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First time Dry Curing Bacon nitrite free - Got some questions!

Asi

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Hey everyone, lurking around here for the last few days since I started making jerky and bacon lately.

Getting your hands on expensive bacon in Israel is extremely hard and very expensive, so I'm making my first bacon.
it's dry curing in coarse salt, brown sugar, black pepper, maple syrup, liquid smoke, bay leaves, rosemary, and crushed garlic cloves - All unmeasured.
I'm so excited that I flip and massage it every few hours, and a lot of liquid has accumulated which I guess is a good sign.

I have some things I want to understand better, feel free to answer what you want and skip the rest.
My questions are:

1. How long should I cure it?
2. Does it change if I live it longer? I have two cuts, should I try leaving one for longer?
3. Should I bake it in the oven after curing? What happens if I do and what happens if I don't?
4. It's curing uncovered in a pyrex dish, should I cover it?
5. Should I soak it after curing? There's a lot of salt.
6. Should I freeze what I don't want to use soon? Doesn't it get worst if I freeze?
7. Should I let it rest in the fridge between rinsing and baking, or is that only relevant when you have a smoker?
8. How long does it really last in the fridge?

Thanks a lot in advance, this is an awesome forum and looks like the community is super helpful!
 

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SmokinAl

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This is a question for chef jimmyj chef jimmyj , or daveomak daveomak , if neither of them see this & respond please PM them.
Al
 
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sawhorseray

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It's common to use sodium nitrite at .025% the green weight of the meat to avoid the potential for botulism. RAY
 
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Asi

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It's common to use sodium nitrite at .025% the green weight of the meat to avoid the potential for botulism. RAY
Thanks Ray, I'm aware of the use of #1 salt and all that jazz, just a bit hard to come by where I live and I have seen it's not mandatory if you intend to heat the meat anyways.
 

daveomak

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Thanks Ray, I'm aware of the use of #1 salt and all that jazz, just a bit hard to come by where I live and I have seen it's not mandatory if you intend to heat the meat anyways.
It's not necessary if you bake the meat like it was a roast....
Very necessary if you want the meat to have the 'pink' cured color and taste AND if you smoke the meat... Smokers consume and reduce the oxygen level in the smoker and botulism LOVES warm moist meat in an oxygen deprived environment...
 

Asi

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It's not necessary if you bake the meat like it was a roast....
Very necessary if you want the meat to have the 'pink' cured color and taste AND if you smoke the meat... Smokers consume and reduce the oxygen level in the smoker and botulism LOVES warm moist meat in an oxygen deprived environment...
Next time I'll probably use curing salt if this one doesn't come out right. I also don't have a smoker at the moment, but good to know because I intend to build one soon.

Anyways, is all lost? Do I have to roast this one fully and it will not be real bacon?I've seen many videos about this, and figured it will come out okay if I bake it on low heat for an hour or two.
 

daveomak

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In order to get through the "danger zone" where the meat gets up to 145F in ~ 4 hours, have the oven temp at ~ 225... That gets through the zone where bacteria flourish in damp, warm meat and then it cooks the bacteria...
 

Asi

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In order to get through the "danger zone" where the meat gets up to 145F in ~ 4 hours, have the oven temp at ~ 225... That gets through the zone where bacteria flourish in damp, warm meat and then it cooks the bacteria...
The question is do I have to do that if i'm going to fry the slices anyways? My pieces are also pretty small, about a lb each - 4 hours sounds like a lot, is it not going to make my bacon a pork belly roast?
Thanks for the help!
 

daveomak

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There is danger is 'slow cooking' a hunk of meat... Allowing the bacteria on the surface to multiply before it is killed...
There is a method that pasteurized the meat and makes it safe to consume... 2 methods actually...
Sear the outside to kill surface borne bacteria... (Meat is considered sterile on the inside, of a whole muscle hunk).. Then slow cook to cook the inside...
Pasteurizing the meat..
Cook the meat at a low temperature, like using a Sous-vide... There are time/temp tables to use a sous-vide and accomplish the pasteurization process...
You will still end up with a pork belly roast as the meat is not cured and smoked and cured and smoked pork belly is the definition of bacon... No pink meat and no cured and smoke flavor...
(edited)

The pasteurization times for beef, lamb and pork are listed in Table C.1. Table C.2 lists the pasteurization times for chicken and turkey.
Temperature... ....... Time.... ....... Temperature... ........ Time
°F (°C) (Minutes) °F (°C) (Seconds)
130 (54.4)........... 112 min
131 (55.0) ......... 89 min...........
132 (55.6).......... 71 min............
133 (56.1).................. 56 min............
134 (56.7).................. 45 min...........
135 (57.2).................. 36 min............
136 (57.8).................. 28 min...........
137 (58.4)................. 23 min............
138 (58.9).................. 18 min...........
139 (59.5).................. 15 min ...........
140 (60.0).................... 12 min............
141 (60.6).................. 9 min..............
142 (61.1).................. 8 min.............
143 (61.7).................. 6 min
144 (62.2).................. 5 min
145 (62.8).................. 4 min
Table C.1: Pasteurization times for beef, corned beef, lamb, pork and cured pork (FDA, 2009, 3-401.11.B.2).

In order to get a hunk of meat to ~132F in the interior, an oven temp of approx. ~160F is necessary to overcome the evaporative cooling effect, to the hunk of meat, that cools the meat due to interior moisture....
Once the meat gets to ~132F, as an example, it must be held at that temp for 71 min. to effect the death of all the microbes... Personally, I hold the final temp, at all the given temps, for an additional 1/2 to 1 hours as added insurance....

Using a sous-vide, a water oven temperature of 133F is adequate to pasteurize the meat at 132F.... There is NO evaporative cooling effect to the hunk of meat....

Click on this tutorial...


And to answer you question that I understood but not clearly asked.....
No, you do not have to follow any of our/my recommendations... Cook the meat as you choose...
Personally, I find it necessary to make an attempt to clarify safe food practices to prevent any
members from contracting a food borne illness.... Not that I am an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I have read a few articles, from reputable folks, on food safety....

...
......
 
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