How To Cure Meats: Bacon, Ham, Corned Beef, Pastrami, More

"Cued meats can cure whatever ails you."Meathead

Curing meats is an ancient technique for preserving meats before the advent of refrigeration. If done properly it can make great tasting food such as bacon and pastrami. If done improperly, it can make you sick. We can teach you how to do it properly. Below are links to recipes that you will love but first you absolutely positively must without a doubt no questions asked read our article on the science of curing safely and why these recipes are different than any other recipes and why you cannot improvise with some of the ingredients. Here's some good news: Start with bacon! It is easy and soooooo goooood.

One more thing: True cured meats have sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate, preservatives, added to them. That's what gives them their pink color and unique flavor. Most are then smoked. Lately, because of irrational fears over preservatives, there are things like "Uncured Bacon" or Naturally Cured" meats on the market. They almost all have celery powder added to them and celery powder is loaded with, you guessed it, sodium nitrite and nitrate. Same exact compound. In fact, test have shown that many of these products have a higher concentration of them. So don't be fooled by signs like this one at a hotel buffet breakfast.

Placeholder

pastrami sandwich
Curing meat is not like any other recipe. You must be pretty precise about some ingredients. read more
bacon on the grill
Making bacon from scratch at home is easy and the results are much better than grocery store bacon. Once you have the basic recipe down, you can vary the ingredients to make a flavor profile to suit your taste. It is a simple two-step process: Curing and smoking. read more
cold smoked salmon may seem like a healthy choice but can be risky
Cold smoking sausage and fish is risky and can kill you. Here are the risks and why you should not try it at home. Bottom line: holding foods in the "danger zone" of 40ºF to 140ºF allows pathogens to multiply if not carefully controlled. Food cooked to above 140ºF internal temperature is simply safer to eat. read more
finished ham
Create a smoked ham at home that will put any store-bought ham to shame thanks to this simple, yet flavor packed recipe. The key to creating a ham like the ones you normally purchase during the holidays is the curing process. Without it you won't achieve the same flavor or deep red color of a traditional holiday ham. read more
canadian bacon
Fans of Canadian bacon will rejoice this recipe for making flavorful smoked pork loin at home. Making Canadian bacon or back bacon is more like curing a ham than making American bacon. Order boneless loin (not tenderloin) if you want to make this. Irish bacon is made like Canadian bacon but without the smoking step. read more
pastrami sandwich
Nitrites and nitrites appear naturally in foods, and are added to many foods. Are they dangerous? Recent research is enlightening. read more
prosciutto wall
There are many different types of ham around the world, but they all fall into three categories: Fresh ham, dry-cured ham, and wet-cured ham. read more
Corned beef and cabbage
Home made corned beef is not only fun, it also puts the prepared corned beef at your local grocery store to shame. Preparing and cooking this corned beef recipe might take a little extra time but it is well worth the effort when you bite into it! Smoke it on the grill and suddenly you have a barbecue pastrami recipe! read more
Smoked Louisiana andouille sausage
Andouille sausage is the soul of New Orleans Creole cooking. It is spicy, garlicky, and smoky. Here is how to make this classic Louisiana sausage. read more
candied bacon
Bacon, American bacon, British bacon, Canadian bacon, buckboard bacon, lardons, guanciale, and pancetta are all defined in this article. read more

Pages

Placeholder

Placeholder

Placeholder

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazonhttps://tinyurl.com/amazingribs

...some HTML for the first variant...

Placeholder

Placeholder

Get Smoke Signals, our free e-letter. No spam. Guaranteed

Enter your email:

If you love barbecue and grilling you do our FREE 30-day membership in our Pitmaster Club. We can up your game.

  • FREE 30 day trial membership.
  • Sneak previews of Meathead’s new book.
  • We block ads from members.
  • Real community. No politics. No flame wars.
  • Monthly newsletter.
  • Video seminars with famous pitmasters.
  • Weekly podcasts with Greg Rempe.
  • Weekly BBQ cartoons by Jerry King.
  • Comprehensive Temperature Guide Magnet ($10 retail).
  • Monthly giveaways of Gold Medal grills and smokers worth up to $2000.
  • Discounts on products we love.
  • Support for AmazingRibs.com!

Post comments and questions below

Placeholder

1) Please try the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

 

Click to ask questions and make comments