Ruhlman vs 2:1 brine method: A little help please!

Recipes and techniques using brine.

Ruhlman vs 2:1 brine method: A little help please!

Postby AKokkinos » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:02 am

Hi to all. I made my dry cured bacon and it was a success. Now I want to move on to Glazed Ham (3 kgs), Pork Loin Ham (2 kgs) , and Turkey breast ham (2 pieces, each 750 gm). Given that all pieces are quite lean, and following the advise in this forum I decided to brine the meat (each piece separately of course and using Prague #1) and then smoke them in my Weber Smokey Mountain to a final temperature of 165 F. The objective is to make cold cuts for sandwiches, salads, and snacks.
The confusion part: In this forum, you see the 2:1 brine method that requires a considerable amount of time for curing. I bought the Ruhlman Charcuterie book, that offers a method that requires only 2-3 days of brining for a 3kg piece of meat. The shorter brine period does look more appealing, however I am concerned about the final saltiness of the meat and whether this can be considered as safe due to the very short period. The recipe is:
2 liters of water
¾ cup of kosher salt
1 cup of brown sugar (1 packed cup)
4 teaspoons of pink salt (insta cure #1) (4 teaspoons)
and is supposed to cure about 1kg/day.

My question(s): Has anyone any experience with Ruhlman's recipes? Are they too salty? Are the shorter brining/curing periods possible or am I just going to waste good pieces of meat?

Thank you very much

Andreas
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Re: Ruhlman vs 2:1 brine method: A little help please!

Postby captain wassname » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:32 pm

Hi AdreasI Its not how salty your ham may end up but how much nitrite and/or nitrate will end up in ypur cure.
I have no idea what levels of nitrte and/or nitrate may be delivered with the brine and timescale you are onsidering
The 2-1 immersion will for certain work and give results that are both safe and predictable
I understand that the 2-1 method may be longer than most would like to contemplate so I would suggest that you resorted to a combination cure whee some of the cure is injected and some rubbed in as in a dry cure.
This method is absolutely predictale as well as controllable.

Jim
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Re: Ruhlman vs 2:1 brine method: A little help please!

Postby wheels » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:57 pm

AKokkinos wrote:I bought the Ruhlman Charcuterie book, that offers a method that requires only 2-3 days of brining for a 3kg piece of meat.


Hi Andreas

What page of Charcuterie is that recipe on?

Phil
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Re: Ruhlman vs 2:1 brine method: A little help please!

Postby AKokkinos » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:47 pm

Hi to all.
The recipes I refer to are on page 88 (Cured Smoked Pork Loin), page 93 (American style brown-sugar-glazed holiday ham and page 80 (herb-brined smoked turkey breast). I do not think that I am allowed to reproduce the recipe (either as a part or as a whole), however for the ham it lists 4 liters of water, and 42 grams of pink salt (amongst other ingredients) and for a 12 to 15 pound ham, instructs to soak it for 6 to 8 days (half a day per pound). For the loin, it intructs to soak a 2kg piece for 2 days (again, half a day per pound). The soaking period is way to low when compared to the 2:1 method, and that is why I asked if anyone has tried these recipes - the shorter period is way too attractive to ignore.)

Andreas
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Re: Ruhlman vs 2:1 brine method: A little help please!

Postby wheels » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:59 pm

Ah, I get it now - it was the 'half-quantities' that threw me.

This guy says:

Here’s a picture of a some slices, it’s bright pink near the outside and more the color of regular roasted pork near the interior


And here:

Well after 8 days of curing, I smoked the ham, then deboned it, and tasted some of the results last night. I could tell right away as I deboned it that the center of the ham had not fully cured. The meat around the bone was not pink like the rest of the ham, and it didn't taste cured.


I'm sure that it would work better with a longer period of equalisation between curing and cooking. More than that, I wouldn't like to comment.

Personally, it wouldn't be my choice of recipe.

Phil
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Re: Ruhlman vs 2:1 brine method: A little help please!

Postby AKokkinos » Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:15 am

Hi Phil,
thanks for the 2 links - very informative. Please allow me some follow up questions since you have the book and the recipes:
Do you think that allowing the meat to soak for more days, then this would possibly solve the curing problem mentioned in the 2 links?
Do I run the risk of a salty end-product should I increase the brine period?

Thanks once again.

Andreas
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Re: Ruhlman vs 2:1 brine method: A little help please!

Postby wheels » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:00 pm

Ah, good questions, and ones that regrettably I don't have the answer to.

Certainly, the meat will absorb more of the ingredients in the brine over time until it becomes in 'equilibrium' with the brine: the levels of cure, salt and sugar, will be the same in the meat as in the brine. For 3kg of meat, in a half quantity of the brown-sugar-glazed holiday ham brine, this will give a nitrite level of 244 Parts Per Million (PPM), salt at 3.6% and sugar at 3.3%. The nitrite level will be above US Gov't permitted amount (for commercial producers).

If, and it's a big if, the 3kg meat does absorb an appropriate amount of cure in 3 days, then my feeling is that a longer period of equalisation between curing and smoking/cooking would help to give a uniform colour/cure throughout. To my mind, it's an 'IF' to try on a cheap piece of meat that's not required for an important event; one you don't mind binning if it doesn't work.

Perhaps other members with experience of this type curing can advise further?

Phil
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Re: Ruhlman vs 2:1 brine method: A little help please!

Postby AKokkinos » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:36 pm

Hi Phil. Thanks for the time you take to discuss these questions with me. After a long search in the forum, I believe your answer was the best one: I will try out various recipes, until I reach one that I like and use inexpensive cuts of meat during the learning process.
During my search I came across the book titled "Processing Inspectors' Calculation Handbook" with the USDA guidelines. The brining method proposed by it, confirmed my thought that I need to also take into consideration the brine weight when calculating the amount of nitrite to add (200 ppm is the max allowed). So, I will buy 1 piece of pork leg (3kg, no bone) put it in the container, cover it with water, weight everything, and then start calculations for the salt and nitrite. I will leave it in the cure solution for 1 week and then smoke it. If I do not like the outcome, I will revise the recipe. All in all, if this fails, I will have wasted 15 dollars, not much for a lesson in curing my own ham.

I have also ordered a brine injector from Amazon, but it wont't be here for another 3 weeks, so I have time to experiment with just curing, before moving on to pump/cure.

Thanks once again.
Andreas
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Re: Ruhlman vs 2:1 brine method: A little help please!

Postby wheels » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:36 pm

There are details on here about the curing of a 1 kg piece of meat. When you have the details of the meat and proposed cure, I can 'crunch' the numbers for you based on the results from that if you like.

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