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Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 03:46
by Butterbean
Gvaughn, if I understand you correctly your math is showing too high a number when you use these formulas. Using the 3 ounce brine rate I suspect you are coming up with something like 651 ppm. Far less than celery but clearly over allowable limit.

Your scenario is based on equilibrium brining or mechanical injection. Rarely does the home processor do this. We take the meat out after a given period of time. This stops the intake of the nitrite and you can measure the initial weight of the meat and the post brine weight of the meat and this is what is called the pickup and is what you need to base your figures on. It is generally accepted the pickup is around 4%. If you run the math you will see the 3 oz rate is on the low end and the 5 ounce rate is a bit higher but all yield acceptable levels.

If you read some of Marianski's books he goes into this and explains it quite well.

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 07:09
by redzed
Butterbean you are certainly correct, but gvaughn wrote that post nearly four years ago and I really don't know what his point was. I added to this older thread since it was on nitrite calculations and it makes it easier for us to reference information on a particular subject if it is grouped together.
BTW, when do we get to see some pics of your venison sausages?

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 03:42
by Butterbean
Sorry, my bad. I'm an idiot on a regular basis.

Haven't been making many sausages lately. Been on an extended hunt and filling the freezers. My daughter's boyfriend shot this pig today. He had five on him but only got the one and wouldn't you know it had to be a boar. I cleaned it anyway and we'll wait and see if its any good. It was young so I hope it isn't rank.

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 04:56
by redzed
Just throw a piece of boar meat in a frying pan and let it sizzle. If after a few minutes you won't have to evacuate the house, it's fine. :lol: Otherwise.... :lol:

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:13
by Tatoosh
Hi folks! Merry Christmas to all of you - or whatever holiday you happen to celebrate!

I'm working on solid meats - bone-in pork chops to be exact. I've been using a Gradient Brine approach for the last few years, but want to move to an Equilibrium Brine (EQ) approach so that my end product is more consistent.

Looking over my notes of the last couple of years, I see that I end up using about the same amount water as meat when I brine. Hopefully that will help me simplify my brine calculations. I know here you often use 50% of the meat weight for the brine amount. I'm just going on the numbers I've recorded using the containers I have to work with.

I plan on a 2% brine when it is done. So I will make a 4% (15 degrees roughly?) brine that is equal the weight of the meat, minus estimated weight of any bones. Taking a thick cut pork chop, bone-in and about 1 to 1 1/4 inch thick - the total weight is 225 to 240 grams. The bone weight surprised me - coming in at 40% of total weight when I checked my chops. I had thought it would be 25% or maybe 30% maximum. So the chop's meat weight is 135 g to 150 g.

Now, if I want a 2% content when done, why 4% brine? Most of you probably know about this. But it took me a bit tor realize I needed to figure the brine plus meat and then allow for it to diffuse into the meat, lowering the salt content of the brine until equilibrium is reached - the 2% figure. Which should show as between 7 and 8 degrees on my Salinometer.

What is handy is I can check for a finished product without weighing the meat for pickup. I just read the degrees off the meter and know how far along it is. And it will stay the same - no having to adjust time in brine or time in fresh water soak to get rid of too much salt. Which has been a bit of a hobgoblin for me. Sometimes my chops were fantastic, then they'd be just a bit too far on the salt scale. Too hit and miss for me.

I plan to do a 4% salt, 2% sugar brine, and then add cure #1, the amount I have yet to figure for the my EQ approach. I cure the chops currently for 2 days - but with the EQ brine, it will be a bit longer - probably 3 days. I don't mind a bit longer if it gives me a more consistent product. I give them a good 2 or 3 hour smoke, then sear the outside. Finally I vacuum pack them and sous vide for a finish cook. They are ready to serve or freeze at that point.

I wanted to thank this site for convincing me to order the glass Salinometer - it looks like that will be the key to a much better chop in the future.

Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 08:38
by redzed
Kamusta Tatoosh! Great to hear from you again! Thanks for the notes on equilibrium brining. I have been using the equilibbrium method for all my dry curing projects, but some how have never considered it in my brining projects. Maybe I will have to give it a try one of these days.

Are you making anything special for Christmas, like hams and sausages?

Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 09:31
by Tatoosh
Mabutay! Sana mabutay ka rin!

I have not made ham yet. My pork chops is the closest thing to ham that I've done. I really should get off my duff and try one. But we are moving back to the States next year and my projects here are my normal routine - dry cured bacon, fresh sausages, and smoked turkeys for the holidays.

I just started moving to EQ bacon and I like it. However I have a Gradient Cure, that means I pull it based on time and then soak in clean water that is pretty popular with my friends. Every time I bring one of my new EQ bacon versions, they say, "Oh that's good! But you aren't going to quit making your original bacon are you?" So I'm stuck with Gradient Bacon by popular demand. At least for some of it anyway.

Best of the holidays to you and all the folks here!

Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 16:16
by Tatoosh
Okay, a question on brine - sorry if I should be posting this in a different section or starting its own thread.

When I EQ cure bacon, I use 2.5% salt. That works well and gives me a finished product that is not too salty, but does have some salt taste to it. I'm planning on using that as a guide for my bone-in pork chops. I plan on a 2% salt finish - so I am doing the 4% salt brine. That is 17 degrees on my Salinometer.

But when I read the brine guide here - it says anything under 20 degrees is too weak. Is there a bacteria danger I am not considering here? I will be adding Cure #1 (6.25% Sodium Nitrite) so I am not worried about botulism, but there are other buggies that Sodium Nitrite does not suppress.

Also, I plan to inject my chops. My approach is to take 10% of the 4% brine, dilute it to 2% by adding an equal amount of water, then inject that into the thick chops to assure a full penetration.

I picked up 4 kilos of pork chops at the market and after trimming skin and back fat off, they came down to 3400 grams. When I figure weight - reducing for the bone content - it comes out to just a few grams over 2 kilos, there fore 2 liters of water.

Before I commit on this, I thought I'd double check to see if anyone can spot a safety problem, particularly with brine strength.

Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 19:08
by redzed
That's a tough question on the safety of a 2% brine. I read somewhere that you should not go below 2.5% but I don't remember where and what exactly was being brined and whether it was smoked, cured or cooked. As far as your pork chops I don't think 2% will be a problem especially if you inject them and keep them for 3 days in the brine and in the refrigerator. And I am assuming that you will grill or cook them thoroughly before consuming, so I don't see any dangers lurking. :grin:

Let us know how the project turns out.

All the very best,

Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:46
by Tatoosh
Thanks, I'll open a separate thread on my project. And I do appreciate your feedback.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 02:31
by vilor
This is my first post here and wakes up an old conversation, not sure if I use all the right buttons and settings.
Here is the question:
Per "Validation for Inspectors" manual ingoing nitrite in ham shouldn't be above 200 ppm and 120 for bacon. If one recalculates 1oz per 100 lb of meat it gives 140 ppm. Does that reflect that commonly sausage is done with 30% of fat? (bacon has about 50% with rind)
If so, should nitrite for pressed ham be above 0.25% of pink cure, that is above 140 ppm? This becomes a concern during hot smoking botuism hazard. Any opinion will be appreciated.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 14:10
by Bob K
Hello Vilor and welcome to Forum!
vilor wrote:Per "Validation for Inspectors" manual ingoing nitrite in ham shouldn't be above 200 ppm and 120 for bacon. If one recalculates 1 oz per 100 lb of meat it gives 140 ppm. Does that reflect that commonly sausage is done with 30% of fat? (bacon has about 50% with rind)
No fat is not accounted for. Whole muscles, commuted, and bacon, all have there own rules on nitrate/nitrite.
The USDA meat Inspectors regs can be found here: ... OD=AJPERES

Note that they are the maximum allowable intake amounts, You may chose to use less and still be safe.

You can find a table on page 12 and the bacon regs on page 27

Also 1 oz cure#1 per 100lb would equal around 39 ppm. A good simple cure calculator can be found here ... calculator

For hams you will probably find 200 ppm used in brines and injection cures, don't forget that the all the cure will not be absorbed, you are trying for the uptake.

The .025% or 156 ppm amount is what most use for equilibrium cure where it is not diluted.

Hope that helped

And yes it's all confusing :???:

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 14:37
by vilor
Thanks for detailed reply. I made a typo ( 4oz per 100 lb).
Does anyone have an opinion on the term "maximum" in the cure ppm limits in regulations.
My interpretation is that, for example for injected ham, going over 200 ppm will be prohibited due to toxicity of cure. However, going let's say to 100 ppm beeing safe from cure perspective, ]might be unsafe from other perspective. For example, if process is involving smoking at 35C for 10 hours 100 ppm ingoing nitrite might not be validated as botulism hurdle. Speaking of equalization, in vacuum drums hams do get all the cure.
I have been trying (for many years now) to submit my own HACCP plan as a private person, but was rejected on all fronts. Don't even know what $$$ is involved.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 18:12
by Bob K
It seems you are well researched on the subject. Why not tailor the amount of cure you use to the method you plan to use. Nitrites can be reduced to low amounts during processing.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 21:32
by Butterbean
What are the reasons they gave for the rejection?