How Much Curing Salt for Bacon? A Detailed Guide to Proper Ratios

Homemade bacon is a delicious treat that every meat lover should try. However curing your own bacon requires using the right amount of curing salt to keep it safe and tasty. In this comprehensive guide we’ll break down everything you need to know about curing salt ratios for bacon, common mistakes, proper storage, and more!

What is Curing Salt and Why Use It?

Curing salt, also known as pink salt, is a blend of table salt and sodium nitrite It serves two vital purposes in cured meat products like bacon

  1. Prevents bacterial growth – the nitrites in curing salt inhibit the growth of harmful botulism and listeria bacteria. This helps preserve the meat.

  2. Provides characteristic flavor/color – sodium nitrite lends bacon its unique pink tint and tangy, cured meat taste.

While some home curers opt not to use curing salt due to health concerns, it’s inclusion improves both the safety and quality of homemade bacon when used properly.

Recommended Curing Salt Ratios

The general recommendation from food safety experts for bacon is:

  • 0.25% of the meat’s weight for pink curing salt

  • 2.0-2.5% of the meat’s weight for regular salt

So for a 5 lb pork belly, you would use:

  • Pink curing salt: 0.25% of 5 lbs = 0.0125 lbs = 0.2 oz
  • Regular salt: 2.5% of 5 lbs = 0.125 lbs = 2 oz

This 2-2.5% regular salt level provides enough sodium to adequately cure the meat. The 0.25% pink salt ratio gives the minimum amount needed for nitrite’s preservative effect.

Accurate weighing of the meat and salts on a digital scale is crucial – don’t guess measurements by volume or eyeballing!

Dry Curing vs. Wet Brining Ratios

The curing method also affects total salt quantities.

For dry curing, coat the meat directly in the salt blend. Salt ratio is calculated for the meat weight only.

For wet brining, submerge the meat in a water solution containing the salts. The ratio is based on the combined weight of meat + water. A commonly used ratio is 40% water to meat weight.

There are online calculators that do the dry vs. wet cure math for you if entering ratios seems daunting as a new curer.

Why Curing Salt Ratio Matters

Getting the curing salt ratio right is crucial for bacon safety and quality:

  • Too much pink salt can cause a metallic, bitter taste. Excess nitrite is also a health concern.

  • Too little pink salt risks improper curing and bacterial growth like botulism.

  • Too much regular salt makes the bacon overly salty.

  • Too little regular salt prevents full curing and preservation.

Sticking within the recommended nitrite and salt ratios ensures your bacon is properly cured without going overboard.

Tips for Measuring Curing Salt

Follow these tips for accuracy when measuring curing salts:

  • Weigh meats and salts separately on a digital kitchen scale for precision.

  • Use measuring tools designated only for curing to prevent cross-contamination.

  • Carefully distinguish between pink curing and regular salt – don’t mix them up!

  • For wet brines, first combine water and salts before submerging meat.

  • Double check ratio calculations and weigh amounts carefully.

Common Bacon Curing Mistakes

It’s easy for beginners to make mistakes when measuring curing salts. Here are some common bacon curing errors:

  • Using too much pink salt due to confusion between percentages and whole units

  • Not having an accurate scale and estimating salt amounts

  • Mixing up salt types and using the wrong one

  • Improperly combining wet brine ingredients

  • Allowing contact between raw meat and salt measuring tools

  • Rushing the process and not triple checking ratios

  • Trusting unreliable recipes with improper salt guidance

Double checking your work helps avoid these pitfalls on your first bacon curing adventure.

Proper Storage of Cured Bacon

Once your bacon is cured, be sure to store it correctly for food safety:

  • Chill cured bacon in the fridge immediately before smoking/cooking.

  • Freeze cured bacon if not using within 1 week. Thaw in fridge before use.

  • Vacuum seal cured bacon for max freezer preservation.

  • Cook cured bacon fully to 160°F internal temperature when ready to eat.

  • Refrigerate cooked bacon and use within 1 week.

Following safe handling methods prevents harmful bacteria from growing.

Enjoy Your Cured Creations!

With the right knowledge of curing salt ratios, the proper curing and storage steps, and a little practice, you can make fantastic home-cured bacon safely. So get experimenting with different flavor profiles in your brines and enjoy the deliciously rewarding results! Just be sure to measure your salts precisely every time. Happy bacon curing!

How To Cure Bacon the Traditional Way: Just Salt; No Artificial Preservatives


How much salt to use when curing bacon?

Add more if you like a saltier taste, and slightly less for a milder flavour, but generally you’ll want a salt/cure to meat ratio of between 5-10%.

How much curing salt do I use per pound of meat?

1 pink salt is used to cure all meats that require cooking, brining, smoking, or canning. This includes poultry, fish, ham, bacon, luncheon meats, corned beef, pates, and other products. It is 93.75 percent table salt and 6.25 percent sodium nitrite. It is used at a rate of 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of ground meat.

How do you calculate the cure for bacon?

A gram scale is typically used to weigh the meat. This weight is then entered into a “cure calculator” that will determine the proper amounts of salt, sugar, and cure #1 according to preset percentages (these percentages can be adjusted for taste). Typically, salt is set at 2% of the meat’s weight and sugar at 1%.

How much curing salt for 5 lb of pork belly?

Dry Cure Method Start by combining ½ cup of salt ½ cup of brown sugar, 1 TBS of black pepper, and 1 tsp of Insta-Cure #1. This amount of Insta-Cure is specific to a five-pound belly.

Can you add salt to Bacon?

While salt alone is enough to cure bacon, you can add sugar or other sweeteners like maple syrup to balance out the harshness of the salt. You may also add black pepper, powdered garlic, onion, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes. Some recipes I’ve seen add bay leaf, thyme, crushed juniper berries, black pepper, nutmeg, and other spices.

How much salt do you put in a dry cured bacon?

So this calculator for curing bacon can work out whether you want a dry or wet brining curing result! If you use nitrates, it works out based on the 0.25% pink curing salt guide for curing salt No. 1 Dry Cured Bacon = % of Sea Salt + 0.25% Pink Curing Salt to the Total Weight of the Meat

How do you calculate dry cured bacon?

Dry Cured Bacon = % of Sea Salt + 0.25% Pink Curing Salt to the Total Weight of the Meat Wet Brine Bacon Curing = % of Sea Salt + 0.25% Pink Curing Salt to the Total Weight of the Meat in addition 1L=1Kg weight, so 40% water is calculated for the total meat weight If you want a full post on making bacon – check out this post here.

Can you use pink curing salt for Bacon?

Using pink curing salt no. 1, otherwise known as instant cure no. 1, Prague powder No.1 it has many other names. It helps the curing process in many ways, but I prefer always to use it for bacon. What Pink Curing Salt does for Bacon: But the biggest reason is it helps make the meat safe from bacteria that could be harmful.

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