Curing meats is an age-old practice of food preservation.
But that’s not only what it’s used for. The taste itself is more than enough cause for curing meat. Believe it or not, you can cure meat yourself.
If you want to know how to cure meat properly, this article will cover just that.
What Is Cured Meat?
If you ask an expert, they will say that curing meats means a salt-based tinctured, mixed with nitrites and sugar has been used to preserve the qualities of the meat, such as color, flavor, and longevity.
It would be simple if that was it. However, it is not. Within the curing meats communities, there is plenty of debate on the nitrites, as some don’t and do cure without them.
Just using salt would be called salt curing, and the result wouldn’t be of much differences. And when it comes to curing meat, all of the methods devolve into two categories.
Wet and dry. The wet can also be called brining or pickle curing, depending on the method. It involves a submersion of the meat into brine or the injection of it into the meat. Dry curing, on the other hand, involves salts and other spices being rubbed into the meat.
Here Are Some Methods To Consider When You’re Curing Meat
The most modern of the methods presented are vacuum curing.
You dry cure the meat by applying the ingredients directly, then place the meat in a vacuum-sealed container or bag, so that it bathes in this concoction that has been deprived of air.
This method is clean and organized, and can easily be stored in the fridge. The perfect temperature for vacuum curing is anywhere between 2°C – 4°C.
The only downside is you have to invest a little money into a vacuum sealing machine. But nowadays, they are very affordable.
As mentioned earlier, wet curing involves making a concoction of ingredients that the meat can be placed into, or injected with. For this method, you will need a large enough container to fit twice the size of ingredients, because the brine will rise when meat is added.
The brine can be made by boiling the water, and adding the ingredients until they dissolve. After this, the brine is left to cool for a day and then chilled in the fridge before you add meat. The idea temperature is 2°C – 4°C.
The benefit of wet curing is the evenly-spread out cure.
With appropriate maintenance, brine can be reused for months at a time. However, it is still recommended to remove any meat from the brine, replenish solutes, and measure salinity to make sure everything is fine.
But making a new brine is probably best.
Dry curing, as mentioned earlier, involves the massaging of ingredients into the meat, and then the meat is laid down in a compact form on a shallow tray.
You perform a 50% cure for the meat and allow it to overhaul over a week. Then you clean the tray, and recure once again.
This method is traditions, and you really can’t go wrong. It should be used on cuts, instead of a whole animal.
Yes, injection curing can be attributed to wet curing. But it’s best to separate them. This method is mostly used by big commercial producers in the food and beverage processing industries.
Most injection solutions possess polyphosphate, as they add weight to meat via water retention. This can easily be recognized by cooking the meat. If white good appears on the pan, it has been processed to be beefier.
However, you can inject it as well. It will provide a consistent cure throughout the entire meat if done correctly. Which can be done if you possess the appropriate tools in the first place.
Another injection method is to artery pump the meats. To do this, you need to make sure the femoral artery is intact. A 30% brine solution can be pumped or leaked into the Carter, as it will go through the natural distribution system of the animal.
At this step, the curing is only half-done. And it would require additional wet or dry treatment.
The 5 Step Procedure To Curing Meats
So this part can go on forever, but it’s best to mention it, instead of leaving it out completely. Whatever method you choose, it can be broken down into the five steps.
- Pickling – you prepare the ingredients, concoctions, tinctures to be used.
- Curing – you select a curing method and begin applying the ingredients from the first step.
- Washing – you wash the meat from excessive ingredients, depending on the curing method.
- Equalizing – you equalize the temperature, hang the meat or layout down to spread out the materials.
- Drying – you allow the meat to dry out via natural processes so that it retains its juiciness but depletes itself of excess water.
Anyhow, those 5 steps are practically seen in any meat curing method. So if you want to learn more about them, search each of them up online.
Curing Meat Done Right
Now that you understand what curing meat is, the methods for meat curing, and much more. You are well on your way to deciding if it’s an activist you would like to partake in.
If you’re interested in similar articles, check out some of our other blogs on this website that can provide further insight on curing meat and other topics.