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Old 07-18-2011, 08:05 PM   #1
Riverside BBQ
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So I got hold of some porkbelly. Cured and Smoked. Turned out way to salty. I"m pretty sure I know my mistakes.

My questions is.
Do you have to salt cure or brine pork belly before smoking? Both are a way of preserving meat, as smoking is a method of preserving meat. So if it's brought from the butcher, kept between 37 and 40 degrees, maybe a 4 hr to 6 hr brine for enhanced flavor, then smoked, does it need to be salt cured or brined for days prior to?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:08 PM   #2
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No, it does not have to be cured. But, curing has more effect than just increasing shelf life. It also has the effect of removing and stabilizing moisture in the belly. This affects cooking and texture.

Modern bacon is a lot less salty than it's old counterpart, which had to last without refrigeration.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:20 PM   #3
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You could soak it in water to draw out some of the excess salt after the cure and before smoking. Other than that, the reason for curing agents we use today are that they inhibit the potential for growth of the bad thingies without needing as much salt, so as long as you use the proper amount of curing agent and it gets into the meat you will be safe with lower levels of salt. Like Bob said, way back, they just used salt to keep it safe, and it took a lot. You could look into injecting I suppose.

What kind of recipe did you follow? Just curious.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:27 PM   #4
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No you don't have to cure it, but curing will give you the nice pink color, it will be moister, and the salt in the cure acts as a carrier for other flavors you might want to add.

Nowdays, us home curing folks don't really do a "preservation cure" because we all have a refrigerators. What we are doing is what I call a "flavor cure". It takes some of the attributes of cured meats that we like, but without the harshness of a preservation cure. Think about the difference between a country ham and a city ham, or salt packed cod, verses cured and smoked salmon.

Many curing techniques call for a soak-out step which reduces saltiness, followed by an equalization step (this is a refrigerated rest following the soak-out) which mellows the flavor and evens out the moistness. These two steps really help your product.

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Old 07-19-2011, 06:46 AM   #5
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I followed an old fashion salt cure reciepe to elimnate the nirates and nitrites in cures used today. When it was done curing I could of hung it in the living room and nibbled on it for a year I think, is how much mositure was removed. . Plus I don't think I rinsed it enough. I'll try the "flavor cure" for round two. Thanks for the help!
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:22 PM   #6
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