AmazingRibs.com is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

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

Curing meats is an ancient technique for preserving meats before the advent of refrigeration. If done properly it can make awesome 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 pinky swear to read my article The Science of Curing Meats 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 preservatives, sodium nitrite and/or sodium nitrate, added to them. That’s what gives them their pink color and unique flavor. Most are then smoked. Lately, because of irrational fears, 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. Same exact chemical. In fact, tests by Consumer Reports and others have shown that many of these products have a higher concentration of nitrites. So don’t be suckered by signs like this one at a hotel buffet breakfast.

natural bacon

Reuben sandwich

The Science Of Curing Meats Safely

By:

Meathead

Curing meat is not like any other recipe. You must be pretty precise about some ingredients.

The New Data About Nitrites, Nitrates And Cured Meats

By:

Meathead

Nitrites and nitrites appear naturally in foods, and are added to many foods. Are they dangerous? Recent research is enlightening.
cured uncooked homemadebacon

How To Make Smoked Homemade Bacon – It Is So Much Better Than Store Bought

By:

Meathead

Homemade bacon is easy and the results are much better than grocery store smoked bacon. Once you have the basic homemade smoked bacon recipe down, you can vary the ingredients to make countless flavor variations.
smoked bacon

Once You Make Maple Bacon, You’ll Never Get Store Bought Again

By:

Meathead

You seriously need to make this bacon. It's not hard. And it is so worth it. It's one of those processes that mostly just takes time. And for your patience you are rewarded with some the most delicious, homemade smoky bacon you'll ever taste.
smoked bacon

This Asian Style Bacon Recipe Is The Perfect Combo Of Spicy Sweet And Savory Flavors

By:

Meathead

Salty and sweet is the magic combo for bacon. Using honey for the sweet and adding spicy Sriracha takes it over the top, especially when you amp up the savory, meaty, umami flavors with hoisin and soy sauce. Ginger, garlic, and five-spice powder round out the Chinese flavor profile here.
Sliced homemade Canadian bacon

Canadian And Irish Bacon Made Better At Home

By:

Meathead

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.
Cured and smoked ham

How To Make A Cured Smoked Ham From Scratch

By:

Meathead

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 curing a fresh ham, you won't achieve the same flavor or deep red color of the traditional type.
Couple enjoying a smoked turkey leg

How to Smoke Turkey Legs, Disney Style

By:

Meathead

This tested recipe reproduces the monster turkey legs you see if you visit any of the Disney parks where you will see folks stumbling around with delirious smiles. The secret to success is curing then smoking the giant turkey legs. This recipe also works fine with chicken legs, though they will cook faster.
Sliced corned beef

Our Famous Corned Beef Recipe Outshines Store Bought

By:

Meathead

Our famous corned beef recipe is not only fun, it also puts the prepared stuff at your local grocery store to shame. Preparing and cooking this corned beef brisket 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 homemade pastrami!
corned beef hash

The Corned Beef Hash Recipe All Others Aspire To Be

By:

Meathead

Corned beef hash is a perfect way to use leftover corned beef after St. Patrick's Day has come and gone. Cooking chopped corned beef along with potatoes, onion, and other select ingredients results in a dish that puts all other corned beef hash to shame. Top it with an egg or other ingredients for your own twist.
Sliced homemade pastrami

A Smoked Pastrami Recipe That’s Close To Katz’s

By:

Meathead

If you've ever wondered how to make pastrami then we've got you covered. Moist, tender, and full of flavor, this is the ultimate homemade smoked pastrami recipe. So what is pastrami? Simply put, it's Jewish barbecue, i.e. corned beef that has been smoked. This is about as close to Katz's pastrami recipe as you'll get!
Sliced sous vide and smoked pastrami

Pure Pastrami Perfection, The Sous-Vide-Que Method

By:

Clint Cantwell

Pastrami is the ultimate expression of beef brisket, and it is at its best if you start with sous vide. To begin, prepared corned beef is rendered moist and tender thanks to a low and slow sous vide water bath. The meat is then smoked on the grill, creating mouthwatering sliced pastrami for sandwiches and more.
Grilled andouille sausage on a plate

How To Make Traditional Louisiana Andouille Sausage At Home

By:

Meathead

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.

Mmm Bacon Recipes

By:

Meathead

Bacon is among the world's most beloved foods. Its incredible flavor can convert vegetarians into meat eaters. Global cultures have developed all kinds of bacon from British rashers to Italian guanciale to Spanish tocino. Learn about them all, including recipes showing you how to make bacon at home and how to use it.
hams hanging on a rack

Hamming it Up: A Survey of the World’s Great Hams And How To Cook Them

By:

Meathead

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.

Related articles

Published On: 4/24/2019 Last Modified: 4/15/2022

 

High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club. But please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get MANY great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try 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.

Moderators

  Max

Click for comments...

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs


Blackstone Rangetop Combo: Griddle And Deep Fryer In One


The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, grilled cheese, and so much more. And why deep fry indoors when you can avoid the smell and mess by doing it outside!

Click here to read our detailed review and to order


Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker


Green Mountain’s portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it’s also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order



Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts


Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

Fireboard Labs Product Photo Shoot. Kansas City Commercial Portrait and Wedding Photographers ©Kevin Ashley Photography

With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.
Click here to read our detailed review

 

Comprehensive Temperature Magnet With 80+ Important Temps

Amazingribs.com temperature magnet
Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.

Click here to order.


Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners

3 burner gas grill

The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review


Groundbreaking Hybrid Thermometer!

Thermapen One Instant Read Thermometer

The FireBoard Spark is a hybrid combining instant-read capability, a cabled temperature probe, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. We gave Spark a Platinum Medal for pushing the envelope of product capability while maintaining high standards of design and workmanship.

Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review