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What vessels you will need
Once you have chosen the meat, you will need an appropriate vessel for dry or wet curing. One can argue whether it is better to use a wooden barrel, a plastic container approved for contact with food or a large stoneware vessel. However, one thing is indisputable: the hygienic condition of the vessel must be beyond reproach. If you have a smaller amount of meat, you can also use plastic vessels – a bucket or a small dish. You must not use vessels made of zinc-plated sheet. A wooden barrel for curing must be washed thoroughly and its tightness checked. Because if part of the brine leaks out of the barrel, then the top layer of the meat will not be soaked in it, and even if it does not go bad, the curing effect will be poor or non-existent. Wooden covers should be used for all types of vessels. Spread a piece of cloth on the top edge of the vessel to protect the contents against dust and insects.

meat hooks, nitrite salt


Put a string loop through each piece of meat before curing – preferably with a long bodkin – so that you can hang it immediately after taking it out of the vessel – first for drying and then for smoking.

Only then do you press a cover with cloth, putting a heavy stone onto it. However, this is not all you have to do. You have to check every day whether the brine does not leak out from under the cover. Remove any excess to prevent any rotting foci of a foul smell. In general, it is of the utmost importance to maintain cleanliness during the slaughter, curing and smoking as it is likely to protect you from disappointment, financial loss and health risk.

natural sausage casings


Where should you keep the vessels during the curing process?  The best option is to keep them in a cellar – deep, dark, but not humid. Also, the time of curing is not unimportant: according to a simple rule, meat should be prepared for smoking during those months whose name in Western languages contains the letter “r”. In Europe, those will be all cool months, from the early September to the end of April. Only during this cool period can you be confident that unheated cellars and larders will ensure a proper curing temperature not exceeding 12°C. However, this temperature, which is appropriate for wine storage, is only one of the conditions for safe meat curing. 

A great risk for the meat in a barrel or a stoneware vessel is posed by cellars with a musty odour and those in which containers with fuel oil, barrels with sauerkraut or fruit and vegetables are stored. It is certain that putrefying bacteria and lactic acid fermentation bacteria are present at such places. Even if small amounts of fungi are present on the walls, this often causes meat cured at such a place to go bad. Therefore, the best place is a dry, well-ventilated room with a constant temperature of 5 to 12°C and a relative humidity of 75%, dark and inaccessible to any insects.

meat netting

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Tuesday 21st January 2020

A good recipe is OK :) Regards

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