Curing Meats and Jerky


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Having executed all the major projects inside and being restricted from my outdoor smokers due to rain I thought it was time I learned how to cure meats. I am a fair hand with a dehydrator, but really have never needed to cure meat for preservation, so this is mainly a curiousity about flavors. Especially pork loin, which I find hard to deal with,yet I dearly love a McDonalds Egg McMuffin which has a piece of what I understand to be "Canadian Bacon" on it. This may be my holy grail.

Currently, 3 top rounds of beef are sliced and curing in sugar, kosher salt, pink curing salt, paprika and black pepper. I intend to wash that off and proceed with some kind of spicery from the end of the curing time, and then on to the dehydrator.

The pork loin awaits. What to do? Any suggestions for a beef jerky marinade or spice combo from whom I know are the better cooks than I out there?

I generally share at least 2/3 of my jerky and so forth with my employees. Sometimes its ribs or bbq shoulder, but jerky is popular and easy and the dehydrator warms my shop in the winter and smells good too.

Incidentally or not, curing involves nitrates, nitrites, and other anti pathogen efforts, and though I have heard celery is so high in nitrites that it is a passable curing salt substitute (@David from Dothan ) I had no idea that spinach was also considered in that same class ( by internet gurus whom I have only read once) and since I have an absolutely excellent crop of spinach so far I think a spinach cure may be something I want to know about. My brother has a buddy that is a DNA researxher who swears off celery for mutagenic reasons and I do not have any in the garden anyway so that is that for celery cure. I do not intend to buy any. However, this idea of green tinted meat has just occurred to me as a puzzled so I can at least say that I will be entertained trying to figure out low salt curing.
 
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DM, be sure to keep this updated. I make a lot of venison jerky so I am always looking for new methods of preparing dried meats.
I was reading enough that the idea of curing venison came out as a interesting thing. I always found venison strong flavored because of the encapsulating nature of the cells and the way they retain the smelly blood. I bet wet curing is an outstanding way to handle venison. My brother likes to take some in the winter season. Perhaps we might try it out. A dry cure might pull better though. Maybe we should try a one of each experiment.
 
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Round One is up and running it all its beefy glory! I cured the meat overnight with pink salt #1 and kosher salt with equal part sugar, a little paparika and some black pepper. I washed it off today and then marinated it in Adolphs meat marinade, both because it has a meat tenderizer like a lot of herky recipes and it was quick and easy. Since I have no expectations and more is, well, MORE, I added some black pepper and crush red pepper flakes. Now I have room in the fridge to cure the pork loin. Those are not garbage cans in the background, they are full of birdseed and corn. This corner is sort of where we feed all the animals treats.(y)

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I was reading enough that the idea of curing venison came out as a interesting thing. I always found venison strong flavored because of the encapsulating nature of the cells and the way they retain the smelly blood. I bet wet curing is an outstanding way to handle venison. My brother likes to take some in the winter season. Perhaps we might try it out. A dry cure might pull better though. Maybe we should try a one of each experiment.
DM, there are several things to consider when preparing venison. First and foremost, only eat does. Bucks are usually in the rut during the fall hunting season. At this time they have all kinds of chemicals and hormones flowing through their bodies. Second you have to gut and bleed the deer as soon as possible. If the weather is below 38 degrees F you can let the deer hang to wait for butchering. When preparing the meat for cooking you have to get all the “blue skin” off the meat. This is where most of the gamie taste comes from. The last thing to remember is to not overcook the meat. Well done venison is tough and tasteless. When I make venison jerky I marinate for 5 days. Prepared correctly venison is a treat.
 
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I have shot and skinned deer in my time. Have a hammer forged Steyr 30-06 for the purpose. But when the old books say do not eat the meat from the cloven hoof, this issue of draining the blood is a thang. Like your 5 day marinade. Its changing the wall structure of those cells. I do look to Old Europe for Recipes of the Stag. I know they are there because the animals have been fed upon for millenia. I really believe boiling venison and horseradish is an old old old idea because of how smooth it comes out.
 
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I dont think there is any difference between brining and wet curing except for the addition of nitrate or nitrite salt. Its how they make brisket. I was reading that Publix carries a pickling spice premade that seems to be a favorite on several curing forums. I think it really is required to use a curing salt due to the duration of time it takes work on a large cut Of course the curing salt will absolutely change the flavor profile versus just a brine alone, which is really just a form of marinating as far as I know.
 
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I have a hind quarter from a doe in the freezer so I may try some jerky and some brined chops next week. That is if the snow melts enough for me to get my smoker out.
Don't use more curing salt than they say. The pink salt praque powder #1 is 1 tsp per 5 lbs which is 1 ml per pound (5ml in a tsp). I used 7.5ml on 6 lbs 7oz and it was plenty. Better plan on turning the meat also, for even coverage. When they say so many hours in the cure per inch of meat, measure it from the middle out.
 

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Celery is very good for you. I have a stem every day and my knees are not so painful. Try to grow them as they are easy and I used to hate them, but since drinking the juice and eating them, I have come to embrace the horrible thing.

You guys have an enviable life-style! Drooling here!
 
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Here we go with cured pork loin.

I used a tablespoon of liquid hickory smoke in 1 gallon of cure. Kinda cheating but I need to service the smokers. No maple syrup in the house either, which is suprising given Becky was born in the North East. So it has Brown sugar instead. And fresh sage, thyme, garlic, pink curing salt, kosher salt and I think thats all. Smells good. I had to boil it up, let it cool overnite and got everything in the brine this am.

3 days later we check it out.
 
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Out of the cure after 3 days, dried on a rack in the fridge for another day or so, and now in the roaster at 210f for a center at 150f. It is 120f now, so maybe I will have a late breakfast.

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And I have labored to produce....drum roll, please....

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A ham. Dangit- am so dissappointed. Interesting the sage flavors came through. Fresh gets it done I guess. It had fressh garlic too. Nice texture, even heating. Definitely gonna work out for a pork jerky but I have to dump this recipe.
 
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Before ditching the recipe I would eliminate the refrigerator time. I would also eliminate the curing salts. I use kosher salt and it works fine. Don’t get discouraged. I made a lot of dog food before I got it right.
 

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