• If you are a registered member of the PelletSmoking.com Forums and you are having trouble logging in, first try asking for a password reset on the login form. That should send a verification email to your registered email account. If you don't see it within 5-15 minutes, check your spam/junk folder. If you still can't log in, please use our Contact Form to send details and obtain assistance from staff. Once you are logged in, make sure that the "Stay logged in" box is checked so your session doesn't time out until you manually log out.

Shop Big Poppa Smokers

Ham Brining 101 (and Bacon)

Rathmel

New member
My first attempt turned out salty than I like . Due to a family emergency my ham was in brine for 11 days instead of 7. Would this effect the saltyness or should I just cut back on it. I used 1 1/2 salt 3/4 brown sugar,gal water 2 tbs cure 2 lb venison tip roast. Thank you in advance
 

TentHunter

Moderator
Yes, leaving the roast in the brine longer may have affected saltiness, especially if your brine was strong. Cut back on the salt to your liking.

Question:
Were the amounts of salt & brown sugar you stated per 1 gallon of water? If so, that's a LOT of salt (double what I use)! Perhaps you got the salt & sugar amounts switched.

Either way, I prefer lower salt, so I actually use around 2/3 cup pickling salt per gallon water (rather than the 3/4 cup I give in the recipe). I have gone as low as 1/2 cup per gallon and it was still fine.


The beauty of wet (or brine) curing is that you can easily control the saltiness to your liking by adjusting the strength (salinity) of the brine and it will work for any size roast/ham/bacon, etc. (within reason of course). This is because you are working off of equalization. If the brine is saltier than the meat, then salt/sugar will continue moving into the meat until they have equalized.

So, once you figure out what salinity level you like, it won't matter if something happens and you have to leave the meat in the brine a few days longer. Once equalization has been reach, the meat won't get any saltier.




Hope this helps!
 
Last edited:

onionhead

New member
Hi Cliff,
You are the "man" when it comes to makin' bacon! I have read all that I could find on curing bacon and I want to put my MAK 2 through its first cure. However, I have recently been diagnosed with Diabetes, too. Do you have a recommendation (recipe) I could use that has no sugar in it, please? Thank you.
 

TentHunter

Moderator
Onionhead, you can simply omit the sugar in any bacon recipe, HOWEVER, the bacon will have a harsher salt taste. It's best to simply cut back on the sugar.


Since I was diagnosed with Diabetes what I've done is basically stuck with two recipes: My low carb/sugar Cider Mill bacon recipe, or the German style which has only enough sugar to balance the harshness of the salt, with no real detectable sweetness.

Either of these recipes will do around 10 - 12 lbs of pork belly, and are both so low in sugar that you really don't have to worry about it!

Low carb/sugar Cider Mill Bacon:

4 Quarts Water
2 Quarts Apple Cider (This is the only source of sugar, which is not much at all.)
1 cup Pickling Salt
6 tsp. Curing Salt #1


Mix the ingredients into a brine. Either submerge in the Brine for 10 - 14 days (rotate/flip every couple days), or inject at a 30% rate and brine for 3 - 5 days. cold/hot smoke as normal. Allow to sit for 48 hours before slicing to allow the smoke to penetrate.

Note: I prefer Applewood smoke for this, as it reinforces the cider and gives a very good deep penetrating smoke that will fill your house with a wonderful aroma when cooking it up!







German Style Bacon or Ham:
Wow is this stuff good - very different from typical American style bacon!

6 Quarts Water
1 cup Pickling Salt
6 tsp. Curing Salt #1
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 TBS whole Peppercorns
4 TBS Juniper Berries - slightly crushed
1 1/2 tsp whole Coriander Seed
2 large or 4 small Bay Leaves


Slightly crush the juniper berries and simmer them, along with the peppercorns, coriander seed and bay leaves, for about 15 minutes in 2 - 3 cups of water. Allow to cool and add this as part of the 6 quarts of water. Mix in the rest of the ingredients into a brine.

Either submerge in the Brine for 10 - 14 days (rotate/flip every couple days), or inject at a 30% rate and brine for 3 - 5 days. cold/hot smoke as normal. Allow to sit for 48 hours before slicing to allow the smoke to penetrate.

Note: Beachwood is a traditional wood of choice for German ham/bacon, but if you can't find beachwood, just use oak.






Best of wishes in dealing with your new lifestyle changes!
 
Last edited:

onionhead

New member
Thanks Cliff. I will try it both with Apple Cider and no sugar at all. I am not into any sweetness, so I'll see and let you know. Take care.
 

onionhead

New member
Cliff,
I wanted to give you an update on my attempt to make some bacon. Thank you for the two recipes! I used the German bacon recipe with a change in the sugar. I substituted Monkfruit for the sugar in a ratio of 1:1. All went well, except I made a critical error. I misread the amount of pickling salt and added too much. It makes the bacon a bit salty - saltier than what I like, and I will make the change for the next batch. My wife and I are eating the first batch and the flavor is excellent, but a bit salty. I will try again and let you know how it goes. Thanks, again for the assistance. Take care.
 

TentHunter

Moderator
Cliff,
I wanted to give you an update on my attempt to make some bacon. Thank you for the two recipes! I used the German bacon recipe with a change in the sugar. I substituted Monkfruit for the sugar in a ratio of 1:1. All went well, except I made a critical error. I misread the amount of pickling salt and added too much. It makes the bacon a bit salty - saltier than what I like, and I will make the change for the next batch. My wife and I are eating the first batch and the flavor is excellent, but a bit salty. I will try again and let you know how it goes. Thanks, again for the assistance. Take care.


Sounds good! I've used Stevia extract in place of the sugar with good results as well. Glad you like it, even if it's a tad salty.
 

onionhead

New member
Cliff, you have my family and me hooked on the recipe you gave me for German-style bacon. I could not find any pork bellies, so I tried the Canadian Bacon/Kesseler Ham and it turned out better than the pork belly. I cut the sugar way back and it has not affected my blood sugar readings at all. I have made the CB/KH several times and getting several requests for more! Last week I cured/smoked two 10# pork loins at once. It maxed out my MAK 2, but, I think, I can hold some inventory for a while. I checked with a specialty meat market and their German Hams cost $77 per 10# ham. Very impressive and many thanks to you for your guidance! Now, I am working up the courage to cold-smoke some Nova Lox. Any suggestions?
 

staciehill

New member
Help

Hi there , recently bought a pellet smoker and am starting from scratch , can anyone here HELP me by giving me a list of everything i will need to order to start smoking hams and bacons by injecting ??? i mean everything except the smoker , so if i was to start curing, injecting and smoking tomorrow what i will need ????
 

staciehill

New member
Hi there , recently bought a pellet smoker and am starting from scratch , can anyone here HELP me by giving me a list of everything i will need to order to start smoking hams and bacons by injecting ??? i mean everything except the smoker , so if i was to start curing, injecting and smoking tomorrow what i will need ????
 

onionhead

New member
Staciehill, I don't have nearly the expertise and experience that Tenthunter has, but I will give you what I use. I have a two-gallon SS pot that I use to hold the brining pork belly or pork loin. I like the metric system, so I use a scale to weigh all of my ingredients. I use a meat injector to put a 20% brine into the meat. One thing you might not have is the curing salt #1. Tenthunter gave me a bit different recipe for dietary restriction, so I had to find some Juniper Berries, but the rest of the ingredients were on hand. I would suggest a slicing machine to assist in the slicing of the bacon/ham after smoking/cooking. I have used Tenthunter's recipe, with a few alterations, and developed a recipe for Nova Lox.
 

u06jgg

New member
Hi there, IÂ’ve been using this guide as my go-to for years with great success. But IÂ’ve recently dug in to the nitrate rates and wondered if you could clear up a few points that have left me confused. I use the pump and immerse method and usually pump at 20% as itÂ’s handy to do the job one weekend and smoke the next, but sometimes I leave my meat a bit longer in the cure if IÂ’m busy. So I got to thinking that there should be equilibrium in the solution by the time it is removed from the cure? In this case it should not matter what the pump rate is, but only how much cure there is over all. I had a look at the USDA guidelines and it sure did apply a pump rate multiplayer but IÂ’m wondering if this is for a pump and wrap in a bag type process where the is no further fluid immersion. I did find a thread in another forum suggesting it was simply meat weight in kg + liquid weight in kg x 2.5g No1 cure, though they did not mention pumping at all. IÂ’m struggling to get to the bottom of this so any guidance appreciated.
 
Top Bottom