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Seasoning after curing and before smoking

sundown farms

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Dave - I like the simplicity in your response. I want to clarify for myself and others that you are talking about a dry cure; i.e. not a water emersion cure. Right? 
 

wade

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Yes, Dave's cure mix base is for dry cure.
 

daveomak

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Dave - I like the simplicity in your response. I want to clarify for myself and others that you are talking about a dry cure; i.e. not a water emersion cure. Right? 
Dry cure is where you rub salts, sugars, cure and on occasion, spices etc. into the exterior of the meat...  It is usually refrigerated for about 2 weeks for the nitrite, salt etc. to be absorbed, while inhibiting bacterial growth....   Then it is usually rinsed, dried, spices re-applied, and on occasion, depending on the method and cut of meat, additional salt "maybe", additional cure "maybe"....  (in some recipes, salt, cure are applied in a 2 step process)... 

The meat can be tied / trussed and hung in a chamber / garage / basement / cave where the temperature and humidity and air flow are conducive to very slowly drying of the product..  

Temp usually around 50 def. F and humidity around 78-80% for a product that will not case harden...  That is where cure #2 plays a part...  natural bacteria in the meat break down the nitrate into nitrite to continue protecting the product..  (so they say)...    Then in a period of time, when the meat has lost a certain percentage of water, (low enough so bacteria will no longer grow and the salt that has been applied, increases in % to stop bacterial growth...  you have a shelf stable product that no longer needs refrigeration...

Let me explain how the salt % increases...   3% initial salt on a hunk of meat.... the meat loses 35% weight over a period of time...   The meat is now 65% of it's original weight...   3% salt / .65 becomes 4.6% salt, if I did that calculation correctly...  if not, correct me please..

Someone, other than bloggers, has figured out the appropriate numbers and recipes for all this to be safe...  

Anyhow, that's my understanding of a dry cure...  could be called other names in other places...

Now a "dry brine/cure" is a name associated with curing meats in a zip bag, in a refrigerator, we have used on this forum....   apply the salt, sugar, cure and spices to a hunk of meat...  place in a zip bag, in the refer for a few weeks...   as the meat weeps moisture, it is captured by the bag and no chemicals are lost...  they are re-adsorbed / absorbed into the meat to insure a safe curing cycle...  or something like that...  The meat, effectively, is being cured in it's own brine...

OK....   This nitrate being converted to nitrite reaction...  It has been documented, somehow, in the last couple hundred years, that the reaction of naturally occurring nitrates in "SOME" salt deposits is responsible for the death of "botulism" is meats that were salted and hung up to dry.... (when folks in Europe were practicing this art of charcuterie)..  Somehow, folks figured out that "maybe" a naturally bacteria in the meat was responsible for this reaction of nitrates to nitrites since nitrates has no effect on bacteria....  

I have no idea how they figured out that chain of events....  How they determined a bacteria was responsible for the chemical reaction...  but anyway, since that crap was figured out, nitrites has been put into meats and botulism, seemingly, has a preventive medicine...

Now, for the nay-sayers out there, bring proof that the above supposition is in error, other than just saying.....   "It ain't so"..... or there's no proof...

Nitrite and Meat Curing - Iowa State University

Nitrate (NO3-)

•Insignificant by itself

•Contributes cured meat properties only after reduction to nitrite

•Reduction is not easily done by chemical means in meat systems; typically requiring a bacterial culture with nitrate reductase activity

•May be important in dried products (hard salami, hams, etc.)
 
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daveomak

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Dave - I like the simplicity in your response. I want to clarify for myself and others that you are talking about a dry cure; i.e. not a water emersion cure. Right? 
The cure mix...   1.1 grams per pound, 2% salt and 1% sugar...   That is appropriate for dry rub/cure...   dry brine/cure of even a  wet brine/cure mixture...    The wet brine/cure, where you mix up a quart of water or so, is typically a "equilibrium" brine/cure...    Typically you would use 1/4 to 1/2 the weight of the meat for the liquid....   weigh the meat and the liquid...  add the appropriate amount of cure, salt and sugar based on that total weight..   refrigerate for at least 7 days per inch thickness...  inject with the brine solution if possible...  and in several weeks the curing brining process will be complete....  

Whenever you do an immersion brine/cure mix, it's difficult to know if everything worked it's way into the meat by osmosis or whatever... 

Therefore I recommend....   weigh the meat, weigh out what is necessary and required for that piece of meat to be safely cured...    dissolve all that stuff into a liquid carrier like water or soup stock....    Inject all the liquid carrier into the meat..  especially around the bones and at 1.5" intervals throughout the meat....   refrigerate for 5-6 days and smoke...  

You know for certain everything you wanted to put in the meat is INSIDE the meat..  no osmosis, no guessing...
 
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wade

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Hi Dave. I am not sure that I fully understood your distinction between "Dry Cure" and "Dry Brine". Were you making a distinction between the salt/cure/spice mix itself before it gets added to the meat and what it becomes once it has come into contact once in contact with the water in the meat? Or was it the processes of "Dry Curing" and "Dry Brining"?

The actual processes of "dry curing" and "dry brining" are pretty much synonymous though, and as you infer, they may be called different things by different people. They both refer to the adding of dry salt/cure/spices to a piece of meat and allowing the natural moisture in the meat to dissolve the salts allowing them to diffuse inwards. Dry "Curing" is often used when Nitrate/Nitrite is included in the cure - but this is not always the case - and Dry "Brining" is often used when only salt is used without Nitrite/Nitrate - again this is also not always the case.

Based upon your definitions above are you saying that probably one of the most widely produced "Dry Cured" product around today (Dry Cure Bacon), should really be called "Dry Brined" bacon?

That PowerPoint slide set is interesting and has a lot of useful background information. I think we have highlighted it before - or maybe it was something similar. It appears to be a set of Tutor (or maybe Students) notes from someone at the Iowa State University. Do we know who pulled the slide set together as (unless I missed it) there does not seem to be any author mentioned.
 

daveomak

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Nitrite and Meat Curing - Iowa State University

Probably a standard lecture paper for a class....  so everyone gets the same info...

Folks used to call dry rub curing with cure #1, "Dry Curing"  to differentiate between dry curing /brining/dry aging or what ever, when the meat was put into a bag to cure for the duration, and live in it's own juices, dry brining/curing was tagged...   (brine from the meat itself being the key word)

Not to be confused with dry curing...

Dry cure is where you rub salts, sugars, cure and on occasion, spices etc. into the exterior of the meat...  It is usually refrigerated for about 2 weeks for the nitrite, salt etc. to be absorbed, while inhibiting bacterial growth....   Then it is usually rinsed, dried, spices re-applied, and on occasion, depending on the method and cut of meat, additional salt "maybe", additional cure "maybe"....  (in some recipes, salt, cure are applied in a 2 step process)... 

The meat can be tied / trussed and hung in a chamber / garage / basement / cave where the temperature and humidity and air flow are conducive to very slowly drying of the product..  

Temp usually around 50 def. F and humidity around 78-80% for a product that will not case harden...  That is where cure #2 plays a part...  natural bacteria in the meat break down the nitrate into nitrite to continue protecting the product..  (so they say)...    Then in a period of time, when the meat has lost a certain percentage of water, (low enough so bacteria will no longer grow and the salt that has been applied, increases in % to stop bacterial growth...  you have a shelf stable product that no longer needs refrigeration...

Edited to try and satisfy Wade...  I apologize Wade....  I will try and do better...
 
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wade

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I think we may be into the gray area of the different uses of these terms here. The definition that you have used may be one of the definitions used by some, but it is certainly not the universal definition. Above you have also added the term "Dry aging" which is a term more commonly used for the tenderisation of meats like beef - that usually does not include the use of any salt at all. Trying to come up with a single definitive definition of these so-similar terms (which are used in slightly different ways by different people) is probably not going to be an easy quest and will almost certainly involve a lot of subjective "hair splitting". 
 

daveomak

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Hey Wade, Morning.....   Maybe you might post about how you define the terms...  

I think I put enough thought into the discussion that folks get the idea...       Maybe some of the translation gets lost crossing the pond...   You may have different ideas about some words in Great Britain than we do in the United States..  Maybe that's where the confusion begins.... 

Anyway, you are back, again, criticizing me and my posts, as usual....

If anyone on this forum thinks I should discontinue posting, because  I do not use terms, definitions, the proper wording...etc..   

Please post that I should quit... 
 

wade

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Hi Dave. I am not criticizing you, just bringing some balance to some of the "definitive" black-and-white opinions that you sometimes post. As I said in my post I think most people use the terms Dry Curing and Dry Brining interchangeably - with little distinction being made between them. To some "curing" is using Nitrate/Nitrite with salt and "brining" is just using salt alone. You do not have to look far on any of the culinary/curing/preserving sites though to find either term used in both situations. Some may also be using the definitions that you are proposing. This is certainly not a USA/UK language/culture difference.

I would have discussed this with you in PM but I think you have me on ignore so that was not possible. If you just look back at our discussions in previous threads you will see that I have always made very positive responses to you when you have have made informative/useful posts (which is most of the time) however when you try to make "definitive" statements that are not necessarily as definitive as you portray then you should expect to have them challenged. As I detect a certain amount of paranoia from your last post I will leave it there. Happy to continue this discussion in PM
 
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