Canadian Bacon, Equalibrium wet brine w 10% pump

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Making a cured pork loin or Canadian bacon, using a liquid brine Equilibrium Cure, and pumping/injecting meat at same time for cure speed.
    Splitting this off from old thread of mine on same thing but with a dry rub/brine, for easier search and tag future reference.

    This has been gone over many times many places, many many folks here do this. I like to document my work as it gives me a good reference for later, so I might as well post it up in case it helps others. I will hit the main points for future readers that this may be their 1st exposure to Equilibrium Curing (will use EC as acronym).

    Basically it is a brine cure with the total amount of meat plus liquid calculated for, and the salt/cure1/sugar is just enough that when it all equalizes between meat and liquid, the target amounts are perfect everywhere. This is slower than a high concentrated salt “gradient brine”, but has the benefit you can’t ever overshoot the target salt levels, and can leave it brining extra weeks if needed for your schedule.

    The dry rub or dry brine EC is easiest, just rub into meat and dump it in a bag. But meat loses moisture, ends up drier, and it takes 10 to 15 days. If you calculate total ingredients to be spread over the meat plus liquid, you can inject or pump the brine into the meat, put some on outside too, and get a faster cure and juicier final product.

    Commercially, I believe they mostly don’t pump an EC brine, but still use a higher concentration brine for even faster curing. But then you have to calc and measure exactly how much gets taken up by the meat to ensure correct final nitrites and salt. Usually 10% of the meat weight can be injected amd held, so they use that for the calculations. In our case, since it is an EC brine, it doesn’t matter if we pump 0% or 20%, since it will all equalize out and the totals are at correct amounts.

    The meat takes up almost as much brine, salt and cure, as if it was pure water, but not quite, due to it being mostly water but some is free, some interstitial, some bonded, some inside cells, etc. I use a calculator that takes the properties of meat vs. water into account, made by Dr. Greg Blonder Equilibrium Cure Brine Calculator . There is also a tab that tells you how long you have to wait for it all to equalize, without the internal injection.

    That’s the intro info. processhead posted a nice 10% by weight injection on my dry rub thread, great post and info, I will paste some of his info below 🙂

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Link to other dry brine thread, and
    processhead post on this same thing, so folks thinking about doing this can get great info and writeups from both of us.

    My recipe.
    using 20% water and pumping 10%, so I have plenty to go in bag around it.
    2% brown sugar
    2.25% salt.
    Boil water, dissolve salt and sugar. Cool. Add cure#1 when cool and inject meat to about 10% meat weight increase, so half of my liquid since I used 20% water by weight.
    Will add 0.1% each clove and allspice in bag after pump.

    Also going to use accelerator ascorbic acid, 2g, so < 0.1% <<this is added to final bag AFTER PUMP, just before sealing it. Don’t add to brine or the nitric oxide will fizz and offgas and is dangerous! I’m just doing this for good strong color and so I’m sure it is done in 4 days.


    Pumped and sealed! Waltons injector works very well, just be super careful if you unscrew anything… I had to look for a spring for 10 min.

  • Team Blue Masterbuilt Canning Kamado Joes Regular Contributors Power User Sous Vide Oklahoma

    Dave in AZ very useful information. I’m going to be trying this very soon. Thanks

  • Regular Contributors

    Nice ,want to see end product.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Ended up letting it cure 10 days until today, due to being out of town. But could have cooked it after 4 days I’m sure.

    Rinsed and dried meat, put on Traeger at 120 for 20 min to dry (temp just sitting in sun), then smoked with hickory at 180 to 225 until Internal temp was 157.

    Super juicy compared to dry brine method, meat was 106% starting weight at start of cook, only cooked for 2.5 hrs. I admit, I forgot to weigh it after cooking, it looked so good I started slicing!

    Not really any messier than dry brine, this amount of wet brine was perfect to inject and have enough for 1/4" or more liquid surrounding meat for curing from all directions. All fit into 2gal ziplock and then a small roasting pan in fridge. I WOULD recommend this method and brine amount and strength for a full pork loin.

    Tasting notes: good salt level at 2.25%, this would be great fried up like bacon. I think 2.25% will be my top end range, 2- 2.25% is good. Great ham flavor from the clove and allspice and brown sugar. If you’re looking for a “Easter Ham” type of flavor, I think this is pretty good. Can’t think what changes I’d make to improve it from the cure.

    Tweaks I might make next time:

    1. Could rub it with maple syrup and or brown sugar just before smoke if you wanted a sweet crust. But it is sweet enough as is, it had a Honey baked ham flavor, just not the crust.
    2. If I had some pure sodium phosphates blend, I think I’d add some to the injected brine for even more juiciness, if cooking this as a ham, not drier Canadian bacon. I only had Sure Gel with the phosphates in it, and didnt want the other milk binders and gelatin injected.

    Hope this was helpful to someone 😉

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    Dave in AZ Your experience pretty much compares with mine as far as the process and the outcome, although I used a very basic cure with no additional seasonings besides the salt and sugar.
    Definitely worth doing again. 👍

  • Team Blue Masterbuilt Canning Kamado Joes Regular Contributors Power User Sous Vide Oklahoma

    Dave in AZ very useful information. Thanks for sharing.

  • Referenced by  Dave in AZ Dave in AZ 
  • Referenced by  Dave in AZ Dave in AZ 

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