First time curing bacon

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datgnat

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In the refrigerater for 6 days now with cure mixture; I'm a tad concerned that this is neither firming up, nor throwing off much liquid (other than the first day). Used Kosher salt & other spices in ratios consistant with all the recipes I found online.
 

Phillyphoodie

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What kind of Kosher salt? Did you weigh the ingredients? There is a wide variation between weight and volume of salt. Do you have the charcuterie bible (by Ruhlman)? It's fantastic, and well worth the money.
 
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datgnat

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ingredients were weighed rather than measured by volume; I have the book now, though the recipe I used was from a youtube video that used equivalent ratios. I took my cure out last night and smoked it; I'll try a piece tonight after work...
 

BBKing

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Any updates on this?

I'm not too far from making a bacon attempt myself so I'm naturally curious.
 

billtzk

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I've made Candian bacon several times using the method described in Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman. It's a excellent book, and I highly recommend it if you haven't tried it.

I haven't made American style bacon, but I plan to. I need to find a local butcher that sells pork belly.

I get most of my supplies from Allied Kenko in Houston. I highly recommend them.
 
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datgnat

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And as soon as I can glom on to some more pork belly, I'll be ready to try again.
 

billtzk

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So how did it come out datgnat?

Also, did you use pink salt (salt with 6.25% sodium nitrite and a pink colorant added) in your cure? Or Morton's Tender Quick or Sugar Cure, both of which contain sodium nitrite.

I don't believe bacon would taste like bacon if it were cured without the proper amount of pink salt. The nitrite curing is what gives bacon it's characteristic flavor, not to mention color.

This article by Michael Ruhlman about food safety and nitrites is good to read:

Food Safety and Common Sense

In particular, look for the section entitlted "The Pink Salt Issue: Is Sodium Nitrite Harmful". Not only does it address the health-related questions and the bacteriacidal benefits, it explains why the use of nitrite is essential to produce the flavor that we associate with certain foods.

For example:

The quick answers:

—Sodium Nitrite (aka pink salt, which is sold under various names such as DQ Cure #1 and Prague Powder #1) is by regulation 93.75% sodium and 6.25% nitrite.

—Its fundamental property from a health standpoint is that it kills bacteria that cause botulism in smoked and ground meat.

—The great advantage of using sodium nitrite is flavor: it’s what makes bacon taste like bacon and not spare ribs, what makes ham taste like ham and not a pork roast, and corned beef like corned beef and not pot roast.
Emphasis above added by me.

Note also Ruhlman's opinion about "nitrite-free" foods:

It’s my belief that companies advertising their products as “nitrite-free,” are either uninformed themselves or are pandering to America’s ignorance about what is healthy and what is harmful in our foods. In other words, the term “no nitrites added” is a marketing device, not an actual health benefit.
 
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datgnat

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For the bacon, I did not use pink salt; I trimmed it up nice, and had no real cavities to worry about--I was more interested in the flavors I could play with. I did however, salt some pork shoulder afterwards (that I ended up using in a homemade pork & beans recipe), and for that , I did use pink salt. The difference in color was quite noticable.
 

dataz722

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For the bacon, I did not use pink salt; I trimmed it up nice, and had no real cavities to worry about--I was more interested in the flavors I could play with. I did however, salt some pork shoulder afterwards (that I ended up using in a homemade pork & beans recipe), and for that , I did use pink salt. The difference in color was quite noticable.
What did you use to cure it then?
 

billtzk

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Salt will cure meat. It just won't have the characteristic flavor, color, or texture of a sodium nitrite cure.
 
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