• 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.

Youngest Son's BB Bacon and "Red Spots" on cured meat

pops6927

Smoking Guru
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
6,956
881
Joined Jul 23, 2008
Youngest son came over a week and a half ago with a pork butt and he boned it out, split it and butterflied the clods and made up his brine, putting it in a 2.5 gal. Rubbermaid container and into the back fridge.  

Today is the day to smoke, so I wanted to document the curing portion and a question I often get; rotating the meat.

You do not have to alter the position of the meat once it is immersed in the brine.  The parts that touch one another are still getting fully cured through the meat; the brine immersion still allows the brine to seep into the meat even though the surfaces are touching.  Here is the container as it has sat in the fridge from the day it was put in there; no agitation, movement or shaking of it at all



Here it is with the top off:



With the bag removed:



OMG!  What are the blood red areas?  .....

Well, all they are, are the areas that the bag touched.  The first stage of meat is deoxymyoglobin, where the meat is a purplish color as it isn't exposed to oxygen.  2nd stage is oxymyoglobin, where it is exposed to oxygen and turns a bright red color.  Third stage is metmyoglobin where the meat turns brown.  This occurs naturally through age, but with the infusion of sodium nitrite, it occurs within a minute or two once exposed to the air, just a chemical reaction to the sodium nitrite.  So does that mean that the meat did not cure?  Well, kinda-sorta but not really - only the surface area a few microns thick did not turn brown, but it was because the surface did not get a chance to oxidize and turn brown.  It still cured totally; it just didn't get a chance to turn color because the bag laid on it!  So, the assumption is that the meat never got to cure, but it did, it just didn't get a chance to turn it's nice ugly brown color is all!  I've said that a couple times now, haven't I?  Oh well... lol!

So, now it's time to hang it in the smoke house and fire it up... it's 22 here this morning.. brrrr... for Texas!  But, it fired up fine and smoke is a rollin'...





Now, just checked the temp for the first time, and we're within 10 degrees... at 140°!



Isn't that a wonderful color?  Corn cob pellets and maple pellets on top!  
 
Last edited:

pops6927

Smoking Guru
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
6,956
881
Joined Jul 23, 2008
[h1] [/h1][h1] [/h1][h1] [/h1][h1]Color of Fresh Meat: The Basics[/h1]
The information from the above post was taken from the source below and is in the public domain:

Posted on 
23. September. 2009 by Chris Raines

By Christopher R. Raines

The color of fresh meat is considered one of the most influential factors  related to fresh meat purchasing decisions.  To many consumers, it can be a troubling thing, to go to the self-serve retail meat case and see one steak that is a bright, [color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]cherry-red[/color]  color (packaged on a tray and wrapped in film) and right beside it is a dull, [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]purple[/color]  appearing steak (packaged in vacuum).  Why the color difference?  Even if those two steaks were cut from the same loin, they can appear very differently.

The reason for this apparent difference is probably due to how the meat was packaged.  In order for meat to “[color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]bloom[/color]” (meat industry jargon for turning from [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]purple[/color]  to [color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]red[/color]), exposure of the primary pigment in meat (myoglobin) to oxygen is needed ([color= rgb(0, 0, 255)]*meat color is a super-complicated thing; for now, let’s presume oxygen is the only substance that can cause meat to bloom; I’ll delve into others in later entries[color= rgb(0, 0, 0)])[/color][/color].  Thus, if fresh meat (“fresh meat” meaning steaks, chops, ground beef, etc. — not salami, bacon, ham…) is packaged in a way that lets it contact oxygen (this is how most meat in self-serve meat cases are packaged), or displayed fresh at the meat counter, it should look [color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]red[/color].  Problematically, once the steak is cut and exposed to air, oxidation (going rancid or “off”) may begin.  To mitigate oxidative deterioration and essentially keep meat fresher longer, there is vacuum packaging (some folks use the blanket term “Cryovac” in lieu of vacuum), in which meat is packaged without oxygen, and thus the fresh meat would appear a dull, [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]purplish[/color]  color.  Vacuum packaging is pretty handy – take the air away, and meat will keep (frozen orrefrigerated) longer.

Below is an illustration of the relationships among different states of myoglobin in fresh meat:


Forms of myoglobin, adapted from Mancini & Hunt, 2005

There is a lot  happening in this diagram!  (1) Let’s start with [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]DEOXYMYOGLOBIN[/color]  in the upper left, which appears [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]purplish[/color].  This is the color of meat when myoglobin is in its native state, or immediately after cutting and before blooming.  For example, [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]purple[/color]  is the color of meat in the middle of a steak (i.e., When you cut across a raw, fresh steak that’s[color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]red[/color]  on the surface, it should be [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]purple[/color]  in the middle.  If you let the steak sit for a bit exposed to air, that color will change, or bloom, to cherry [color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]red[/color].)  (2) In the presence of oxygen (better referred to as oxygenation), fresh meat blooms and turns its characteristic[color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]red[/color]  color.  This form of myoglobin is called [color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]OXYMYOGLOBIN[/color].  After prolonged exposure to oxygen, (3) we then have [color= rgb(89, 68, 53)]METMYOGLOBIN[/color], which appears[color= rgb(89, 68, 53)]  brown[color= rgb(0, 0, 0)].  If you’ve ever been to the grocery and see brown spots on the “Reduced for Quick Sale” fresh meats, those superficial blemishes are [color= rgb(99, 86, 74)]METMYOGLOBIN[/color].  (Those little brown spots may not look appealing, but may not mean the meat is not safe to eat after cooking.  However, if you’veany  reason to believe it’s not safe – such as smells spoiled - don’t eat it!)  After the meatoxygenates  and turns [color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]red[/color], it will eventually oxidize  and turn [color= rgb(107, 89, 66)]brown[/color].[/color][/color]

[color= rgb(89, 68, 53)][color= rgb(0, 0, 0)]Getting into the chemistry of the matter, the state of the iron in myoglobin  (the heme pigment – this is the iron than makes red meat “high in iron”) is a determining factor to fresh meat color.  [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]DEOXYMYOGLOBIN[/color]  and [color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]OXYMYOGLOBIN[/color]  contains iron in the ferrous (Fe 2+) state and [color= rgb(103, 88, 70)]METMYOGLOBIN[/color]  contains iron in the ferric (Fe 3+) state.    Let’s dig deeper into this ferrous/ferric business…[/color][/color]

Electron management is the key to meat color management. As outlined above, the difference between desirable, [color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]red[/color]  fresh meat and undesirable, [color= rgb(106, 93, 77)]brown[/color]  meat is oneelectron.  Yep, one.  Follow the arrows in the diagram, and you can see how the different color forms relate to each other.  A classic example of these color dynamics in action that you may have observed yourself are the different colors of beef present in one ground beef vacuum chub.  Meat may look [color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]red[/color]  or [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]purple[/color]  on the outside, but have a [color= rgb(103, 83, 60)]brown, [/color][color= rgb(103, 83, 60)]muddy[/color]appearance in the middle.  That’s totally okay  — look above at the color cycles.  The [color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]red[/color](bloomed) ground beef was put into a vacuum package, and before it turns [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]purple[/color], it turns[color= rgb(103, 83, 60)]brown[/color].  Since the beef has gone through this natural color cycle a few times (from [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]purple[/color]to [color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]red[/color]  to [color= rgb(92, 71, 61)]brown[/color]  to [color= rgb(128, 0, 128)]purple[/color]…), the enzymes in the meat that allow for this cycle to continue are worn out (those guys tucker out pretty quickly and easily).  Thus, the meat may stop at[color= rgb(92, 71, 61)]brown[/color]  and stay there. That’s just how the color dynamics work — it does not necessarily mean the beef has gone bad.

I’m working an entry as to why cooked beef color is not a good indicator of doneness, and why a meat thermometer should be used to ensure that any ground meat is cooked to 16o°F.  (UPDATED: cooked ground beef color post here)  There’s another thing happening in the upper right of the myoglobin color forms diagram —[color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]CARBOXYMYOGLOBIN[/color].  I’ve left that out of the color dynamics explanation for now, but will address it soon.  (UPDATED:  Carboxymyoglobin post here)

From "Meatblogger.org"
[h1]Blog Policies[/h1]
[color= rgb(0, 0, 255)][color= rgb(128, 0, 0)]Advertising[/color]  [/color]- Advertising is not allowed on wordpress.com hosted blogs. Please do not email me and ask to advertise your product. Furthermore, this is a Pennsylvania State University-affiliated educational blog, not a platform for selling products.

[color= rgb(128, 0, 0)]Comment Moderation[/color]  – As much as I value comments and opinions, comments are moderated for this blog.  This is a Pennsylvania State University-affiliated blog and I must work to maintain the integrity and respect of the institution.

[color= rgb(0, 0, 255)][color= rgb(128, 0, 0)]Copyright[/color]  [/color]- I have placed this work in the public domain and I disclaim all copyright to the work. I have created this work to benefit the greater good, with specific emphasis on the agriculture community. This work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise disseminated by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and in any way, including by methods that have not yet been invented or conceived.

Please respect the copyright of authors whose material I excerpt for educational purposes. My copyright policy exists for my original work only, not excerpted work from other authors. I make every attempt to clearly identify excerpted works in my posts and podcasts, and if you are in doubt, ask me. I can always be reached at [email protected].

[color= rgb(128, 0, 0)]Guest Posts[/color]  – I welcome guest posts! If you wish to guest post, drop me a note at [email protected]. I ask that guest posts are relevant to agriculture, specifically meat science. Please keep the post credible, research-based, and objective.

[color= rgb(0, 0, 255)][color= rgb(128, 0, 0)]Official Communicatio[/color][color= rgb(128, 0, 0)]n[/color][/color]  – This blog does not represent official communications from The Pennsylvania State University or Pennsylvania State University Extension. The views expressed herein and of guest authors do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania State University Extension, or of any other individual university employee.

[color= rgb(0, 0, 255)][color= rgb(128, 0, 0)]I reserve the right to amend, append or otherwise modify these policies.[/color][/color]
 

ak1

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,374
70
Joined Feb 23, 2010
Looks great Pops!

This may be a silly question, but what is the bag for?

Thanks.
 

pops6927

Smoking Guru
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
6,956
881
Joined Jul 23, 2008
Now, the BB Bacon is finished!  Let's examine the exteriors:

Before, piece 1:



After, piece 1:



Before, piece 2:



After, piece 2:



Now, I've cut the smaller piece right where the bright red was:



and, voila, cured all the way through!



MMmmm, now doesn't that just look good?!

Thanks for looking!
 

pops6927

Smoking Guru
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
6,956
881
Joined Jul 23, 2008
Not a silly question at all!  It is a half-full ziploc bag, with water, to keep the meat submerged in the brine.
Looks great Pops!

This may be a silly question, but what is the bag for?

Thanks.
 

pops6927

Smoking Guru
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
6,956
881
Joined Jul 23, 2008
Of Course, PJ is right there every step of the way....!



Waiting for this:



Now is that intense or what??!! LOL, she is a professional beggar, no doubt about it!  
 

ak1

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,374
70
Joined Feb 23, 2010
Thanks. 

Now that I look at the pic again, I can see the water inside.
Not a silly question at all!  It is a half-full ziploc bag, with water, to keep the meat submerged in the brine.
 

SmokinAl

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
44,412
6,157
Joined Jun 22, 2009
It looks great as always Pops! Glad to see your passing your skills on down the line!
 

sprky

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,903
24
Joined Jun 26, 2007
. Now I know the answer to the few Red spots on the meat. 
 

venture

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
6,961
72
Joined Aug 1, 2008
Another great post, Pops.  Thank you!

Good luck and good smoking.
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
25,340
2,958
Joined Nov 12, 2010
Thanks Pops.... I needed to know that.... You are a keeping this neophyte informed.... Good job...   Dave
 

shoneyboy

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
1,895
55
Joined Nov 3, 2010
How long do you smoke for ? I've only made 2 batches of BBB, I smoked the first for 8 hrs and the 2nd for 12 hrs, keeping the temperature down as close to 100 deg as possible.  Suggestions ????
 

pops6927

Smoking Guru
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
6,956
881
Joined Jul 23, 2008
It is entirely your preference!  I do mine at 230° until the internal temp is 150°; then it is fully cooked and can be eaten as-is or heated, fried, baked, etc.   These pieces took me from 8am to 1:30pm because they were fairly thin; Rob butterflied them to reduce thickness which was his preference; he ran the knife, I just advised him how to best maneuver around the bone to leave as much meat intact as possible but he did all the cutting, I am severely limited as to what I can either do or endure a/c fatique.  Plus, he won't learn if I do it; every butt he does he learns more!  

At 100° your meat is still considered 'raw' and would require cooking before it is edible, and pathogens can still be alive and well on it or in it..  At 135° it is considered 'partially cooked'; and still requires cooking to min. 146° internal for fully cooked, but is high enough to destroy pathogens.  At 146° minimum internal it is fully cooked and can be eaten as-is or further cooked by any method.  I take it to a minimum of 150° in the thickest parts just to be safe that it is definitely fully cooked; I don't want myself, my kids or their kids and friends getting sick from something I've produced, naturally.  And, I'm their father.  I don't trust them as far as I can throw them, either....

"Oh no, dad, I would never eat any without cooking it fully first..." (nom nom nom...)  ... lol... know what I mean?!  I've known them too long.. and they're still confessing some of the things they've pulled behind my back... at least the milder ones..., lol!
How long do you smoke for ? I've only made 2 batches of BBB, I smoked the first for 8 hrs and the 2nd for 12 hrs, keeping the temperature down as close to 100 deg as possible.  Suggestions ????
 

jrod62

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Group Lead
5,012
40
Joined Jun 13, 2011
Pops , great post with lots of good info. thanks Thumbs Up
 

mballi3011

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
14,478
55
Joined Mar 12, 2009


Now thats some good looking BBB. I like the before and after Q
 

realtorterry

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
2,861
79
Joined Jun 5, 2009
Thank You Again Pops!


I just got my cure in, I have a butt in the frezzer. Been wondering what kinda of bucket to put it in as I have limited space. Now that I see I can go as small as a 2.5 gallon I gotta get on this BBB train. Using your brine of course. What size were those butts?
 

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
18,698
3,092
Joined May 12, 2011
Pretty nice...My Cure #1 soon cometh...JJ
 

smokinhusker

Legendary Pitmaster
8,188
75
Joined Oct 20, 2010
Great looking BBB! Thanks for the great info once again Pops! I haven't tried your brine yet, but I do have 4 more butts in the freezer! 
 

zekesman

Newbie
5
10
Joined Sep 5, 2011
Pops,Do you notice any flavor difference with hot or cold smoke? Thanks for the very informative post.  Vic
 

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.