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How to Wet Cure (Brine) Ham at Home: It's Easier Than You Think!


John D Lee is a chef and restauranteur living and working in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He's always loved to cook.

Put Your OWN Ham in That Sandwich!!!



Home-cured and smoked ham doesn't seem as though it should sneak into any sort of "easy cooking" recipe compilation. It's something that sounds hard to do, that few people know how to do, and that does take a long time, but home-cured ham is actually very easy to make! Home curing your own ham (wet cure) takes just a few minutes of active work, and about a week of waiting until you are left with a ham you have preserved yourself.

There are two kinds of American ham, of course, wet-cured and dry-cured. The famous hams of Virginia are dry-cured, and they cannot, unfortunately, be reproduced in a week inside your refrigerator. The hams that you buy pre-cooked at the supermarket can, and you can make them better at home.

Home curing a ham is quite safe, but you will need to get a hold of some insta cure #1 (also called pink salt or D.Q. curing salt, among other things). This ready to use curing salt is sold as a pre-mixed combination of 93.75% salt and 6.25% nitrite. It is the nitrite that guards against the slim possibility of botulism, and also what gives the ham its rosy pink finish. Nitrite in high concentrations is toxic, so measure carefully (but don't be scared either!!!). You can find this curing salt in better supermarkets and specialty food stores.

Step 1

Buy a fresh ham leg (uncured pork), a half fresh ham, or a piece of fresh ham in whatever size you're comfortable with. I am using the term "ham" here to refer to the hind leg section of a pig—you must buy fresh, not already cured pork. The size doesn't matter; buy it as big or small as you are comfortable with.

Step 2

Prepare the brine.

I use a brine recipe from Michael Rhulman's book, Charcuterie (which is excellent).

  • 2 liters of water
  • ¾ cup of kosher salt
  • 1 cup of brown sugar (1 packed cup)
  • 4 teaspoons of pink salt (insta cure #1) (4 teaspoons)

Stir all ingredients together until dissolved. This brine can be multiplied as needed, and if you are doing a whole ham, you will probably need to double it.

Step 3

Place your pork in a bowl or pot that is large enough to hold the meat completely submerged in the brine, but one small enough to fit in your fridge. Add the cold brine to the pork, and lay a heavy plate on top of the floating meat to keep it submerged.

Keep it in the fridge until done. It will cure at the rate of 2 pounds per day. A large ham will take about a week.

Step 4

Rinse it off and prepare it in any way you enjoy it. This ham is better if smoked (see here for instructions on hot smoking a fresh ham), but you can just as easily bake it or fry off slices unsmoked, and it will still be great. It has become ham—it is done!

Curing your own ham is pretty easy. I think it tastes better than commercial hams that tend to contain lengthy and questionable ingredient lists, and when fresh pork ham is on sale, it can be very economical. Plus it's kind of neat to make your own ham!

A last tip: If you find the ham too salty, you can soak it in clean water in the fridge for a couple of hours to leach out some of the salt. I don't tend to find that this is necessary.

© 2008 John D Lee


Tony Inzana ( ajitony09@gmail.com on December 22, 2019:

Would You cure bacon's with that same brine recipe?

Phillip from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2019:

I am going to use this recipe to brine a whole ham. Is it a good idea to inject the brine around the bone before submersing the ham in the brine for the required period of time?

Paul Bates on November 16, 2018:

It's that time of year again!! I bought an XL Big Green Egg a few years back. As I started to venture out I found your brine recipe online and love, love, love, it. It is my go to when brining ham. I am about to use it and brine 10 pork tenderloins to feed 300 people.

Thanks, Paul

Susie on December 16, 2017:

I inadvertently bought a ready cured piece of pork! I’d like to marinate it in cider. Will it work?

Wendy on December 05, 2017:

I recently learnt how to make a one viss ham. After keeping in the fridge for 3weeks, we soak the meat in water for one hour, then boil in water until it bubbles and then again we boiled the meat in beer until the skin comes off. Once ready and cool down, we design square shapes with a knife on the fat part. Then we rub honey and some shredded bread on the fat side and place cloves on each small square before baking. It smells like smoke ham even though we did not actually smoke it.

Paul Bates on October 26, 2017:

Used this recipe, and love it! I have brined fresh pork hams and gave them away for christmas gifts. Never a fail!

DavidH0166 on September 19, 2017:

Did the wet cure on a boneless pork leg. Worked a treat. Kept half for gammon steak and the other half I boiled up. Tasted absolutely great. Oh yes and the skin made for some very nice pork crackling.

mike habin on June 09, 2017:

can anybody give me any idea of how much liquid smoke you put in the curing liquid for 3kgs of ham??

J.W.Davis on May 21, 2017:

My buddy and I went hog hunting this weekend I shot a 450 pound hog I had one ham left whole and the other cut into ham steaks what can I do to perserve the whole ham until I am ready to smoke it

? I have it in the freezer now?

Billy1234 on March 20, 2017:

Thanks love it

Rex Ellzey on January 10, 2017:

I'm a devoted stick burnner, but I've been wanting to try my hand at curing my own pork.

Can't wait to get started.

Thanks for the information.

sherri on November 26, 2016:

Hi! I followed your recipe except for the curing salt. I used only 1 1/2 tsp because my meat was about 3 kg. Ive read that for every 2 kg of meat, 1 tsp of prague powder is needed. Do u need think this will taste as great? Give me ur thoughts. Thanks

Wuntun on November 11, 2016:

I use Sure Cure made by Excalibur for curing my bacons and hams. A one ounce package will do 25 lbs of meat. It costs me $1.00 a package at my butchers shop. I've used Morton Tenderquick a couple of times because I was out of sure cure and my butcher lives 40 miles away. Tender quick works very well but it takes 1 tablespoon per pound of meat because it has only 0.5% sodium nitrate and 0.5% sodium nitrate. There's nothing like home cured bacon, hams and sausages. Been doing it for years

mike on November 13, 2015:

Hi. I was wondering when curing do you have to inject cure around the bone?

aj on October 31, 2015:

What would be the proporTions be for curing gammon

hideho39 on June 10, 2014:

If I wet cure a ham can I slice a piece off and eat it without further cooking?

Dawn on January 31, 2014:

Just want to say thank you for this post. My husband and I have just made our first ham for Christmas. I generally dislike ham but this was so different and wonderful. I have just bought another green ham and we are going to make another.

geoff on January 07, 2014:

I don't like sweet taste, what is the effect other than taste by the sugar?

paulo - philippines on December 04, 2013:

I just bought 6.5lbs pork, followed the recipe, will inform you of the progress, by the way, i used a gallon size ziploc to keep the ham inside the fridge.

av on October 28, 2013:

Hi, I have started curing my ham, but I dont have an opportunity to smoke it. how would I bake it?? how much heat? how long??

your help would be greatly appreciated. thank you

lisa on November 14, 2012:

Do I have to use nitrates to cure my own ham I have two children who are sensitive to nitrates can I use extra salt to cure the ham instead. I would to try curing my own ham to buy a ham that is organic, perservative free, nitrate free is very expansive. I hope you can help

scjscj on April 30, 2012:

Comment to Lamb Lover.

Can't comment on lamb, but I cure ham hocks and beef regularly in exactly the manner you describe. I always have liquid. I turn the meat daily, leave the liquid until finished and have had no problems.


Lamb Lover... on April 23, 2012:

I recent had my first taste of lamb ham...yes I know what you're thinking. Anyway, I did a made a dry curing rub without potassium nitrate and placed lamb in sealed plastic bag in drawer in frig in my creative attempt at making my own lamb ham. It's been 5 days and now there is liquid in the bag. Did I fail at my attempt? The lamb doesn't smell like it's spoiled. Is it okay to remove the liquid and continue the refrigerated curing processing? Help wanted...please

Red Keg Will on April 03, 2012:

I am a sufferer of CHF and Hypertension. As such I am limited to 1000mg Na/day. To this end I make Na free bread, sausages, dips, mayonassise, spice mixes, and the only item I haven't worked out is a taste alike ham. Since all my meat products are immediately frozen after production I'm not concerned about long term room temp or reefer temp storage. I have the nitrates and FD&C #3 (the pink color in the pink salts)available I'm wondering if I can delete the salt and use the sugar as carrier of the nitrate and pink colorant? I Know it won't taste salty but hopefully an appropriate spice mix will take its place

vkyr on February 18, 2012:

just want to be enlightened::4 tsp praque powder #1(7 lbs pork?);..in my case i put 10tsp praque powder#1 @ 7 lbs pork..have undergone rinsing the cured ham 3 times,soaked to warm water,boiled,and cooked in pineapple juice,etc..until now i haven't eaten yet the ham..it's just in the freezer, afraid of overdosing praque..pls advise...thanks

guest on February 05, 2012:

Great information.

I was reading about the dangers of nitrite and have to say that at the amounts your using you would have to eat 12lbs plus in your mouth at the same time to be dangerous. nitrite converts in your body so fast that it would have to be really high. As a carcinogen it only becomes dangerous in bacon because ppl tend to fry bacon at extreme temperatures. I believe it's around 700 degrees that it gets dangerous so most governments require by law that stores keep there bacon at under 100 parts per million. Which greatly reduces the risks of cancer...

I live in Canada and I know here as I work as a cure/smokehouse operator for a small butcher shop that this is the case here.

Also since these are legislated here the government has very useful information regarding this information.

And fyi smokies and ham in Canada are allow 200 parts per million nitrite

Jennifer Mondora (Australia) on January 29, 2012:

Hi Guys, I have bought my leg of pork but it is much smaller. I am about to start the brining and will follow the recipe to a T except for this pink salt. We do have pink salt naturally in Australia. Will that do or will I use a professional brining mix. I have a schmickey new electronic smoker and have done some beautiful smoked salmon and Barramundi to die for using rum and maple syrup with Alder wood for smoking. I can do shop marinated pork ribs in with this. Beautiful! I will report back on how this works out. Our outside temperature is 34.5 CELCIUS Bloody hot hence the electronics for control. Wish me luck-pork is expensive here!

sweetie of cebu city philippines on December 23, 2011:

is it still safe if the ham i am curing was cured for 3 weeks? help!!!!!im afraid of botulism and concentration of the nitrite in the meat...

A shot in the dark on December 21, 2011:

I decided to experiment with your recipe this Xmas, but I think I may have made a big mistake.

I put it in the fridge and the brine got around 38 degrees so I took it out for a bit to let the temperature raise. I forgot it and left it out for 7 hours.

I put it back in the fridge as soon as I foundit, is it ruined? Should I throw it out? Or will the curing salts/ nitrate make it ok? Please help!!!

robin h on December 08, 2011:

I just did the Wet Cure and then a dry cure from a defrosted pork, and then hung it up my chimney (old english house!) to smoke.

I've just cooked it but I'm wondering whether I can refreeze it, or whether it will keep in the fridge until Boxing Day (day after Christmas Day)

Many thanks,


Dave Covin on November 30, 2011:

Hi, John,

Great post. I am definitely going to try it. How did you arrive at your cure time of 2 # a day? The information I got from the University of Oklahoma says 3 1/2 to 4 days per pound. That is a huge range. Did you inject your ham, or just depend on immersion?

Li Kane on November 20, 2011:

My ham has a couple more hours in the smoker, but tried a piece about 3 hours into the smoking--a bit salty for me, hoping some of that will go away as the meat finishes smoking. But even with that, totally yummy. I'm very fortunate to have a friend with a small farm--chickens, cattle, and this year, for the first time, pigs. The chickens are free range, the cattle are pasture fed, as were the pigs, once they were big enough to not get through the fence. I bought a share in a cow earlier this year, and bought a whole pig, paid for the feed and butchering, and picked it up 2 weeks ago. I have another ham, plus side meat for bacon. I think I'll use apple in the smoker for those, and substitute maple syrup for part of the sugar in brining the bacon. And why I see no reason why white sugar can't be substituted for brown, as it's a lot cheaper, you can make brown sugar at home. Just put white sugar in a food processor, and put in enough unsulphured molasses to turn it to brown sugar. Don't know offhand the exact amount, I winged it for this ham. I'm sure the exact proportions can be searched on-line.

jimmy Jackson on November 02, 2011:

I am starting from scratch using Morton' Sugar Insta-Cure. How much of the Insta-cure do I add to how much water for the brine and injection mixture? I seem to find varied answers on the net to this question.

nanapong on September 23, 2011:

The time period to leave a loin , a leg or belly in brine seems a bit wishy washy and not uniform at all with the many receipes i've read. Does it matter if you leave it in longer. If so what would the effect be on the meat. Also the amounts of salt and insta cure for this ham receipe is not proportionate to what is recommended for the bacon receipe.

Lars on September 20, 2011:

Will be trying this next week!

Mark Newcombe on September 10, 2011:

Thankyou for this very simple and life changing information.

I've just finished curing & smoking my first Hams and Ham hocks to make what has been the tastiest ham of my life.

I'll never again venture to the supermarket for ham, I'll just open the fridge door and have some ham I've made myself. Brilliant!

I've just got hold of another leg and I"m going to give the shoulder cut a whirl as well, just to see the difference.

I'll let you know how the MKII hams go.

Canned Hamm on August 30, 2011:

Great info however I've read a lot about how dangerous nitrites are. Apparently when they enter the body they form one of the most toxic carcinagens known to science!! Yes I'm sure it is minute amounts each serving, however over time or if you eat a lot of hams, you are at risk of disease/cancer.... On the other hand I'm not the biggest fan of botulism either. Surely there's a safer option besides turning muslim or jewish... anyone got a nitrite alternative?

Bartley on August 28, 2011:

I want to find out how to cure meat in a smoke house like they did in the 40's and 50's. I understand you salt down the fresh meat first for about 5 or 6 weeks, then take the meat and wash the salt off of it, hang it and coat it with a mixture of brownsugar, red pepper and maybe syrup or molasses. I think they was something you could buy at the store to mix in with it. Then you start your fire for smoking, don't know what the temp would be and I think you smoked it for 6 or 8 days. then it will keep for 6 months before it gets strong. Can you let me know if this is right. I was a boy about 12y/o when my dad did this.

rd4man on June 13, 2011:

Try the Buckboard Bacon cure and make some of the best bacon you ever tasted, I have pictures. Also use fresh side/pork belly and follow the instructions to the "T" and you won't be sorry..

dot on June 12, 2011:

Can you leave the skin on the pork before you brine? I would like to have the crackling

GrantGMcgowan on May 23, 2011:

Looks like yummy, thanks for the recipe.

eatlikenoone from Saline, MI on April 19, 2011:

Thanks for writing this hub. My goal is a good writer to encouraging people to do for themselves, the things they think that can't and I am sure ham is high on that list.

matthew armstrong on March 07, 2011:

HI, i am curing 2 hams and have cured 10 pork bellies this year. i have used both mortons sugar cure, which is a dry rub for bacon and other cuts and used a barbecue injector. to inject them with #1 pink salt. directions are 3 oz. to 1 gallon of water for a 10% pump. pumping takes about 15 days off of brine time. i have a salinator to test the brine strength. and just make a stronger brine out of the pink salt cure. that way i can see for sure the strength of the brine. The Sausage maker has the salts you need on their web site. good luck

John D Lee (author) on January 31, 2011:

Hi Patty - I've never used Morton's Tender Quick - and I see that it has both Sodium nitrite and Sodium nitrate listed as ingredients - I think it would probably work, but am not sure about it...anyone know? You do definitely want to use sodium nitrite though, not potassium metabisulphite. I'm not a chemist so can't say what will happen if you do, but since the possible consequence of screwing this up is fatal botulism, I think it's a good idea to use what the health and safety experts say you should use!

Greg - unsmoked ham tastes pretty good, but smoked ham tastes better! I'd recommend planning on smoking it if you can, but before you pop it into the smoker, slice of a bit and fry it up so you'll know for next time whether you want to smoke - or not smoke.

Mark - dry cured hams are typically also aged until quite dry, and this dryness allows for long storage. Wet cured hams, due to their salt content keep better than fresh meat, but you should use fresh pork guidelines to give you a general idea of how long to keep this in the fridge uncooked.

Mark on January 28, 2011:

How long will the wet cure ham last. I know dry cured last a long time? Is it the same thing. Thanks


Greg on December 17, 2010:

Thanks for the great recipe John. I'm going to do a fresh ham for Christmas dinner. The curing part I get, I've smoked fish in the past. The question is... do I need to smoke it? I have no idea what a unsmoked cured ham would taste like comparitively. Thoughts? Thank you.


Patty on November 29, 2010:

Just read that Morton has a curing product that has the nitrite in it called 'Tender Quick', so if you can find that, it can save us from finding Pink Salt. I'm also wondering about salt peter....I think I read that it was used for preserving & curing(?). Thanks again... can't wait to smoke my 1st cured ham & fish!


Patty on November 29, 2010:

Hi, this is all very informative. I once bought a plain raw/uncured ham & gilled it on low heat with lots of smoke & it was very good.

I'd like to try your curing method but don't know about finding pink salt. How about potassium metabisulphite? It is used to sterilize (as wine bottles) & a little in @ bottle of wine as a preservative before corking them. Would that prevent bottulism? Thanks



John D Lee (author) on November 16, 2010:

Hi Ernesto,

The 2 liters listed above is good for 6 or 7 pounds of ham, bone in or out. The recipe can be multiplied as needed.

Yes, you want to get sodium nitrite, not potassium nitrate

I am in a similar situation here in Thailand as I am also unable to buy ready mixed pink salt. You can just mix together the sodium nitrite with salt, but the problem you may have is in knowing whether your distribution (dilution) is even, and you may inadvertently use too little at any one time, or worse - too much.

What I do to ensure even dilution is dissolve pure sodium nitrite in water, in a ratio by weight of 6.75% sodium nitrite and 93.25% water. I pack this in a water bottle that I label very very thoroughly with skulls and cross bones to prevent accidental ingestion. This will keep indefinitely.

To make a liter of this solution you use 67.5 grams of sodium nitrite and 933 grams of water. You can then use this interchangeable in recipes - so if a recipe calls for 10 grams of pink salt, you can use 10 grams of your nitrite water solution.

Best of luck!

andre on October 05, 2010:

I am butchering my pig this friday. i want to cure and smoke both hind legs and bacon, but I am having a hard time finding pink salt. As long as the meat is cooked after do i still have to worry about botulism ?

Ernesto on August 23, 2010:

Greetings from South America

Dear John,

I was looking for an easy-to-do recipe and yours is simply fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing it. I do hope to put it to test very soon, of course I will let you know the results! I am pretty sure it will be a tasteful treat, considering that getting a good cured ham where I live is, without a doubt, impossible. Also, I am looking forward to smoke it!

So I have a couple of questions:

1. You gave this proportions for the recipe:

* 2 liters of water

* ¾ cup of kosher salt

* 1 cup of brown sugar (1 packed cup)

* 4 teaspoons of pink salt (insta cure #1) (4 teaspoons)

Do you know how many pounds are advisable to cure with those ingredients proportions? [In other words, how many pounds of ham (the pig's leg) can be cured? (including the bone].

2. I was trying to get the "insta cure" which until now it seems it is impossible to get. So I am thinking in mixing 93.75 grams of salt and 6.25 grams of nitrite. Do you think this mix will work for the curing process?

3. What king of nitrite should I get? sodium, potassium nitrite or what?

I would really appreciate you advice on this, if u want, my email address is: ernesto_31905@yahoo.com

Best regards,


Claire on July 19, 2010:

Hi, I have a 1-3/4 lb uncured ham steak (less than an inch thick) and a 3/4 lb pkg of sliced uncured bacon. I have your brine mixture all mixed up and I started getting concerned about the length of time for keep those in the brine. They pieces of meat are so thin. Should I keep all the meat in the brine for a full 24 hours?

Rod on July 11, 2010:

I would also like to know if this cure would work ok for Poultry?...Like turkey breasts,or pheasant??

Rod on July 11, 2010:

is tender quick the same as Insta cure or pink salt? Or will it work in place of pink salt?

cheryl from GA on June 14, 2010:

I followed these instructions exactly using a 7.25 lb. picnic shoulder. The ham was really good, I smoked on my smoker until I got an internal temp of 158F. It probably should have cured for 5 days instead of four, but overall a great and super easy experience!

Mike Buel on June 09, 2010:

Ok so first time here I bought a curing kit from the sausage maker. In it it had insta cure and 3 cures. I thought I had to add the insta cure to the cure and found out that the insta cure was already in the cure. I used an injector Question did I ruin the meat?

dave shinnebarger on June 09, 2010:

i forgot to say i had 2 hams cut off the bone, and the meat doesn't float thanks anyone with an answer can e-maqil me at cptsxteen1@yahoo.com

dave shinnebarger on June 09, 2010:

what does it mean when the ham doesn't float, i followed the recipe to the line.


adorababy from Syracuse, NY on June 04, 2010:

Homemade hams are better because they are not commercialized in flavor. Plus, you can be sure that they are clean and well processed.

John D Lee (author) on April 15, 2010:

Hi Kath,

I am not sure how much photos will help, as the meat doesn't look that different from uncured meat while raw.

The meat will become noticeable firmer as it cures and if you cut a test slice and fry it about halfway through the curing time, you can see how far into the meat the cure has penetrated by how deeply in it is pink around a center ring of grey.

Kath on April 14, 2010:

hi im looking for images of the curing process. Different states of change, raw half ready to ready... can anybody help me?

John D Lee (author) on March 23, 2010:

Donna, I'm so glad to hear of your success- enjoy the hams!

Donna on March 23, 2010:

We killed several hogs the deer season and wanted to put some of those legs to good use. We just finnished curing two hams and put them in the smoker for several hours. This is the best ham I have ever had. I will never buy another ham again. Thanks.....

John D Lee (author) on February 16, 2010:

Hey that's great! You didn't happen to take any pics did you? I'd love to see it...

Tideroll 334 from Prattville Alabama on February 15, 2010:

john I tried my dry cure I talked with you about back in Nov 09. We smoked it in Jan and carved last week.Thanks for the tips.Rolltide

John D Lee (author) on February 08, 2010:

Ecogirl, you really should.

I just finished smoking a small ham this afternoon. It was only 3 pounds so I only started brining it a couple of days ago and today it's ready (hot smoked) for dinner and then for tasty sandwiches for a while!

Why wait for the bigger fridge?!?

ecogirl333 on February 08, 2010:

Cool, I was thinking of giving this a go in the spring when our new (and large enough) fridge arrives.

John D Lee (author) on December 26, 2009:

Hi Jim,

Provided the meat was stored appropriately prior to freezing, then you can safely cure it once defrosted.

Jim on December 26, 2009:

Can you safely cure a pork butt or belly that has been frozen?

John D Lee (author) on August 10, 2009:

Thank you for the comment Noel,

The shoulder “ham” makes a very nice cured piece of meat – almost more bacon like than ham like, in my opinion, but all the same, very tasty.

The cure does turn the meat pink – which makes it look nice and ham-like, but it serves a more important purpose, and that is eliminating the risk of botulism. In rare cases, without the use of nitrite, botulism toxin can grow in the anaerobic environment of a wet cure. So, you can cure ham with only salt, but when doing so, you expose yourself to a very small risk of botulism.

About the amount of cure – It’s tough for me to give you much advice. I follow a recipe adapted from one in Charcuterie, by Michael Rhulman and Brian Polcyn, which is a very respected book on the subject of curing meat – and I can confirm that the amount called for turns the meat pink throughout – and it hasn’t killed me yet!

I suspect that you could probably go either way with no real problems, using the lesser amount as called for by Rhulman, or using the larger amount as called for by the manufacturer. If it were me, I’d use the lesser amount, but I can’t guarantee that I’d be right!

It is difficult to find curing information on the web, I have in the past been frustrated by this. Charcuterie, is a very worthwhile book to pick up, by the way, if you are at all interested in preserving meat.

I hope that this offers you some assistance.

Let me know how it works out,


Noel on August 10, 2009:

I first want to say I really enjoyed your article on brining a ham. I found it very informative and interesting!

I am making a ham for the first time. I have done a lot of reading. I decided to start with a whole shoulder butt since it was purchased at $.57 per pound, and left me with a trimmed weight of 8-lb. Also, It will give me a start on a good mix of spices to try and see what adjustments I want to make before I take on "the real thing".

I needed about 2 gal. of water to cover the meat in my brining container. From yours and other recipes, I chose 2 cups of salt to make the brine ( a little heavy), and an assortment of spices. If it comes out too salty, I will leach out some of the salt in water. I upped the sugar with a little syrup and molasses.

Now the question is "how much "instacure" to add?

I actually have a mix equal to #2 which contains 6.25% sodium nitrite, and 3.63% sodium nitrate that I bought to make some sausage. I understand the difference between the to (#1 & #2) but didn't feel the less than 1% difference of the nitrite was significant, and the nitrate was so low that even if it didn't have enough time to all convert to nitrite, it wouldn't make much difference since in a brine I suspect much of it will stay in the brine anyway.

However, all the information I can find shows amounts to "meat" and little on how much to use in a brine. The manufacture states for there cure #1 to use 24-lb/100 gal. which converts to about 4 oz per gallon. That seems like w-a-y too much.

Your recipe is as follows:

2 liters of water

¾ cup of kosher salt

1 cup of brown sugar (1 packed cup)

4 teaspoons of pink salt (Instacure #1)

2 liters equals .53 gal., so for 2 gal. of water that would mean 12 tsp. or 4 Tlb., and that seems like too much also, but I just don't know; and other then the manufacturerer and your recipe, I haven't found anything else. to compare to.

Although the nitrites are suppose to give the meat it's color by reacting with the myoglobin in the meat, I have also found recipes that say it isn't necessary, and that the salt in the brine will do the same thing.

My main reason for wanting to use the nitrites/nitrates is to control any problems with bacteria and such that could result in spoilage until I get the meat through the process up to freezing or smoking.

Do you have any more input on this, or can you refer me to a source that might have more information?

Thank you in advance for your help and consideration!


Joanie Ruppel from Texas on January 29, 2009:

Wow, I never even considered doing this at home. I may give it a try after it gets warm enough to grill outside.

C. C. Riter on January 25, 2009:

Wonderful. I will try this, and I have a smoker. thanks

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