Cured Whole Muscle Meat 101 - What Is It?

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    Cured Whole Muscle Meat 101 - What Is It?

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!


    What Is Cured Whole Muscle Meat?

    Cured whole muscle meats are any whole muscle cut of meat that you are going to cure and cook. Popular examples of this would be Bacon and Hams. Generally, these are larger thicker cuts of meat that we want to cook slowly so curing allows us to make sure the meat stays safe through the cooking process and we sometimes need to use different methods to effectively apply the cure.

    Curing Bacon

    When curing bacon you can inject the cure directly into the belly or rub the outside of the belly with a cure and allow osmosis to bring to the cure to the center of the meat. Since bellies are generally a thinner cut of meat either of these methods, as well as vacuum tumbling, works perfectly fine.

    Curing Ham

    When we start talking about thicker cuts of meat, like a ham, we need to either change the cure we are going to be using or change the method of introducing the cure. Dry rubbing a thick cut like this with a normal cure is going to cause problems as the cure might lose it’s effectiveness before it fully penetrates the meat, for this reason, we always prefer to inject large whole muscle meats with the cure solution and then follow that up with vacuum tumbling or brining in a 50% strength solution.

    Holding Period

    The meat must then be held to allow the cure to work in the meat. If you are using a traditional cure that contains Nitrites and no additives then you will hold it for 5-7 days after injecting, or if you are using a cure accelerator you need to hold it overnight or if you are vacuum tumbling you can go almost directly to the smokehouse.


    Since these cuts have been cured with Nitrates or Nitrites they can be slow smoked and since the cuts are so thick cooking times can be extreme. It is not uncommon for hams to take over 12 hours to be fully cooked.


    Cured and fully cooked meats still need to be stored in the refrigerator, for the longest shelf life they should be vacuum packed first.

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    @cayenneman That is more like smoking pork butts or brisket. I did a whole wild turkey at 225F and since there is so little fat on them to start with I used it to make a turkey noodle soup and that little bit of extra smoke on the turkey is a game changer! I used the bones to make the stock and it also had a little smokeyness to it, delicious. Don’t be afraid to run the smoker up 225-250F. Just make sure get it warm and dry before putting the smoke to it so it will stick better.

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  • @rhjbarney That is the second time in recent weeks I have heard sausage referred to as Cigars, I like it and I am sure I can come up with a clever (for me at least) social media post about it. Also, I use a lot of the pictures our users post here on Walton’s Instagram, Facebook and twitter accounts and also Meratgistics Face Book accounts. Consider this my shameless plug to follow our social media accounts.

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  • @Boxie Give us as much information as you can on your process and we will see if we can figure it out. So, it was 60% pork and 40% venison? What cuts of pork did you use? How much water, what seasoning, what was your mixing and grinding like, did you get enough protein extraction, what was your smoke schedule?. Pretty much as much detail as you can give will help because at 60/40 with carrot fiber there is no reason it should be dry.

    Oh, and what tye of sausage were you making?

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