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TrickyDick
05-20-2013, 05:17 AM
I think I posted this in another thread, but never got around to actually doing it.
A co-worker's husband bagged a boar a while back. They did their own butchery. They'd heard about some bacon I made, and I (foolishly) offered to make their bellys into bacon.

Well first off, this isn't a full belly like you think of. They carved around the natural lines in the meat/muscle leaving most of the belly on the rib ends. So they ended up with a measly 1 pound incl water weight (actually in the zip lock bag weighs 15.85 oz) TOTAL. And, its been sliced rather thickly. There is very little fat on this meat compared with regular bacon as you might find in the supermarket. It had been frozen for at least a month at this point, probably more like three months.

I think I would like to use a wet brine, and do it right in the same bag. Low salt isn't an issue for these youngsters, however, I am concerned with getting these small pieces of meat over salted, so I think I'll use a low salt plan. For flavor, I am just planning to do a standard brine without any fancy seasonings (unless someone else can comment on wild boar bacon flavoring), but wondering how to scale down for such a SMALL amount of meat? I'd really like to try the Spreadsheet TentHunter made for bacon if he doesn't mind.

Next comes the how part.
My initial plan had been to brine it in the fridge for 30 minutes , but I think that's probably too short of time for a proper cure. I might start with a one day cure, then take a small cut for a test fry, and repeat daily until the salt level seems right.
How long really does it need to be cured for such a small cut?
What do you all recommend, to get a safe product that's not overly salted?

Given the small size of cuts, and low fat content, I am concerned that a air-dry, might be undesirable, and planning to skip or limit to an hour or two before proceeding directly to a hot smoke. Since it's just a pound of meat, (less after fry test and water loss from smoking and cooking) it is my assumption that it will be consumed within a week and all at once.

thanks for the help!

TD

TentHunter
05-21-2013, 05:39 PM
If the brine is too low in salt, then 1 day won't be long enough to cure. For a short cure you need to have at least a 5% brine strength, and that's with injecting.

Since brine penetrates approximately 1/2" per day per side, count on one day per inch of thickness minimum. My guess is a two day-cure would get it. You could thoroughly inject it every inch or so and then let it soak in the brine for a day and it should be fine.


If you want something a little lower salt, try my basic Brown Sugar Ham & bacon brine recipe (that recipe makes it about a 5 - 6% brine strength).

Easy Brown Sugar Brine Cure (http://www.pelletsmoking.com/searching-cure-26/ham-bacon-recipes-6259/#post67536)

For a one pound slab it won't take much though, so cut the recipe down to 1/4 of what it calls for (with wet curing it's OK to have more brine than you need).

TrickyDick
05-21-2013, 07:21 PM
GREAT! I'm planning to do this tomorrow along with my first attempt at some sausage!

I appreciate the expertise!

TD

TrickyDick
05-22-2013, 07:31 AM
Hey,
If I leave the meat in the cure too long can it "overcure"? I intend to cut a small piece to fry and sample the saltiness level before smoking, and soak in water to pull out salt if its too salty. My life schedule is getting in the way of finishing the project before weekend plans intervene. Whoever cut this meat sliced it about the size of stir-fry or fajita sized pieces. I think if you say 1/2" penetration per day, that one day would be fine, esp considering the extended freezing time, and plans to Hot Smoke. And I think I'll be skipping the air dry step before smoking. Ill post a pic later. I dumped the pieces in the mixing bowl of the quarter sized recipe, and then put a plate on top to submerge the pieces.

TD

samreddevilz
05-22-2013, 08:45 AM
GREAT IDEA! I'm planning to do the same next week with my first girl!

TrickyDick
05-22-2013, 10:07 AM
2222
Here is pic of such a small amount of bacon.

TD

TrickyDick
05-24-2013, 06:28 PM
2228

Here is how it turned out.

I didn't do the cutting of this meat. I only did the cure and hot smoke + amazin tube smoker.

Tasted nice. I hope they enjoy it.

Thanks for the advice on this.
TD

TentHunter
05-25-2013, 07:05 AM
It looks like it turned out pretty well.

Sorry I didn't catch your question about leaving it in the cure too long, and I can fully understand about your life schedule getting in the way, especially this week.

The community band kicked off our Summer concert series Monday (14 concerts this Summer), plus my daughter turned 18 a few days ago and graduated from High School last evening. So needless to say I have been a tad busy myself! :)



Now, as far as leaving it in the cure too long: No, you really can't over cure it wet curing with a 5 % brine. Once the salt has equalized between the meat and the brine, well... it's equalized, so the transfer stops.

TrickyDick
05-25-2013, 02:46 PM
Thanks!!

As an aside :
I am nearly finished the big Kutas book now. Lots of info. Editing could be better. Several typos. Solid core of information but when it comes to recipes it over simplifies things I think.

Still trying to decide on how to build a dry cure chamber. Thinking mini fridge with salt tray and hygrometer vsarge fridge with humidity controller and small ultrasonic humidifier.

TentHunter
05-25-2013, 10:09 PM
Thanks!!

As an aside :
I am nearly finished the big Kutas book now. Lots of info. Editing could be better. Several typos. Solid core of information but when it comes to recipes it over simplifies things I think.

I totally agree! I know a lot of people swear by this book as "The sausage & curing bible" but I was a bit disappointed in some of the same things you pointed out. Recipe directions often take a bit of deciphering. And to be honest I got just as much, if not more, out of the "Polish Sausages" book by Stanley Marianski, and the Wedliney Dowmowe website.

The positive thing with the Kutas book is it has a fairly comprehensive library of recipes (for the ingredients at least).

TrickyDick
05-26-2013, 07:13 AM
Yeah, it seems that the recipe collection is extensive and well edited with several remarks to their excellence and authenticity.

I'm moving on to the fermented sausages book by Marianski. I think I have another of his books as well

Ill have to post a mini review when I'm done with all.

TrickyDick
05-28-2013, 11:20 AM
Word is that the fellas loved the boar bacon.

Thanks for the help!

TD