More on Brining

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More on Brining

Post by Butterbean » Wed Feb 01, 2017 16:57

Split from http://wedlinydomowe.pl/en/viewtopic.php?p=36288#36288


StefanS wrote:Sorry Butterbean for confusing you. First at all my mistake for nitrates - it should be nitrite - like sodium nitrite in Cure #1. Then - meat curing in brine - 95% of meat used in "wedzonki" is cured in brine. During preparations to do that we (means polish sausage makers) considering a few things like weight of meat, days of cure, amount of brine per 1kg of meat (usually 0.4-0.5 litre/1 kg), injections or not, even what kind of meat is used to brining (example - pork loin is absorbing salt much faster than pork belly, or pork shoulder). For that purposes there is prepared tables developed by researchers and professionals (some of them already on our website).
Amount of sugar is also used in small quantities - as you know - it is also bacterial food - so even low curing temperatures (in refrigerators) sometimes not doing a required process (usually during more days of curing ).
Hopefully that is making a little more sense to what is IMO.
StefanS, I would love to see some of the brine tables. I've never worried about the amount of meat going into a brine as long as the meat has room and can be submerged. I normally only work with two brine strengths and the size of the cut determines the length in the brine. Though frowned upon today, these brines were often re-used since so little of the goodie actually enters the meat. It was a common practice to thread butchers twine through cuts of meat and tie knots in this to identify the cuts of meat so a continuous supply of meat could be worked through the brine tank. Also the brines were typically made using saltpeter rather than cure 1. Granted, all this is frowned on today but it seemed to work fine in the day.
Last edited by Butterbean on Thu Feb 02, 2017 13:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by StefanS » Wed Feb 01, 2017 18:10

Butterbean wrote:StefanS, I would love to see some of the brine tables.
BB - there is one - http://wedlinydomowe.pl/peklowanie/tabe ... ngielskiej
I personally using tables made in Excel downloaded from polish WD. http://wedlinydomowe.pl/forum/topic/550 ... sylwka-57/
This topic is in polish but it can be easily translated into English. And if I remember I have downloaded it from post #8 by Paweljack. where that tables in pdf .
In Excel is yellow box where you should put weight of meat in metric (kg) then it will automatically show any data you need to make a brine.
There are 3 tables - -standard saltiness , moderate (less) saltiness, and table of Szczepan (another way to make brine).
I'm using second table (moderate).
If you will need any help let me know.
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Post by Butterbean » Wed Feb 01, 2017 22:38

Thanks Stefan, that is an interesting way of looking at it. I assume when the chart says cure amount this doesn't mean the weight of the cure itself but the total weight of curing agent combined with salt. And the amount of curing agent is based on the volume of water used. Is this correct?

If this is right then I do essentially the same only I use a brine table like this. This way I can check the brine with a hydrometer to be sure I didn't goof up and I can adjust water if need be.

http://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausage ... king-brine

Usually I only work with two brine strengths and the brine time is based on the thickness of the meat rather than a set number of days per pound like it appears the chart suggests. How do you adjust for this or is it given any consideration?
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Post by StefanS » Thu Feb 02, 2017 00:19

Butterbean wrote:I assume when the chart says cure amount this doesn't mean the weight of the cure itself but the total weight of curing agent combined with salt.
Yes, it is correct. but... in Poland sausage makers have already mixed salt with curing agent ready to use containing 0,6% of sodium nitrite and 99.4% salt. so table is concentrated on it. Here in USA we having a cure #1 containing 6.25% of sodium nitrite (10 times more) My way to do a proper mix is that I use 10% of total amount of mix - Cure #1 plus 90% of total amount in salt - example - if there is 200g total amount of mix that mean that I have to use 20g of Cure #1 and 180g salt. Another - if I need a 87g of cure -that mean that I will use 9g of Cure#1 and 78g salt.
Volume of agent is based on water usage, but is also based on days and volume of meat. Usually what I determine during preparations -
1. How much of meat I will use (most important thing
2. How many days I plan to brining (second important thing
Rest you will find in table - amount of cure, amount of water, do you need injections, how much in injections.
Most of time I cure in brine is 10 days.
And again - much better tables ( metric) are on Excel
Practically I don't use any sugars to brine.
Hopefully it explain a little your questions.
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Post by Butterbean » Thu Feb 02, 2017 14:26

That's interesting Stefan. It sounds like your curing salt mixture is similar to Tenderquick less any nitrate and sugar I think it contains.

Using the highlighted column I played with some numbers and it looks like you are using what I'd call a 49 degree brine which is very close to one I use regularly. As for the cure, it looks like you are using around 2 ounces of cure per gallon. This is less than what I use but the label on my cure recommends using 3 ounces so this is what I do and why I made the note - per label - in case someone had a different curing salt.

While you say the amount of meat is the most important thing I think this could be argued since the amount of cure you are using appears to have a fairly straight line proportional relationship with the volume of water used. True, the more meat you use the more water is needed but it doesn't appear to significantly affect the proportion of cure you are using when converted to a gallon basis.

I think we are doing the same thing only we approach it differently. The way I approach it is the meat is important but only from the standpoint of the amount of brine needed. How I approach this is I weigh the meat and consider the shape of the meat and the vessel it will be held in and make between 30-50% of the weight of the meat in brine and I always round up. Personally, I prefer to err on the side of extra brine because I don't like to have the meat squashed up against each other but generally I'll use 40%. Referring to your chart the amount needed for 10 lbs of meat is 0.479 gallons. Using my method 40% x 10 lbs = 4 lbs water or 4/8.36 = 0.4785 lbs of water - which is the same. In this case I would simply make a half gallon. This keeps things simple and I'd just add half the recommended cure which would be 1.5 ounces of cure 1 to the solution and based on your chart you would use 0.896 ounces or about 1 ounce or half the 2 ounce rate you are using. So, barring some rounding errors, I think we are essentially doing the same thing apart from your using a third less cure than my label recommends.

Another difference I guess is I use sugars quite often in brines because people here tend to enjoy sugar cured products and this really sets the meat apart from what you can buy at the grocery store. I'll use a lot of brown sugar, honey, molasses and ribbon cane syrup. Lots of ribbon cane syrup since we make it here every fall and its cheap and plentiful. These products vary in sweetness from sweet to mild like the Sweetheart Ham. Right or wrong, people love them and I have to say I enjoy them myself. Keep in mind we also drink sweet iced tea here. :lol:

Another difference may be our timing. Personally I can't see how 10 lbs of pork belly would have the same curing time as 10 lbs of pork shoulder. To me the thickness of the meat is more important than the weight. This is why I always suggest to people to find a brine strength that they like and stick with it to learn the brine time needed to cure different thicknesses of meat with that brine. Once you get familiar with this life gets much simpler and its simple experiment with other recipes without much confusion since there are just so many possibilities.

Lots of ways to skin a cat I guess. Thanks for sharing your method, I found it interesting.
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Post by StefanS » Fri Feb 03, 2017 03:57

Hi Butterbean - first at all - looks like only you and myself having discussion on that topic. So only we both using that method? By the way - thanks for moving that part from Fusion topic.
So lets move our conversation on higher level - ( my first sorry that my English is poor on vocabulary in that level) - we can talk about osmosis, diffusion, molecules, membranes, solvents, semipermeable membranes, living cells etc. It is whole physical and chemical reactions explanation to brining, curing. There also some suggestions for sausagemakers like - how much salt, cure, nitrites, nitrates, water, sugar, minimum and maximum etc.
We are doing that in our way, and that conversation isn't to show which way is better, yours or mine. We are using some of our knowledge to show others that some differences are possible, to show that similar method is having same purpose - our health, our tastes, nice, pleasurable look on table.
Per your
Using the highlighted column I played with some numbers and it looks like you are using what I'd call a 49 degree brine which is very close to one I use regularly. As for the cure, it looks like you are using around 2 ounces of cure per gallon. This is less than what I use but the label on my cure recommends using 3 ounces so this is what I do and why I made the note - per label - in case someone had a different curing salt.
- yes it is very similar - can you be just more specific on days of cure/brining in that solution?
My explanation - as mentioned above osmosis etc. are explaining diffusion thru meat - as nitrites and salt going into meat. In discussed table in horizontal you can see concentration - it corresponds to percentage of solution. As you see every day has different concentration - why is that ? because in longer period of time cells need less concentration of salt and cure to reach safe level. Plus it is also some standard lever for our taste preceptors for saltines. Of course it is only standard so any of us should make own level of saltines.
Another difference I guess is I use sugars quite often in brines because people here tend to enjoy sugar cured products and this really sets the meat apart from what you can buy at the grocery store. I'll use a lot of brown sugar, honey, molasses and ribbon cane syrup. Lots of ribbon cane syrup since we make it here every fall and its cheap and plentiful. These products vary in sweetness from sweet to mild like the Sweetheart Ham. Right or wrong, people love them and I have to say I enjoy them myself. Keep in mind we also drink sweet iced tea here.
I'm not discussing personal differences in that subject, I have ate example,-sweet marinated herrings(fish) here. But - if I can play with your recipe for Sweetheart Ham - amount of cure nitrites) is on nice level for sure, but it is only one curing (safety agent), salt in that recipe is on only 3.9 % concentration level, it is safe level? With curing salt - it is around 5%. Then you add around 9% of sugar - then it was 10 days of curing. ??
I know that many people like the sweetness, we can not discus about personal preferences ( long time ago my wife during pregnancy eat bacon with honey), but sweet meat is out of my taste. Plus to your attention - http://wedlinydomowe.pl/en/viewtopic.ph ... 2731#36232 - is there something about sugars??
Another difference may be our timing. Personally I can't see how 10 lbs of pork belly would have the same curing time as 10 lbs of pork shoulder. To me the thickness of the meat is more important than the weight
- again - diffusion and osmosis can help us to make right thinking - fat is NOT absorbing nitrites, it is absorbing salt also with less speed, so curing pork belly is not that speedy thing, plus pork shoulder has fat and membranes inside pieces. My concern about curing is size of piece of meat and shape. Pork belly is flat so there is not a problem for diffusion - pork shoulder or ham is rounded and can be bigger by weight - in that case we are using injections to reach inside and center of piece. And lean meat - doesn't matter - in pork belly or shoulder or ham - is making diffusion at same concentration of salt and cure in same speed.
Wet curing is not that bad to get nice, tasty moisture piece of meat, you just need to know what you are doing. And compare to dry curing - it is different method mostly used in smoking pieces of meat when you want get nice, tasty, moisture sandwich meat. Equilibrium or dry cure should be used mostly in Italian style dried/ cured meats. Today Bob K posted very nice Sweetheart Ham with modifications of BB recipe. Last picture is telling me that it is not that moisture like it should be if done by wet curing. (these cracks between strain of meat)
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Post by Butterbean » Fri Feb 03, 2017 15:54

Pork belly is flat so there is not a problem for diffusion - pork shoulder or ham is rounded and can be bigger by weight - in that case we are using injections to reach inside and center of piece. And lean meat - doesn't matter - in pork belly or shoulder or ham - is making diffusion at same concentration of salt and cure in same speed.
While we seem to be in disagreement way we are not because you say the salt penetrates at the same speed so if one person has to drive 100 miles and another 20 miles and they are travelling at the same speed why would the one driving the shorter distance sit in their car when their journey ends? This is why I am more concerned over the thickness of the meat and not the days in cure.

salt in that recipe is on only 3.9 % concentration level, it is safe level? With curing salt - it is around 5%. Then you add around 9% of sugar - then it was 10 days of curing. ??
Why wouldn't it be safe? This is a fresh ham and we are not trying to make it shelf stable or anything like that. Many people choose to use equilibrium brine curing where they may start with twice their target salt in solution and monitor the brine density till it is halved and this may take many days. I've never done it this way because I share the same concern but many do it and apparently with good results.
Last picture is telling me that it is not that moisture like it should be if done by wet curing. (these cracks between strain of meat)
I can't see how this has anything to do with the curing method. Looks like heat unraveled some proteins to me. I find this recipe yields a very tender, juicy flavorful ham but like any meat it can be overcooked.

Rather than offering criticism, why not make one yourself as per the procedure and then offer suggestions on how it can be improved. I'm always looking for ways to make things better.
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Post by StefanS » Fri Feb 03, 2017 19:20

During preparing new post with pictures my comp has been seriously hacked. Probably I will loose most of data on both my comps. BTW - it looks like we misunderstood each others words. Last thing on my mind is criticism. StefanS
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Post by Butterbean » Sat Feb 04, 2017 01:52

StefanS wrote:During preparing new post with pictures my comp has been seriously hacked. Probably I will loose most of data on both my comps. BTW - it looks like we misunderstood each others words. Last thing on my mind is criticism. StefanS
No misundertanding as you brought the word into the discussion yourself.
please do not take my words like total criticism of your work.
Nothing wrong with criticism as we come here to critique each others work and constructive criticism can be quite a valuable and rare commodity.
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Post by StefanS » Mon Feb 06, 2017 00:19

Curing means preserving, saving meat. During curing we are using mixt of salt with nitrite, for that mixture can be added sugar, spices, additives. First known written info on using nitrate in process dated to 1834. Around 1900 researches discovered that nitrate is converted by bacteria to nitrite and it is real curing agent. That discovery helped people understood that process in new light. It also changed time needed for cure. I wont describe whole process but will concentrate on some useful infos that should help better understand curing.
Curing agents:
salt - add flavor (best in concentration of 2-3%)
- prevents microbiological growth (6-10% concentration)
- increases water retension
nitrite - preserving color of fresh meat - to achieve best color concentration should be at 0.003-0.005% ( 30-50 mg/1kg of meat)
- inhibit bacterial development - best with concentration of 0.005-0.015% (50-150 mg/1kg of meat
- development of specific taste and smell typical for cured meats
-slower oxidation process
All above concentrations are neede to achieve good effect of curing but they are lower than usually recommended. Reason for higher concentration recommendations are that there are more chemical reactions where nitrites needed.
Sugar is NOT a curing agent and its main use is to offset the harshness of salt and to further improve flavor and final color.Curing solution should remain at temperatures no higher than 41° F (5° C) otherwise sugar will facilitate rapid fermentation and the development of meat spoiling microorganisms which is what we are trying to avoid in the first place. Even at low temperatures the addition of sugar to wet cure should be limited to 2 % (in relation to salt) or less as it may start rapid fermentation which in turn may affect the quality of the product. Normally it is accepted to use between 1-2 % of sugar in a wet curing solution and 2-2.5 % of sugar in a dry cure mix.
Industry use other cure accelerators like - ascorbic acid (vitamin C), erythorbic acid, or their derivatives, sodium ascorbate and sodium erythorbate speed up the chemical conversion of nitrite to nitric oxide which reacts with meat myoglobin and creates nitrosomyoglobin (pink color). I personally do not recommend to use them at home prepared meats.
Factors that influence curing:
The size of the meat - the larger meat the longer curing time. (injections increase significantly speed)
Temperature - higher temperature, faster curing.
Moisture content of the meat.
Salt concentration of dry mixture or wet curing solution-higher salt concentration, faster curing.
Amount of fat-more fat in meat, slower curing.
pH - a measure of the acid or alkaline level of the meat. (Lower pH-faster curing).
The amount of Nitrate and reducing bacteria present in the meat.
There are practically 3 curing method:
-wet cure
-dry cure
-mixed cure (first days - dry cure then wet cure)
Because our topic is about so I will concentrate on wet cure also called brining.
It is a very traditional and popular method to prepare meats to further processing by smoking and thermal treatment.
Personally I use that method for prepare most of my meats. Here some of practical suggestions.
I have to know few things before brining:
- meat value total and pieces
- size of pieces - (needed for decision to make injections or not)
- when I want to meat be ready for smoking (how many days in brine)
- visually checking fat and connecting tissue content in pieces
Using table I have already value of cure and water. Do not need worry about calculations.
Mostly I use 8-14 days of brining. In table are additional info that is helpful like- concentration, injections needs, amount of injection per Lb, even if pieces of meat needs massaging after injections. In rows correspond to cure weight are two values - more and less saltines. Personal preferences should decide witch one use.
When measurements done it is time to make decision and prepare sugar(if any), spices. My personal preferences - Mostly i'm not using any sugar or spices to brine. Reasons - spices are not much traceable after smoking and thermal finishing. In that case I would like sometimes rub them on pieces before smoking. But again it is personal preferences. If you like them in brine - it is not problem. You can add any you like. Put them in boiling water simer them for few minutes. Note - fresh garlic should be added directly to brine without boiling. If injections are needed my advice is to filter solution - particles of spices can clog a needle or make a unpleasant concentration of one flavor in meat iif injected inside. When everything is ready is time to fill up container. Usually I'm pouring brine first then submerge meat. Meat should be completely cover with brine. Sometimes there are empty spaces in container and meat is above brine level - in that case I use a plastic Ziplock bags filled up with water. They will push and level will rise.
Refrigerator is best place to keep container with bine and meat. Practically every other day I check it by opening and moving meat around in container. Its help to evenly distribute brine to pieces, it also help to check:
-White slime and foam on top
-Milky color and foul odor
-Brine turns blue in color
-Brine becomes very tacky (gluey) to touch
These are Bad Symptoms of brine.
More informations can be found on http://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausage-making/curing
Some informations used also from Polish WD.
Sometimes I had question - witch one of these method is better - dry or wet. -
Dry cure is used for different process, wet for different although both of them have same purpose. Dry curing is used in preparation of meat for drying or fermenting, plus is used in kielbasa process. Wet is used in smoked and thermal finishing. Dry curing rather should be used instead of wet and vice-versa. If meat have to be thermally proceeded then wet curing /brining is better method because meat is more juicy and tender. Cure during diffusion in that method is absorbed very quickly and filling not only cell but also softening a cell walls in filled them with solution (almost like sponge effect). in That case meat not loosing juice but can little gain it.
For same reason wet curing is not good in dried meats.
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Post by Sleebus » Mon Mar 27, 2017 15:02

Butterbean wrote:Another difference I guess is I use sugars quite often in brines because people here tend to enjoy sugar cured products and this really sets the meat apart from what you can buy at the grocery store. I'll use a lot of brown sugar, honey, molasses and ribbon cane syrup.
What % do you use by weight? I like a sweet cured ham too. I suppose I should look up the sweetheart cure, heh! Any percentages and levels of sweetness would be helpful.
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