BRADLEY SMOKER  "Taste the Great Outdoors"
Smoking Techniques => Cold Smoking => Topic started by: DADAKOTA on December 19, 2017, 01:45:49 pm

Found this recipe for duck bacon. Six duck breast halves weigh about 2.5 pounds. Doesn't this seem like way too much pink salt? Or is it OK given the short curing time? Any idea what kind of IT I should try to get?
Recipe:
4 cups cold water
1 cup kosher salt
2 1/2 tablespoons curing salt (pink salt)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup brewed strong coffee
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 cups ice
6 Duck Breast halves or 3 whole breasts ( recommended Hudson Valley Duck Farm)
Place the duck breasts in a large nonreactive container or a large ziplock bag and set aside.
In a large bowl, dissolve the kosher and curing salts in the cold water. Stir in the brown sugar and mix until mostly dissolved, then add the coffee and maple syrup. Finally add the ice to the brine, this is the keep the liquid cold to slow the salt absorption. Add the brine to the container or bag holding the duck breasts. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours.
After the 8 hours, remove the breasts, rinse and dry overnight (if the brine was started early in the day, otherwise let dry for 34 hours before smoking). Once completely dry, cold smoke according to your preferred method.

I would check to make sure the original source of the recipe matches the recipe you posted. I was on the Hudson Valley Duck Farm, and couldn't find the recipe.
Depending on what salt you are using can make a big difference in this recipe. If the amount of salt is pickling or table salt, it would work for 4 quarts (1 gallon), but may be way too high for the 7 cups of water the recipe is calling for. If it is Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, then it would be alright  since by weight you will be using 50% less salt. If it is Morton Kosher salt, you will be using about 75% of the amount pickling salt would be; but I feel that is also a little high. I would recommend either using Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, or 1/2 cup pickling salt, and still use the same brining time.
The amount of liquid in this recipe equals 8.5 cups (which includes the ice, coffee and maple syrup). That is just over of 1/2 gallon: 2 1/2 tablespoons = 1.4 ounces of cure. I use about 3 ounces of cure #1 (pink salt) per gallon, for most of my wet brines. You can up to 4.2 ounces per gallon and still stay within safe limits. So the amount of cure in this recipe is within safe levels.

Thanks Hab. I thought pink salt was on a pound of meat basis (1 ounce per 25 pounds or 1 tsp per 5 pounds of meat). Is there a listing of ratios per cup or gallon of liquid for a brine? The recipe was copy and pasted off the net.

Thanks Hab. I thought pink salt was on a pound of meat basis (1 ounce per 25 pounds or 1 tsp per 5 pounds of meat). Is there a listing of ratios per cup or gallon of liquid for a brine? The recipe was copy and pasted off the net.
The measurements you are referring to applies to dry (brining) curing the meat. It is a whole different set of measurements when it comes to wet (brining) curing. You are diluting the cure, the same as you are diluting the salt  that is why the salt is much higher in a wet cure than it is in a dry cure.
I haven't seen a table on the internet that breaks down the amount of cure per volume of liquid, and you can't use those cure calculators on the internet; because all of the ones I've come across are for dry cures; not for wet cures.
The other issue is, if you search for different wet cure recipes, you will find that different wet cure recipes may vary the amount of cure they add to their brine; it depends on what they want for the final result. You may come across a recipe that only has 2 teaspoons per gallon. That is mostly for adding color to the meat, without altering the flavor. Then you will see other recipes that may have as much as 4 tablespoons per gallon (4.2 ounces); that amount gives the meat a stronger/more characteristic ham or bacon like flavor. The USDA maximum nitrite parts per million (ppm) is 200 ppm; which is the 4.2 ounces per gallon of liquid. Some say you can go as high as 5 ounces per gallon. Though that brings you over the 200 ppm; during the smoking process the nitrites break down. The USDA has not set minimum ppm, but most reliable sites state that as long as you have 40 ppm, that is enough to protect the food during the smoking process. The below link will take you to a site that has a lot of information, but I haven't seen a table like the one you are looking for.
Making A Brine (https://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausagemaking/curing/makingbrine)
scroll down to wet brining. It will contain some of the information you are looking for.
There is a formula (which can be a little complex to use the first several times). I'll try to locate it and post it. Once you decide on the amount of liquid, and the ppm, for example  you have 64 ounces of water, and you want a cure that has a nitrite level of 156 ppm; the formula will calculate how much cure #1 (pink salt) you will need.

Thank you very much. Will await the formula. Off to secure more ducks for bacon.

I haven't forgotten. It took me awhile to locate the formula. I should have it posted tomorrow morning. It's been a while since I last used it, so I need to refresh my understanding of it.

Here is the formula. It looks a little intimidating, but once you use it a few times it's like simple math.
A few things you should know right at the beginning. Like all formulas you have to know all the values except the unknown; the unknown being how much cure to add to the brine. For this formula, to find out how much cure to add, you need to know the weight of the brine (that includes the liquids, salt and sugar), the amount of sodium nitrite in the cure mix (when using cure #1, Prague Powder #1  that amount will be 0.0625); and finally what ratio of sodium nitrite (ppm) you want the final brine to have.
Though this formula will calculate the amount of cure needed to bring the brine up the ppm you predetermined, it does not calculate the actual final ppm the meat has absorbed. This is due to the amount of salt in the brine – more salt means faster curing times. The temperature of your refrigerator – the colder the slower the curing times etc. Injecting can bring the ppm very close to the amount of ppm in the brine, but for smaller, thinner cuts of meat like duck breast, it is not necessary to inject. Just remember you are not making a commercial product that has to meet federal standards exactly. You are making a home product that is safe to consume. As I mentioned in an earlier post the safe ppm range for sodium nitrite in a wet brine to have a safe product is 40ppm  200ppm. If you are planning to fry the cured food, you should keep you ppm around 130ppm  156ppm. Though you will not probably be injecting, you need to keep that part into the formula, or I find the formula will not work.
Formula:
X = Amount of cure mix
Y = PPM (sodium nitrite parts per million that you determine you need)
W = Total weight of the brine.
N = Sodium Nitrite
Z = percentage of injection
X = Y x W/ Z x N x 1,000,000
Example: X is the unknown; and you want the sodium nitrite to be at 150 ppm. So now you have you first value of 150 ppm. The total weight of the brine; water (and most liquids, such as the coffee, maple syrup) will weight 8.33 pounds per gallon. So if you use a half gallon of liquid that will be 4.16 pound, plus the Diamond Cryptal Salt will be about .3 lbs. (5 oz.); that makes your brine approximately 4.46 lbs., we will plug in a percentage of 10%; that is your third value, the sodium nitrite is already known to be 0.0625. Though it will not be necessary to inject your duck breast, the formula won't work correctly if you don't plug in that value 10% makes it easier to calculate.
x = 150 ppm x 4.46 lbs. / .10 x 0.0625 x 1,000,000
x = 669 ppmlbs. / 6,250
x = 0.10704 lbs.; rounded off to .11 lbs.
Since the amount of cure mixture is in pounds, unless you have a scale that reads pound to the hundredth; you must finish the formula by converting pounds to ounces.
So X = 1.76 oz.
It is early; so hopefully may math is correct.

Thanks. That is a bunch of information.

If I didn't make something clear, let me know. It took me awhile to understand the formula.
Also I forgot to state, that when a recipe calls for a cup of ice I use mass; not volume. So if a recipe calls for 1 cup of ice would I will weigh 8 ounces of ice.