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-   -   Pork Belly Question (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=141705)

jlane 08-17-2012 08:41 AM

Pork Belly Question
 
I'm hoping for a little advice here today. I have two pork bellies curing right now. This will be day six and when I get home from work tonight I plan on moving on to the next stage of the process. I'm somewhat concerned that there is no liquid in one of the bags (3#belly) and the other belly (3.5#) only has a tbs worth of liquid in it. I used the food saver to bag them and left some air in there and now I'm wondering if that was a good idea. I used the correct amount of TQ in each bag, but the no liquid thing is bothering me. Do I have an actual concern here or am I making something out of nothing? Is there anything I should be looking for when I pull these out this evening to ensure I'm not going to make people sick? Can you guess this is my first time working with pork bellies? Thanks everyone for any advice you can give me and a special thanks to ThirdEye for the write up that made me decide to go for it in the first place.

Fat Woody 08-17-2012 10:24 AM

As long as you followed the instructions and used the proper amount of TQ then you should be good. Your cured product should be firm to the touch; I have switched from TQ to pink salt/kosher salt for curing and sometimes don't see a lot of liquid in the bag, but it hasn't affected the curing or quality of the finished product.

Not sure if ThirdEye advises a post-cure soak, but I'd recommend 2 hours with a change of water after the first. Cook up a few pieces at different stages of the soak to check the salt level. Allow time to air dry before you toss it on the smoker...you should be good to go!

Tatoosh 08-17-2012 10:25 AM

I've had that happen too. Belly was fine, smoked up well and tasted great. I do tend to use Ziploc bags for ease of access. If you used the right amount of cure and a decent salt/sugar ratio, not much to worry about.

Note: FatWoody has it on the head. I changed to PP#1 and my own salt/sugar. TQ is fine except the sodium nitrate worried me and it cost too much to ship over the Pacific Ocean.

I do a soak and occasionally but not always cook a test sliver before smoking. Soak is 1 or 2 hours, change the water once then test. Sometimes I'm lazy since I'm getting a feel for how salty I expect it to be. I soak more if I have to leave in the cure longer for some reason.

CarolinaQue 08-17-2012 11:38 AM

What they said.

I take do it a little different on the soak though. I soak for 4 hours in either apple cider or peach juice just to give it another layer of flavor. Definately do the air dry on a rack over night before smoking. It gives a much better texture to the outer meat IMO. Skipping this step can result in a slightly slimy texture to the meat.

jlane 08-17-2012 11:57 AM

Thanks everyone. I plan on the soak this evening and then air drying over night in the frig, was just concerned about the lack of liquid.

thirdeye 08-17-2012 12:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jlane (Post 2179162)
I'm hoping for a little advice here today. I have two pork bellies curing right now. This will be day six and when I get home from work tonight I plan on moving on to the next stage of the process. I'm somewhat concerned that there is no liquid in one of the bags (3#belly) and the other belly (3.5#) only has a tbs worth of liquid in it. I used the food saver to bag them and left some air in there and now I'm wondering if that was a good idea. I used the correct amount of TQ in each bag, but the no liquid thing is bothering me. Do I have an actual concern here or am I making something out of nothing? Is there anything I should be looking for when I pull these out this evening to ensure I'm not going to make people sick? Can you guess this is my first time working with pork bellies? Thanks everyone for any advice you can give me and a special thanks to ThirdEye for the write up that made me decide to go for it in the first place.

I need to point out that how-to was written by my friend Lynne.... and it's a good one. Not only does it produce good results, it uses TQ which is an excellent choice for home curing.

I think you got all the right answers, which are.... don't worry about the amount of liquid that is or is not in the bag. And as far as food safety, if there is a problem your nose will tell you the instant you cut open the bag. For what it's worth I have never had any cured products go sour, but I did leave a fresh belly in the fridge about 2 days too long one time and it turned on me.

jlane 08-17-2012 12:55 PM

Thanks thirdeye, that was the answer I was looking for. If something has gone awry I should know straight away. That alleviates my anxiety.

CarolinaQue 08-17-2012 01:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thirdeye (Post 2179360)
I need to point out that how-to was written by my friend Lynne.... and it's a good one. Not only does it produce good results, it uses TQ which is an excellent choice for home curing.

I think you got all the right answers, which are.... don't worry about the amount of liquid that is or is not in the bag. And as far as food safety, if there is a problem your nose will tell you the instant you cut open the bag. For what it's worth I have never had any cured products go sour, but I did leave a fresh belly in the fridge about 2 days too long one time and it turned on me.

If I may piggy back on the highlighted statement.

Prior to curing, it isn't uncommon to open a package of fresh meat that has been cryoed and get a bit of a sulfer or off smell when first opened. When meat has spoiled, you will know because it will smell sour and it won't go away after it's been rinsed off. Pork will also have a greyish, off color to it when it turns. Beef will start to turn a brownish color.

If it'still pink in color and smells fine after it rinsed, you should be good to go. If the smell is still there after you rinse it and let it sit for a few minutes, err on the side of caution and toss it.

thirdeye 08-17-2012 05:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarolinaQue (Post 2179456)
If I may piggy back on the highlighted statement.

Prior to curing, it isn't uncommon to open a package of fresh meat that has been cryoed and get a bit of a sulfer or off smell when first opened. When meat has spoiled, you will know because it will smell sour and it won't go away after it's been rinsed off. Pork will also have a greyish, off color to it when it turns. Beef will start to turn a brownish color.

If it'still pink in color and smells fine after it rinsed, you should be good to go. If the smell is still there after you rinse it and let it sit for a few minutes, err on the side of caution and toss it.

Spot on advice. But before tossing anything make sure you clip the label and locate the receipt. I've never actually returned any actual meat, the label and my word is enough.

CarolinaQue 08-17-2012 06:34 PM

I actually did take a tri-tip, meat and all back to a Trader Joe's once. It was in a ziploc bag and they could smell it through it. It was a shame to say the least.


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