Originally Posted by DanMcG
When I make a brine to cure meat I use nitrite. are we all talking the same thing?
A wet cure, a pickle, (or sweet pickle if sugar is added), or brine all have salt as a basic ingredient..... and I think they are just interchangeable terms.... like smoking and barbecuing are.
Brines can be flavor brines or curing brines. Flavor brines can vary in amount of salt, seasonings and aromatics, and might only be used to make things retain moisture.....and might be used for very short times, like 5 minutes when brining shrimp. Curing brines have the addition of nitrites and sometimes nitrates, and can be different concentrations. A lighter curing brine might only be used to produce a pleasing color and tighten up the texture of meats, like on Buckboard bacon or city ham. A stronger or hard curing brine is used when preservation is a consideration, like a country ham or some varieties of bacon.
For example, when corning beef, you are curing it. It can be corned in a liquid solution, which might be called a brine or maybe a pickle. It can be pumped, which means injected, with the same liquid it is immersed in....or corned beef can be dry cured.
Some folks use the term dry brining to mean dry curing. Dry cures have salt but not always nitrites or nitrates. Most meats that are dry cured are smoked (or cooked) afterwards (ham, bacon, etc.). Some things are not cooked.... like lox, dry cured salami, some Italian style deli meats and maybe a duck breast. Lox is cured with only salt. Your salami and Italian meats will use a different combination of nitrites and nitrates as they take a long time to cure.