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CURING MEAT WITH MORTON'S ..

Posted By: Joe Ames
Date: Sunday, October 28, 2001 at 9:49 a.m.

ONLY TWO CURING METHODS

There are only two major methods of curing meat; the Dry Cure and the Brine or Sweet Pickle Cure.
The Dry Cure is the method most generally used, especially for the heavier cuts such as hams, shoulders, and bacon. The Sweet Pickle Cure is more generally used for the smaller pieces. Either the Dry or Sweet Pickle Cure is good. The method used is a matter of personal preference.
Morton Sugar Cure and Morton Tender-Quick may be used for either Cure.

SALT ALONE CANNOT PRODUCE HIGHEST QUALITY MEAT

The highest quality cured meat cannot be turned out, when salt alone is used, because salt alone hardens the muscle fibers and tends to make the meat over-salty and dry.
To produce quality cured meat other ingredients must be blended with the salt in the correct proportions, and when this is done the cure is then termed the “Dry Sugar Cure” if used in dry form, or the “Sweet Pickle Cure” when used in the brine form.
Morton Sugar Cure contains salt, sugar, saltpetre, black and red pepper, a combination of spices. It is available in two forms: without smoke and with natural hickory smoke flavor. This makes it a complete sugar-curing salt, and a complete product of this kind produces the highest quality meat.

CAREFULLY BLENDED INGREDIENTS FOR QUALITY AND SAFETY
Salt is the basic curing ingredient for meat, but to produce a pleasing flavor and a high quality finished product it is necessary to blend the other ingredients with the salt. The sugar tends to retard the hardening action of the salt and gives a more pleasing, milder flavor to the meat. The peppers and spices give a delicious balance to the flavor and improve the keeping qualities after the cure is completed.
The saltpetre strikes in ahead of the salt and helps bring out and retain the rich, cherry red color so desirable in cured meats. The natural hickory smoke flavor imparts the flavoring properties of wood smoke to the meat while it is curing. This method of curing and flavoring at the same time saves extra work and does the job safer and adds new delicious flavor to the meat.

Morton’s perfectly blended Sugar Cure makes the practical cure for applying on the outside of the meat. In addition to applying Sugar Cure on the outside of the meat a better and more uniform job of curing can be done if the meat is pumped along the bone and at the joints when it is put in cure. Morton Tender-Quick is the ideal product to use for making the pumping pickle.
Tender Quick is a special cure perfected for the purpose of pumping along the bone area in hams and shoulders, for pumping extra large bacon, and for making into a pickle for curing the smaller pieces.
Tender-Quick consists of the highest grade meat salt and a combination of super quality curing ingredients so accurately proportioned and so perfectly blended that it produces a fast cure, improves flavor, makes meat more tender,, and prevents over-saltiness.

A QUICKER CURE the natural bacteria that are always present in the blood and tissues of live hogs begin to multiply as soon as the hog is butchered.
It is important to get a good bleed and a good chill as soon as possible after the hogs are butchered to help hold this natural bacterial action in check until the curing ingredients have had time to penetrate into the fibers of the meat and set up curing action. A good job of chilling arrests the bacterial action long enough to give the salt and curing ingredients an opportunity to strike in and start the cure. In large pieces of meat, such as hams and shoulders, the bone joints are always the danger spots because bacterial action develops fastest around the bone area. If the meat is not properly bled the many small tendons, ligaments and tiny muscles form a convenient place for the collection of blood. If the meat is not properly chilled out, gases and interior animal heat will be retained. When the cure is applied on the outside of the meat, it must work entirely through the thick meaty portions of the hams and shoulders and into the bone area before the natural bacterial action can be arrested around the bones and joints, and it is in this area that the natural bacteria multiply the fastest and can most quickly cause bone taint.
That is why the easiest, quickest, and safest way to cure hams and shoulders is to pump a pickle made with TenderQuick along the bone area and apply Sugar Cure in the regular way to cure from the outside toward the center.

MORTON’S “COMBINATION” CURE
Using Morton Sugar Cure and Tender-Quick in this manner is termed the “Combination” cure. Tender-Quick cures from the inside bone area outward and Sugar Cure strikes in from the outside.
Tender-Quick makes a perfect pumping pickle. The only practical way to apply the Tender-Quick pickle along the bones and at the joints is to dissolve Tender-Quick in water, making a pickle which can be drawn up into a Meat Pump and then injected into the meat along the bone. The water used for making the pickle should be boiled first and allowed to cool.

The Tender-Quick pickle, when pumped into the meat, starts curing around the bone area immediately. It does not make the meat over-salty, and helps eliminate bone taint.
As soon as the Tender-Quick pickle has been pumped along the bones, Sugar Cure can be applied on the outside of the meat in the regular manner. By using this combination cure the cure starts both inside and outside at the same time. The hams and shoulders will be delicately pink, delicious in flavor, and perfectly and uniformly cured throughout. The bone area will be just as well cured as the balance of the ham and there will be no over or under-cured spots. It’s the cure itself that makes fine hams and bacon. Morton Sugar Cure and Tender-Quick contain everything necessary for perfect curing.

MORE INFO’

First pump the larger pieces, and pieces that have bone, with a Tender Quick pumping pickle, pumping 1 to 1 1/2 oz. of pickle per pound of meat.

After the meat is pumped, use about 7 lbs. Tender Quick per 100. Lbs of meat.
Divide the Tender Quick into approximately three equal parts and first rub the meat with one-third of the Tender Quick.
Then in three or four hours rub on the second one-third and after twenty-four hours rub on the balance.
Pack the meat in a stone crock, box or barrel for curing, putting the larger pieces on the bottom and the smaller ones on top.
Over-haul and repack the meat in a different position when the curing time is about one-half up.
The meat should remain in cure for about 1 1/2 days per pound; for example, 6 lb. pieces 9 days; 10 lb. pieces 15 days. Where a light cure is
desired, leave the meat in cure only one day per pound.

When the curing time is finished, brush off the surplus cure, or lightly wash each piece in tepid water and let the meat dry thoroughly. After the pieces are thoroughly dry, wrap them in parchment paper and hang away in the driest, coolest, best ventilated place available. If the meat is damp when hung away, or kept in a damp, warm place, it will mold much faster than if it is kept dry and cool and in a well ventilated place. A little mold, however, does not hurt the meat as it can easily be washed off with vinegar or trimmed off when the meat is used.

SUGGESTED USAGE LEVELS

To make the pickle, use water that has previously been boiled and cooled, and mix Tender-Quick with the water, stirring until it dissolves.

For curing meat that is to be kept for varying lengths of time the following ratio of water and Tender-Quick should be used:

2 1/2 lbs. of Tender-Quick to 3 quarts of water for meat that is to be carried over the summer or for meat that is to be kept 8 months to a year before being used.

2 1/2 lbs. of Tender-Quick per gallon of water for meat that is to be kept for only 3 to 6 months.

2 lbs. of Tender-Quick per gallon of water for meat that is to be used within 30 to 60 days.

The amount of Tender Quick pumping pickle to use is 1 to 1 1/2 oz. of pickle per pound of meat.
For ready reference the following shows the amounts of Tender-Quick for making a full strength pumping pickle which is to be used for curing meat that is kept 8 to 12 months:

2 1/2 lbs. of Tender-Quick to 3 quarts of water will make 96 oz. of pumping pickle.

5 lbs. of Tender-Quick to 1 1/2 gallons of water will make 192 oz. of pumping pickle.

10 lbs. of Tender Quick to 3 gallons of water will make 384 oz. of pumping pickle.

Submerge the entire needle of the pump in the pickle and pull up on the handle to draw the pump full of pickle. When first drawing up the pickle before starting to pump meat, work the handle back and forth a few times to get the barrel full of pickle without air pockets. For the most sanitary job the pump needle should be dipped in boiling water before it is used, and while pumping meat do not touch the needle with the hands or lay it down. When the pump is not in use let it stand needle end down in the jar or crock that contains the pickle.

Pump 1 to 11/2 oz. of pickle per pound of meat.

DRY CURE

First pump the larger pieces, and pieces that have bone, with a Tender-Quick pumping pickle, pumping 1 to 1 1/2 oz. of pickle per pound of meat.

After the meat is pumped, use about 7 lbs. Tender-Quick per 100. Lbs of meat.
Divide the Tender-Quick into approximately three equal parts and first rub the meat with one-third of the Tender Quick.
Then in three or four hours rub on the second one-third and after twenty-four hours rub on the balance.
Pack the meat in a stone crock, box or barrel for curing, putting the larger pieces on the bottom and the smaller ones on top.
Over-haul and repack the meat in a different position when the curing time is about one-half up.
The meat should remain in cure for about 1 1/2 days per pound; for example, 6 lb. pieces 9 days; 10 lb. pieces 15 days. Where a light cure is
desired, leave the meat in cure only one day per pound.

When the curing time is finished, brush off the surplus cure, or lightly wash each piece in tepid water and let the meat dry thoroughly. After the pieces are thoroughly dry, wrap them in parchment paper and hang away in the driest, coolest, best ventilated place available. If the meat is damp when hung away, or kept in a damp, warm place, it will mold much faster than if it is kept dry and cool and in a well ventilated place. A little mold, however, does not hurt the meat as it can easily be washed off with vinegar or trimmed off when the meat is used.

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