I have been wanting for quite some time to find a way to prepare meat for storage without refrigeration needed. I have come up with two conclusions: Can the meat and cure the meat. Today will mostly be about curing, different types of cured meat, and preserving meat with a Salt Cure of a Brine cure, and what the difference is.
First, canning the meat is a good idea, in my opinion, for stews, small roasts, and much more things where you will be able to use a cubed meat, shredded meat, or a meat that is a little lacking in real flavor. I fully believe in doing this and the meals it could provide, and will probably try it first.
Next, curing the meat is a great way to come up with a very flavorful meat. This is great for something that is going to be used as a stand-alone item, or added to vegetables, or beans for an awesome flavor addition. I really want to do this, but I will master canning first. Today’s post is about the curing of the meat, and some basic info.
There are a few different types of curing that is widely known: Dry Curing, Brine Curing, Combination Curing, & Sausage Curing
On Morton Salt’s webpage, they explain what these are:
Great for hams, bacon, and smaller cuts of meat. You apply a dry-cure mix directly on the meat. Morton says to place it in a storage bag and place in your kitchen refrigerator, but I have been learning a little about more traditional methods, that will have meat hanging in your kitchen.
Involves mixing curing salt and water to make a pickle solution. Salt water is very corrosive, so you have to use a large bowl that isn’t metal. The Brine solution is injected into the meat using a meat pump or the meat is soaked over a period of time. When soaking it needs to be fully submerged, using a plate, bowl, etc as a weight to keep the meat fully in the brine. Takes place in the frig. Cook meat when finished.
You dry rub cure it, but with brine injections around the bony parts. It is used to shorten curing time and reduce spoilage. Done in refrigerator.
Mix curing salts and spices with ground meat. Cure in refrigerator. Sausage is cooked before eating.
In every cure method they mentioned refrigerator, and I am here to tell you that many of these were traditionally done in a cool dry place, but not in a refrigerator.
Curing temperatures change depending on the process, but is generally between 36-40 degrees F. Warmer allows spoilage, cooler will inhibit the curing process.
After curing, you can remove salt from meat by boiling it. It is best to change your curing amounts to prevent this.
Products by Morton Salt which are good to use: Morton Tender Quick Mix, Morton Sugar Cure Plain and Morton Sugar Cure Smoke Flavored
Prosciutto (Pork Thigh): Get’s cured, pressed, and air-dried for as long as two years.
Serrano Ham (Jamon Serrano): Hung in high elevation sheds.
Canadian Bacon (Back Bacon): from the eye of the loin in the middle of the pigs back.
Country Cured Ham: Dry Cured where as typical ham is wet-cured. Then smoked over hardwood and aged from 3 months to 2 years.
Bacon: American bacon isn’t truly cured. It comes from pig belly and the traditional way to cure it is by curing the entire belly and hanging in a cool dry place.
Capicola: Seasoned with wine, garlic, herbs, and other spices, then cured and hung for several months.
Bresaola: from Italy and doesn’t get cooked after curing. Sliced paper-thin and drizzled with olive oil when eating.
Andouille: Pork sausage smoked over pecan wood and sugarcane. Doesn’t need cooked, but it is delicious that way.
Jerky: Although there is now ground Jerky, the traditional jerky was thinly sliced and left to dry in the sun.
Billtong: Thick cut and covered with a curing and pickling cure. Much more tinder than jerky. Hung at room temperature and once cured, will keep for a long time.
There are many different curing methods and different types of cured products, some of which, if done properly can last years without refrigeration. That is what I am interested it. The more I can move into the realm of unrefrigerated meat, the better. Same with vegetables, which is why people maintain a root cellar. Hopefully on my next post, I will have a post on curing a ham for Christmas, since it takes a while for them to cure.
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