Dry Cured Meats


Meat Curing Methods & Recipes Provided by Morton International, Inc

Dry curing involves applying the cure mix directly on the meat. Curing is done in the refrigerator. After curing, the meat is rinsed to remove the excess salt and then cooked.

Dry curing with salts is used in making hams and bacon as well as smaller cuts of meat like jerky. The classic corned beef is just one more example.

In the dry curing method, the curing salts are rubbed into the meat along with herbs and spices similar to the rubs used to smoke meats.

After applying the cure, the meat is placed into a plastic food storage bag. The bag is closed and secured tightly with a twist tie. For large cuts of meat and poultry, use large-size food storage bags which are available in most grocery stores. Do not use plastic trash can liners.

As you begin, please keep in mind that home meat curing is not an exact science. If you should experience difficulty in the preparation of an individual recipe, refer to the following meat curing tips to help ease the process. Remember patience is the key to perfection!

Meat cuts differ in the thickness and amount of bone and fat content. Both of which will affect the salt cure penetration rate. You may have to lengthen curing time if using a thicker cut than specified in a recipe.

Feel free to experiment with spices when curing to suit your family's taste. However, do not exceed the curing levels indicated in the recipes.

Label and date your meats before curing them to eliminate guess work. We recommend labeling day and time the meat is to be removed from the cure.

If meat becomes too salty, it can be soaked or boiled in clear water to leech out excess salt. Next time, remember to rinse cured meat under running tap water to remove excess salt or reduce curing time slightly.

Allow salted and bagged meat to cure in the refrigerator at 36° to 40°F. At colder temperatures, meat will not cure properly. Warmer temperatures encourage growth of spoilage microorganisms.

After curing, meat and poultry are still raw and must be cooked before being eaten. For your convenience, most recipes include suggested cooking instructions.

Cured meat turns a pink or reddish color when cooked. If meat is fully cured, it will be pink throughout the cut. For poultry, use a meat thermometer to determine doneness, as meat will appear light pink when fully cooked.