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Time and Cure #1: How Long can it go?

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by HowlingDog, Feb 25, 2019.

  1. HowlingDog

    HowlingDog Fire Starter

    Good Evening,

    I hope I can phrase my question for the answer I am looking for. First, a little background.

    I feel confident on hot smoking things like ribs, tri tip, pork, brisket etc.... Running the smoker at 225 or above, even for 11 hours or more for brisket and pulled pork are fine since it is a hotter temp. No cure needed, even for sausage when hot smoked above 225. I think I got this part.

    Regarding cold smoking, and assuming all meats (bacon, sausage specifically) have the proper measured amount of cure #1 and cured for the proper time, up to 14 days, I am reading the ideal temps are 50 - 70 - 90 - 120, somewhere in that range for extended periods of time, 6 hours, 10 hours, 8 hours a day for 3 days and so on.

    I have tried making bacon twice and I need to do it again. These first two have been "hot smoked", above 150, less than 200 (except by accident when it ran above 220, oops). Longest it was on the smoker was 4 hours then into fridge and/or fryer. I am getting interested in sausage and need to try cold smoked bacon, but I am having a bit of mental wall I need to scale regarding safe eating of properly cured cold smoked meat. I am talking about cure #1 and smoking for only hours or over a day or two, not cure #2 and weeks/months.....

    I guess my direct question is, How long can you can you "leave out" properly cured bacon/sausage as it smokes??? In my mind, this would be akin to setting it out on the counter for hours and hours, something this city boy was warned against. Is properly cured meat good to go for hours and hours and days in a smoker running at what is essentially room temperature?? The bacon would be fried, but perhaps not the sausage. So a city boy would be eating smoked sausage after it was on the smoker for more than the 4 hours between 40-140. Does my question make sense? I am not really looking for how long can you apply smoke, but how long is cured meat "good" for as it smokes. I have read some material on this, but sometimes a gentle "HowlingDog, you understand correctly and you are good to go" from those more experienced goes a long way...

    Thank You All..... I am thinking of a trip to Costco for pork belly may need happen this week.... :emoji_fingers_crossed: But the model train show is Saturday.... Sorry for the long post :emoji_disappointed:
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    First, Bacon and Sausage, two different animals, even though both have Cure #1. Sausage with cure, Kielbasa, Andouille, Snack Sticks, have Cure #1 to keep C Botulinum, Listeria and to some extent Salmonella at bay while you Cold smoke, more precisely, Cool Smoke and slowly cook it at a progressive range of temps from 130 to 170° until the IT reaches 150°. The sausage is now ready to eat or can be reheated/cooked further.
    Belly Bacon with Cure #1, is afforded the same protection while it is Cold Smoked at ambient temps of 40 to 100°F, without cooking it. This cold smoking can be done for hours, several hours with a refer rest, over several days. Or, the longest continuously cold smoked bacon I have read about was 7 days straight. I can't find a definitive time it takes for Cure #1 to dissipate exposed to air at temps below 100°F...JJ
  3. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Strictly speaking whole muscle meat cures.

    Measure the thickest parts of the meat in inches and divide that by 0.25 to get the minimum amount of days the meat need to be in the cure. Then add 2 or 3 days of additional cure duration as a safety factor.

    2" thick pork belly divided by 0.25 = 8 days minimum then add 2 days safety factor and a 2" pork belly will take 10 days to cure.

    It is very easy to undercure and extremely hard to overcure.

    The numbers above also assume you are curing at ideal temperature of 37 degrees fahrenheit.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
  4. HowlingDog

    HowlingDog Fire Starter

    Thank you for the responses. This helps!! Sounds like with properly cured meats, lower temps and longer times is fine. , so ya "HowlingDog, you will be fine".

    Living in SoCal, I don't think I could do a true cold smoke since it really does not get cold enough, except for some winter days. I am pretty sure I can maintain my smokers at 130. I have never tried 100 and I guess I will need to experiment, and measure what ambient temp would be on a normal day. I did order a grinder so I have a new toy on the way!! This can be an expensive hobby.