Cure weight calculation problem

  • I am trying to understand the weight of cure used and ingoing ppm of nitrite.

    For example the country brown sugar cure is 0.75% nitrite (by mass I assume).

    It is recommended that 1.52 lbs (689.5 grams) of this cure be used per gallon (3.786 liters) water for pickling bacon.

    Here is the problem I am having:

    689.5 grams cure x 0.0075 nitrite content = 5.17 grams of nitrite per 1.52 lbs of cure.

    adding this to one gallon of water gives a nitrite concentration (per liter) of:

    5.17 grams nitrite /3.786 liters per gallon = 1.366 grams nitrite per liter which is much higher than the stated 120 ppm ingoing nitrite which would be 0.120 grams nitrite per liter of water not 1.366 grams per liter I calculated.

    Can anyone spot where am I going wrong in my calculations?


  • sorry for the duplicate post on this topic. I’m not sure how to go about deleting one of the posts any help with this would be appreciated. thanks in advance!

  • Traeger

    Not sure if you need to account for the increased volume of water when you add the cure to the mix (eg what’s the volume of solution after adding the country brown sugar cure?). If the total volume is up, that would mean ppm on a liter is less.

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    I am not sure I can account for the discrepancy, but is there any chance that the “ingoing nitrite” refers to the amount absorbed into the meat while it is in the brine?

    We know that not all of the available salt, sugar, and cure in a cover brine is actually absorbed into the meat, only a part of it.

  • alanburkholder I don’t think it is the volume increase that needs to be factored as I think it would be a small amount in compasrison to mass which I forgot to include. You did make me realize that I need to account for the mass (weight) of the water in addition to the mass of the cure.

    Now when I do that I add the 689.5 grams of cure + 3786 grams of water = 4475 grams total.

    Using my previous result of 5.17 grams of nitrite in the 689.5 grams of cure I get this:

    5.17 grams nitrite /4475 grams (cure+water) = 0.0012 grams nitrite per gram of cure mix. Multiply that by 1000 grams to get it to kilograms we get 1.2 grams nitrite per kilogram cure which, while closer, is still 10X over what I should be seeing.

    Obviously, I am still missing some factor that is giving me this inflated result, i.e., parts per thousand (ppt) versus parts per million (ppm). I’m trying to figure this out because I bought several cures I want to use as a pickle and they all contain different amounts of nitrite concentration.

  • processhead That certainly is possible since these wet brine/pickling processes are mostly based on equilibrium curing. If that is indeed the case then the weight of the meat might need to be factored into the equation as part of the ‘whole curing system’. Since the meat will essentially be ‘pulling’ nitrite out of the pickle at some point an equilibrium point is reached with an overall reduction in nitrite over the entire system, i.e., cure + water+meat. Now the question seems to be pointing at how much meat can be put into a pickle and achieve complete curing as well as confirmation that this is the right approach for this type of calculation.

  • Team Orange

    BobK take a look at my spread sheet I attached to the bragging board “Fresh Smoked Ham”. It wasn’t created for bacon cure but uses the brown sugar cure and is scalable. Hope it helps!

  • thanks, Aaron. The problem/question I have about the calls for pickling brine aren’t addressed in your spreadsheet. For most recipes the salt, sugar, and spices are scalable (twice the volume you double the ingredients) but the nitrite concentrations are not scalable in this way. Nitrite concentration depends on how much meat you are going to put into a volume of brine and those values also depend on how long the meat will need to cure in the brine. Injections certainly shorten the time needed for curing as well as the use of accelerants. I’m hoping to figure out how these calculations are made so I can adapt the pickling recipe to use other pre-mixed cures that contain different nitrite concentrations for curing bacon and hocks.

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