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Wine Fridge as a Curing Chamber

GM_DaddyMac

Newbie
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0
Joined Dec 14, 2020
Greetings fellow forum members. I am beginning my journey curing and dry aging meats and cheeses. In preparation I have secured a wine refrigerator as my curing chamber. I like the idea of the glass door and no freezer unit like many of the mini fridge style units.

The lowest temp the factory thermostat will register is 52(F) so disabled the thermostat as I will be managing via my Inkbird TC. In my test runs with the Inkbird the lowest temp I have been able to achieve is 48(F). In my various readings for aging, curing and charcuterie there may be a need to get closer to 40(F) for some applications.

Not sure if there is a modification I need to make to the fridge unit to get to the lower temp range or will 48(F) work for the vast majority of curing and aging that I will likely encounter? This unit has the dual Pelletier heat sink setup.

Can I proceed with this fridge for my rookie and novice runs over the next few months or would I be better served finding a new candidate that can get to the lower range as my curing chamber? Thank you in advance.
 

thirdeye

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Dec 1, 2019
Yes and no. If you are curing things like salami, capocollo and the like (using Cure #2).... temperatures in the 50°'s are perfect provided you have humidity in the 70%'s and air circulation to aid in the drying. If you are curing things that will be smoked or cooked like bacon, ham and the like (using Cure #1) you need temps from 35° to 39°. It's my understanding that dry aging chambers have the ability to control temperature, humidity and circulation.
 

Lonzinomaker

Meat Mopper
258
93
Joined Mar 8, 2018
I use 4 wine coolers for fermenting my beer ( 5 gal corny kegs) and they all get down to freezing temps for finishing my lagers. I bypassed the onboard controller and use an Inkbird All purpose controller model #ITC-1000 built into a box with separate power for heating and cooling.
 

mike243

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Feb 25, 2018
Sounds like you are at the limit of the cooler to me, they have a very low recovery rating on them as they are not meant to be opened more than a couple times a day unless its a upper end unit. lot of better choices out there imo, I bought a small fridge from Sam's awhile back, no fans freezer and fridge separate so no wild temp swings due to fans turning on/off. $229 and would be easy to customize, be mindful of any holes drilled into a cabinet could hit a freon line if you get near the front where the doors seal, there is a hot gas loop that keeps the cabinet/doors from sweating
 

SWFLsmkr1

Formerly 'SFLsmkr1'
Staff member
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Group Lead
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Joined Dec 25, 2010
Wine fridges are meant to cool the wine, not meant to do much more.

You can get a small fridge without the freezer. Get one that has a compressor so you can make salumi properly and use your temp control, also with a small fridge you can over humidify easy, you can find a very small cool mist humidifier that uses a standard 8-12oz water bottle. I didnt use a fan, can get case hardening quickly, just open the fridge door daily, thats enough air flow.

GL
 

GM_DaddyMac

Newbie
2
0
Joined Dec 14, 2020
Thank you to all the insightful feedback -- very much appreciated.

Seems that the wine fridge I have was only meant to chill wine by design, despite my disabling the built-in thermostat. My search now begins to find a compressor cooled unit, hopefully without a freezer. My next post will be the new rig and my setup followed by the inaugural cure. Cheers! Greg
 

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