Smoking Techniques > Cold Smoking

Duck Bacon - Too much cure?

(1/2) > >>

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?


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 non-reactive 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 3-4 hours before smoking). Once completely dry, cold smoke according to your preferred method.

Habanero Smoker:
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.   

Habanero Smoker:

--- Quote from: DADAKOTA on December 21, 2017, 06:32:14 am ---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.   

--- End quote ---

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
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.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version