First Cure .... Did I use too much PINK SALT?

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by mrmilkman, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. mrmilkman

    mrmilkman Newbie

    Hello all!

    So it's been 7 days in the cure, 1 day drying in the fridge and just threw it on the weber smoking at 200•degrees.

    After reading about pink salt #1 here in the forums I'm worried I used too much. Is it safe to eat?

    1.58 lbs pork belly skinned to 3/4 teaspoon pink salt #1. I read this is twice the amount of Prague powder for a belly this size.
    (I know the belly is super small but it's the biggest I could get from my butcher that day)

    Below are pics of the belly just before going into the smoker. Meat looks very red.

    Any advice would be great thank you!

    MY CURE:

    1.58 pound pork belly

    1/2 cup dark brown sugar 

    1 tablespoon course ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons kosher salt 

    1 tablespoon organic molasses 

    3/4 teaspoon pink cure salt #1 
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When dry rub curing a belly, 200 Ppm nitrite is allowable... 67% more than when in a brine solution.. AND since you cooked it at a high temperature, quite a lot of nitrite will have dissipated... It should be fine to eat...

    How long did you let the curing mix work on the meat... should have been about 12-14 days in the refer....

    Dirt is right on about getting a small electronic scale..... about $10......

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    More than you need but not toxic levels and as Dave pointed out the hot smoke will help reduce what's there...JJ
  5. mrmilkman

    mrmilkman Newbie

    Thanks for jumping in guys....

    Was super disappointed and definitely will not make that mistake again. 

    Buying the scale...trying again. 

    Below are pics of the belly out of the smoker and a few slices in. It looked more cooked than expected, must have been the size. 

  6. mrmilkman

    mrmilkman Newbie

    One last thing @DaveOmak  you said to leave the cure for 12-14 days. Every recipe I've seen for bacon says 7 days in the fridge....Do you have a recipe you;d like to share?

  7. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    From what you wrote it is not absolutely clear if you were dry curing or immersion brining. If you were immersion curing then we would need to know the amount of water used in the brine to calclulate the likely residual Nitrite but if you were dry curing then we can easily calculate the maximum.

    Assuming you were dry curing - (I have added the metric weight conversions to your quote above and am making the assumption that your cure contained 6.25% Nitrite)

    If you did not pour away any of the resulting brine during the curing period you would end up with a theoretical maximum of 349 Ppm Nitrite. In practice the end result will actually be less than this (~300 Ppm as not all of it is taken up). If you did pour away the brine as it was forming then this value will me considerably lower.

    It is likely that the resulting Nitrite in your bacon was on the high side, however as both JJ and Dave say it is very unlikely to be toxic if eaten in normal quantities - especially after the hot smoking. You may not find it particularly pleasant to eat though as the amount of salt you added was also high (~6%). This will depend on your liking of salt in food though.
  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When dry curing bacon, within reason, it is not possible to over cure as the required amount of cure is calculated and added at the beginning. The length of time it takes for the cure to penetrate will depend on the thickness of the meat (belly will take less time than loin). Some on here calculate the time required in days per inch of meat thickness, however I simply leave mine in the cure for 14 days regardless of the meat cut.

    I know Dave has some good bacon recipes he can share and you may also find one of my recent posts in this thread helpful

    Dave and Dirt mentioned the need for scales - I totally agree. It is important to weigh the ingredients accurately rather than use volume measures. The weight of a cup of coarse salt will be different to a cup of fine table salt.

    Ideally the cure should really be weighed in grams to 2 decimal places, however you can get away with scales that only go to 1.
  9. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Agree with all of the above, the only way to go is accurate measuring of ingridients.
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No problem..... The way I make my bacon.... YMMV...

    Dry rubbed bacon... cure #1 at a rate of
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015
  11. smokin phil

    smokin phil Smoking Fanatic

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  12. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That is the reason. Sometimes you may be curing 5 kilos of bacon but other times it may be a single duck breast. Being able to weigh your cure to 2dp gives you that flexibility. For bacon though you really only need to go to 1.
  13. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great looking Bacon Dave [​IMG]

    Yes I had heard that and assumed it to be true. It is mentioned in the USDA Processing Inspectors Calculation Handbook, although I understand that even the USDA now no longer know where some of this information originated from. When I did my bacon curing comparative tests last October I also tested this statement and cured a batch of skin in exactly the same was as I cured the bacon. When the Lab tests came back the skin had actually absorbed the cure to the same extent as the meat. OK, my tests used immersion curing and this is dry curing so there mat be a difference, though I think that is unlikely.

    Like you I skin my bellies before curing too - or more precisely I get my butcher to do it for me.
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wade, so you are saying the USDA's information is wrong based on your tests ???

    Thanks, I'll stick with the USDA.....
  15. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Dave

    No - just that some of DDFs curing circle of friends have followed up the curing methods in the handbook with the USDA and the USDA have officially confirmed that all of the people that were involved in originally creating (and also with the last updating the handbook) are no longer around and none of the supporting documentation still exists. They say that it was created over 20 years ago for the purpose of standardising inspection methods and not for use as a curing textbook. Unofficially they have also said that some of the assumptions in the book have just continued to be used without them actually having been confirmed as accurate. My lab tests appear to support that they may not be.

    Anyway, by removing the skin as we both do this point is actually academic. Even if you left the skin on, by staying withing recognised limits whether you adjust by 10% or not will not affect the overall safety of the end product.


    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
  16. mrmilkman

    mrmilkman Newbie

    Thanks everyone, and yes Dave your bacon looks to be perfection. However, it's a bit more than I am willing to invest...let's see maybe one day I'll follow your footsteps. 

    I've been dry curing and will try both to see if I like immersion better. If anyone has any opinions I'd love to hear this vs. that. 

    Buying a 10lb slab next week so I can test some rubs and see how it goes. After all, I'll have to wait another 2 weeks for good 'ol homemade bacon!


  17. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    I use the amazingribs recipe with good results.  For every 1 lb of belly, it calls for:

    1 1/2 t kosher salt

    1/2 t cure #1

    1 1/2 t ground black pepper

    2 T dark brown sugar

    1/4 cup distilled water.

    Works like a charm.  I cure for 8-10 days.  Rinse off bellies really well, add more ground pepper and then smoke at 180 until I hit an IT of 140-145.  Let sit for a day and slice.
  18. smokin phil

    smokin phil Smoking Fanatic

    Is this basically a wet/brine cure then?
  19. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    Yes.  I triple the recipe, put 3lb sections of the belly in a Ziploc bag and turn over every day or so.
  20. smokin phil

    smokin phil Smoking Fanatic

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016

Share This Page