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Ham and Lox, and a couple questions.

Discussion in 'Curing' started by mdboatbum, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've got my first ham in a brine. Also a couple salmon filets curing for lox. I just wanna make sure I'm doing this right.

    For the ham, I used 1 gallon water, 3/4 cup kosher salt, 3/4 cup brown sugar, about 20 juniper berries and 4 bay leaves. I used 2TB pink salt. Planning to brine it for 2 weeks, then dry in the fridge, then smoke. The ham's 8lbs bone in. I removed the skin.

    For the Lox I have 2 small filets weighing a total of 21 ounces. I mixed up a cure of 1/4 cup Kosher salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2tsp cracked black pepper and 1/3tsp pink salt. I'll be following Bbally's method. The salmon is skin on.

    Any glaring problems? There is a lot of conflicting information out there, so I just want to make sure we're safe.
  2. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That seems a lot of Cure for the ham to me.

    I have a loin brining to make a ham amd mine was only 1T cure #1 per gallon w/ 3/4 sugar, 3/4 brown sugar, and 1/2C salt and some Maple extract and some maple syrup. I think the big thing with hams is the injecting the brine directly intto the meat and especially along the bone. This is to prevent bone sour.

    Pop's is the one to know. bear and Tom Know the rub cures.  I am still learning but.... Here's my last ham, only a picnic but using Pop's brine cure.


    I know that Pop's way works, I was pretty impressed with the picnic. Can't wait to pull out and smoke these injected loins. I try to leave mine a bit longer in the brine on my ham attempts, I am hoping for a real red color with that ham texture. I want to ensure it normalizes/equalizes.

    If it were not for the bone sour, with 2T of cure #1, I would think yours would cure in no time. But ask Pops, he's the man with the plan on brine cures.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I should have mentioned I did inject it. I injected into and all along the bone, as well as every inch or so in the meat, so hopefully bone sour won't be a problem. I read Pop's guide on ham, and the only reason I went with more cure is that he specified his was a small amount of cure for a long (28 day) brine, and since we only have the one fridge I was hoping to shorten the time and free up space in the fridge. I've seen recipes calling for as much as 8 tablespoons cure per gallon, but I realize you can't believe everything you read on the interwebs. My main question is whether or not the 2 TB cure is an unsafe amount. I felt pretty sure it was within a safe margin, but now I'm second guessing.
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I would pm Pops. I've only made ham using his brine and recommended times.
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I will say sounds like you've covered it. I used a "heaping" Tablespoon on the picnic, my heapings are more equavalient to 2 tablespoons to most folks. The loins I currently have in the brine cure I used less salt. I like a good salty ham, guess its from the old days, but for some reason I was out voted. So I cut way back this time, and again they are loins and not a ham.

    I bet extra cure and reduced time work.
  6. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks guys!! I'll drop Pops a line and see what he says. After the Canadian bacon turned out not quite the way I wanted, I'm a little twitchy with this ham. This is sort of a practice run for what will hopefully be a Christmas ham, so I'd like to get it dialed in.
  7. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    On one of his threads he said it is safe to use up to 3 Tbs cure #1 IN 1 gallon of water. Level tablespoons.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
    mdboatbum likes this.
  8. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    AWESOME!!! Thank you so much for that, that's the info I was looking for. I hadn't seen that thread and have been searching since yesterday for the safety margin.
  9. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I was wrong! Here is how Pops explained it.

    You can add any other flavorings you'd like, this is just the basic curing brine. 1 heaping tablespoon of cure is about 1 ounce.  The maximum concentration allowed safely is 3.84 ounces per 1 gallon of brine (24 lbs.per 100 gallons: 16 oz. x 24 = 384 ounces, 1/100th is 3.84 ounces).  You can experiment with different concentrations as long as you keep it between those parameters:

  10. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Cool, thanks again. Looks like I'm still in the safe zone, so I think it'll be OK. I'll keep y'all updated.
  11. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks good so far, no blue color, no floaties and no weirdness. Bag is sealed so haven't done a smell test.
  12. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Almost ready to come out of the brine!! Tomorrow will technically be 14 days, so I may pull it and let it dry in the fridge overnight and smoke Sunday. Q-view to come!!