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View Full Version : How much salt to add if using Cure #1?


rdstoll
12-15-2014, 10:22 AM
Hi -

I am going to venture into the world of smoking some bacon and jerky over the holiday and have done extensive research around the use of Tenderquick vs. Cure #1. Basically, it seems like you can use either one interchangeably (ONLY in the correct proportions for each) but I'm leaning towards using Cure #1.

My question is how much salt should I use in my dry cure if I'm using Cure #1? Tenderquick already comes with salt and a fair amount of recipes I've seen that use Tenderquick don't seem to add additional salt into the mix.

Obviously the amount of salt will be different for bacon and beef jerky but I'm just trying to get a sense as to how much salt is the "correct" amount of salt for these two cures if I'm using Cure #1.

IamMadMan
12-15-2014, 09:02 PM
Salt is necessary to cure the meat. Salt helps to pull the moisture from the cells and dissolves the salt mixture and them distributes it back into the cell structure of the meat.

When curing, the items should be weighed (not measured) for accuracy, consistency, and food safety. Using the metric mode is much more accurate.

When making bacon use the following ratios...

Cure #1 - the ratio is 0.025% (Multiplier .0025)
Salt - the ratio is 3% (Multiplier .03)
Sugar - the ratio is 1.25% (Multiplier .0125)

Weigh the pork belly in grams, record the weight and multiply using the above Multiplier to get the exact ratio for each ingredient.

EXAMPLE:
If you have a pork belly the weighs 1 Kilogram (1000 grams) the results would be as follows...



Weight of pork belly = 1000 grams

Cure #1 - 1000 X .0025 = 2.5 Grams of Cure #1

Salt - 1000 X .03 = 30 Grams of Salt

Sugar - 1000 X .0125 = 12.5 Grams of Sugar
You can add other spices/flavorings after the above ingredients have been weighed and mixed.


Just replace the 1000 with the actual weight in grams of each pork belly and multiply to get the required amount of each ingredient for each pork belly. Harbor Freight has a nice inexpensive electronic scale that switches between grams and pounds with a touch of a button.

.

Sausage Warrior
12-15-2014, 10:48 PM
Mad man that's outstanding. I've never made bacon but have done lots of sausage, corned beef pastrami and have usually used tenderquick dry recipes. Surprising now that I looked at the sugar ratio how close several of my recipes are to your formulation. Great suggestion to weigh all ingredients. Guessing leads to over salted or brown looking product of health concerns. Curing is a science and needs to be taken seriously!

I suggest bookmarking this formula. I sure will.

IamMadMan
12-16-2014, 07:40 AM
Mad man that's outstanding. I've never made bacon but have done lots of sausage, corned beef pastrami and have usually used tenderquick dry recipes. Surprising now that I looked at the sugar ratio how close several of my recipes are to your formulation. Great suggestion to weigh all ingredients. Guessing leads to over salted or brown looking product of health concerns. Curing is a science and needs to be taken seriously!

I suggest bookmarking this formula. I sure will.

I want to clarify this formula is for a dry cure only. A wet cure is mixed in different ratios according to the amount of water used when "WET" curing things like ham. A dry cure is simpler, takes up less space, and will not cause nitrite burn if left to cure a little longer due to one's busy schedule.

Curing should take place between 36 -39 degrees for best results. Colder will slow the curing process, while warmer temperatures (40 -149) are outside the food safe temperature ranges.

Salt and sugar can be adjusted to taste as described below.


I am a firm believer that anyone making Bacon, Sausage, Jerky, or other cured foods for the first few times should use either a pre-mixed kit or Morton TenderQuick to avoid issues with an improper formulation with too much or too little of any item, especially with the cure. It makes the process easy for those who do not have a scale to accurately measure the items. Accuracy results in consistency, quality, and safety. I also want to note that Morton TenderQuick is not directly interchangeable with Cure #1 (pink salt), they are different formulations. TenderQuick already has the cure and the salt mixed together as one product to make it safe for measuring by volume (Tablespoons) rather than by weight (grams).

Salt is necessary to transport the curing agent into the meat and the salt ratio content can vary anywhere from 2.5% to 4% when curing. The higher end of that scale produces a very salty product, while the low end is much lower in salt. Salt content can vary anywhere within that range, but I prefer a 3% ratio. In commercial meat packaging a salt solution is added to meat to help prevent Listeria and some other bacteria from growing. This is done with a 3% solution and is probably the real reason commercial packagers sell enhanced meat, not so much for a tender product but more so to slightly extend shelf life. Less than 3% and harmful bacteria, if present, can still colonize and grow. Some processors add much higher salt ratio, which over time can give the meat that salty/hammy texture and flavor which we all detest when we BBQ.

Sugar helps to cut the salty edge in taste of the final product and can vary greatly in any recipe. Sugar can slightly slow the curing process if used in large ratios, but is not necessary for curing. It is strictly for rounding out and balancing the flavors (salty, sweet, savory). Sugar levels can be adjusted to an individuals personal taste without affecting the curing process.

However the cure #1 (pink salt) is not variable. It is the ratio prescribed by the USDA and other food safety organizations. Too little cure and you may still have a chance of getting ill from food-borne illnesses, while too much can cause health problems and even death. Cures are completely safe when used in the proper proportions.

After the basic mixture is weighed and mixed you can add your other spices and flavor components.

rdstoll
12-16-2014, 10:34 AM
What a big help! Thanks!


And your explanation of the salt ratio helps me better understand the "science" behind curing and the salt ratio.

Just by chance do you have any broad guidelines for adding other spices? So if I do your cure/salt/sugar ratio exactly as you outline above but wanted to add granulated onion and say, ground black pepper, is there a certain ratio or weight I should shoot for with those as well? I'm sure it's here that there's no hard and fast rule given the wide variety of recipes and tastes that are out there but thought I'd ask.

Thanks again!!

Shagdog
12-16-2014, 11:57 AM
Great advice from IAmMadman. Curing by % is the most sure fire way to get very consistent and safe results.

If you're talking percentages for other spices, I'd try 1% for a flavor you really want front and center, and maybe more in .5 to .25% range for the rest.. Like for example, 1% Black Pepper, .5% Garlic, .5% Onion, .25% allspice (Or whatever you want to add). Experimenting with that part of a bacon recipe can be a lot of fun.. Just make sure you write down what you do so you can replicate it later! I also will use more sugar sometimes... up to 3% and match the salt level.. Or less, depending on what flavor I'm aiming for.. Same with Salt, if you think bacon should be saltier, try 3.5 or 4% or if its too salty, try a little less. That's the great thing about making your own. You can fine tune it to your own tastes once you understand how it all works

RolandJT
12-16-2014, 03:28 PM
Nothing really to add other than to listen to MadMan.

I've used that ratio for belly bacon, shoulder bacon, and am about to do my first loin bacon. All turned out great.

Yellowhair42
12-16-2014, 04:34 PM
I want to clarify this formula is for a dry cure only. A wet cure is mixed in different ratios according to the amount of water used when "WET" curing things like ham. A dry cure is simpler, takes up less space, and will not cause nitrite burn if left to cure a little longer due to one's busy schedule.

Curing should take place between 36 -39 degrees for best results. Colder will slow the curing process, while warmer temperatures (40 -149) are outside the food safe temperature ranges.

Salt and sugar can be adjusted to taste as described below.


I am a firm believer that anyone making Bacon, Sausage, Jerky, or other cured foods for the first few times should use either a pre-mixed kit or Morton TenderQuick to avoid issues with an improper formulation with too much or too little of any item, especially with the cure. It makes the process easy for those who do not have a scale to accurately measure the items. Accuracy results in consistency, quality, and safety. I also want to note that Morton TenderQuick is not directly interchangeable with Cure #1 (pink salt), they are different formulations. TenderQuick already has the cure and the salt mixed together as one product to make it safe for measuring by volume (Tablespoons) rather than by weight (grams).

Salt is necessary to transport the curing agent into the meat and the salt ratio content can vary anywhere from 2.5% to 4% when curing. The higher end of that scale produces a very salty product, while the low end is much lower in salt. Salt content can vary anywhere within that range, but I prefer a 3% ratio. In commercial meat packaging a salt solution is added to meat to help prevent Listeria and some other bacteria from growing. This is done with a 3% solution and is probably the real reason commercial packagers sell enhanced meat, not so much for a tender product but more so to slightly extend shelf life. Less than 3% and harmful bacteria, if present, can still colonize and grow. Some processors add much higher salt ratio, which over time can give the meat that salty/hammy texture and flavor which we all detest when we BBQ.

Sugar helps to cut the salty edge in taste of the final product and can vary greatly in any recipe. Sugar can slightly slow the curing process if used in large ratios, but is not necessary for curing. It is strictly for rounding out and balancing the flavors (salty, sweet, savory). Sugar levels can be adjusted to an individuals personal taste without affecting the curing process.

However the cure #1 (pink salt) is not variable. It is the ratio prescribed by the USDA and other food safety organizations. Too little cure and you may still have a chance of getting ill from food-borne illnesses, while too much can cause health problems and even death. Cures are completely safe when used in the proper proportions.

After the basic mixture is weighed and mixed you can add your other spices and flavor components.
What is the multiplier for a wet cure?

mchar69
12-16-2014, 06:28 PM
I also want to note that Morton TenderQuick is not directly interchangeable with Cure #1 (pink salt), they are different formulations. TenderQuick already has the cure and the salt mixed together as one product to make it safe for measuring by volume (Tablespoons) rather than by weight (grams).

May I ask - We know that 1 TEAspoon of Prague #1 will cure 5 lbs of meat, and 5 tablespoons of TQ will do the same.
What happens if you are making 20 pounds, and only have 15 TB of TQ and one TSP of #1? Instant, or slow.. death:)
I would think it would be the same???

IamMadMan
12-16-2014, 08:44 PM
What is the multiplier for a wet cure?

There is no multiplier for wet cures, they are mixed by the volume of water needed to completely cover the meat during the curing process.

The current USDA Minimum is 125 ppm and the Maximum is 200ppm Nitrite for Brined/Pickled Meats.

It is also recommended that the meat be pumped WITH 10% brine of their initial weight of the meat to insure even curing and prevent "Bone Sour" So for a 10 pound ham (160oz) 16 ounces of the brine solution should be injected into the meat around the bone as well as deep in the center.

85 Grams of Cure#1 per gallon of water yields and 140ppm nitrite and 113.4 yields 188 ppm nitrite, both are safe. Again I go close to the middle to allow for any loss due to variances/tolerances.

So my basic wet cure is as follows for each gallon.
1 Gallon of Water
90 Grams Cure #1
400 Grams Kosher Salt
150 Grams Sugar

Once the above items are mixed, you can add your spices/flavoring to the brine. Dissolve these ingredients in hot water to make sure they are fully dissolved, then let cool to below 40 degrees before adding the meat.

Again salt and sugar will vary slightly according to the type of meat being cured. Salt can vary between 200 grams and 600 grams according your taste. Sugar can vary from 50 grams to 350 grams depending upon your taste.

The main concept one must grasp is that formulations for dry and wet cures drastically differ from each other.

The only exception is when making jerky, always use the formulation for a dry cure, because the liquid ingredients added are flavors, thus it is still a "Dry Cure" not a "Wet Cure".

IamMadMan
12-16-2014, 08:50 PM
May I ask - We know that 1 TEAspoon of Prague #1 will cure 5 lbs of meat, and 5 tablespoons of TQ will do the same.
What happens if you are making 20 pounds, and only have 15 TB of TQ and one TSP of #1? Instant, or slow.. death:)
I would think it would be the same???

What I was stating is that one cannot substitute a Tablespoon of Cure #1 for a Tablespoon of TenderQuick, they are not directly interchangeable or visa-versa. The message explained that they are different formulation ratios of salt to sodium nitrite.

My solution to your question would be to take five pounds of meat and smoke it for dinner while the other 15 pounds are curing....

YetiDave
12-17-2014, 12:27 AM
Your salt levels can safely go as low as 2.5% for the sodium conscious amongst us. I've never used higher than 3%, but I believe 3.5% is the point at which things might start getting a bit too salty :thumb:

Reverse engineering recipes and checking they're using these kinds of levels is a good idea, there are a lot of bad recipes out there on the ol' internet

As far as brines go, I suspect you can go for a similar equilibrium curing method and just consider the brine as extra meat weight. E.g. 1500g meat + 1500ml water = dissolving enough cure for 3000g of meat in the brine, but I've not given it a try yet

ironmanerik
12-17-2014, 12:54 AM
Meat Smoking And Smokehouse Design: Stanley Marianski, Robert Marianski, Adam Marianski: 9780982426708: Amazon.com: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51kL1dllhaL.@@AMEPARAM@@51kL1dllhaL


I just read this and it cleared up a lot of questions

IamMadMan
12-17-2014, 06:05 AM
Meat Smoking And Smokehouse Design: Stanley Marianski, Robert Marianski, Adam Marianski: 9780982426708: Amazon.com: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Meat-Smoking-And-Smokehouse-Design/dp/0982426704)


I just read this and it cleared up a lot of questions


If you purchase this book:
Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages: Stanley Marianski, Adam Marianski: 9780982426739: Amazon.com: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2B6GpQIrQL.@@AMEPARAM@@51%2B6GpQIrQL

you will get most if not all of

Meat Smoking And Smokehouse Design: Stanley Marianski, Robert Marianski, Adam Marianski: 9780982426708: Amazon.com: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51kL1dllhaL.@@AMEPARAM@@51kL1dllhaL

and

Polish Sausages, Authentic Recipes And Instructions: Stanley Marianski, Adam Marianski, Miroslaw Gebarowski: 9780982426722: Amazon.com: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51myGBgVSUL.@@AMEPARAM@@51myGBgVSUL

plus more in one single book.

I purchased the two separately and then bought the third a year later only to find it was a combined book.

GMDGeek
12-17-2014, 09:35 AM
Thanks for the book recommendation - just ordered it, and downloaded to my phone/tablet.

Going to try out your wet cure... do you have an example of your basic dry cure? I typically get 8-10lb pork belly slabs from the Asian market and am very curious.

Thanks,
G

There is no multiplier for wet cures, they are mixed by the volume of water needed to completely cover the meat during the curing process.

The current USDA Minimum is 125 ppm and the Maximum is 200ppm Nitrite for Brined/Pickled Meats.

It is also recommended that the meat be pumped WITH 10% brine of their initial weight of the meat to insure even curing and prevent "Bone Sour" So for a 10 pound ham (160oz) 16 ounces of the brine solution should be injected into the meat around the bone as well as deep in the center.

85 Grams of Cure#1 per gallon of water yields and 140ppm nitrite and 113.4 yields 188 ppm nitrite, both are safe. Again I go close to the middle to allow for any loss due to variances/tolerances.

So my basic wet cure is as follows for each gallon.
1 Gallon of Water
90 Grams Cure #1
400 Grams Kosher Salt
150 Grams Sugar

Once the above items are mixed, you can add your spices/flavoring to the brine. Dissolve these ingredients in hot water to make sure they are fully dissolved, then let cool to below 40 degrees before adding the meat.

Again salt and sugar will vary slightly according to the type of meat being cured. Salt can vary between 200 grams and 600 grams according your taste. Sugar can vary from 50 grams to 350 grams depending upon your taste.

The main concept one must grasp is that formulations for dry and wet cures drastically differ from each other.

The only exception is when making jerky, always use the formulation for a dry cure, because the liquid ingredients added are flavors, thus it is still a "Dry Cure" not a "Wet Cure".

rdstoll
12-17-2014, 10:56 AM
I ordered these books before posing my question and now that I'm 200 pages into the big green book I'm amazed at the wealth of information that's in this thing. If there's such thing as a sausage "bible" this is it but also lots of good info that applies to basic BBQ as well.

IamMadMan
12-17-2014, 01:47 PM
Going to try out your wet cure... do you have an example of your basic dry cure? I typically get 8-10lb pork belly slabs from the Asian market and am very curious.

Thanks,
G

The basic dry cure is listed in message # 2

Cure #1 - the ratio is 0.025% (Multiplier .0025)
Salt - the ratio is 3% (Multiplier .03)
Sugar - the ratio is 1.25% (Multiplier .0125)


But I'll proceed with your question.....

You get an 8.0 pound pork belly from your asian market... Weigh it on a metric scale to get the weight in grams. 8 pounds is roughly 3.629 kilograms which is 3,629 grams

Multiply the weight of the belly by each multiplier

Cure #1 - 3629 X .0025 = 9.073 grams of Cure #1
Kosher Salt - 3629 X .03 = 108.87 grams salt
Sugar - 3629 X .0125 = 45.363 grams of sugar (or 50 grams of brown sugar)

Thougougly mix these ingredients and add

4 medium bay leaves, crumbled
4 TBS ground black pepper
2 TBS granulated garlic
2 TBS pickling spice
1/2 TBS thyme
24 juniper berries

Optional Ingredients
1 TBS fenugreek seed

Instructions
Mix all the cure ingredients thougougly and then add dry spices and mix again. Rub the mixture on all sides of the pork belly and place pork belly in a 1 gallon/2 gallon sized zip top plastic bag and put in the fridge for seven days. Flip the bag twice daily to make sure liquid that’s drawn out is evenly distributed.

For Maple flavored bacon add 3 tablesppons of maple syrup to the bag on day #2 when the liquid starts to form.

gtr
12-17-2014, 01:54 PM
***time out***

Threads like this are exactly why I think this place is so great.

***time in***

The Marianski books are fantastic - chock full of great info - as is IamMadMan. :thumb: Great stuff y'all.

BTW Marianski site here:

http://www.meatsandsausages.com/

IamMadMan
12-17-2014, 02:00 PM
I ordered these books before posing my question and now that I'm 200 pages into the big green book I'm amazed at the wealth of information that's in this thing. If there's such thing as a sausage "bible" this is it but also lots of good info that applies to basic BBQ as well.

Another great book is

Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing: Rytek Kutas, Ben Kutas: 9780025668607: Amazon.com: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HsqN0YTgL.@@AMEPARAM@@51HsqN0YTgL

Rytek was one of the co-owners of The Sausage Maker (http://www.sausagemaker.com/), a great source for Sausage Making / Curing Supplies. A great variety of items and shipping is incredibly cheap...

GMDGeek
12-17-2014, 02:42 PM
Thanks again for the info IamMadMan!

rdstoll
12-17-2014, 03:05 PM
Well all this talk about bacon, sausage and cures means I'm gonna have to significantly increase my plan for how much I'm gonna smoke over Christmas break!

Fortunately I have a good scale that I've normally used for weighing out coffee beans for my Chemex that will work perfectly for weighing out these cures as well. Just the whole thought process of mixing spices based on weight vs. Tbs, Tsps and cups has been a real eye-opener for me as I've done an awful job of mixing up my own rubs in the past.

Shagdog
12-17-2014, 03:37 PM
Are you going into the city to get Bellies? I recommend Grant Park Packing. It is THE place to go for all things pork. 2 bucks and change a pound for huge bellies. Ask one of the guys in the white coats for the THICK ones, and they'll head to the back to find you some winners.

martyleach
12-18-2014, 12:54 AM
All good stuff. I would begin with manufacturer's recommendation on the cures. Personally, I no longer use Morton's TQ unless I am doing something with a longer dry time. Don't really need the Sodium Nitrate for bacon, Pancetta or something that is going to be cooked