacon to kill me, do y'all think I should chuck that batch too, or do you think I'll be ok?
     
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would think the bacon is OK... Follow the recipe...
     
  13. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Travisty,

    It won't kill you, many vegetables have a much higher sodium nitrite ppm than what that bacon will have.  I personally wouldn't throw out the 2 tsp per 5 lb batch from a sodium nitrite standpoint, but I would also personally cook it slow-and-low (in contrast to hot-and-fast).  Bacon has a lower sodium nitrite ppm level from the USDA than other cured meats like ham, for example, because of the risk of forming nitrosamines (cancer-promoting baddies) when cooking bacon hot-and-fast.

    However, you may find your "Charcuterie" bacon to come out unpleasantly salty.  I made bacon using "Charcuterie" numerous times and always found it too salty, so I started wet brining my bacon. Take a look at the post I linked to above (Bacon made the easy way) and maybe give that a try next time.  That recipe doesn't calculate out the ppm and it does end up with a fairly wide variation in ppm amount.  However, you can calculate it out the same way as I did above by using both the weight of the water + the weight of the belly together in the calculation (instead of only using the weight of the belly).  Also, use weight when you measure out Cure #1….a lot of inaccuracy when you measure out things by volume.

    Good luck!
    Clarissa
     
  14. I can understand your confusion and sense of overwhelm.  There are more opinions, thoughts, recipes, etc. that it is easy for the newer bacon aficionados to get overtaken by conflicting and non-specific instructions.  I realize that my post here is just another opinion, but I think it will help to clarify some things that I remember worrying about when I first started curing bacon.

    Let me see if this helps you....

    I have tried different methods and processes - including Ruhlman's found in Charcuterie...and I have settled on a foolproof and simple process that I believe is safe, effective, and produces consistent and fantastic results.  I've done hundreds of pounds of bacon this way...(BTW, I never use a wet brine, like many propose on this forum, for bacon.  I won't go into the reasons here, but they are many - and I don't want to start a holy war on this fine site...) .

    Here's my easy, step-by-step bacon process:

    I keep a container of a mix of 8 oz Kosher salt and 1 oz Cure #1 (that's a WEIGHT measure, not volume).  I mix it up well and keep it in the pantry - marked, of course, so that nobody mistakes it for something else.

    I lay my bellies out and I do any trimming that may be necessary.  I usually cut my bellies into pieces around 3.5-4 pounds.

    Apply .36 oz of the cure mix for each pound of belly, e.g., a 4 pound piece would get 1.44 ozs. of the cure mix applied to it.

    This results in a consistent ppm of nitrite of 156 ppm - right in the required and safe wheelhouse per the USDA guidelines for bacon cured in this manner.  The only thing is that you have to weigh your belly pieces, and precisely measure out the amount of cure for each piece that you cure. If you need to check the math on my mix ppm, consider that one 9 oz batch of mix containing 8 oz salt and 1 oz of pink salt, would cure 25 pounds of belly ( 25 x .36 oz = 9 oz).  That equates 1 oz of cure for each 25 pounds - equal to a ppm of 156! 

    Add any additional amount of seasonings/flavorings that you wish -  pepper, herbs, brown sugar, etc - I've played around with things like Old Bay, Red Pepper, and herbs such as crushed juniper berries, thyme, etc.  One thing to keep in mind, however, is that I've found that too much honey or 100% maple, while adding sweetness, will tend to burn/brown quickly when cooking the finished bacon.  Brown sugar works better, IMHO.  My "go-to" is simply cure mix, pepper, and brown sugar.  I put the belly piece into a food-safe tub or lipped tray when applying the cure mix and other seasonings, that way I catch anything that falls off. 

    Once covered with cure mix and other flavorings, place your belly piece into 2-gal ziplock bags. Any cure/salt/seasonings that fell off when you were coating the belly should be placed in the bag as well - remember, the amount of cure is measured for your piece of belly. Sometimes I throw a small "splash" of water into the bag too - just to wet the surface a little.  Seal tightly and place the bag(s) in the fridge, and turn them every morning....

    After a week, check them for firmness, remove them, rinse off well, pat dry, and place back in the fridge - uncovered - to develop a pellicle.  When ready, smoke to an internal temp of approx. 150. I like to smoke at around 180 -200 deg until I get to the 150 IT.  When done, I usually let it cool down and I put it back in the fridge to "harden-up".  The next day, I slice it on the old slicer, package, and store.

     It's simple-pimple, foolproof, and an easy process.  I cured-up 22 lbs 2 days ago in less than an hour.

    I hope this helps.........
     
    travisty likes this.
  15. Render fat much?  [​IMG]  
     
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Osprey21, evening........... Unfortunately, the (USDA or FDA) recommends a maximum of 120 Ppm nitrite to skin off bacon if you are a commercial processor.... 108 Ppm skin on bacon....
    So, if you want to make your bacon in line with Federal recommendations, apply .27 ounces of your mix per pound or 7.8 grams per pound....... and 2.2% salt vs 1.7% salt.....

    I prefer my bacon smoked between 50 and 70 deg. F for 4-6 hours....

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  17. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I never heard of this being called the bible, only Kutas' book "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing"
     
  18. Dave...sorry, but I think you are mistaken.  The USDA guideline for bacons is a min of 120 and a max of 200 PPM for dry cure bacon.  The numbers you gave are for immersion, massaged, or pumped bacon.  You should re-read the USDA inspectors calculations guide section that is specific for bacons and nitrite.

    Again..not to start a holy war, but there are only a few approved methods to cure bacon.

    Immersion - TOTALLY immersing the belly in a pickle solution until an appropriate amount of well-measured pickle is absorbed into the meat.  This is not an easy process to do for the home  curer (IMO) unless you have some time and equipment.  This is NOT simply brining like a turkey; it requires exact measurements of pickle contents, weights, and knowledge of exact amount (%) or pickle "pick-up" into the meat.  Unfortunately, some think that simply putting some cure into solution and soaking a belly is sufficient.

    Pumped - Just like it says...pumping a specific amount of pickle into a piece of meat.  This requires pumping equipment, and is computed by injecting a specific pickle solution at specific volumes based on the green weight of the meat.  This is the mass-produced process.

    Dry cure - applying an amount of salt and cure - in specific amounts based on the green weight of the meat.  If the bacon,is to be smoked, this cure the time is much shorter - if not smoked (e.g., pancetta), this can take longer

    Here is the EXACT words from the USDA site:

    "Pumped" bacon has curing ingredients that are injected directly into the meat to speed up the curing process and add bulk. This type of mass-produced bacon is held for curing for 6 to 24 hours before being heated. If not properly drained, pumped bacon can exude white liquid during frying.

    "Dry-cured" bacon has a premeasured amount of cure mixture applied or rubbed onto the bacon belly surfaces, completely covering them. Additional cure may be rubbed in over a number of days, but the amount of added sodium nitrite cannot exceed 200 parts per million (ppm). After the curing phase, the bacon may be left to hang for up to 2 weeks in order for the moisture to be drawn out. Less time is needed if it is going to be smoked. Because of the lengthy processing time and labor required, dry-cured bacon is more expensive than the more mass-produced, pumped bacon.

    "Immersion-cured" bacon is placed in a brine solution containing salt, nitrite, and flavoring material or in a container with salt, nitrite, and flavoring material for 2 to 3 days. Sugar, honey, or maple syrup may be added to the brine. The meat must then be left to hang until it is cured.


    Here is the wording from the inspectors calculations guidebook:

    Immersion Cured Bacon (rind-off): A maximum of 120 ppm of nitrite or equivalent of potassium nitrite (148 ppm) can be used in immersion cured bacon. Note: the calculation method for nitrite in immersion cured bacon is the same as that for nitrite in other immersion cured products. Refer to pages 21-24.

     Dry Cured Bacon (rind-off): A maximum of 200 ppm of nitrite or equivalent of potassium nitrite (246 ppm) can be used in dry cured bacon. Note: the calculation method for nitrite in dry cured bacon is the same as that for nitrite in other dry cured products. Refer to pages 24-27.

    Please remember - immersion cured (brined) bacon (like Pop's Brine) requires some very specific calculations to ensure a proper cure.

    If anyone is interested...here's what the USDA inspectors calculations guide says about calculating your immersion/brine cure: 

    "This system is actually very complex and dynamic, with components in constant motion, but it will reach and maintain a state of equilibrium. 
    Therefore, the calculation for ingoing nitrite is based on the green weight of the meat block, using the percent added as a relevant amount."


    METHOD 1:

    lb nitrite × % pick-up × 1,000,000 / lb pickle = ppm
     

    METHOD 2:

    Calculation Formula (using the green weight and pickle weight): 
     lb nitrite × 1,000,000  / green weight (lb) meat block + lb pickle = ppm


    I realize that everyone will do whatever they choose to...and I do not mean to criticize or bash anyone's choice...I was only trying to provide a new bacon maker with some time-tested methods and advice based on my experiences.

    Respectfully... The Osprey
     
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Once covered with cure mix and other flavorings, place your belly piece into 2-gal ziplock bags. Any cure/salt/seasonings that fell off when you were coating the belly should be placed in the bag as well - remember, the amount of cure is measured for your piece of belly. Sometimes I throw a small "splash" of water into the bag too - just to wet the surface a little. Seal tightly and place the bag(s) in the fridge, and turn them every morning....


    Osprey, morning...... I'm not too sure but I believe that method is not "dry curing" and should be considered brining.....

    Dave
     

Share This Page