Meat Curing Tips

Curing meat on proper way is indeed very important work as it determines whether one will have good tasting cured meat or meat that is too salty or possibly that is far removed from the original taste of the raw product.

What you should know:
  • All meat that is to be cured should always be thoroughly cooled and cut into the desired convenient sizes before it is put into the brine or packed in dry salt.
  • The pieces most commonly used for curing are the ham, shoulder and bacon pieces from pork.
  • From beef we use the cheaper, tougher cuts such as the plate, shoulder and chuck ribs.
  • Mutton is seldom cured and preserved.
  • The ham should be cut off at the hock joint, the spare ribs taken out of the bacon, and the ragged edges trimmed off smooth. If ragged edges or scraggy ends are left these portions will become too dry in the curing and will practically be wasted.
  • After all the animal heat is removed from the meat and it is properly cut it is then ready for the curing.
  • If salt is put on the meat before the animal heat is all removed, it will have a tendency to shrink the muscles and form a coating on the outside which will not allow the generating gases to escape.
  • Meat should never be in a frozen condition when the salt is added as the frost will prevent the proper penetration of the brine and uneven curing will be the result.
  • For all curing always use pickling salt and not table salt, as the latter contains starch to keep it dry and this starch may cause the meat to spoil.
  • The two most common methods of curing meat are first the traditional brine cure or sugar cure process and second the dry-curing process.
  • For general farm use the brine cured process is the better. It requires less time, less effort and not such an exacting place for the work. On most farms it is impossible to secure a desirable place in which to do the dry-curing as the meat is exposed to rats, cats, flies and other insects. The dry-curing requires considerable time to rub and salt the meat at different times while the only attention that is necessary for brine-curing is to properly prepare and pack the meat in the vessel and prepare the brine for it.
  • If possible use a round container for the curing. It is easier to put the meat in tightly, and the space can be used to better advantage.
  • A hardwood barrel of some kind is excellent for meat curing. Sirup, molasses or lard barrels which have been thoroughly cleaned are very satisfactory.
  • Stone crocks or certain types of jars are sometimes used for curing meat but they are expensive and difficult to handle besides the constant danger of loss of brine from breakage.
  • A dilute solution of household bleach is a great sanitizer for counters, tools and hands. Use one-tablespoon bleach in a gallon of water.

Real Cooking

Did You Know?
The cook is the most important defender of food safety. Unclean kitchen facilities, improper personal hygiene, or careless handling of food by the cook may carry bacteria that can infect food.

Correct bad habits, and learn to practice good personal hygiene.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water. Wash the areas between the fingers and under the fingernails. If you use your hands to mix food, clean under your nails with a brush.

Always keep clean hands away from your mouth, nose and hair. Stifle sneezes and coughs with a clean facial tissue and wash your hands again.

Do not wear rings or other jewelry when you prepare food. Food particles stick in the crevices and corners. If you have pimples, boils, infected cuts or burns on your hands, use disposable plastic gloves to prevent the spread of infection.

Prevent cross-contamination by washing hands before touching produce if you've worked with raw meat.

Always wash your hands after touching garbage, poisons, cleaning supplies or anything that soils your hands. This rule also applies to any contact with pets, their dishes or bedding.

And, even if your kitchen is "clean enough to eat off the floor," don't pick up spilled food from the floor and eat it or mix it with uncontaminated food. FREE Recipes