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Pork Bellies cont.....

Thanks for the tips on curing everyone. I have a 5 lb belly on order. It will be here this coming Tues. Couple of questions for you all. Has anyone done the cure without the pink salt (sodium nitrate)? I have read that the bacon won't keep as long without this, and it won't look as much like store bought bacon. I am trying to decide if I should do the cure with or without the pink salt. (I am still trying to locate a store that sells it, I am in Canada, so we don't get as get a selection as you folks across the line. Some say that the sodium nitrate isn't good for you. I have been eating store bought bacon all my life. So I don't know that I wouldn't use it, just wondering what the general conscience is. Any input on whether or not to use it or not would be appreciated.
Also one other question, some people just put the belly into a zip lock bag and flip it everyday, but I don't know if they drain the moisture out of the bag or not??? Others put the belly on some kind of rack so that the belly isn't laying in the moisture. Help me with that Please. Not sure what the best or easiest method is. Looking forward to this. Thanks for the info everyone.
Scot

Comments

  • You need pink salt for bacon.

    Do not drain the bag. The liquid is essential to the cure



  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,176
    I've seen uncured, salted bacon at Whole Paycheck, but I've never tried it.   I read it doesn't taste as good.  What C-T said.

    You should be able to pick up some pink salt #1 (AKA "Prague Powder #1", "Curing Powder #1") or Morton's Tender Quick (but that's a different concentration of sodium nitrite, and it has sodium nitrate, but you can still use it) at a store that sells sausage making stuff - hunting, sports, specialty food stores.  You can also get it online at a number of places, including Amazon.  I'm confident some Canadian mail-order place will carry it, given all the hunting and game up there.
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  • StoaterStoater Posts: 292
    I am in Canada, so we don't get as get a selection as you folks across the line. 



    Where are you located in Canada Scot?
  • I buy mine at a sporting goods store in the jerky/sausage making section. Gotta get me a jerky cannon.... :-&

  • Curing salt is a controlled substance here. There is a place in Langley that sells curing mix but didn't see any pink salt on it's own.

    http://www.stuffers.com/

    Here's one in Edmonton that has it.

    http://www.atlascutlery.com/

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • i ordered some from here: waiting on delivery, and hoping there aren't any custom issues coming into canada.

    http://www.sausagemaker.com/13307meatcuringkit.aspx

     

  • @stoater. Live in Wet Coast. About 1 hour east of Vancouver. I am going to a deli today that says they have some. Hope they do
  • @LS. Controlled. Really?? Is this stuff that bad for us?
  • Pink salt is the only way to make real bacon, although there are some variations using only Kosher salt (thus, not REAL bacon). Generally speaking it is harmless to eat in such small doses, and nitrates are in many foods you've been eating your entire life. So grab your belly, generously apply your salts mixture, add your desired seasonings (probably including some maple in your neck of the woods). Throw it all in the ziplock of appropriate size. Flip that bad boy every day for 7. Take it out, rinse, pat dry, and smoke it low and slow over your favorite wood. Prepare for one of the best bacons you've ever had. B-)
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  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,176
    @smokesniffer  It's poisonous - that's why they sell it no stronger than 6.25% (diluted with salt).  And that's diluted with curing salt about 30x more.  And that salt is diluted by the meat about 100x on top of that.  End result - you get ppm (parts per million) concentrations in your bacon - typically 30-60 ppm.

    At that low a concentration - it isn't poisonous to us, but it is to botulism and other micro organisms.  However, if it's cooked at real high temps, like microwaved crispy bacon, compounds called nitrosamines form, which are very carcinogenic.  Ascorbic acid is added to inhibit formation of this compound.  Since the food industry starting adding an antioxidant to inhibit nitrosamines, stomach cancer rates have dropped considerably.

    That said, I have both curing powders (#1 and #2) and I cure and eat cured meats all the time.  But you have to know what you're doing - and it's easy to measure out the right amounts - follow the recipes out there, like those in Ruhlman's book.

    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • I think they are worried about kids getting into it. The lethal dose is quite a bit.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,176
    The reason it's 6% is the amount of salt would kill you first.  In Europe they they regulate to 0.6%.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,716
    @LS. Controlled. Really?? Is this stuff that bad for us?
    NaNO2 is converted into a potent carcinogen and is fatal in large quantities. It is converted into nitrosamines in the stomach by reacting with amines in our body. This is the carcinogenic part. This can also occur during the cure and especially cooking cured meat at high temps for a prolonged time(burning bacon). Asorbic acid is added to store-bought bacon to prevent this conversion as required by the USDA. To be lethal, one must consume 22mg/kg dose of NaNO2 in one sitting. That is a lot of cured meat, and the salt(NaCl) would kill you long before the nitrite.

    It is regulated in the US a lot more loosely than in Canada, so perhaps this is why. 
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,176
    So you'd have to eat your body weight in bacon for the nitrite to kill you.  I think we're safe.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • There have been some links to MS as well but I don't know if that has been proven.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,716
    So you'd have to eat your body weight in bacon for the nitrite to kill you.  I think we're safe.
    A 150 lb dude would need around 18.5 lbs of cured meat to do this. But since NaNO2 readily converts to N2O during the cure, that dude will need more like 60 lbs of meat. The NaCl will kill him long before this.

    Or one could be poisoned. Perhaps the friends up north are trying to prevent human stupidity from enacting the Darwin rule.
  • Well I picked up my curing salt from a german deli that cures their own sausages. I talked to the owner and told him what I was wanting to do. He actually gave my enough curing salt for a 5 lb belly at "No Charge" He also gave me a very small amount of something else, ( can't remember what he called it) but he told me to use 1/3 of his cure with 1/3 sugar, and 1/3 salt. Then mix all this together and then put in the small amount of the other ingredient. He said that this other ingredient would make the pinkish colour to the meat. He claims that the belly would be cured in 3 days. I think I will cure it for 7 days, as JerkChicken suggested. Thinking about smoking with apple wood
    Thanks for all the help everyone. Can't wait til Tuesday to pick up the belly. I will let you know how I faired after it has cured and been smoked.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,176
    Well I picked up my curing salt from a german deli that cures their own sausages. I talked to the owner and told him what I was wanting to do. He actually gave my enough curing salt for a 5 lb belly at "No Charge" He also gave me a very small amount of something else, ( can't remember what he called it) but he told me to use 1/3 of his cure with 1/3 sugar, and 1/3 salt. Then mix all this together and then put in the small amount of the other ingredient. He said that this other ingredient would make the pinkish colour to the meat. He claims that the belly would be cured in 3 days. I think I will cure it for 7 days, as JerkChicken suggested. Thinking about smoking with apple wood
    Thanks for all the help everyone. Can't wait til Tuesday to pick up the belly. I will let you know how I faired after it has cured and been smoked.
    The small amount of stuff is either sodium ascorbate (salt of vitamin C) or sodium nitrite (pink salt - doesn't have to look pink), or a combination of the two.  They both stabilize a pink or red color.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Thank you NOLA. You guys are sure helpful and patient. Much appreciated. 
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,176
    Anytime, take pics!
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • billyraybillyray Posts: 1,116
    Well I picked up my curing salt from a german deli that cures their own sausages. I talked to the owner and told him what I was wanting to do. He actually gave my enough curing salt for a 5 lb belly at "No Charge" He also gave me a very small amount of something else, ( can't remember what he called it) but he told me to use 1/3 of his cure with 1/3 sugar, and 1/3 salt. Then mix all this together and then put in the small amount of the other ingredient. He said that this other ingredient would make the pinkish colour to the meat. He claims that the belly would be cured in 3 days. I think I will cure it for 7 days, as JerkChicken suggested. Thinking about smoking with apple wood
    Thanks for all the help everyone. Can't wait til Tuesday to pick up the belly. I will let you know how I faired after it has cured and been smoked.
    Just finished some hams and bacon that I cured and smoked.
    bacon.jpg
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    ham.jpg
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  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,176
    Nice billyray! 

    One nice thing about home-curing versus buying cured stuff - most of the cured factory meats are injected for a fast cure.  That dramatically reduces the shelf life and character of the meat.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Looks good Billyray. Hoping mine will turn out ok.
  • Hello all,
    There seems to be some mis-information in the above posts regarding curing salt. I tried to track down as much info as I could about the stuff on the net  and here is what I have been able to come up with. Prague powder #1, Instacure #1, Redi-cure#1, pink salt #1 are all the same thing. It is a curing salt that contains 6.25% sodium nitrite. It is used for curing meats that you intend to cook. Prague powder # 2, Insta-cure #2 etc. contains 6% sodium nitrite but also contains 1 % sodium nitrate that will slowly convert to nitrite over time in your curing meat. Both are available on amazon.com and I have had no problem at customs getting it into Canada. It is intended to be used for salami or other type sausage  that will be cured and dried over a long period of time. This meat is intended to be eaten raw. Hope this clears up some confusion about curing salt.
    Be who you are and say what you feel... Because those that matter... don't mind ... and those that mind... don't matter !
  • I should have added that it doesn't have to be a ground up piece of meat for the Insta-cure #2. It could be any cut that you would cure for a long time. Also I have read that if you ate a teaspoon of the stuff directly at 1 sitting, you would probably die. Since we use 1 teaspoon to cure 5 lbs of meat, we are pretty safe. The only reason that the salt is pink is so that we do not confuse it with regular salt.
    Be who you are and say what you feel... Because those that matter... don't mind ... and those that mind... don't matter !
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,351
    The only reason that the salt is pink is so that we do not confuse it with regular salt.
    Yup. I thought that was pretty interesting when I read that. I was gonna make that comment, but ya beat me to it.

    Richardson, Texas

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