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Immersion curing questions

PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:14 pm
by starbees
Hi to all, so glad I found this site. Its fantastic!

So I have never cured any kind of meat before and am getting a little confused.

I think I may have jumped in at the deep end a little but I have a nearly 9kg joint of pork on the bone which I wanted to cure in a brine.

I thought that I understood what I needed to do, but I have started ti get cold feet now and am worried that its going to go horribly wrong.

My main problem is that I live in Beijing and don't have easy access to the different cures and salts that I have read much about on here. I have managed to acquire some Sodium Nitrite from a chef here (He warned me against using it as it happens)

My question is:

For a 9KG joint on the bone what quantity of salt and water should I make the brine up of, and should I use the Sodium Nitrite? Can I not use it and achieve safe and tasty ham to eat? I read somewhere about using celery juice, is this a viable alternative does anyone know?

Okay I hope someone can steer me in a safe direction, I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks


PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:17 pm
by Oddley
Sodium nitrite is extremely dangerous on it's own, Immersion curing is the most difficult to understand, the two combined could kill you easily. I would advise against using the sodium nitrite. Can you not buy some cure#1 from this site I know they post overseas.

Seek advise from people on this forum before you go any further. How big is the piece of meat you have exactly. Do you have means for injection? do you have accurate scales 0.01g, these can be picked up at a reasonable price on ebay. Buy the calibration weight with it. We will try to help you do this safely

PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:01 pm
by captain wassname
As Oddley has said curing with nitrite is dangerous and immersion curing with nitrite more so.
Injection is probably the best way to go but you need extemely delicate scales and a way of ensuring their accuracy.
In adition you would need to bone the meat ,skin it and trim the fat(you cant afford estimations)
I think we would all sooner that you used a recognised cure. However if you post back Im sure that someone will do their best that you are as safe as we can make you


PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:32 am
by wheels
If that is just sodium nitrite without anything else mixed with it you should be aware that swallowing just 1 - 2 gm of it could kill you.

If it is, I would label it "Poison" and lock it away safely.

Do not leave it in your kitchen where it could be mistaken for salt or something else.

Please find out exactly what it is and tell us. Then we will tell you what to do.

That is the official position of this forum (pending ratification by admin).

Sorry. Welcome Starbees :D I'm sorry that my first reply to you is so dramatic.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:45 am
by starbees
Hi all thanks for the quick responses.

I didn't quite appreciate how dangerous this stuff is. It is Sodium Nitrate in pure form so I think I will not use it this time sounds too complicated and dangerous for my first foray into curing!

Are there any safe and easier methods for me to cure my Joint it is 8.9kg exactly?

thanks for the help

PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:47 pm
by wheels
That's somewhat difficult to answer. Can you get hold of other types of curing salts locally?

If not, I suggest that you use or freeze your pork, and maybe do another piece when you have the curing salts.

Oddley (above) has posted a link to a supplier in the UK, others will hopefully post with more local sources. We have some members in Asia, maybe one of them will be able to advise you.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:46 pm
by captain wassname
What you need for ham is cure #1 available from Oddleys link and from Oz

also from the US
check out the prices and postage.
I would be interested as to your source.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:01 pm
by wheels
Here's a link to take you straight to the product that Cap'n Wassname has mentioned:


PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:34 am
by starbees
Thanks for all the advice guys.

My father-in-law has used the pork for some other use now so as not to waste it and I am going to do exactly as mentioned and get some curing salts from somewhere.

I did try and get some when I was in the Uk in the summer but I couldn't find it anywhere so thanks for all the links thats very helpful.

I think I shall read some more on this site in the meantime and learn as much as I can and then post back for some advice once I get some curing salt.

Once again thankyou to everyone - so glad I found this site!


Immersion curing

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 9:53 pm
by ddmaan2
Hi to everyone, have just found this great site. I'm going to be making my own Ham shortly and have been reading alot of articles on this site. The problem is now i'm totally confused. This is the recipe i wanted to use.

"Easy Ham Recipe"

3 Gallons ice cold water
6oz salt (preferably iodine free or unrefined)
6oz cure No. 1 (same stuff Franco sells)
1 level tbsp ground white pepper
20 bayleaves or 1tbsp ground bayleaf
1 tbsp ground cloves
3oz brown sugar or replace 3 pints of the water with 3 pints coca cola (not diet)

The question is for a 5 kg piece of pork, what quantities do i use and how long do i leave it in the brine for? I did read that this is enough to cure 19 kilo's. Can this be scaled down by say 50% or less for smaller cuts? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:56 pm
by wheels
Edit: Please ignore this and see my next but one post below

That's not an easy question to answer. Firstly, let me say that I haven't used this recipe; other's who have, say that it's very good.

Calculations for a 5kg piece of meat (or larger) in this brine for 14 days, in theory, give quite a low level of salt. Reducing the amount of brine would reduce the level further, so you're probably best to use the full amount of brine as per the recipe.

If you cure 5kg meat in the brine for 14 days, your cure will be perfectly safe and in theory will have about 0.8% salt which is about half that of commercial hams.



Edit: Please see post below

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:22 am
by DanMcG
While playing around with the above recipe trying to calculate the ppm of cure, It occurred to me that the US and the UK might have different size gallons.
A little research tells me the UK gallon is 20% larger/ heavier. 4546.09 ml UK gallon compared to 3785.41 ml for the US gallon.

Another good reason to use the metric system, instead of gallons, cups, ounces and spoons.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:52 pm
by wheels
Yep, I've never worked that one out either!


PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:46 pm
by Oddley
Here you go guys I converted this recipe to metric ages ago, I think it is correct. I'm sure someone will tell me if it's not.

I wonder why I haven't tried it yet?

I wrote:Easy Ham Recipe

13638g ice cold water
170g salt (preferably iodine free or unrefined)
170g cure No. 1 (same stuff Franco sells) containing 10g Nitrite
85g brown sugar or replace 1705g pints of the water with 1705g coca cola (not diet)
9.9g ground white pepper
6g bay leaves or ground bay leaf
7.8g ground cloves

Weight of soluble ingredients = 14086.9 g with sugar
14002 g with coke

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:13 pm
by wheels
Sorry, I've noted my post above to see this post as I think I may have made an error and done my calculations on a different weight of meat.

In theory, for 5kg meat in a brine with 3 gall liquid for 14 days, you'd be best to halve the cure #1 to 3oz (85gm) and increase the salt by 3oz to 9 oz (255gm).

I'd be grateful if someone would check this. I have assumed that the meat will be between 56% and 64% towards equilibrium - based on NCPaul's research.

Sorry for the error.