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code3rrt 03-06-2014 11:43 PM

Brining/curing a pork butt
Can you brine it to long? I'm brining a 10 lb'er, boneless, so that should take 5-6 days I think, but if left in the brine for say 2 weeks, would that be a problem? Or maybe I should say curing, I plan to make ham.


Offthehook 03-06-2014 11:53 PM

Diminishing returns? I've heard over night but that sounds like a long time.

bbqgeekess 03-07-2014 12:09 AM

Offthehook, I think the OP wants to cure it for ham or bacon?

If that's the case, a whole butt (bone out)--I'd go at least 10 days. Sliced in half along the horizontal (not a vertical chop), making thinner pieces, each about the size of a slab bacon, you'd cure those each in separate containers for about 7 days.

I know I can leave my brined (with dry rub no water) for two weeks no problem. Bacteria can't grow cause of the salt and nitrites/nitrates.

I don't know if you are wet or dry brining.. I think I recall wet brining works faster.

code3rrt 03-07-2014 12:56 AM

Wet brining/curing just for clarification.


YetiDave 03-07-2014 03:46 AM

If you're using the excess salt method then yes, you can leave it too long. If the recipe calls for you to soak the meat afterwards then it's the excess salt method of curing.

Personally I haven't tried this, but I think the theory is sound..

The equilibrium curing method basically involves calculating the final salt, sugar and cure percentages based on the weight of the meat. Typically you're aiming for between 2.5 and 3.5% salt, 1% sugar (it preserves colour and offsets the salt but won't be sweet at this level) and 0.25% cure #1, which is the recommended useage. So for 1000g of meat that's 25-35g of salt, 10g of sugar and 2.5g of cure #1.

Now if you want to convert that to a brine you need to count the water weight as meat weight. 1ml is basically a gram, so say you've a 1kg piece of meat and need 2 litres of water to brine it in then you want to make a brine consisting of those two litres plus 75-105g of salt, 30g of sugar and 7.5g of cure #1.

Then it's just a case of brining long enough to allow the levels to equalise out. Like I said I haven't tried this, but I see no reason why it wouldn't work, and you couldn't over-do it in terms of the length of time you left the meat in the brine

scp 03-07-2014 07:29 AM

YD...that's great information. I have used the dry eq method and love it. Never too can leave several days too long and doesn't effect it. I have wanted to try a wet cure method your formula of adding the water weight is very useful.

Shagdog 03-07-2014 07:40 AM

I've brined a ham, but not used a butt before for that. The rule of thumb for ham is 12 hrs per pound. That being said, I did an 18lb ham for 14 days (5 days longer than the rule) and it was not overly done by any stretch. Are you injecting it?

code3rrt 03-07-2014 12:39 PM

Are you injecting it?

I hadn't planned on injectning.

Thanks for the responses folks, great help.


IamMadMan 03-07-2014 12:39 PM

10 to 14 days for a whole butt or shoulder is fine.

Remember to inject along the bone to allow even curing and prevent "bone sour"

The worst that could happen would be nitrite burn, the meat would have a slight iridescent in color in the light when viewed at an angle and the texture would be off slightly from what we are used to experiencing wit ham.


YetiDave 03-07-2014 01:06 PM

I wouldn't expect any nitrite burn from a brine, it's usually the result of poor distribution of curing salt

Edit - or too much of it

TroyA65 03-07-2014 01:52 PM

Is there a table or something that give the # of days based on thickness or does everyone just eyeball it?

Big George's BBQ 03-07-2014 01:57 PM

I would check tjhirdeye's blog He may have something

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