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Old World Bacon Cure

brockp

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I have a recipe that was my grandparents. This was cured in an open crock in the cellar then smoke and could hang in a dry cellar.

100# of meat
2 ounces of saltpeter-food grade (nitrate)
2 pounds of sugar
7 pounds of coarse Kosher salt-original recipe called for 8 pounds but they change it to 7 pounds in 1980-your choice
4 gallons of well water-non-treated

Warm half the water to dissolve the salt and the other half of the water should be warmed to dissolve the salt. Then put the two mixtures together. Brine must be able to float a raw egg. Put bacon in crock with brine covering it and weight down bacon with a board with a rock on the top. Flip bacon over every 2-3 days for 3 weeks before smoking.

Few questions,

1. Assuming you sub saltpeter for Cure #1 @ 6.25% That would be 32 oz pink salt / 100 lbs. Or about 8x what the pink salt recipie calls for
2. This is a lot of salt and others in the family have already cut back even more.

I'm more wondering about the cure salt. Is the direct conversion correct? If so is this because it was out in the open? I also plan to use a crock and not in the fridge.

Thanks in advance.
 

tropics

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For an equilibrium brine check this.
I use it for all my wet curing, Corned Beef,Pastrami etc.
Richie
 

DanMcG

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The recommended high limit of potassium nitrate is 700 ppm, so for a brine that would be 1 oz to 10 gallons of water. so your recipe is about 5 times the maximum.
You can't sub one for the other, saltpeter is pure nitrate cure #1 is 6.25% nitrite and the rest is salt.
Stick with a known cure#1 or #2 recipe that you have used before and trust.
 

brockp

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So why would the old recipe be so much? I only found one britsh recipie that used saltpeter for bacon and it was a similar ratio, but it was the only one. Is it related to being in a crock in the open vs in a fridge?

Or is it related to nitrate slowing converting to nitrite?
I assume the very high salt content vs. other common wet brines is because it's an open air hang bacon?

Thanks, trying to learn.
 

DanMcG

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Well Brockp I can't say the info I gave you is accurate or not now. I did a quick look at Maynard Davies book, Manual of a Traditional Bacon Curer and his sweet pickle brine is not so different then you grandparents. I guess I'll need to get the cobwebs out of my brain and rethink this.
Here's his recipe,
IMG_3816.JPG
 

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