Cured meat recipes are generally found in three forms; wet, dry and injection. All three work to draw moisture out of the brawn, as well as the bacteria. Part of what has made this process so popular throughout history is its ability to produce yummy forms of meat preservation.
Countries all over the world, including Italy, South Africa, Mexico and India provide unique recipes for cured meat. Italian meats, like coppa, salami and pancetta (bacon which isn’t smoked and doesn’t contain sugar) can be found in abundance.
Many recipes, like Italian cured ham and sausage exclusively use pork. You’ll also find examples of cured beef, venison, goose, lamb, chicken, and many other kinds of meat.
We’re going to focus on a couple delicious methods of curing meat. This will start you on your path, with safe and effective fundamentals, so that you can begin experimenting on your own.
Corned Beef Recipe
We’ve chosen this kind of cured beef because it’s easy and tastes amazing. It involves wet curing meat, which requires less expertise, because the water content will cure the brisket consistently, without additional effort. The final product is also tender and ready to enjoy.
- ½ gallon water
- 1 bag ice
- 5 lbs. beef brisket
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 tbsp. saltpetre (potassium nitrate)
- 1 cup salt (kosher, sea salt or pink Himalayan)
- 1 tsp. peppercorns
- 1 tsp. mustard seeds
- ½ tsp. ginger powder
- 12 juniper berries
- 8 cloves
- 8 allspice berries
- 2 bay leaves
Combine water, salt, saltpetre and all of your spices in a large stockpot. You’re just looking to dissolve the salt, so cook on high before removing from heat and adding ice to cool your brine.
Once cool, you’re ready to begin curing meat at home. Once trimmed of as much fat as possible, seal the brisket in a zip-lock bag large enough to contain both the meat and the cure.
Your work is done for now, and you don’t need a meat curing chamber. Refrigerate for 10 days, ensuring daily that there aren’t any unsubmerged portions of meat.
Next, remove the brisket and rinse it thoroughly with clean water. The brine has done its magic in drawing out moisture and also flavoring the meat.
Place it in a large boiling pot to cook, adding your remaining ingredients and enough water for an inch of overhead. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 ½ hours, and it’s ready to serve!
Dried Sausage Recipe – Saucisson Sec
Despite its name, this is a very simple to make, cured sausage from France. You’ll notice that sausage recipes generally require a meat grinder, a sausage maker, sausage casings and a meat curing chamber. It also cures and dries, rather than cooks the meat.
A meat dehydrator will help us overcome some of those challenges. At the very least, you’ll require the following ingredients which will make for a cured pork sausage in jerky form. It’s a departure from Italian cured meats, but much easier to make.
- 5 lbs. lean ground pork
- 1/3 cup salt
- 2 tbsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. dextrose powder
- 1 ½ tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. pink curing salt #2
- ¼ chardonnay
Traditionally, cured pork would include ½ pound of fatback. Salami sausage, for example, would be hung in cool locations with specific humidity levels for about 3 weeks. We’re going to make our sausage all in one sitting.
If you have a meat grinder, begin by trimming as much fat from the meat as possible. If using ground pork or beef, get it as lean as possible, because fat begins to spoil very quickly once it’s cooked.
If you have a meat curing chamber, feel free to use up to ½ pound of fat. Once your meat is mixed with all of the ingredients, extrude it into sausage casings with your sausage maker. Alternatively, just mix all of the ingredients together to make a tender pork jerky.
Place the final product on the trays of your beef jerky oven. Dehydrate at 160 degrees for about 6 hours.
A sausage maker dehydrator is an efficient way to prepare and preserve meat!