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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 4

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#151 FoodMan

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 12:34 PM

I cannot believe I forgot to post my Lomo recipe from a month or so ago. Here it is based on the Bresaola recipe from the book:

1.5 lb pork loin with fat
13 gr kosher salt
15 gr sugar
2 gr DC Cure #2
3 gr coarse black pepper
2 gr dry thyme
1 gr cayenne (Actually next time I'll use more)
2 gr paprika

Cure just like the Bresaola and hang till wieght is reduced by 30%

BTW- my latest physical was top notch as well, and I also hardly ever eat processed food. Fast food to me is a Vietnamese BBQ pork sandwich or a Colombian charcoal rotisserie chicken plate. Both take less than five minutes to buy and cost less then a #1 Combo at Wendy's.

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#152 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 06:01 PM

I agree that 6g is high. 28g/1oz of pink salt is used to cure 25lbs of meat, so for 1lb you should be using somewhere around 1.1-1.5g of pink salt.

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And I should add that I halved the amount of pink salt in the cure because, 4 tsp seemed somewhat high for 5 pounds of fish. I appreciate all the input here, which will definitely help me out on my next attempt.

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#153 mdbasile

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:45 AM

depends on what's being smoked.  if the spores are there, then there could be trouble.  are they likely to be there?  probably not but you never know. there are a lot of spores in the ground, so if it's cured with a veg or garlic, there might be.

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I am thinking about the salmon -- would liquor in the cure make any difference - like scotch? I am only using salt, sugar, lemon zest and scotch

#154 mdbasile

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:45 AM

Nice - very nice - really like the size of those babies!!


How many links from the 13 lbs? - photos to come I assume...

I will obviously need to work on the purity of my foods...

I raise a glass to the new health food!!

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Here is the sopressata, tied, weighed and ready to hang. Pre hang wt is 15 lbs 15.5 oz.

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#155 klkruger

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 07:06 PM

Yowza! What a thread!

I 've spent the last couple or three days since I discovered it (from a link on a board where I often post) reading and drooling over the pics from start to finish--65 pages, several read twice. (Does that give me an entré?)

I've been making fresh sausages for some time, smoking belly and buckboard bacon for quite a while as well, and frequently smoke briskets ( for both 'normal' barbecue and pastrami), butts (for barbecue, for tamal filling, for cochinita pibil), and all manner of fowl and fish.

I got the wonderful Charcuterie not long after it was published hoping to get started on some serious charcuterie but got delayed. I have done a few of the fresh sausages and a pancetta (with a fridged finish) and all were great. Work keeps me travelling nearly constantly and, living in Fla, it is essential to figure out a suitable climate-controlled hanging space for the dry-cured products but with the pointers found in this thread I will soon (I hope). I have some catching up to do.

Thanks to all for such informative questions, answers, commentary, pics and encouragement.

***

Just a quick(ish) comment on some pastrami comments of a few pages back (just after Ronnie's beautiful wagyu pics): Pastrami taken to an internal of 150F will be significantly less tender if not finished with steam. However, if you'd prefer a straight-out-of-the-smoker finish start smoking much earlier and take it to an internal of 165F (for pastrami; briskets for barbecue to 188-190). The brisket will very likely plateau around 160-162F where it will linger for quite a while and you might even see a temp drop of a degree or two. All this is good. The plateau signals major connective tissue rendering giving you a moister, more tender finish. Be patient and let it break plateau before you pull it. To seal the deal though, double-wrap the meat in HD foil and allow it to rest 1-2 hours (I like 2 hours) in a towel-stuffed cooler. Remove from the cooler, partially unwrap, rest 5-10 minutes, slice and enjoy.

Edited by klkruger, 15 September 2006 - 07:07 PM.

Kevin

#156 prasantrin

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 03:37 PM

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Cold-smoked salmon on a toasted sesame bagel with chive cheese, aka Dinner Part 2.

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Crap, that looks good! I'm so hungry right now and all I have is some smoked Tasmanian trout in my fridge, but no bread or cream cheese in sight!

Do you think something like this smoked salmon could be done in one of those stovetop smokers?

And bacon?

I had considered buying one a few years ago, but didn't. I remember Daniel smoked something very tasty looking with his, but do you think they could do salmon and bacon?

#157 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 06:20 PM

Do you think something like this smoked salmon could be done in one of those stovetop smokers?

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Yes, definitely. Was talking to a chef about it last night who told me that her restaurant had done it that way for years, very successfully. But, you'll need to either pipe in the smoke from a separate source (to maintain a properly low temp) or spend some time figuring out how to get the indoor smoker to do exactly what you want it to.

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#158 dougal

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 10:11 AM

Do you think something like this smoked salmon could be done in one of those stovetop smokers?

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Yes, definitely. Was talking to a chef about it last night who told me that her restaurant had done it that way for years, very successfully. But, you'll need to either pipe in the smoke from a separate source (to maintain a properly low temp) or spend some time figuring out how to get the indoor smoker to do exactly what you want it to.

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Ummmmm.

I think the simple answer is NO.

The long version is that actually, it possibly could, *but* it would *need* be heavily modified to do the job - and if you're doing that much metalwork, there's no great reason to start the construction around a stovetop smoker.
"Stovetop smokers" are intrinsically *hot* smokers, cooking while smoking. They try and seal in the smoke - and thus, in a small container unavoidably, the heat.
The very essence of **cold** smoking is to avoid cooking while smoking.
That is frankly more than a bit tricky to do on a tiny (let alone a stovetop) scale.
As Ron says above, it is NOT possible to do *cold* smoking in an *unmodified* stovetop smoker.

If anyone has properly cracked micro (or indoor) *cold* smoking, I'd really, really love to know just how its done... (and I bet I'm not the only one :smile: )
The likeliest route I've seen is to use Japanese smoke sticks. However the cost of trans-atlantic shipping from those folk is simply absurd, hence I've not tried the product. I'd love to know of an alternate source (in the UK or prepared to ship here economically) - and ideally the same sort of thing in Oak rather than only sweet fruit woods.

All that said, *hot* smoked salmon is delicious. (But it really is a different experience entirely from cold-smoked salmon... )
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#159 jmolinari

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 10:58 AM

dougal, that is a very interesting product. I may give it a try at some point.

But like you, i do wish they had oak or alder wood.

#160 bronihk

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:27 PM

hey charcuterie fans,

been reading this thread for a while, love it, finally got the book and am ready to start trying out some of the recipes...first of which is going to be bacon but i've got a quick question that hopefully someone here can answer (and if this had already been posted, sorry if i missed the response).

What is the story with nitrite/nitrate-free bacon? I keep seeing it
advertised at various places, with most people claiming it is somehow
superior to ordinary bacon (http://tinyurl.com/f2uuq), either because it
tastes better or is better for you. In 'Charcuterie', though the bacon
recipe, based off the master dry cure, includes pink salt. In the
section about pink salt, it says this is essential to avoid botulism
poisoning. What's the story? Do these nitrateless bacon producers use
a different ingredient to stymie the botulism spores? Do they use some
fancy machine to botulism-test every belly that they cure? Basically
what I'm getting at here is can I make some of my own bacon even while
waiting for butcher-packer to deliver my pink salt?

any help would be great...thanks!

#161 Dave Weinstein

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 03:03 PM

Just ordered those cold smoking sticks; looks like an easy way to cold smoke in the Weber.

I'm trying a hot-smoking experiment next week; I've got two duck breasts in a bacon style maple cure, when they cure, I'm going to hot smoke them with apple wood (in the mini-smoker), and see how that works out.

#162 prasantrin

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 03:24 PM

Hmmm...I don't think I'm capable of modifying a stovetop smoker to do cold smoking, so that idea might be out for me. Seeing as I'm in Japan, however, I should have fairly easy access to some cold smoking sticks, right? I'm going to have to get me to Tokyu Hands to see if they carry them.

So, dougal, in repayment for your fine information, if I ever find them, I'd be happy to ship you some! If they're not too heavy, I imagine they could be shipped by small packet, or at least surface (but that would take several weeks). Let me know!

#163 jmolinari

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 04:52 PM

Dave, please keep us up to date with the smoke stick!

#164 jbehmoaras

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 05:10 PM

For those of us that keep kosher but would like to try curing some meats, do any of you think its possible to cure kosher meat. I know that kosher meat is salted in some way, although i dont know about poultry, and I would imagine that curing a meat that already has salt added may produce something that is too salty.
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#165 Chris Amirault

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 05:49 PM

For those of us that keep kosher but would like to try curing some meats, do any of you think its possible to cure kosher meat.

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Make the duck ham in Ruhlman's book. It's absolutely fascinating for many reasons, and it ain't hog: a great place to start, I think!

On the non-kosher side: I've got three slabs of pork belly curing in the fridge right now, two with Ruhlman's savory cure (garlic, black pepper, bay) and one with a reduced sugar maple cure, since my original attempts were producing bacon too sweet for my tastes.
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#166 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 04:59 AM

What is the story with nitrite/nitrate-free bacon? I keep seeing it
advertised at various places, with most people claiming it is somehow
superior to ordinary bacon (http://tinyurl.com/f2uuq), either because it
tastes better or is better for you.  In 'Charcuterie', though the bacon
recipe, based off the master dry cure, includes pink salt.  In the
section about pink salt, it says this is essential to avoid botulism
poisoning.  What's the story?  Do these nitrateless bacon producers use
a different ingredient to stymie the botulism spores?  Do they use some
fancy machine to botulism-test every belly that they cure?  Basically
what I'm getting at here is can I make some of my own bacon even while
waiting for butcher-packer to deliver my pink salt?

any help would be great...thanks!

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here's the story:

"nitrite free" is a marketing device. it's not safer or better for you than regular bacon--it just sounds like it should be and most people don't know any better. nor does it taste better or look better. I've tried niman's and it tastes pretty good, though it's brown.

the reason for pink salt in bacon is for flavor, color, and for anything smoked pink salt will prevent the grown of the bacteria that cause botulism. this is more important for sausages, though.

in fact, i've never understood why bacon was ever in danger of botulism contamination. It's hot smoked, and then chilled and then cooked at very hign temps. even were the bacteria to grow in the smoker, the toxin would be inert by the time it reached the plate. as far as i'm concerned, the reason to add pink salt is for color and flavor, which i do even if i'm not smoking.

you can make and cure delicious bacon without pink salt.

caution still argues in favor of not smoking it unless you use pink salt. though i remain skeptical that there's any danger. also, smoking it without pink salt is difficult--impossible to keep lit.

#167 jmolinari

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 05:05 AM

I always thought bacon was cold smoked, and that the botulism spores, which release the toxin, are very temperature resistant.

Either way, i'd use pink salt when making bacon

#168 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 07:23 AM

I always thought bacon was cold smoked, and that the botulism spores, which release the toxin, are very temperature resistant.

Either way, i'd use pink salt when making bacon

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bacon's a fully cooked product, so it's hot smoked. though there's no reason it couldn't be cold smoked then cooked. if it were smoked at danger zone temps, then there would be botulism concerns.

re temps:
botulism spores are very temp resistant and hard to kill.
the bacteria that arise from the spores are less resistant, easier to kill.
the toxin the bacteria produce, which is what is so dangerous to us, is rendered inert at even lower temps.

what these temperatures are, I don't know exactly. any scientists out there with definitive info on thermal death points?

#169 jmolinari

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 07:39 AM

Michael, are you sure bacon is cooked? If i buy, hypothetically, oscar meyer bacon, it sure doesn't seem cooked!

#170 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 07:57 AM

Michael, are you sure bacon is cooked? If i buy, hypothetically, oscar meyer bacon, it sure doesn't seem cooked!

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it varies on the temp they cook it to, but generally speaking, it's cooked, just like a hot dog.

#171 bronihk

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 10:27 AM

as far as i'm concerned, the reason to add pink salt is for color and flavor, which i do even if i'm not smoking.

you can make and cure delicious bacon without pink salt. 

caution still argues in favor of not smoking it unless you use pink salt.  though i remain skeptical that there's any danger. also, smoking it without pink salt is difficult--impossible to keep lit.

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so you're say with or without works (saftey-wise) but taste-wise it sounds like you go for the addition of pink salt.

glad to finally clear up the nitrate-free thing. was always curious what that really meant. thanks so much for the help, michael. loving the book!

#172 Wurst Case

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 11:33 AM

Another silly question...

I'm thinking of getting a Hygrometer, but am not ready to fork over the big bucks. Has anyone tried the small hygrometers for reptile terrariums (like $3 or something)? Is that going to give me a close enough reading or do I need something with precision? What are the +/- on the humidity and temp that still makes conditions acceptable? (I know the actual answer to this is “it depends” but if anyone can add a little more guidance it would be greatly appreciated.)

Also, does the room smell sausagey when it’s hanging? (Not that I have a problem with this, just looking to manage my & husband's expectations.) And do I need to put some kind of drip pad under it to catch the water? (All the jamon serrano I saw in curing Spain had the little fat hats on the bottom of them to catch the drips, but I didn’t know if that was specific to ham.)

Thanks for all the pointers!

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Hi there. Drytheair.com sells a hygro-thermometer for about $15.

#173 dougal

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 12:28 PM

Michael, are you sure bacon is cooked? If i buy, hypothetically, oscar meyer bacon, it sure doesn't seem cooked!

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it varies on the temp they cook it to, but generally speaking, it's cooked, just like a hot dog.

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North American bacon seems to be generally cooked with smoke that some regard as "cold" at perhaps as low as 140F.

HOWEVER :blink: *British* bacon may be either smoked or totally unsmoked (which is sometimes called "green"). If smoked it would be "cold" smoked (like the salmon above) with smoke at less than 30C (that's 85F) - so smoked or not it is NOT cooked! Supermarket shelfspace would indicate something like 50/50 smoked or not, at least in this region. Its prominently labelled whether its smoked or not.
Not yet being a cold smoker, I have a pack of smoked "streaky" (belly) in the fridge. The ingredient declaration reveals that this smoked product contains both nitrite and (mentioned first and hence preponderant) nitrate as "preservatives".

While the smoke's agressive chemicals do work against most spoilage organisms (which is one reason smoking preserves meat), the low oxygen conditions promote C. Botulinum - which doesn't actually "spoil" the meat, so you'd never know it was there, until ...


On the subject of Nitrite (in Michael's "pink salt"), I'm a bit surprised that the book's only mention of Vitamin C (or Ascorbates) in conjunction with Nitrite, talks about "growing evidence" supporting its use - when it seems to have been *required* by US Federal legislation in commercial products for some years:
http://www.fsis.usda...ives/7620-3.pdf
Please note that the Meat Inspectors' calculations in that handbook interpret arithmetic slightly strangely. The formulae all talk about "percentages" (pumped, picked up, etc) and yet (as demonstrated by the worked examples) the figure required is the *proportion* not the percentage - take care else you will be in error by a factor of 100 times !!! :huh: And naturally it uses *US* gallons and US pints throughout when speaking of "gallons" or "pints" - another gotcha for those that might be expecting the larger Imperial versions!


As far as 'health' concerns go, smoking (meat, etc - never mind tobacco) is probably much more concerning than nitrate/nitrite curing salts used at the commercially authorised levels.

If you do a "bacon cure" and just leave out the curing salt, you end up with grey Salt Pork - tasting much more simply 'meaty' than the general expectation for bacon.

The fad for "nitrite-free" bacon not having reached these parts, I wonder what specific additives these manufacturers are substituting to produce the 'bacon' taste and appearance (and texture)?
Or do they claim that it arises "naturally" from impurities in their salt and water?
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#174 Rubashov

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 06:55 PM

Being curious about the bacon question myself, I found the following interesting piece online:

http://everything2.c...x.pl?node=bacon

The most interesting (and disturbing) part is the following:

"These days most bacon found in supermarkets is hot smoked, but not in the traditional manner. The whole process is expedited (and therefore much cheaper) by first injecting the un-cured belly with brine, then an atomized smoke and hot water solution is injected to cook and provided a smoky flavour to the belly. This is bacon at its most pointless, and when prepared in such a manner it tends to ooze moisture in the pan and end up dry. The flavour also suffers, instead of a full and delicious natural smoke flavour, a pale chemical imitation is the result."

Sure makes you feel good about what we're doing!

-Rob

#175 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 10:39 PM

Sure makes you feel good about what we're doing!

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Absolutely. It's great to be eating products over which we have a large amount of control. Knowing everything that goes into them and how they are properly made definitely provides a feeling of confidence.

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#176 Mallet

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 04:51 AM

Heck, just watching you guys doing it gives me a feeling of confidence!
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#177 dougal

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 07:13 AM

...
[American} bacon's a fully cooked product, so it's hot smoked.  ... if it were smoked at danger zone temps, then there would be botulism concerns.

re temps:
botulism spores are very temp resistant and hard to kill.
the bacteria that arise from the spores are less resistant, easier to kill.
the toxin the bacteria produce, which is what is so dangerous to us, is rendered inert at even lower temps.

what these temperatures are, I don't know exactly.  any scientists out there with definitive info on thermal death points?

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The spores will survive up to something like 121C (250F), which is why commercial canning heats foods to that level. http://en.wikipedia....lism#Prevention

The FDA says the toxin is destroyed by *10* minutes at 80C (176F) - which invites careful comparison with hot smoking temperatures. http://www.cfsan.fda...~mow/chap2.html
(I think the different strain Types have different temperature stabilities and this treatment deals with all of them.)

The temperature stability of spores, bacteria and toxin depends upon (ie varies with) pH, salinity, fat content, water activity...
http://www.foodprote...otfactsheet.pdf (lots of research paper refs)

C Botulinum bacteria multiply most rapidly at *cold* smoking temperatures, ie around 30C (86F) ...
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#178 klkruger

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 09:01 AM

Clostridium botulinum is not really a problem in raw foods. It becomes an issue in foods that are improperly processed (home canning being the major thing), cooled too slowly, or reheated/re-cooked far too slowly as do the other toxigenic bacteria, Clostridium perfringens, Staphyloccus aureus and Bacillus cereus.

C. bot, C. perf, and B. cereus are capable of forming spores that are heat resistant. When consumed in spore form these pathogens are not a safety problem as healthy adults can consume as many as 1000 per gram and suffer no ill effects. They are indeed deactivated by pressure canning temps (250F for 2.4 minutes) but when food is heated to temps that kill vegetative pathogens (pasteurization) spores survive and become activated; they can then outgrow to form vegetative cells when the food cools. Outgrowth is quick between 70F and 120F which is why cooling is an important area to be on top of. The USDA says that if the food is cooled from 120F to 55F in 6 hours or less, with further continuous cooling to < 40F, for a total of not more than 14 hours, the food will be safe.

C. perf starts outgrowth at 125F, C. bot and B. cereus at 122F. C. perf also has the fastest growth during cooling so cooling control is based on C. perf. It stops outgrowth at 59F; C. bot types A and B (vegs and meat) stop multiplying at 50F, B. cereus stops at 39.2F and C. bot type E (fish bot) stops at 38F. Thus, to be absolutely safe, food should be cooled to and/or stored below 38F and only spoilage bacteria that have survived cooking and/or grow at low temps will shorten shelf life, but the food will be safe.

Cooked/heated food as a greater potential for hazards than raw food because spoilage bacteria are reduced to low levels when food is cooked/heated and so are not present in enough numbers to compete with pathogenic bacteria if cross-contamination or improper cooling occurs. It is best not to touch cooling foods with bare skin (S. aureus and other Staphs) until they are cold, unless they are going to be consumed right away. Of course, proper handwashing protocols should be utilized regardless.

Curing with a salt-based (nitrite-free) cure with the proper amount of salt, and curing at cool temps should be enough to inhibit C. bot (has been for centuries). The salt plus smoking and drying (low water activity) inhibit Staph. Salt is the main inhibitor in dry-cured meats. Nitrite inhibits fat rancidity but does give one more room to maneuver and an extra measure of safety on the C. bot front and, of course, affects flavor and color. I use it for bacon and similar items. I do not use it in brines for hot-smoked fowl that are cooked to proper internal temps because I don't care for its affect on flavor in these cases and it is not needed for safety.
Kevin

#179 Abra

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 09:17 AM

Thanks for the in-depth food safety lessons, dougal and klkruger!

Dougal - that nitrite-free bacon doesn't really taste like "bacon" to me, since it's lacking the cured flavor. It can be good, but i think it's more like a good smoked fatty pork in flavor.

#180 bronihk

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 08:09 AM

thanks so much for the food saftey info...really helpful. we're going to use pink salt on this first try.

another question (as we're getting ready to cure our pork belly for bacon): should I trim the skin off my belly before curing to bacon or after?

thanks for any help..





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