# Too Little Salt in Bacon?

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#### scogar

##### Newbie
Original poster
OK so yesterday I put together a cure for a five pound slab of pork belly. I used Ruhlman's basic dry cure with dextrose on page 39 of Charcuterie which calls for:

450 g salt (~47%)
425 g dextrose (~45%)
75 g #1 (~8%)

Then on page 42 he says if you are curing a 3-5 lb belly "it's fine to add 1/4 cup of the cure plus whatever sugar you want". So I used 1/4 cup of cure. But I got to thinking and since I am trying to move from volume measurements to weight based measurements I decided to run the numbers. Assuming that 1/4 cup is evenly mixed and works out to be 50 grams you get the following:

24 g salt (450g/19 as there's 19 one quarter cups in 950 grams of the total cure weight)
22 g sugar (425/19)
4 g #1 (75/19)

and since 5 lbs of meat = 2275 grams my ratios land at:

1.04% salt

0.98% sugar

0.17% #1

This is woefully inadequate if I am doing these calculations right.

Should I correct by adding another 25 grams of the cure which would bring me up to the following ratio:

1.56% salt

1.48% sugar

0.26% #1

and then add another 65 grams of salt to get me to 2.0%?

Wondering if I let this go as is, fix it early on, or just what flexibility I have, or heck is my math all wrong?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Scott

Here is the calculator that most of us use for making bacon. I'd place your numbers into it and see where you are at. It's still early enough in the cure process to add what you need and continue on with your cure.

For 5 pounds, per this calculator you should have

5.66 grams Cure #1

40.05 grams salt

22.68 grams sugar.

http://diggingdogfarm.com/page2.html

Holy Moly!

75 grams of cure for 5 lbs. of meat.

That's enough cure to cure 66 lbs of meat!

I would think that would be a toxic level.

I think I would pull it out, rinse it well & start over using the calculator Case suggested.

Al

The cure in Ruhlman's book is the whole mixture, not just Instacure.

1lb salt
8 oz sugar
8tsp pink salt

1/4 cup of this mixture for your belly.

The cure in Ruhlman's book is the whole mixture, not just Instacure.

1lb salt
8 oz sugar
8tsp pink salt

1/4 cup of this mixture for your belly.
OK thanks, that makes more sense.

I guess for me it just seems easier to use the calculator each time I make bacon.

That way you know the amount is right.

Al

The cure in Ruhlman's book is the whole mixture, not just Instacure.

1lb salt
8 oz sugar
8tsp pink salt

1/4 cup of this mixture for your belly.
Which is a horrible way to do a dry rub cure. It is impossible to know how much of each ingredient is going onto the belly.

Yeah it does seem like guess work. This is the last time I use mixes and volumes. From now on it will all be by weight. I'll correct by tomorrow AM.

thanks

Scott

Time for an electronic scale.....

Cure #1..1.1 grams per pound...

Salt... 9 grams per pound..

sugar... 5 grams per pound..

salt and sugar can be adjusted for personal preference after your first batch...  NO soaking necessary...   just rinse and dry and smoke....

I have Marianski, Ruhlman, and Kutas and I have to admit I saw a similar table in Marianski to what the calculator is. What throws me is the amount of #1 as well as salt on skinless vs. rind on. I know the rind doesn;t absorb so I'm really baffled by why such a huge variation between skin and skinless - in fact in my mind it would seem that the less absorbent the meat the more you would use; not the less

Baffled here but will still bring my #1 up to ~7 grams and salt up to 68

Scott

Sorry I'm stupid  - I only put 5 lbs in for skinless and was comparing to defaultof 1 pound for rind on. Makes much more sense when you use the same weights LOL

Adjusting for skin on and skinless only comes into play WHEN you are using cure #1 at the maximun suggested rates....

Using a dry rub...  200 Ppm nitrite is USDA maximun skinless....   180 Ppm nitrite skin on....   Only because they say the skin does not absord stuff...

Using a brine / injection...  120 Ppm nitrite skinless...   112 Ppm nitrite skin on...

A 10% reduction in cure when the skin is on...

If you cure at a rate of 150 Ppm nitrite, which is acceptable because the other notes are MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE  for commercial establishments...   You CAN use what ever you like...  but I would stick with somewhere close to USDA guidelines...

For a brine/injection cure, the USDA recommends sticking with those guidelines as somewhere less than 120 Ppm "may" not do an adequate job...   I think I read that somewhere....  not sure anymore..  but it makes sense to me.....

CORRECTION:

So today (48 hours into the cure) I added 25 grams of the premixed cure which came out to close to two tablespoons. So assuming I did this at the beginning using Ruhlman's formulation that amounts to 3/8ths cup of his dextrose cure for the entire 5 lbs - that shouldn't put too much #1 in my bacon even if all my math was wrong.

As for math, adding the 25 extra grams plus an additional 25 grams of pickling salt to bring that up as well my totals should now be:

New Totals:
 meat 2272.73 grams salt 60.53 grams 2.66% sugar 33.55 grams 1.48% #1 5.92 grams 0.26%

Old Totals:
 meat 2272.73 grams salt 23.68 grams 1.04% sugar 22.37 grams 0.98% #1 3.95 grams 0.17%

Still lower than the calculator you guys sent me calls for, but probably OK. I hated opening those well vacuumed bags and dumping them into 2-1/2 gallon zips. Added about a teaspoon of water to the old bags to get as much salt residue out and into the new ones. So probably next Wednesday I'll pull it, rinse it, pan fry a small piece and throw it into a bag with same brown sugar if it needs a bit more sweetness.

Thanks to all for the advice. And never again will I be doing a volumetric cure - they may be safe but it seems like the pros dial it in by weight for a reason. Original pics from Day 1

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Which is a horrible way to do a dry rub cure. It is impossible to know how much of each ingredient is going onto the belly.

I converted the recipe to metric. It's no different from making a large batch of cure for a large batch of bacon. Then I portion it out for ~5lbs of belly. It's helped friends get into making their own bacon and I've had very consistent results.

I converted the recipe to metric. It's no different from making a large batch of cure for a large batch of bacon. Then I portion it out for ~5lbs of belly. It's helped friends get into making their own bacon and I've had very consistent results.

That's fine for spices. Not good for cure when doing a dry rub cure...

There's no way to know if you have the proper amount of cure each time you scoop out a ladle full.

Ever dipped a big ladle of jambalaya hoping to get sausage, chicken and only ended up with celery and rice?

That's fine for spices. Not good for cure when doing a dry rub cure...

There's no way to know if you have the proper amount of cure each time you scoop out a ladle full.

Ever dipped a big ladle of jambalaya hoping to get sausage, chicken and only ended up with celery and rice?

I get where you're coming from but you do have a visual indicator here with the pink salt. If you've got swirls in your rub, I would concede the point. But if your color is uniform throughout, then I think you're pretty safe. It's no different from mixing up a cure and putting it on multiple pieces of belly. You're just not doing it all at the same time. My guess is folks who do this on a large scale aren't mixing up the cure for each individual piece of meat.

And I did say that when I mix up a batch, I portion it out. It's not one big jar of cure.

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I have Marianski, Ruhlman, and Kutas and I have to admit I saw a similar table in Marianski to what the calculator is. What throws me is the amount of #1 as well as salt on skinless vs. rind on. I know the rind doesn;t absorb so I'm really baffled by why such a huge variation between skin and skinless - in fact in my mind it would seem that the less absorbent the meat the more you would use; not the less

Baffled here but will still bring my #1 up to ~7 grams and salt up to 68

Scott
That's why you are here....  to learn....  I'm still learning and I'm almost as old as dirt....

The less absorbant the particular muscle group or skin or whatever, the longer you wait for full adsorption of the chemicals you are applying...  Cure #1 adsorbs at a rate of about 7 days per 1 inch thichness...   Sugar adsorbs at about a rate of 7 days per 1/8"-1/4" thicvkness...

The cure in Ruhlman's book is the whole mixture, not just Instacure.

1lb salt
8 oz sugar
8tsp pink salt

1/4 cup of this mixture for your belly.
MOI, evening   You are citing a different cure recipe than the THREAD STARTER...   You are confusing the situation....

Which is a horrible way to do a dry rub cure. It is impossible to know how much of each ingredient is going onto the belly.
I converted the recipe to metric. It's no different from making a large batch of cure for a large batch of bacon. Then I portion it out for ~5lbs of belly. It's helped friends get into making their own bacon and I've had very consistent results.
Whether it is a 1# hunk or 3#'s or a 15# belly, each hunk of bacon should  have an individually portioned batch of cure for each piece....    just to be on the safe side...

MOI, evening   You are citing a different cure recipe than the THREAD STARTER...   You are confusing the situation....

He was referring to the recipe from Ruhlman's book in the OP. What I posted is the actual cure recipe from that book.

My apologies if I highjacked the thread. I tend to just go where the conversation leads. My bad.

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