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Confused with cure ratio

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Joined: 23 Sep 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23 13 11:50 am    Post subject: Confused with cure ratio Reply with quote


I have been making bacon and ham for a few years now with decent results. Always wanting to do better I have been reading the forums today trying to dial in my methods as it is that time of year again. I am in the process of doing 5 hams and 7 bacon sides.

For my cure I have injected and then immersed my hams and bacon in salt/cure/sugar/water brine. I use Prauge Powder #1 and smoke the meats at 250-275 until at temp. The results are usually decent but sometimes the hams have white areas where the cure apparently has not reached. (This was a combination of methods derived from personal interviews, reading and sources I can't recall now)

So after reading several topics what I am wondering if I am not using enough cure for a brine. On the package the ratio is 1oz per 25lbs of meat. Most of my hams (These are fresh hams from hogs I just butchered) are in the 20-25lb range. I make 2 gal of brine which includes 1lb salt, 1/2 lb brown sugar and 1oz cure. 2 gal in a clean 5 gal bucket is enough to submerge the ham. From some of the reading I have done I am wondering if the amount of cure I am using is not enough for a brine.
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Harry Nutczak
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Joined: 01 Mar 2007
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Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Tue Sep 24 13 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am unable to help with brine ratios, since I have zero experience.

But, from your description, it seems as though you are not pumping the meat thouroughly enough to get everywhere.

I know commercial operation will do "Vein Pumping" where they use the veins in the ham to disperse the cure evenly.

your "1oz for 25 pounds of meat" is correct for a ground meat where the cure is mixed into the ground meat, but I do not think it is correct for a brine pump/soak situation.

I avoid brines due to the high volume of cure needed to get the correct ratio, and the waste involved.
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Joined: 05 Jul 2012
Posts: 270
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Sep 24 13 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The amount of cure is definitely low. I think the amount on the package is for dry curing or adding to ground mixes. I could calculate ratios for you but not knowing weights makes it pointless.

Marianski offers the following ratio for brine:

Water = 1 gallon
Salt = 1.6lb
Cure #1 = 4.2 oz
sugar = 1.5 oz

It may seem high but remember, at 4% pickup a 5lb ham should absorb 79 ppm which is enough. However, if you pump (inject) 10% of the weight of the meat as well as soak in the remaining brine you will end up with 197 ppm, just under the government standard of 200 ppm.

Again, Marianski:

10 percent injection.
If Green weight (raw meat) = 11lb
Percent injection = 10%
0.10x11 lb = 1.1 lb
The weight of the injected ham should then be:
11+1.1 = 12.1lbs

Does this help or just confuse?
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