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Question on curing

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by chewmeister, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I'm in the process of making some summer sausage and have a slight dilemma. The recipe I'm using says to let the ground meat cure for 48 hours before stuffing and smoking. I used cure #1. This is not a fermented recipe (no Bactoferm). I have read recipes for other cured and smoked sausages that say to stuff and smoke right away. My situation is that it's supposed to rain here for a couple days which will negate using my electric smoker. The other thing is the meat is starting to get very stiff from the cure which will make stuffing a challenge. The meat's been curing for 24 hours so far. Can I stuff and smoke it today or do I need to wait another day for the cure to do it's thing? Thanks in advance.
  2. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me will chime in here but I have seen several recipes where you stuff and they can cure in the casings overnight or even a few days. I made some garlic smoked cured sausage A while back, and it did get quite stiff before stuffing. I bought A 5lb stuffer the next day. Made all the difference in the world. Best thing I ever bought for my Charcutere  addiction. Next is A meat mixer and I need to build A smokehouse with A PID for cured stuff.
  3. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks. Like I mentioned, I've read recipes for other kinds of sausage such as smoked Polish that say to stuff and smoke right away. I think to get this finished I will need to stuff and smoke today. I'll wait a bit to see if anyone else replies.
  4. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Just do it. I get the weather thing. I live in southeastern washington and we have some severe storms this time of year. Like last night. I bet if it has stiffened up that much the curing process is well under way. The only reason for the 48 hours would most likely be flavor stabilization.
  5. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks again. That's my plan for now. I better do it while it's dry out.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Chew, morning...  You can season and add cure while the meat  is in hunks, grind and stuff immediately....   Then put in the refer to "bloom" for several days if you wish....  The rest period is for the cure to have it's effect on the bacteria and become "homogenized" "integrated" into the meat in a uniform manner....   You need to be aware of the outer surface of the stuffed casing becoming dried out... if that occurs, it will seal the moisture inside the casing and a proper drying of the meat will not occur... possibly a solution would be to wipe the casing with a damp paper towel to reintroduce moisture to the casing... 

    Now, I'm not sure if this is kosher but, wrapping the sticks tightly, in plastic, during the "bloom" period will prevent that... refers are a drying "room" due their nature... and dehydrate foods.... 

    Then smoke as normal....   I would suggest a small dish of water in the smoker to elevate the humidity to prevent the casing from dehydrating..  maybe a small aluminum pie tin with 1/4" of water in it....   You are not looking for a "sauna" type humidity, nor a desert....   about 75- 85% so the stick will still dry but not too rapidly..

    Hope that makes sense....  

    Go for it..... takes notes... revue your results and if satisfied.....   repeat next time....   if not, look at the notes and make adjustments...   

    There is a certain science to all this but, there is some leeway to getting a great product.....  

  7. uncle_lar

    uncle_lar Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I just about always mix stuff and smoke all in the same day, I have tried it both ways and there is no difference in the results
  8. SFLsmkr1

    SFLsmkr1 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    CURES - Cures are used in sausage products for color and flavor development as well as retarding the development of bacteria in
    the low temperature environment of smoked meats.
    Salt and sugar both cure meat by osmosis. In addition to drawing the water from the food, they dehydrate and kill the bacteria that make food spoil. In general, though, use of the word "cure" refers to processing the meat with either sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate.
    The primary and most important reason to use cures is to prevent BOTULISM POISONING (Food poisoning). It is very important that any kind of meat or sausage that will be cooked and smoked at low temperature be cured. To trigger botulism poisoning, the requirements are quite simple - lack of oxygen, the presence of moisture, and temperatures in range of 40-140° F. When smoking meats, the heat and smoke eliminates the oxygen. The meats have moisture and are traditionally smoked and cooked in the low ranges of 90 to 185° F. As you can see, these are ideal conditions for food poisoning if you don't use cures. There are two types of commercially used cures.

    Prague Powder #1
    Also called Insta-Cure and Modern Cure. Cures are used to prevent meats from spoiling when being cooked or smoked at low temperatures (under 200 degrees F). This cure is 1 part sodium nitrite (6.25%) and 16 parts salt (93.75%) and are combined and crystallized to assure even distribution. As the meat temperate rises during processing, the sodium nitrite changes to nitric oxide and starts to ‘gas out’ at about 130 degrees F. After the smoking /cooking process is complete only about 10-20% of the original nitrite remains. As the product is stored and later reheated for consumption, the decline of nitrite continues. 4 ounces of Prague powder #1 is required to cure 100 lbs of meat. A more typical measurement for home use is 1 level tsp per 5 lbs of meat. Mix with cold water, then mix into meat like you would mix seasonings into meat.

    Prague Powder #2
    Used to dry-cure products. Prague powder #2 is a mixture of 1 part sodium nitrite, .64 parts sodium nitrate and 16 parts salt. (1 oz. of sodium nitrite with .64 oz. of sodium nitrate to each lb. of salt.)
    It is primarily used in dry-curing Use with products that do not require cooking, smoking, or refrigeration. This cure, which is sodium nitrate, acts like a time release, slowly breaking down into sodium nitrite, then into nitric oxide. This allows you to dry cure products that take much longer to cure. A cure with sodium nitrite would dissipate too quickly.
    Use 1 oz. of cure for 25 lbs. of meat or 1 level teaspoon of cure for 5 lbs. of meat when mixing with meat.
    When using a cure in a brine solution, follow a recipe.
    timberjet likes this.
  9. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Dave. I added the cure after I coarse ground the meat. Not sure if that makes a difference or not. I will stuff and smoke them and then let them bloom after smoking.
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you read the post by nepas,  "  As the meat temperate rises during processing, the sodium nitrite changes to nitric oxide and starts to ‘gas out’ at about 130 degrees F."   which means the  nitrite will be gone with the rise in temp.....   Reading directions when curing and understanding the full process is important.....   

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  11. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Yes, I read nepas' post. I understand that part. My original question was did I give the meat enough time to cure properly. That's all.
  12. You did. IMO.
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Jason, morning....  did you reference an article that says it was long enough ????


    Chew, morning.....  How long between mixing in the cure with the meat and when the meat got to 130 ish temp??

    There is a chemical reaction that needs time to properly convert and make the meat safe....   I don't know of a "time table" that is specific, as there are many forms of curing and thickness of meat......

    I do know the meat "must / has to" turn pink..  There are many reputable sites on the net.....  Don't rely on blogs etc....  "FSIS" used in the search query is a good source..... Or Universities are a good source.. 

    1. Sodium nitrate is reduced to sodium nitrite by microorganisms such as Micrococcus  spp. present on meats.
    2. Sodium nitrite is reduced to nitrous acid in the presence of an acidic environment (e.g., by fermentation or by addition of glucono-δ(delta)-lactone).
    3. Nitrous acid forms nitric oxide. Nitric oxide reacts with myoglobin (meat pigments) to form a red color.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  14. Very good info in this thread. I look forward to seeing a Qview.

    Happy smoken.