Newbie- curing ham & bacon

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Bluebirdacres

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Nov 3, 2022
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Can you guide me on curing ham and bacon? I am a complete newbie!

I'm reading that the frozen ham and bacon cuts we have from last year's pig can be thawed and salted, then frozen again if desired. Plus our pigs will be butchered in December so we'll have that meat to cure!

We do not have a smooker but do have a propane grill.
We use pink Himalayan salt in our every day life. Is that a good salt to use for curing?

Thanks yall!
 

SmokinEdge

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For bacon and ham we apply cure #1 at the rate of 2.5g per Kg of meat weight this is equal to 1.1 g per pound of meat, this imparts 156ppm nitrite as a dry rub and is safe, you can also use a brine and cover the meats. Salt should be pure salt with no iodine like pure sea salt or canning and pickling salt, never used the Himalayan salt but it has more impurities than I would care for.

First thing you need to decide is if you want to use a dry rub or brine. Dry rub method takes up less refrigeration space than a tub or brining bucket. Hams pretty much need to be injected with curing solution to insure proper curing around the bones. Don’t be afraid to use the the search function at the top of the page. Lots of good reading on all types of curing and we will always try to answer all questions on the forums.
 

PolishDeli

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Oct 9, 2018
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There is some debate as to whether or not meat can be called "cured" without the use in nitrates/nitrites.
In either case, few on this site would advocate in favor of doing salt-only cures owing to the inherent dangers. Especially for someones first attempt and who likley lacks environmental controls.

What are your objection to using proper curing agents?

If you still insist on trying, perhaps start with this video from the Uni of Kentucky


Then read this book:
Stanley Marianski
"Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages"
ISBN 0982426739
 
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Dave in AZ

Meat Mopper
Oct 2, 2022
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Phx, AZ
Can you guide me on curing ham and bacon? I am a complete newbie!

I'm reading that the frozen ham and bacon cuts we have from last year's pig can be thawed and salted, then frozen again if desired. Plus our pigs will be butchered in December so we'll have that meat to cure!

We do not have a smooker but do have a propane grill.
We use pink Himalayan salt in our every day life. Is that a good salt to use for curing?

Thanks yall!
Buy this book and read it, has everything you need to know and will answer all your questions:
Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages by Stanley Marianski.
You can also read most of it for free at meatsandsausages dot com, his website. But if you plan on making bacon, ham, sausage, you should just buy and read it, you'll enjoy it. Way faster and easier than asking each question on internet ;) You also won't miss critical info then... none of us answering a question here will ever be able to give you all the great info you need, just a few paragraphs to get you started. Someone at the PhD level already answered every question you could have ;) zero cost if you use the website.
Good luck!
 
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DougE

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There is some debate as to whether or not meat can be called "cured" without the use in nitrates/nitrites.
In either case, few on this site would advocate in favor of doing salt-only cures owing to the inherent dangers. Especially for someones first attempt and who likley lacks environmental controls.

What are your objection to using proper curing agents?

If you still insist on trying, perhaps start with this video from the Uni of Kentucky


Then read this book:
Stanley Marianski
"Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages"
ISBN 0982426739

It's also worth mentioning that for salt curing country ham like in the UK video, it needs to be a skin on ham. I personally know one guy who does this and he's pretty much quit because all the processors around here that will even process a hog have gone to skinning them out instead of scalding and scraping the hair off. He raises his own hogs, but he is not set up to do the scalding. He used to have a place that killed, scalded, scaped and quartered his hogs for him, but they went out of business.
 

SmokinEdge

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And don’t be fooled by the products out there that say “Un-cured bacon or Ham no nitrites or nitrates added” it’s no true, they use celery powder or beet powder in the cure and this contains enough ”natural” nitrites to cure the meat just like sodium nitrite would.
 

TNJAKE

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And don’t be fooled by the products out there that say “Un-cured bacon or Ham no nitrites or nitrates added” it’s no true, they use celery powder or beet powder in the cure and this contains enough ”natural” nitrites to cure the meat just like sodium nitrite would.
I read an article on that today about the "uncured" meats. Was very interesting and you are correct
 
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DougE

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I read an article on that today about the "uncured" meats. Was very interesting and you are correct
Some form of double speak that allows them a pass since celery powder is "natural". As if sodium Nitrate/nitrite aren't naturally occurring salts.
 
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TNJAKE

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Some form of double speak that allows them a pass since celery powder is "natural". As if sodium Nitrate/nitrite aren't naturally occurring salts.
Yep that's what the whole article was about. "Uncured" is basically a way to pass off the same "cured" product to people against nitrites lol
 
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SmokinEdge

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I read an article on that today about the "uncured" meats. Was very interesting and you are correct
And I would add to that it is very delicious. I’ve bought some Duroc uncured bacon that is dang good, was going to get some celery powder but it was about 35 bucks a pound where cure #1 is 5 bucks. Just can’t pull the trigger, but it does taste very good.
 

DougE

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And I would add to that it is very delicious. I’ve bought some Duroc uncured bacon that is dang good, was going to get some celery powder but it was about 35 bucks a pound where cure #1 is 5 bucks. Just can’t pull the trigger, but it does taste very good.
I'd venture a guess that the celery powder brings something into the flavor profile that cure#1 doesn't, and that's probably the only difference.
 

SmokinEdge

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I'd venture a guess that the celery powder brings something into the flavor profile that cure#1 doesn't, and that's probably the only difference.
Doug, you know how we discuss balancing flavors like just enough sugar to balance salt or spices that accent that savor of salt/sweet smoke and meat? The celery powder just tastes like it belongs there, no real celery flavor but just a very nice meld of flavors. It does add something but it’s more in balance so hard to put your finger on it exactly. I may buy some just to try, but can’t imagine using it for all the time curing.
 

DougE

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Doug, you know how we discuss balancing flavors like just enough sugar to balance salt or spices that accent that savor of salt/sweet smoke and meat? The celery powder just tastes like it belongs there, no real celery flavor but just a very nice meld of flavors. It does add something but it’s more in balance so hard to put your finger on it exactly. I may buy some just to try, but can’t imagine using it for all the time curing.
I have no doubt that the celery powder brings in a positive note to the overall flavor profile, I guess my beef is more that they advertise it as "uncured" when, in fact, it is cured. Just with nitrite from a source other than cure#1.
 
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DougE

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Doug, you know how we discuss balancing flavors like just enough sugar to balance salt or spices that accent that savor of salt/sweet smoke and meat?
Yeah, these discussions are why I feel comfortable in discussing this topic, and others that hinge on a balance of flavors in bacon or sausages.
 
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SmokinEdge

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How does the CJP flavor compare to celery seeds or celery salt?
More mild in flavor. You can definitely taste the celery note with both seeds and celery salt, the powder just brings a pleasant balance to the overall savory flavor. It’s very hard to explain or nail down, but you can taste a difference and it tastes like it belongs there, but no flavor in your face. That said, the bacon I have eaten with CJP was commercial so I’m sure was cured with pumped solution, I’m not sure how it would be with my usual dry rub method, but smokin peachey smokin peachey was the first to tell me about CJP, I believe, and he swore it was more delicious than regular cure #1, and I agree with him from what I’ve tried.
 

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