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Question About Curing Bacon - how long is too long?

truenorth71

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I put some belly in to cure and then got called out of town for 5 weeks.  Finally coming back this weekend, but by the time I get to it, it will have been in the cure (dry cure, Tender Quick) for 6 weeks.  I have had my friend flip it and rub it every few days, and the meat still looks good.  If I open it up and it still smells fine, is it ok?  Or should I just throw it away?  Thanks for any light you guys can shed on this!
 

daveomak

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If it's been in the refer, it will probably be the best bacon you have made...
 

SmokinAl

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This will be a good one to see.

I have always wondered what would happen in a long cure like this.

It certainly wouldn't ruin the meat, but I just wonder what the texture of the meat will be.

For sure it's safe to eat.

I hope you are going to cold smoke it.

I think it may be the most tender bacon ever.

Al
 

crankybuzzard

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I'm with Al and Dave, probably gonna be some good stuff!
 

dirtsailor2003

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You're probably good to go.

I know that somewhere here there is a thread where Martin or Pops or both of them mention a max limit not to exceed. That was with cure #1. Now I'm going to have to find that thread...
 

chef jimmyj

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That long in the refer I would not sweat. The Nose and a Test fry tasting will speak volumes...JJ
 

Bearcarver

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I would say since it was a Dry Cure with TQ, it will be quite Salty, unless you soak it for a good while.

Long cures with Brine curing like Pops does is OK, because it's an equalizing Brine Cure, diluted with a lot of water, but Dry curing is using a stronger dose of cure & salt, with no added water, designed for a shorter cure. IMO

I don't know what happens with 6 weeks of Dry cure, but I know 3 weeks is saltier than 2 weeks.

Bear
 

chef jimmyj

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I would say since it was a Dry Cure with TQ, it will be quite Salty, unless you soak it for a good while.

Long cures with Brine curing like Pops does is OK, because it's an equalizing Brine Cure, diluted with a lot of water, but Dry curing is using a stronger dose of cure & salt, with no added water, designed for a shorter cure. IMO

I don't know what happens with 6 weeks of Dry cure, but I know 3 weeks is saltier than 2 weeks.

Bear
Didn't catch the TQ in the OP...I am thinking you are correct and the Taste Test is a really good idea...JJ
 

mdgirlinfl

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Did you smoke it and taste it or did you toss it. I'm curious how it turned out.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

smokeymose

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Since no one here has the patience to let bacon cure more than two or three weeks (two in my case), this is uncharted territory!
Would love to see how it turns out...
 

Bearcarver

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Since no one here has the patience to let bacon cure more than two or three weeks (two in my case), this is uncharted territory!
Would love to see how it turns out...
Patience has nothing to do with the length of time I Dry cure with TQ.

Too Short could be under-cured (Not cured to center).

Too long could be too salty, because when Dry curing, the curing juices that form in the bag are stronger than the juices in the meat. The meat will continue to absorb those juices, and get more salt flavored with time.

Bear
 
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dukeburger

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I could be sent away to work for 2-4 weeks at any given time, so I don't cure as much as i'd like to. Looking forward to seeing your results on this.
 

chef jimmyj

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That is on advantage of using Cure #1. You measure your salt to the desired percentage, say 2%, then no matter how long you cure it...The bacon will never get over the 2# you added...JJ
 

wade

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 I agree with JJ and Dave. When storing dry cured bacon it can be kept at <4 C for up to 60 days as a block. As JJ mentioned you will never get over the 2% and so this would be the theoretical limit of the curing time I guess.

7-14 days is really the norm though depending on the thickness but longer will not be a problem.
 

Bearcarver

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That is on advantage of using Cure #1. You measure your salt to the desired percentage, say 2%, then no matter how long you cure it...The bacon will never get over the 2# you added...JJ
I agree---That's one advantage.

Bear
 

eggieroe

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Did you ever get around to tasting this bacon?  I just realized I had some curing in the crisper drawer of our fridge for 3-4 weeks now... 
 

truenorth71

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I never ended up doing it.  I had a power outage that made me worry about it and then I thought I saw some spots when I finally went to smoke it.  Could have been my imagination, but that was all it took for me to decide it wasn't worth it.  Someday I want to do a 4 week cure just to see if there is a difference.  If you end up doing it, I'd love to know if there is a difference in taste or texture.
 

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