Curing meat is a great way to not only preserve it but make it tastier and more enjoyable! Here’s how to do it at home!
Curing meats can be done at home and with minimal effort, let’s see how in the following paragraphs!
Type of Meat
The first step is to select the right type of meat that you want to cure. Fresh pork, beef, or lamb are all good choices. According to theonlinegrill.com/meat-curing, the meat quality is the most important as if you use high-quality meat for curing, you’ll have high-quality results. The meat should be trimmed and free of excess fat. Fat will spoil faster than the meat and can cause off-flavors.
Depending on the meat, you can use a variety of seasonings to start infusing the meat. For example, pork benefits from adding garlic and nutmeg while beef loves onion powder, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Celery seed and black pepper are also great additions to any meat. Besides these, you can add your own favorites or experiment with different combinations to create a flavor profile that’s all your own.
Salt and Sugar
The next step is to combine the salt and sugar. The general ratio for curing meats is 1/4 cup of salt per 1/2 gallon of water. For the cure to work, the sugar and salt must be in contact with the meat. To do this, you can either rub the cure all over the meat or place it in a bag or container and cover it completely with the cure. Make sure to refrigerate the meat while it is curing.
Many people use sea salt thinking the color of sea salt makes meat look more appealing but this isn’t always true. The impurities in sea salts can actually discolor your meat. When selecting a good curing salt avoid iodized table salts because they contain anti-caking agents that will spoil fast causing off-flavors. A rock or kosher salt are good options for curing meats at home as long as the amounts listed on the package are followed (1/4 cup of salt per 1/2 gallon of water).
As for sugars, you can use any type that you want. Molasses, honey, maple syrup, and corn syrup are all good options for adding some flavor to your meats. This is not necessary though as curing meat is a great way to preserve it and have a delicious treat later on.
The amount of time that you need to cure your meat will depend on the type of meat that you are using as well as how thick it is sliced. For thin cuts, you only need to cure them for 4 hours while thicker cuts of meat should be cured for 7-10 days.
Again, the temperature of your refrigerator will also affect how fast or slow the meat cures. The lower the temperature, the longer it will take for the meat to cure. Also keep in mind that during the curing process, raw meat is being transformed into an ingredient that can carry dangerous bacteria before it has completed this transformation. Make sure that you are not leaving any meat out of refrigeration for more than two hours before cooking and make sure you do use any leftovers within 3-4 days of cooking them if they aren’t eaten right away.
Once the meat has been cured, you have a few different storage options. You can either freeze it, vacuum seal it and freeze it, dry it, or smoke it. Smoking the meat will add an extra layer of flavor and is a great way to preserve your meat.
No matter how you choose to store your cured meats, make sure that they are in an airtight container and kept in a cool, dark place. This will help them last for months (or even years) without losing any flavor or nutritional value.
Before cooking, make sure that you get rid of any excess salt by soaking the meat for an hour or more in freshwater. If the salt is not removed before cooking, you risk either causing the meat to be tough or salty-tasting which will ruin its natural flavor. The best way to cook cured meats is by grilling, roasting, or pan-frying them.
It takes time and effort to prepare meats for curing but the final product is worth it. You can use a variety of seasonings or just salt, sugar, and water to infuse your meat with flavor that will last for weeks in an airtight container. Smoking your cured meats also adds another layer of flavor while preserving them for months (or even years) without losing any nutritional value or taste. Whether you decide to freeze it, vacuum seal it, dry it out-there are many ways you can store your delicious cured meats!