curing meat

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by unixguy, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. unixguy

    unixguy Member

    May 13, 2004
    Good Afternoon;

    As you know from my pervious posts, I am new at this. We raised two pigs to slaughter weight, and put them into the freezer, And most things went pretty well
    but we are having some (more) questions...

    We slaughtered the pigs on Saturday, and while it pretty smoothly, there are things that we are going to do diffierently next time: better fencing (the pig left in the pen wanted to get dispatched WITH his sibling, not after, or so it seemed).
    A larger scalding tank ( we had to quarter the hog to dip it after pouring in on thru burlap didn't work very well ), and a different gun ( the .22 rifle was just unweildly, would have been safer with a .22 pistol ).

    Most of the hair was singed off with a propane torch, and they hung for two days before I butchered it out and put the hams and bacons in to cure.

    They had been in a brine solution for 3 1/2 weeks when I took a sample...
    The ham appeard to be coming along, but not done- We roasted 1/2 a ham and some of the meat was pink, and some of the meat was greyish when cooked. It tasted mostly like ham, but clearly needed more time.

    The bacon was EXTREMLY salty, and did not appeared to be cured at all... Cooked up entirely greyish.

    Both have been in a brownsugar/salt/saltpetre solution for the same length of time.

    Should I be worried? What should I do now?

  2. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    May 9, 2002
    Wow, sounds like a painful experience.

    I usually start out by skinning. I don't let them hang any longer than it takes to cool the carcass and get them butchered as soon as possible.

    You shouldn't just toss the pieces in the brine, you need to inject the brine into the meat and then soak them. Several days, depending on the temperature should be more than sufficient.

    When it comes out of the brine, it goes into the smoker where it gets hot smoked to (I don't remember) 180 degrees?

    The good news is, you won't likely poison yourself. Back in the days when I worked in a custom meat plant, I had a guy bring in a deer that had been hanging in a tree in his back yard from fall to spring. That thing had green mold growing on it. After I skinned the mold off, the meat was fine and I hear he lived.

    You can just run your too salty bacon under the faucet to rid it of some of the salt.

  3. VApigLover

    VApigLover Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2004
    King George, Virginia
    I'm not an expert, but since you are in Colorado, has it been real cold? If you are brining outside your temps may be low and longer curing time would be needed. I've been watching the weather channel and it seems like you folks are getting snowed on every day!

    Also did you inject brine either artery pumping or spray method in and around the bones or in the bacon (basically a meat injection of cure) could cut down on the lenght of time.

    Well, I've exhausted my knowledge, but a good book to have is "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing by Rytek Kutas" really good stuff on cureing and sausage making
  4. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 16, 2003
    Western Washington
    I'm not an expert by any means... but here's a site that is filled with a lot of information. They are a butcher supply house, but they sell to the public and they have a lot of information posted that may answer your questions..

    Hope this helps.
  5. My two cents worth. Would be worth more but seems most people don't listen to me!

    Instead of dipping. Just pour hot water and scrape. Get your water hot and use a sauce pan to dip the water and pour onto a small area. When you see the skin draw up tite then it is ready to scrape. Do one small 10" area at a time and then move on to the next area. It's very simple, when you get one side of the pig done you roll it over to the other side and repeat. Some people will say skinning the pig is much easier, but what they don't realize is that they are throwing a very tasty portion of the pig away which is more money down the drain. Just yesterday I thawed out a peice of pig skin, cut it up in chunks and deep fried it to make original pig rinds. The kids and I gorged ourselves.
  6. unixguy

    unixguy Member

    May 13, 2004
    Good Afternoon;

    I appreciate all of the collective information that you kind folks has imparted...
    FWIW here are some more details about our predicimenr:

    We were following a receipe for a brown sugar brining cure found in the book
    Basic Butchering of livestock and game... In this book, the author suggests 4-5 weeks of brine soaking, with an additional dau for each day that it might have
    been frozen. The meat in question here is very large rubbermaid storage containers inside of a fridge located in our barn. While the barn is not heated, it does keep the temperature just above freezing.

    We have not done any injection of the brine into the meat, but the meat around the bones still smells sweet, and has no indication of bone sour... I was pretty careful to keep things pretty clean... I'm pretty sure that not doing the injection accounts for the discrepency in time that I am seeing....

    This does leave the essential question.... Is there a way that I can know by
    visual inspection wither or not the meat has had too little/enough/too much cure? would The same test work for both the bacons and the Hams?

    Does anyone know why it is that the bacon would be VERY salty, and yet not look at all like it has been cured when either raw or cooked?

    regarding the dehairing process... Look for a new thread in a couple of days- I'm thinking of several "modern, time-saving" devices that AI could usea sanity check on before I go off and build them.

    Thanks Agagin;

  7. Parson Snows

    Parson Snows New Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    You asked
    Does anyone know why it is that the bacon would be VERY salty, and yet not look at all like it has been cured when either raw or cooked?

    There are several things wrong....I would suggest that you post the recipe from this book (not leaving anything out) and I will get back to you.

    kind regards

    Parson Snows
  8. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2004
    I've read of flash burning the hair off, with a thin layer of hay
  9. willy

    willy New Member

    Feb 8, 2005

    First, let me say that "DO NOT EAT THAT MEAT".

    [saltpetre solution] that you used, are poison. it is (potassium nitrate) and is a cancer causing agent.

    The FDA stopped the processors from using of Saltpeter years ago.

    Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) is NOT a cure, it never was, it just helped to the hold the pink color after smoking.
    Please do not feed this to your Family.

    You MUST use Nitrite or Nitrates to cure meats, prior to smoking.


    "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing by Rytek Kutas" is a really a good book for the novice,
    Get it, and make it your "Bible" as far as curing goes. it explains what cures are and how it works. the sausage recipes can be your own.

    Morton salt company sells a couple difference pre-mixed cures that contain Nitrite or Nitrates.

    Without the use of Nitrite or Nitrates, the smoking process can cause food poison while in the smokehouse.
    You can't smell it, or see it, and cooking DOES NOT KILL IT.

    There is two (2) types of smoking, hot and cold.

    Cold smoking: the smokehouse is kept at 90 degrees or less
    And the curing process, is totally difference and take 28 days in a cooler prior to smoking. (it is a very salty cure)

    Hot smoking: the smokehouse is taken up to as high as 200 degrees (depending on what you are smoking.

    Hams can be cured in 5 days by pumping 20% and also dry rubbing with a dry mix in a cooler, held at 34-37 degrees. with a 55 degree brine (tested with a Salometer) at the end of the 5 days soak hams in a 140 degree water for 2 hours to remove some of the extra salt, then bag and hang in smokehouse.

    Hams are started at 120 degrees for 6-8 no smoke, open drafts, (you can't smoke wet meat) then at 140 degrees for 6 hrs 1/4 drafts with smoke, and then 165 degrees closed draft until the ham reachs 145 degrees internal temp.

    Bacon can be cured in 7 days by dry rubbing with a dry mix and held in a cooler at 34-37 degrees. Then soak in 140 degree water for 2 hours. removed to the smoke house and dry at 120 degrees draft open full, for a couple of hours then start smoking.
    Then smoked at 130 degrees at 1/4 draft until the internal temp. reachs 128 degrees.

    Do not try to cure meat without a refrigerated place the curing meat in.

    4 oz of Nitrites will cure a 100 pounds of meat (like sausage and lunch meat and etc. Brines and rubs will very, based on the recipe.

    8 lbs of a dry mix of (Salt, sugar and 6.5% nitrites) will cure a 100 lbs of bacon.

    I have cured and smoked tons of meat, Yes there are difference recipes. However there are a basic rules you must follow to cure meat. and they don't change. ............Your life, and your families HEALTH depends on it!

    PS: Don't Scald hogs, Skin them! You could be done before you could heat the water.

    Good Luck