Cured Whole Muscle Meat 101 - What Is It?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Fresh Sausage

    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.

    Shop for Vertical Smokers

    Shop for American BBQ Systems Smokers

Suggested Topics

  • 9
  • 20
  • 8
  • 1
  • 1

About Meatgistics

Meatgistics is brought to you by Walton's ( Meatgistics is a community site, knowledgebase, forum, blog, learning center, and a sharing site. You can find help and ask questions about anything related to meat processing, smoking and grilling meats, plus a whole lot more. Join Austin & Jon from Walton's and sign up for our Meatgistics community today. We have created Meagistics University, where we broke down meat processing into different categories and then broke it down into a class like structure. The introductory classes are 10s, the intermediate are 20s, and advanced are 30s.

About Walton's

Walton's Inc. sells meat processing equipment and supplies, including all of the Seasoning, Equipment, Supplies, Packaging, and Casings needed to make almost any type of sausage. Walton's sells to the commercial customer with a focus on the small to medium-sized processing plants or butcher shops, and directly to the hunter or processor who makes their own product at home. Whether you are a commercial or retail customer of Walton's you will be receiving the exact same seasoning and supplies, we do not have a different "line" for commercial and retail customers so that everyone can make the best sausage or jerky possible!

Community Statistics