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Old 11-10-2012, 07:44 AM   #1
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Default Pork Belly Curing - How Firm Should Belly Be?

My pork bellies are on their seventh day of cure. I used Cowgirl's excellent curing mix recipe with TQ. How firm should the meat be by day seven? Mine are firmer, but not hard. I just want to make sure I am doing this right.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:03 AM   #2
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Mine are quite firm. I guess the best description would be like a over-cooked steak. But, I used a basic Tenderquik cure. I can't help but think the cure makes a difference.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:41 AM   #3
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Mine less than an overcooked steak, still some give but firm, and 7 days is enough using my cure.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:42 AM   #4
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If they have gone a week I think u are good to go
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:49 AM   #5
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Landarc has it right.
I have noticed that there are areas that will not be cured, so I guess you need to look for uniformity of texture to make sure that the whole piece is cured....
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:19 AM   #6
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Some bellies are just a bit firmer to start with too...

To help me make sure mine are fully cured, before rubbing with cure I cut the belly into 1-1.5 lb pieces, that way the cure is able to work in from the sides as well as top & bottom, and I get more smoke on smaller pieces too.

Pay attention to the temp you are curing at too, lots of folks toss the ziplock in the crisper drawer cuz it's out of the way (and not realizing it's the coldest spot in the fridge usually) not knowing that the cure slows way down the closer to 32* you get.

Do a test strip - cut a slice out of the center of the belly and fry it up, if it tastes like cooked pork, put it back, if it tastes like salt pork or unsmoked bacon, roll with it!
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:50 PM   #7
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It is true that I cure smaller pieces and I have been using bellies from small Duroc hogs (as opposed to larger Duroc hogs, not a species thing) and these are pretty firm to begin with.

I prefer to cure a few at a time, in a lot of cure and on the top shelf of the fridge. I just put them in a plastic bin to handle leakage.
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:37 PM   #8
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You fellers got me hankerin to make some more BACON!
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnucklHed BBQ View Post

Do a test strip - cut a slice out of the center of the belly and fry it up, if it tastes like cooked pork, put it back, if it tastes like salt pork or unsmoked bacon, roll with it!
I did this and the meat tasted like half pork chop, half bacon. So I put it back in the cure. I guess I will five it a couple more days.

Thanks everyone for the advice.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
Mine are quite firm. I guess the best description would be like a over-cooked steak. But, I used a basic Tenderquik cure. I can't help but think the cure makes a difference.
You are all slipping, especially the whack-a-doodles, there was a time this kind of statement would not have gone unnoticed.
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