Low sodium bacon

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Billmeketa

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Original poster
Jan 13, 2024
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My wife is on a low sodium diet and I want to make my own low sodium bacon . Has anyone else tried this? If so, do you have any idea of the final sodium level? I know that you have to cure it in a salt solution and that is my concern.
 
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My wife is on a low sodium diet and I want to make my own low sodium bacon . Has anyone else tried this? If so, do you have any idea of the final sodium level? I know that you have to cure it in a salt solution and that is my concern.
What Doug said. Do you use potassium chloride at all as a sodium substitute?
 
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My wife is on a low sodium diet and I want to make my own low sodium bacon . Has anyone else tried this? If so, do you have any idea of the final sodium level? I know that you have to cure it in a salt solution and that is my concern.
What Doug said. Do you use potassium chloride at all as a sodium substitute?

Yes.
I make both lower sodium belly (streaky) bacon and loin (Canadian) bacon.
I go for about 1% total between the curing salt and regular salt.
Good timing. I'm putting a 1 kg pork tenderloin to the dry brine cure tonight.
I do not use a wet brine.
I found a wet brine gets funky with the longer cure times required for low sodium.
With lower sodium, I discovered added sugar isn't needed either, but that may be my taste as I don't care for sweet foods.
My last batch after curing 6-7 weeks (longer than the 3-4 weeks I planned).
cured.png
Getting the third round of cold smoke.
smoke-3.jpg

I don't use any salt substitute. I think it leaves a bitter taste.
After nearly 20 years of pretty much following MY wife's low sodium regiment, I've gotten to appreciate a low salt diet. I still have guilty indulgences of boiled peanuts, potato chips, and popcorn.

I make a lot of fresh sausage at 1/2% total salt. No sodium nitrite, but I do add in .1% MSG.
If it is sausage that wife doesn't like, then I splurge and go 1% total salt.

Side note
An alternative to making low sodium bacon is to lightly poach the slices, dry and cook.
I really don't care for that as it also washes away the smoke.

My 2¢

JE
 
Yes.
I make both lower sodium belly (streaky) bacon and loin (Canadian) bacon.
I go for about 1% total between the curing salt and regular salt.
Good timing. I'm putting a 1 kg pork tenderloin to the dry brine cure tonight.
I do not use a wet brine.
I found a wet brine gets funky with the longer cure times required for low sodium.
With lower sodium, I discovered added sugar isn't needed either, but that may be my taste as I don't care for sweet foods.
My last batch after curing 6-7 weeks (longer than the 3-4 weeks I planned).
View attachment 685721
Getting the third round of cold smoke.
View attachment 685722

I don't use any salt substitute. I think it leaves a bitter taste.
After nearly 20 years of pretty much following MY wife's low sodium regiment, I've gotten to appreciate a low salt diet. I still have guilty indulgences of boiled peanuts, potato chips, and popcorn.

I make a lot of fresh sausage at 1/2% total salt. No sodium nitrite, but I do add in .1% MSG.
If it is sausage that wife doesn't like, then I splurge and go 1% total salt.

Side note
An alternative to making low sodium bacon is to lightly poach the slices, dry and cook.
I really don't care for that as it also washes away the smoke.

My 2¢
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JE
Just finished dinner of steak wrapped in bacon, broccoli and mashed potato survey says low salt bacon sucks
 
Yes.
I make both lower sodium belly (streaky) bacon and loin (Canadian) bacon.
I go for about 1% total between the curing salt and regular salt.
Good timing. I'm putting a 1 kg pork tenderloin to the dry brine cure tonight.
I do not use a wet brine.
I found a wet brine gets funky with the longer cure times required for low sodium.
With lower sodium, I discovered added sugar isn't needed either, but that may be my taste as I don't care for sweet foods.
My last batch after curing 6-7 weeks (longer than the 3-4 weeks I planned).
View attachment 685721
Getting the third round of cold smoke.
View attachment 685722

I don't use any salt substitute. I think it leaves a bitter taste.
After nearly 20 years of pretty much following MY wife's low sodium regiment, I've gotten to appreciate a low salt diet. I still have guilty indulgences of boiled peanuts, potato chips, and popcorn.

I make a lot of fresh sausage at 1/2% total salt. No sodium nitrite, but I do add in .1% MSG.
If it is sausage that wife doesn't like, then I splurge and go 1% total salt.

Side note
An alternative to making low sodium bacon is to lightly poach the slices, dry and cook.
I really don't care for that as it also washes away the smoke.

My 2¢

JE
Thanks for the reply JE. Can you please share the details of your dry cure bacon recipe? Also, the Canadian bacon and sausage recipes. Do you do baby back ribs and brisket low sodium?
 
I do all meats low sodium.

Actually pretty simple to dry cure.
Before getting started you need a couple of scales.
A unit that will weigh 5-10 kilograms and is accurate to 1 gram for weighing meat and water.
Another that is accurate to 0.01 or 0.001 gram for weighing your curing salt and spices.
Once you get used to it, metric is an easier system to calculate weights.

My last belly, I cut in half so the pieces would each fit into gallon Ziploc bags.
I use fine grain salt and it mixes easily with cure #1 Because cure #1 is 93.75% salt (6.25% sodium nitrite) and used at 0.25% you need to calculate that into your total salt.
Make your mix and rub evenly on the meat. I use nitryl gloves. Close up the bags squeezing out as much air possible. Keep at 36-40°F for 4 weeks.
 
Here's my main sausage recipe. It is from a thread on copying Jimmy Dean

salt 0.5%
pepper 0.25%
sage 0.25%
thyme 0.12%
nutmeg 0.13%
red pepper flakes 0.2%
Cayenne 0.05%
Ginger 0.05%
MSG 0.1%
water up to 10%
All spices get pulverized in a cheap coffee grinder before blending in the ground pork.
Mix well until the meat sticks together to form patties.
 
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I do all meats low sodium.

Actually pretty simple to dry cure.
Before getting started you need a couple of scales.
A unit that will weigh 5-10 kilograms and is accurate to 1 gram for weighing meat and water.
Another that is accurate to 0.01 or 0.001 gram for weighing your curing salt and spices.
Once you get used to it, metric is an easier system to calculate weights.

My last belly, I cut in half so the pieces would each fit into gallon Ziploc bags.
I use fine grain salt and it mixes easily with cure #1 Because cure #1 is 93.75% salt (6.25% sodium nitrite) and used at 0.25% you need to calculate that into your total salt.
Make your mix and rub evenly on the meat. I use nitryl gloves. Close up the bags squeezing out as much air possible. Keep at 36-40°F for 4 weeks.
Thank you for sharing this. I will give it a shot and let you know how it goes.
 
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I make my bacon using the Pops low-sodium wet cure. Everyone I share it with wants more so I think its pretty good.
That's what I did when wet curing bacon. The recipe calls for up to 1 cup of salt per gallon. I found that about 1/3 cup was the sweet spot for me, so that probably qualifies as low-sodium.
 
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I have BP issues and I SHOULD be eating less salt, or getting a LOT more exercise, OR both, but here we are. Bacon is bacon. I mean c'mon!

I've made dry cure bacon at the recommended
  • 1.5% salt
  • EDIT: .25% cure #1
  • .75% sugar
In an "error of understanding the tools" (digging dog calculator), I've made two batches of bacon. I made my first batch at 1.5% total salt and regular amount of sugar, and one batch with a total salt of 1.75% and I bumped up the sugar to 1% to hopefully balance out the salt.

I personally prefer a lower salt bacon, but I've also seen mention of longer cure times. What is the collective mind on "longer cure time" for low salt cure? Would a total salt of 1.5% require more than 7 days?
 
Last edited:
Typo? Was cure #1 actually .25%???

I cure bacon for around 14 days.
I think maybe a typo. I always type it as 0.25% both for me to avoid making a typo as well as to make it clear for anyone reading.
 
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Typo? Was cure #1 actually .25%???

I cure bacon for around 14 days.

I think maybe a typo. I always type it as 0.25% both for me to avoid making a typo as well as to make it clear for anyone reading.

Oops! Definitely a typo! Good catch.

I edited the post to read the correct amount so there's no confusion to future readers.
 
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That's what I did when wet curing bacon. The recipe calls for up to 1 cup of salt per gallon. I found that about 1/3 cup was the sweet spot for me, so that probably qualifies as low-sodium.
Doing a Pop's brine which is a universal "pickle" and ignores the weight of the meat makes it hard to calculate a true % of salt, sugar, and nitrites.
1 cup per gallon is 6.75% salt. 25 pounds of meat will bring it down to a 2% cure.
1 heaping tablespoon of cure #1 at 25 pounds of meat is on the lower side for nitrites that we use as the 150 ppm standard. It just requires more time for a complete cure.
With low salt, dry brine is the only way to go, there are safety reasons for this also.
I'm rusty on my chemistry, but 1% salt applied directly to the meat appears to be high enough to suppress any pathogen growth. The nitrites will further suppress pathogens.
I'm not worried about botulism as this isn't an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment and takes many many months to develop toxic levels.

...
I personally prefer a lower salt bacon, but I've also seen mention of longer cure times. What is the collective mind on "longer cure time" for low salt cure? Would a total salt of 1.5% require more than 7 days?
For my 1% cures I normally double the cure time.
 
I'm very new to all of this and have been extremely pleased with the outcome of my bacon making experiences thus far using the .25%, 1.5%, .75% recipe. If I wanted to lower the salt to 1.25%, do I need additional curing time beyond the 10-14 days?
 
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