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No InstaCure bacon

Discussion in 'Hot Smoked Bacon' started by uncle kenny, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. uncle kenny

    uncle kenny Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    I cured a belly with salt and sugar, 10 days in bags turned daily. The pieces are firm and a test fry was delicious. Since i put 'em on the cure, I've read a lot more about it and it seems that everybody uses TQ or #2 or something else. I wonder if I should chase some of those nitrates down and cure these slabs some more? It is a small batch, a trial run, which will get eaten in a few days around here.

    This bacon isn't going to be kept for long is it really necessary to TQ or #2? If it is necessary, does anyone recommend that I dry brine the same belly again?

    Oh, one of these days I'll find out where I can make a signature[​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  2. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Ok first you have to watch out for your cure #2 it's a cure for salamis and other dried meats I believe. Now you can cure with tender Quick and pink salt (or prague #1) I have used them both for curing bacon a couple of times and I do find that they make some really great bacons too. Now for your Signature dilemma. You need to go to my profile and then find the edit my signature and then you can do almost what ever you want to. Now if you are a premier member you get more things that you can do.
  3. uncle kenny

    uncle kenny Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    Oh, yes, #2 is for dried meats. Thank you. I've just never used any of those things on my fish, ducks, etc. I'm ready to branch out from there and realized that I might have made a mistake with this first bacon cure.
  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Uncle Kenny,

    If you keep the bacon below 40 degrees you do not need cure 1 or any other cure.  I assume you kept the green bacon in the fridge during the 10 days of the cure, should be ok, the salt and sugar do wonderful things to keep a piece of meat from going rancid.  If you are going to cold smoke the bacon you should have a bit of nitrite in the cure.  If you are going to hot smoke or just freeze and fry a bit as you need it you do not need the cures.

    Cure 1 helps preserve the meat, provides a slight taste enhancement and helps keep the color.  If you are keeping the bacon in the danger zone for more than 4 hours either during the cure process or the smoking/cooking process we always recommend using a cure. 

  5. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     You have not cured anything and you have not made a cure... you have made a preserve and you have partially preserved fresh pork and started the making of salt pork.  Treat is same as fresh side with regard to food safety and you will be OK.
  6. uncle kenny

    uncle kenny Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Guys. That helps. It's been below 40F and will be eaten quickly. Next time I will use a more modern cure.
  7. uncle kenny

    uncle kenny Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    bbally, I'm still learning the lingo and will do more research on just what is a cure and what is not.
  8. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Long as you treat it as you indicated you would you will be more than safe.

    Just wanted you and anyone else publicly reading the post to know you did not cure anything.  You are on the best site to do your research on.. if you cannot find it here you can always post it as a question.  As with most the other members I will give you an honest answer, always! I want people to learn this it is a great hobby.  It has so many levels to get to in accomplishment you can do it your whole life and still not have touched half of it.

    And lets not forget that salt pork is a very interesting product to create and master.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  9. swamp puppy

    swamp puppy Fire Starter

    This thread hopefully has not died as it is pertinent to one of my concerns regarding making bacon.   I would prefer to NOT use a cure that contains nitrites for my bacon.  From what i gather, it seems that i can "cure" with a salt or salt/sugar/flavoring mix as long as i keep the meat refrigerated and then hot smoke without any issues? 

    I will be doing somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-6lbs of bacon and what isn't destined to be eaten within a day or two will be frozen until needed.
  10. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Like Bbally mentioned above, you're not cureing the bacon with the salt and sugar mix, only preserving the fresh bacon. If you want it to taste like bacon and not pork, you need to add the nitrite. Why do you want to leave them out? 
  11. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would respectfully disagree.

    To "cure" basically means to "preserve"

    If you read the definition from Oxfords Dictionary;

    preserve (meat, fish, tobacco, or an animal skin) by salting, drying, or smoking:(as adjective, in combination -cured)

    From Wedliny Domowe;

    In its simplest form the word ‘curing’ means ‘saving’ or ‘preserving’ meat and the definition covers preservation processes such as: drying, salting and smoking.

    By all accounts if meat is preserved, it is "cured".  It matters not whether some prefer to use the word to only refer to meat preserved with curing agents that contain Nitrates/Nitrites. That isn't the definition, it's just a colloquialism of the word.
  12. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well ya got me there AK, but salt and nitrite still produce two different products.
  13. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree 100%. That is not my issue. What I'm trying to say, is  if you preserve meat, regardless of the method, you have "cured" it. What method is used is irrelevant. 
  14. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    No problem from me on this statement.  If you want to consider salt a cure by that definition you can.  I have to use the industry colloquialisms which indicate use of nitrate or nitrite or not.  That has to do with temperatures required for different products and how they get prepared before they are fed to the public.

    Just realize that cure to the industry means nitrite or nitrate, so if you tell someone in the industry you cured it... they will think you added the nitrate.... which means in many cases no additional cooking required.
  15. swamp puppy

    swamp puppy Fire Starter

    So, being a pure newbie at this i obviously don't have much of a basis for argument, but my understanding from some of the bacon recipies/instructions that i have read up to this point mention that A) Nitrite based cures are not necessary for home based bacon making/use and B) Naturally (salt) cured bacon will taste better than store bought chemically cured bacon.  Again,  I am not really taking sides on this, just trying to sort it all out.  

    this is one post (of many) that i have read concerning using nitrate cures versus not.

  16. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You're right in saying that nitrite based cures "aren't necessary" for making bacon at home. BUT , unless you know exactly how, where and by whom your pork was raised I wouldn't chance it.

    Even when you buy the meat at the local store, it still most likely comes from some big industrial processor where it comes into contact with many people, machines, other hunks of meat etc etc etc.

    Now, If I got my meat from a small farmer who really cared about the animals he was raising and always made sure everything was the best it could be...well then I'd personally be much more comfortable using just salt to cure my bacon.

    As for point B. I would disagree sort of. You're comparing apples & oranges.  Typically if you buy "naturally cured" bacon it will come from a small artisanal producer. What you're buying in a store typically, is some high volume, liquid injected, artificially smoked product that was meant to be produced at the cheapest possible cost.

    I'd be willing to bet that if you bought a pork belly, sliced it in half and then cured 1 half with just salt, the other with cure 1 or TQ, cured both pieces equally, then smoked both equally, other than colour, I'd bet you wouldn't taste a difference.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  17. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I worry more about the salt only cures for what they will lead too.....

    Someone decides to make salt only bacon, finds a recipe on the web buys a belly and makes salt only bacon.  Everything went well.

    Then decides to make salt only ham since the bacon went so well.........

    Makes a country salt only ham from a pork leg purchased at the store.....

    Makes a good ham......

    Purchases an "organic" hog from the auction or a local grower....

    Makes bacon on ham with the salt only method learned a while back.

    Half kills family with Trichinosis....

    Its not just one part of this process that I worry about.... its the whole damn process that you have to understand cause every step is important.

    I don't buy into the nitrates nitrite hyperbol... be around food science to long.... I also know the nitrite does not exist after conversion.

    Understand nitrosamine and that it takes high temp, very high temp to form.  With the new limits on bacon for the last 10 years its not there to happen.

    If you don't like nitrites and nitrates better give up your vegetables..... biggest source in the human diet..... not one chemical difference between it and the stuff in celery, spinach, etc etc etc.
  18. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Like his signature say's "Trusted Authority" I'm good with that.

  19. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Another Ditto on the "Trusted authority".


    IMO---If you want to make Bacon, and have it taste like Bacon, and make it safe for anyone to eat, use TQ or Cure #1 in their proper amounts, the way many on this forum can instruct you. If you want to play games and make believe you're making safe to eat Bacon without "Cure", and only use salt & sugar, good luck.

    If you get it through the danger zone in 4 hours, it will be safe, but it won't be "Bacon". It will be smoked salted pork.

    If you want to know what "cure" is, read a few up-to-date meat smoking books, and/or read some of the threads on curing & smoking.

    If you want to know how to spell "CURE", look it up in a Dictionary. Dictionaries are not authorities on curing & smoking meats.


  20. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Also if you look up cure in the dictionary...[​IMG]

    The definition in BLUE applies when you get the definition in RED WRONG..
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011