Uncured Bacon, Hams, etc...

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by highlands, Oct 11, 2017 at 4:14 PM.

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  1. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Being that we're all dealing with pigs here the topic of cure comes up for making bacon, ham, various cured and smoked sausages, etc. I've been making uncured smoked hot dogs with our meat at a smokehouse using my own recipe for over a decade. Last year I developed recipes for corn pork and bacon. There is quite a bit of confusion about the term cure, and even bacon. The USDA has regulatory definitions that if you're using celery salt or the like to make bacon you are _required_ to say "Uncured Bacon" so this isn't a marketing thing so much as a regulatory requirement. After we have had our uncured bacon on the market for a few months I wrote up an article about the topic of "Uncuring" to try to help demystify the issue. See:

    Uncured Bacon, Celery Salt & Labeling

    -Walter
     
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  2. krackin

    krackin Well-Known Member

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    I haven't read your article yet, I will later on, most likely 4 or 5 AM with coffee.

    My concern is that the term 'uncured' is misleading and wrong. Celery is naturally high in nitrite which makes for a short term curing agent. Given a short time, nitrite oxidizes off and is gone, good job done. When enough is used, it is cured. Plain salt is corning. I believe a mix of celery and salt is still curing. I understand that the regs are the rules.

    I also don't like seeing 'nitrate free' on bacon labels. Yes, it is true, or should be. Bacon isn't cured with nitrates today. Nitrates are for long term cures not short term. Even a nitrate cured ham or salami should be nitrate free by the time it is purchased, converted to nitrite then oxidized off.

    I suppose the logic behind the labeling is that pointing out a fact is easier than trying to educate. I'd rather see out customers better educated to our products in agriculture but I guess that is up to we small producers.
     
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  3. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    You need to read the article before diving into your quick reply.
     
  4. Skandi

    Skandi Well-Known Member

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    Actually a highly amusing article, silly legal loops, of course it is preserved it's preserved with salt. Here we can buy non nitrate bacon and it's still called bacon, the only real difference is that it is not pink in colour, which I do find slightly strange, as when I made my own without nitrate is was still pink as one would expect.
     
  5. krackin

    krackin Well-Known Member

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    I still haven't read the full article, been getting a bit complicated here before dawn.

    I get the feeling 'Fools rush in where angels fear to tread' comes to play. No matter, I fit pretty well with the fools. We get the job done.
     
  6. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In Michigan, they rolled back the regulations on many home produced food products. Just needs an ingredient label and their address, with a disclaimer, " Made in an uninspected kitchen".
    Many food products contain misleading labels. Chicken products with "No added hormones" when all chicken has no added hormones. Wheat products with " non-GMO" when there is no GMO wheat.
    I remember the fight against Turkey Bacon. At a discount food store, I saw "imitation baloney" and can't imagine how that is produced.
    When USDA hashes out rules that describe bacon, I can imagine alternative methods my not apply.
     
  7. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Haypoint, I take it you didn't read the article. Our uncured bacon is produced in our inspected butcher shop. The USDA has already hashed out very thoroughly the rules that define bacon. Read the article.
     
  8. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You are wrong. I did read your story on your blog. I sort of skipped over the self promotion parts and focused on the USDA labeling parts and the way you get around the hated nitrates and use the chemically similar celery salt to sound more natural.

    Maybe you didn't read my comments. Consumers want healthy, but don't know the differences and similarities between nitrates and celery salt. They choose what sounds less chemical. Just as they choose Oatmeal labeled "non-GMO" or milk that is labeled " from cows not treated with rBGH" or antibiotic-free chicken tenders. No on is telling them that all oats are non-GMO, cattle haven't been getting rBGH for a decade and there is no traces of antibiotics in any brand of chicken.
    So, careful labeling is important, half truths allowed. When bacon says "contains no nitrates" and no grocery store bacon has nitrates, I question the purpose of the statement.
    Congratulation for walking that narrow path between USDA requirements and sounding better/healthier than store bought. I hope this thread draws lots of interest and gets you lots of "hits" for your blog.
     
  9. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Haypoint, you're spinning the article the way you want and you clearly didn't understand the article. Perhaps rather than skimming it you should actually read it as you completely missed the information. I was clearly pointing out how the synthetic nitrates and the 'natural' nitrites are the same thing, the history and the reasoning behind the regulations which in turn determine how the labels are required to be written.

    Try getting off your high horse and actually reading what someone else wrote rather than reinterpreting it to your mantra. You might actually learn something.

    -Walter