• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Using a brine to cure meat ????

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
26,636
4,062
Joined Nov 12, 2010
Some of the brining recipes are confusing to me. If I had a better understanding of the process I would feel less like an idiot.

My hypothetical situation. I have a 5# hunk of meat and I want to make 2 pints = 2# of water brine/cure.

Understanding equilibrium and why it works, my thought is to make the brine/cure based on 7# of product. 5# meat + 2# water.

That being said could I inject part of the brine in the meat and use the rest of the brine on the outside. Put in cooler for required days etc.

If my thinking is incorrect, where did I go wrong?
 

Bearcarver

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
41,833
14,221
Joined Sep 12, 2009
Some of the brining recipes are confusing to me. If I had a better understanding of the process I would feel less like an idiot.

My hypothetical situation. I have a 5# hunk of meat and I want to make 2 pints = 2# of water brine/cure.

Understanding equilibrium and why it works, my thought is to make the brine/cure based on 7# of product. 5# meat + 2# water.

That being said could I inject part of the brine in the meat and use the rest of the brine on the outside. Put in cooler for required days etc.

If my thinking is incorrect, where did I go wrong?
Dave,

I haven't brined cured anything yet, and haven't studied it.

There are a lot of guys who can help you on this.

Pops is big on brine curing, if you want to PM him.

Bear
 

forluvofsmoke

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,170
407
Joined Aug 27, 2008
In my experiences with brine/curing with Tender Quick, the weight of the meat isn't as important as the volume of water used to submerge the meat. The concentration of cure in the water is where your measurements should be focused on. If bagging the meat for the brine/cure, I've actually used very close to your amounts listed, and have had nothing short of excellent results. If using a container, then you obviously need more brine/cure solution, but I've done it both ways. For the sake of being able to using less spices and cure, I prefer bagging, although the risk of leakage from handling is always on my mind.

Without digging up a bag of TQ, and if memory serves me correctly, the recommended amount of TQ is 1 to 4 ratio, or 20% by volume. I think the bag reads 1 cup TQ to 4 cups water. I haven't injected my brine/cure solutions (yet), but opt for a longer cure with external absorption only. It's a textural thing for me I guess...the injection site can cause some tearing of the meat fibers from the fluid entering into the meat if injected too quickly, and can be noticed when slicing or eating...a slightly mushy area when chewing and/or visibly separated muscle fibers. Just a preference thing for me.

A few reasons I can think of for injection of brine cure (other than pumping pickle for ham) would be for relatively large cuts of meat which would not cure in reasonably safe time periods (which is why pumping pickle is used for hams), or if you just wanted a quicker cure and there's nothing wrong with doing it for that reason, either, as that's a personal choice.

I'm just the opposite of Bearcarver...I know he's used injected cures with a dry cure applied externally. I brine/cure everything I've home-cured thus far.

Anyway, my take...hope it helps you out. Good luck on the upcoming cure projects!

Eric
 
Last edited:

Dutch

Smoking Guru
Staff member
Administrator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
OTBS Admin
Group Lead
7,105
405
Joined Jul 7, 2005
Way back when the family operated two large smokehouses, we would do a combination of pumping the cure into large cuts of meats (hams, shoulder,  bacon and loins) then they soaked in the pickle for 3-7 days depending on the cut.  Anything else that was cured was just placed into the pickle to soak for 24 hours to several days and then in to the smokehouse with a combination of apple and cherry wood.
 

mballi3011

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
14,478
56
Joined Mar 12, 2009


I'm with Eric on this one and you need to worry about the amount of water in your brine for how much cure to use. Just make sure that you mix your cure into the water and then inject some of the cure into the meat. Then you can soak the meat in the brine for the needed days.
 

cowgirl

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
7,642
46
Joined Oct 2, 2007
Good post Eric. :)

I both dry cure and brine cure meats... thicker hunks of meats I pump.

Dutch.. brings back good memories of my childhood too. :)
 

pops6927

Gone but never forgotten.
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
7,245
1,186
Joined Jul 23, 2008
According to the 1 lb. bag of DQ Cure #1, you use 24 lbs. of curing salt to 100 gallons of water for a curing pickle.  This would be the maximum amount you'd use.

Reduce that by 100 to 1 gallon, it would be .24 of a lb. to 1 gallon of water, or approx. 4 ounces of cure #!.

I use approx. 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon of water.  A level tablespoon is .8 of an ounce.  A rounded tablespoon is approx. 1 ounce, or ¼ the maximum allowed.  And, I find this sufficient to pickle any pork or beef or poultry I need to do.  I will allow more time for it to cure, just from my dad's instruction on how long to let it cure; 2-3 days for poultry, 7 - 10 days for half-butts (buckboard) or bellies, 2 weeks for picnics once pumped, 3-4 weeks for whole hams once pumped.  I've never tried it with less times, simply because the cost of the product is too valuable on my limited income and unlimited (so it seems, lol!) medical bills.  But, it produces a nicely cured product without the need to soak or freshen it to get rid of unnecessary salt (and I've limited the amount of salt I add also).

As for the amount of brine, your proportion of curing salt to water is the important ratio, and just use whatever amount of brine necessary to cover the product.  You can pickle 1 ham in 1 gallon of water/curing salt or 100 gallons of water/curing salt, it doesn't matter, as long as it's proportioned correctly per gallon.  Of course, you add more ingredients in salts and sugars, etc. to enhance the bouquet of flavors in your pickle.

Again, my dad's theory was that a mild curing brine for a longer period of time made the product more tender and flavorful instead of a shorter time, more concentrated cure.  He sold hundreds of thousands of product over 45 years in business, and his customers readily agreed!
 

Bearcarver

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
41,833
14,221
Joined Sep 12, 2009
According to the 1 lb. bag of DQ Cure #1, you use 24 lbs. of curing salt to 100 gallons of water for a curing pickle.  This would be the maximum amount you'd use.

Reduce that by 100 to 1 gallon, it would be .24 of a lb. to 1 gallon of water, or approx. 4 ounces of cure #!.

I use approx. 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon of water.  A level tablespoon is .8 of an ounce.  A rounded tablespoon is approx. 1 ounce, or ¼ the maximum allowed.  And, I find this sufficient to pickle any pork or beef or poultry I need to do.  I will allow more time for it to cure, just from my dad's instruction on how long to let it cure; 2-3 days for poultry, 7 - 10 days for half-butts (buckboard) or bellies, 2 weeks for picnics once pumped, 3-4 weeks for whole hams once pumped.  I've never tried it with less times, simply because the cost of the product is too valuable on my limited income and unlimited (so it seems, lol!) medical bills.  But, it produces a nicely cured product without the need to soak or freshen it to get rid of unnecessary salt (and I've limited the amount of salt I add also).

As for the amount of brine, your proportion of curing salt to water is the important ratio, and just use whatever amount of brine necessary to cover the product.  You can pickle 1 ham in 1 gallon of water/curing salt or 100 gallons of water/curing salt, it doesn't matter, as long as it's proportioned correctly per gallon.  Of course, you add more ingredients in salts and sugars, etc. to enhance the bouquet of flavors in your pickle.

Again, my dad's theory was that a mild curing brine for a longer period of time made the product more tender and flavorful instead of a shorter time, more concentrated cure.  He sold hundreds of thousands of product over 45 years in business, and his customers readily agreed!
Thanks Pops!

This is an excellent post!

I just put it on the front page of my "How To" Notes!!!!

Bear
 

biggeorge50

Fire Starter
47
11
Joined Dec 24, 2009
I can verify that Pops' dad's hams and bacons were as good as they got.  The store was called Fassett's and the hams and bacon were cob smoked.  If my father couldn't get ham and bacon from Fassett's, we went without.  The first store-bought ham I had was a huge disappointment - not even the same animal. 
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
26,636
4,062
Joined Nov 12, 2010
Pops6927, I am so glad you answered this post. From everything I have read here, you are the go-to-guy and your post reinforces those thoughts. Great answer. Like Bear, that post is going in my files. Thanks.

I wrote to Customer Service  <[email protected]>  

 "I purchased instacure #1 and I want to make a liquid brine." (shortened form of question) This is their reply,  "For making a brine with the Instacure, you would use 3 oz. to every gallon of water.  It doesn't matter what size the meat is as long as the meat is completely covered by the brine."

For those of you who are like me and question everything, the folks on this site know everything and can be trusted.

Please take no offense that I asked the source also.

Now I know my math on the amount of cure to wet brine meat was "fuzzy". Everyday you learn something don't count toward your days on earth.

Keep on learning. I am. Dave 
 
Last edited:

justpassingthru

Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
950
23
Joined Feb 7, 2009
Dave,

Thank you for this thread, the depth of knowledge here is phenomenal, I read so much other 'stuff' that isn't tried and tested and it leaves me wondering and confused.

Thank you Pops, your response is copied and filed in my bringing folder, and to have one of your dad's customer validate his process, ...fantastic!

And Dave I was taught pretty much the same thing as a young carpenter's apprentice, an old journeyman said, "Everyday that you don't learn something new is a wasted day," I have followed his advice even if it's just a new word to add to  my vocabulary.  I'm 62 years old and I have to keep reminding myself of that, people are shocked when I tell them my age, they assume that I'm in my late 40's early 50's, I attribute part of that to me following his sage advice, it keeps me thinking like I'm young.

Gene
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
26,636
4,062
Joined Nov 12, 2010
Dave,

Thank you for this thread, the depth of knowledge here is phenomenal, I read so much other 'stuff' that isn't tried and tested and it leaves me wondering and confused.

Thank you Pops, your response is copied and filed in my bringing folder, and to have one of your dad's customer validate his process, ...fantastic!

And Dave I was taught pretty much the same thing as a young carpenter's apprentice, an old journeyman said, "Everyday that you don't learn something new is a wasted day," I have followed his advice even if it's just a new word to add to  my vocabulary.  I'm 62 years old and I have to keep reminding myself of that, people are shocked when I tell them my age, they assume that I'm in my late 40's early 50's, I attribute part of that to me following his sage advice, it keeps me thinking like I'm young.

Gene
Gene, We are in the same camp. I am 62 also. It must be a generational thing to keep learning. This forum may add years just from the learning aspect not to mention the great food.

 
 

Bearcarver

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
41,833
14,221
Joined Sep 12, 2009
Sure is a lot of 62 year old guys around here !!!!

It's good there are younger guys like Pops around to help us!!!   


62 year old Bear
 
Last edited:

DanMcG

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
5,521
2,370
Joined Feb 3, 2009
That being said could I inject part of the brine in the meat and use the rest of the brine on the outside. Put in cooler for required days etc.

If my thinking is incorrect, where did I go wrong?
I hate to throw a wrench into the mix, but a piece of meat in an immersion brine is not the same as using a pumped and immersed recipe.

Take some time and read a few pages from the USDA's Inspectors' Calulations hand book. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf  

It will explain how to calculate what you want and be safe. Good luck and enjoy it
 

chefrob

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
3,627
42
Joined Sep 13, 2009
I hate to throw a wrench into the mix, but a piece of meat in an immersion brine is not the same as using a pumped and immersed recipe.

Take some time and read a few pages from the USDA's Inspectors' Calulations hand book. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf  

It will explain how to calculate what you want and be safe. Good luck and enjoy it
thx for the wrench Dan.........i would have thought you could have used the same.
 
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
26,636
4,062
Joined Nov 12, 2010
I hate to throw a wrench into the mix, but a piece of meat in an immersion brine is not the same as using a pumped and immersed recipe.

Take some time and read a few pages from the USDA's Inspectors' Calulations hand book. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf  

It will explain how to calculate what you want and be safe. Good luck and enjoy it
Dan, Thanks, I need all the wrenches in my tool box I can get.
 
Sure is a lot of 62 year old guys around here !!!!

It's good there are younger guys like Pops around to help us!!!   


62 year old Bear
Bear,  I knew we were twins.
 
 
   Mom always liked you best. 

 
 

pops6927

Gone but never forgotten.
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
7,245
1,186
Joined Jul 23, 2008
That was a nice, light, easy read, thank you for sharing it!  lol! 
  Definitely a reference to go by.  We used a 10% pump on all the hams and shoulders, immersion only on bellies.  But, that's only another good reason to use less than the maximum amount of ppm pickle.
I hate to throw a wrench into the mix, but a piece of meat in an immersion brine is not the same as using a pumped and immersed recipe.

Take some time and read a few pages from the USDA's Inspectors' Calulations hand book. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf  

It will explain how to calculate what you want and be safe. Good luck and enjoy it

BTW, turning 60 on 03/22 this year, lol!
 
Last edited:

pops6927

Gone but never forgotten.
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
7,245
1,186
Joined Jul 23, 2008
Thank you so much for the compliment!  They were truly unique and delicious!
I can verify that Pops' dad's hams and bacons were as good as they got.  The store was called Fassett's and the hams and bacon were cob smoked.  If my father couldn't get ham and bacon from Fassett's, we went without.  The first store-bought ham I had was a huge disappointment - not even the same animal. 
 

venture

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
6,949
73
Joined Aug 1, 2008
Dang!  I always thought Pops was an old guy.  Now I see that he and the rest of you are just young'ns!

Good luck and good smoking!
 

Bearcarver

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
41,833
14,221
Joined Sep 12, 2009
Dang!  I always thought Pops was an old guy.  Now I see that he and the rest of you are just young'ns!

Good luck and good smoking!
LOL----Kinda like the biggest guy on the football team---You remember him---The guy they called "Tiny".

Bear
 

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.