Curing is an essential practice for pork and meat lovers. It increases the shelf life while adding flavor to meat. It has been used as a preservation method for many years. The process involves removing moisture through osmosis, which prevents microbes from growing. As a result, it preserves the meat and imbues it with a rich, savory flavor.
Individuals use sea or kosher salt, sugar, black pepper, paprika, and other spices to cure meat. Some people also include preservatives like sodium nitrate and nitrite sold under the “curing salt” or “pink salt” category. Read on to learn how to dry cure pork.
What is Dry Curing, and What Are Its Benefits?
Dry curing is among the ways of curing meat. Here, individuals dip their meat in a salt container and other herbs and whole spices (though it’s not mandatory) for some time. Doing that removes moisture from the meat and preserves the ingredient while adding savory flavor.
Cured meats are tasty compared to those stored in a freezer as they tend to degrade with time. In fact, that’s the main benefit of curing meat. Also, the process is simple and inexpensive compared to using a freezer that needs electricity to run, which adds to the energy bills.
What You Need to Cure Pork at Home?
Curing is basically introducing salt to the pork while removing moisture. Therefore, salt is the key ingredient. You can use coarse salt without iodine or kosher salt. Please measure cures by weight and not volume when deciding the amount of salt to use. Note that a cup of salt can weigh 150-270g, depending on the type.
You’ll also need curing salts which help remove botulism and make your meat safe. Additionally, you need white or brown cane sugar to add flavor and reduce salt’s harshness. But if you don’t fancy sugar, you can use maple syrup, honey, corn syrup, or agave syrup.
Lastly, you will need herbs and spices for flavoring. But these aren’t mandatory. So don’t feel pressured if you don’t like them.
Steps to Dry Cure Pork
Mix all the curing ingredients, that is, salts, spices, sugar, and any other flavor add-on products you have. Make sure to stir them thoroughly until they are properly mixed. Please be careful with the portions to avoid over-flavoring. Generally, if curing, say, 2.3kg of belly pork, use 75g of kosher or coarse salt, two tablespoons of pink curing salt, and ¼ a cup of sugar or syrup.
Place your pork in a container big enough to hold it. Remember to set a small ramekin upside down at the container’s bottom. You can use plastic, glass, or enamel containers. But avoid metal ones as they will change your pork’s flavor. Since the pork gives liquid, putting it in a ramekin prevents it from curing in its juice.
Coat the pork meat with the dry cure. Take your pork from the container and put it on a platter or cutting board. Then cover it with the mixture. Use your hands to rub the mixture into every part of the pork.
Store your pork. Once you are convinced that all parts are covered by the dry cure, place it back in the container. Ensure that it’s propped up on the side of the ramekin that’s upside down. Then, cover it with a lid and place it in a fridge. Please remember to remove it from the refrigerator and turn it over every two days.
Remove and cure your pork. After one week, take the meat from the fridge, and rinse with cool water to dry moisture from the cure. Then, pat with a paper towel until the meat is dry.
After, put your meat in a muslin bag and hang it for a week. Don’t forget to tie a knot at the end of the muslin bag to allow you to hang the meat in a cool, dry place. This isn’t a mandatory step, but it helps with the flavor.
Heat your pork. After one week, cut your meat into pieces; thick, thick pieces are often advised. Then cook it how you like. You can fry, grill, or roast it. Remember to put back uncooked pork in the fridge in an air-tight container.
Tips on Curing Pork Meat at Home
During meat curing, the main thing to remember is to observe proper food sanitation. Always keep your foods cold, approximately between 36-40° F/2-5° C. Your workplace should be cleaned and sanitized. Practice period cleaning or change your cutting boards when preparing different meats. This will help you avoid cross sanitization.
Additionally, you can try curing with different herbs and spices to create flavor variations. Just remember not to use too much. Also, try to keep the temperature as constant as possible when making a pork dry cure. 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended since warm temperatures can spoil the meat, while extremely low temperatures can interfere with the curing process.
Curing is advised for the preservation of pork. Aside from that, it can add flavor, making your meat tastier. We hope you learned how to cure pork correctly from this guide.