Natural brining question

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by AndreaNZ, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. AndreaNZ

    AndreaNZ Well-Known Member

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    Hi, all -- when doing a homemade brine solution for curing ham and bacon, is the saltpetre/KNO3 REALLY necessary?

    I have a really old cookbook (from the 30s), and all the recipes call for saltpetre...

    We don't usually eat ham or bacon because of the preservatives (kids can't tolerate them - son breaks out in a rash!), and I know there was a place in NY when we were living there that had cured pork without the nitrates or nitrites.

    Thanks
    Andrea
    NZ
     
  2. VApigLover

    VApigLover Well-Known Member

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    Some of the newer preservitives should be used besides Saltpeter, Sodium Nitrite for short term Smoke Cooked curing and Nitrate (timed released Nitrites) for the dry cure process. If you don't intend to smoke cook at low tempertures then you may not need to use them, but to me a cure gives the meat the texture and flavor/coloring of a natural ham. Low temp cooking is where the bacteria grows best and you need Nitrates/nitrites. My mother in law takes bacon and fatback and just uses a salt/pepper seasoning and ages in fridgerator, no cure however she does not low cook/smoke the meat, it goes straight to the freezer.

    VaPiglover
     

  3. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

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    I have never used ANY ites or ates. I home brine bacon and ham and make sausage. The only problems I've had are the pepperoni and summer sausage ... can't get to taste too good without the chems.

    The bacon is AWESOME.

    The ham is good. You have to get past the grayish color that's all ... but it's just color! The chems give the store hams the rosey color. If you smoke, the ham will have some rosey color from the smoke.

    Freezing the ham after brining will kill a lot of the bacteria. No matter fresh or frozen, get a good thermometer (we use two in case). HAS to be cooked to 160-170 at least.

    Careful with the smoking. While the smoke inhibits the external growth the low temp will be a breeding ground for the bacteria.

    Use brown sugar/salt cure.

    Experiment... but carefully. I have 4 young children and don't take any chances ... which is also why I try to limit the unnecessary chems, meds, etc.
     
  4. djuhnke

    djuhnke Well-Known Member

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    I got the book from Rytek Kutas (www.sausagemaker.com) the they have a ton of recipies and how to's for bacon, smoking and sausage making. They are abit pricy for supplies (you can go to alot of places to get casings and such) but I am waiting to get some pork bellies to try out the hickroy smoked honey bacon.
     
  5. VApigLover

    VApigLover Well-Known Member

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    djuhnke, I have the same book by him. I did the Honey cure of his to a couple hams and several pork bellies, I did both the wet cure and the dry method where you rub the honey on. Both turned out excellent, only thing with the honey is that the bacon turns darker due to the sugar content, otherwise right good. I have not tried the hams yet, but I did cure and smoke some venison hams and they turned out awesome, its a good book and if I can do it anyone can! :)
     
  6. AndreaNZ

    AndreaNZ Well-Known Member

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    Recipes, Mike? :D

    I ended up finding a dry cure recipe on the 'net, and so far, it smells divine (it's only beena day). I don't have a place I can leave it to drain since we're in summer down here, so I'm taking it out of the fridge and hanging the bags for an hour in the evening so it can drain. Hope it'll be ok!

    Cheers
    Andrea
    NZ

     
  7. AndreaNZ

    AndreaNZ Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, djuhnke -- I'll see if can find the book down here.

    Cheers
    Andre
    NZ


     
  8. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

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    I've never tried the dry cure method. I cure mine in a fridge at around 38 degrees in a spring water (I don't know if that matters but it is suggested as opposed to chlorinated) and brown sugar and non-iodized salt brine.

    I think I use 3-4 gal water, 3-4 lbs salt and 3-4 lbs brown sugar for hams and bacon in (2) 5 gallon buckets. Bacon 2 weeks and hams 4 weeks. Mix by hand once a week. I put some homemade maple syrup and some honey in too sometimes. I also inject the maple into the hams before cooking.

    Dang I'm getting hungry! I haven't had bacon since before Christmas ... we're remodeling our kitchen and been cooking on the grill and nukin' stuff to get by! Almost there though!