My recipes are really easy to follow if you use the info given below. Replicating my recipes is possible because I use percentages for everything. The weight of meat plus fat is 100%. All ingredients to be added are expressed as a percentage of the weight of meat plus fat. Percentages can be used to standardize recipes regardless of batch size. All weights are metric. An online calculator is provided below.
No weights are given because the weights of meats vary. Again everything is a percentage of the meats weight after trimming. Here is an example- Meat weight is 2393 grams and we want to find out the amount of salt we need in grams- 2393 * 3.5%=83.755 or 2392/100 * 3.5 =83.755 grams.
For the majority of my recipes I use .25% cure #1 & #2 for all my curing needs. This equates to 156 ppm of Sodium Nitrite allowed by the Meat Division of the USDA for Comminuted meats. The .25% corresponds to 1 oz (28.35 g) of Cure for each 25 lbs (11.33 kg) of meat. l lb of Meat would need .04 oz of Cure. The percentage is .25% of the meats weight. I.E 16 oz or 453.592 X .25% = .04 oz or 1.134 My preference is to always use grams.
I use the following percentages to calculate how much cure I need for a given recipe. There are other ways to calculate cure formulas and I provide that too if you are curious. i.e. meat weight is 1000 grams and you want to calculate cure needed. 1000 grams * percentage below gives you grams in needed. 1000 * .25%= 2.5 grams.
- .19 % = 120 ppm use sometimes for Bacon
- .25% = 156 ppm Max for Comminuted meats
- .32% = 200 ppm for pumped or immersed.
- .60% = 347.4 ppm for larger Cut of meat that will dry for a long time.
- .99% = 625 ppm USDA MAX limit for dry curing.
I urge you to read the USDA PDF file. Very useful information. When it comes to PPM there are upper and lower limits you want to adhere to.
OTHER WAYS TO CALCULATE
To Calculate how much Cure # 1 you need for a given recipe you must know Parts Per Million desired. I.E 120 PPM, 156 PPM in formula below.
(PPM Sodium Nitrite) * (Weight of Meat in Grams) / (.0625) / 1,000,000 = CURE # 1 in grams
156 ppm * 2267.96 / .0625 / 1,000,000 = 5.66 grams
.25% when used in Calculations = 156 ppm
2267.96 * .25% = 5.66 grams
I have come across some recipes that seem problematic. In other words I thought the amount of Cure (Sodium Nitrite) given in a given recipe was a little high. Generally speaking most recipes do not list percentages as it relates to the meat weight. Most people don't care either but if you are like me, well you want to know everything.
The calculation below will allow you to reverse engineer the recipes to determine the Cure in PPM. If the recipe is a dry cure recipe I.E. like Bacon it's easy just use the meats weight. If it's a brine version (immersion) add the meat and water together used for the recipe. I.E meat weight 4000 grams + 9 kg of water = 14000 grams
Just reverse the math to figure out the PPM.
5.66 grams * 0.0625 = .35375 grams Amount of Sodium Nitrite
(.35375 * 1,000,000) / 2267.96 = 155.97 PPM
So the next obvious question is how long do does it take for the meat to absorb the salt? I can't give you a definitive answer but will tell you what has worked for me.
This is a guideline and not a hard and fast rule. It takes about a week to for the salt to absorb into one inch of meat. For dry-brining salt will absorb 1/4 inch per day from both sides of the meat.
Everything I cure needs (always) at least 2 weeks. For really large thick cuts I will go 3 weeks (and sometimes maybe 1-3 days more). If I think it needs more than 3 weeks I will inject/pump using a brine at 200 ppm. More on this later.
For dry-curing the product will be vacuumed sealed and flipped every day. The great thing about vacuum sealing is the brine the meat creates in the bag is always in contact with the meat.
In equilibrium brining (only use 156-200 ppm) the product is submerged or encapsulated inside a bag which ensures full contact with brine. During this time the salt and cure are absorbed into the meat via osmosis and diffusion. Calculating amount of cure needed for a given recipe is based on the weight of meat plus the weight of the water used in the brine. You will have to decide what ratio of water to meat you want. Higher the ratios of meat to water will yield a slightly faster cure.
Here are some examples. Let's say you want to do a brisket and will use a ratio of 2:1 the calculation would look like this... Weigh the Brisket using grams which is 3200 grams in our example and add half the weight in water which is 1600 grams. The number that would be used in the calculation would be 4800 grams.
Here's a couple more. 1:1 ratio would be 1000 grams of meat to 1000 grams of water = 2000 grams.
3:1 would be 4500 grams of meat to 1500 grams of water = 6000 grams
4:1 would be 1000 grams of meat to 250 grams of water = 1250
Note: I find that brining takes up to much room in the refrigerator so I elect to dry-cure everything. I will elect to use a combination cure if I find the need because the meat is to large for the dry cure to penetrate in a 21-24 day period. I will create a 4:1 brine (200 ppm) and inject enough brine to equate to 5-10% of the weight of the meat. I.E if the product weighs 1000 grams I will inject a 50-100 grams into the very center mass. Or I will split the dry cure by spitting it into thirds. I might take 2/3's of the dry cure and combine with water and inject evenly and take remaining cure and rub into meat. I am targeting those areas where I believe a dry cure will not be penetrate after X amount of time. After the injection I dry cure as normal. Yes, not exactly a science but it works nonetheless.
Why I use Dextrose for my Bacon...
Chemical action of curing
Salt inhibits the growth of spoilage-causing microorganisms by drawing water out of microbial cells through osmosis. As the unwanted bacterial population decreases, other beneficial bacteria, primarily of the Lactobacillus genus, come to the fore and generate an acidic environment (around 4.5 pH). The sugar included in the cure is used as food by the lactobacilli; generally dextrose is preferred over sucrose, or table sugar, because it seems to be more thoroughly consumed by the bacteria. This process is in fact a form of fermentation, and, in addition to reducing further the ability of the spoilage bacteria to grow, accounts for the tangy flavor of some cured products. Concentrations of salt up to 20% are required to kill most species of unwanted bacteria.xxxSmoking adds chemicals to the surface of an item which affect the ability of bacteria to grow, inhibit oxidation (and thus rancidity), and improve flavor.
Prague Powder #1
Also called Insta-Cure and Cure #1. Cures are used to prevent meats from spoiling when being cooked or smoked at low temperatures. This cure is 1 part sodium nitrite (6.25%) and 16 parts salt (93.75%) and are combined and crystallized to assure even distribution. As the meat temperature rises during processing, the sodium nitrite changes to nitric oxide and starts to ‘gas out’ at about 130 degrees F. After the smoking /cooking process is complete only about 10-20% of the original nitrite remains. As the product is stored and later reheated for consumption, the decline of nitrite continues. 4 ounces of Prague powder #1 is required to cure 100 lbs of meat. A more typical measurement for home use is 1 level tsp per 5 lbs of meat. Mix with cold water, then mix into meat like you would mix seasonings into meat. And for Parts Per Million read above.
Prague Powder #2
Used to dry-cure products. Prague powder #2 is a mixture of 1 part sodium nitrite, .64 parts sodium nitrate and 16 parts salt. It contains 6.25% sodium nitrite, 4% sodium nitrate, and 89.75% table salt.
Use 1 oz. of cure for 25 lbs. of meat or 1 level teaspoon of cure for 5 lbs. of meat when mixing with meat.
When using a cure in a brine solution, follow a recipe.
Us Metric Conversion Spread sheet
Universal Cure Calculator
Metric Converter Ounces/Grams etc
Purchase Gram Scale
All About curing Meat
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Curing Fact Info
PROCESSING INSPECTORS' CALCULATIONS HANDBOOK
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AND FOR BACON