Originally Posted by firemedic
Well I have assembled the required elements and am going to finally try my hand at buckboard bacon. I will be using a pork shoulder and cure it with a dry rub using instacure#1 as the actual curing ingredient. Half will get cold smoked using cherry and maple dust (so it will still essentially be raw and need to be thoroughly cooked before eating) and half will be hot smoked (again with maple & cherry) at about 160 degrees until it's safe to eat. I want to try both methods and see what I like better. My question is about the curing stage. Is it possible to overcure? Are there any negative side effects other than being too salty which I should discover when I fry test it and if it is can I just soak it for a few hours to draw some of the salt out?
I have only used Hi Mountain or Morton's Tenderquick for Buckboard bacon. The pink salts you are using are a higher concentration of nitrites and nitrates than these cures..... but the standard answer is that within reason, you can't really over cure as the product reaches a maximum stage of curing. Of course you could cure long enough for more salts (which is the carrier for all cures like this) to accumulate within the meat, but the soak-out and equalizing steps will buffer that to some degree. By within reason, I'm referring to examples like you mixed 1/2 ounce too much cure for the weight of your raw meat, or went 11 days on a cure that was calculated to be 9 days. Now, going 25 days on a 9 day cure could get hairy. At any rate going a little long is better than going short and having an un-cured area in the center of your meat.
As far as side effects go, there are USDA limits for nitrates and nitrites, and recommendations as to how much cured products you consume, but they are very conservative on the side of safety. Cancer is the main concern here. However.... hot dogs, sausage, bacon, corned beef, pepperoni, all hard salami's, and a bunch of other processed meats contain nitrates. At least when you make your own stuff, you are the one doing the actual measuring.
Just follow your technique and don't try to short cut any step and you should be just fine. I can't even guess over many years how many hundreds of pounds of BBB I've made, or helped folks make and the negative comments are very rare. 99% of them are folks that don't get the the soak-out time right or the pre-smoke rest correctly.... then wind up with a salty end product.