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brandon78

Wet Brined Pastrami

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I am really hoping one of you experts out there can help me.

 

I am currently about half-way through a 14 day wet brine on a brisket flat to make pastrami. I am using the recipe from Project Smoke. Here is my concern: My brine looks VERY pink. I have made it before, and I don't remember it looking this pink. While I think it is a small chance, I cannot rule-out that I accidentally put in 2 TBSPs of pink curing salt instead of the required 2 TSPs. I am not sure what to do. I have read recipes that call for up to 1/4 cup of the pink curing salt (for a similar sized brisket), so maybe the 2 TBSPs isn't that bad. I am planning on changing the brine anyways, and will be sure to only use 2 TSPs for the second seven days. However, if you think that the risk of having too much curing salt (nitrites) is too high, I may just toss the meat and start over. I also thought that I could make the second batch of brine with 2 TSPs and see if it turns out to be as pink as the first batch.

 

I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions. Thank you in advance!!!

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I'm not an expert but from what I've seen on brining to make pastrami there tends to be a water soak after the curing to pull out some salt.  If you think you added to much salt I would do some math and figure out how long to soak in water for to pull out the extra salt.  One video I saw soaked for 4 hours and changed the water and soaked for another 4 hrs.  Maybe you can do that a few more times.  I wouldn't pitch it until you cook it and taste it.  Nothing to lose at this point.

 

Keep us posted!

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Thank you UTVol for the thoughts. I have seen recipes tell you to rinse the meat after the brine, but I've never heard of soaking it in water. That seems like a good idea for removing any excess salt. I guess I am most concerned about the possible level of nitrites isn't toxic, as I have read that can be an issue. I just have no idea how much is toxic. Thanks again!

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I still think you're ok based on the thread below but I'm out of my depth because I had no idea that it could be toxic.Take a look.  Any gurus have additional thoughts on this?

 

That being said, clearly no amount of money or meat is worth getting sick or dying over so if you're not comfortable, pitch it and live to cook another day.

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/index.php?threads/too-much-curing-salt.270253/

 

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Thanks again. I noticed that the recipe in the other thread was a dry brine. Not sure exactly how that compares to a wet brine. I am thinking I will make a new batch of brine correctly and see how the color compares to the current one. If it is a lot lighter, I may just toss the meat and start over. But I am hoping an expert will weigh in sooner or later. Thanks!!!!

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I went ahead and made a new brine today. I realized that the brine is barely pink and would have to have a ton of curing salt to be dark pink. The color of my brine must have been from the myoglobin of the meat. Maybe my prior one was more drained when I brined it. I have no reason to believe I used too much curing salt now, so I changed out the brine and can’t wait for next weekend! Thanks again UTVol. 

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OK this isn't my brine recipe but the gentleman that posted it years ago from his families business said it had been used by his father and I think Grandfather commercially for years.  It has some good info in the last couple of paragraphs about amounts and safety.  This is my go to wet brine.

 

pops-wet-curing-brine
By bmudd14474, Sep 27, 2011 | 20.9K Views | Recipes
real simple curing brine:

for every 1 gallon of water, add:

1/3 - 1 cup sea salt (depending if you're on a lo-salt diet)

1 cup granulated sugar or Splenda®

1 cup brown sugar or Splenda® brown sugar mix

1 tbsp cure no. 1 pink salt

stir thoroughly until clear amber color, pour over meat, inject if necessary to cure from inside-out as well as outside-in

weight down with a partially filled 1 qt or 1 gal. ziploc bag or bags to keep meat immersed

Curing times vary with meat, but generally overnight to 2-3 days for chickens and turkeys, 8-10 days buckboard bacon, 10-14 days belly bacon, pork shoulder, whole butts, 3-4 weeks whole hams, 10-20 days corned beef (fresh beef roasts, briskets, rolled rib roasts, etc.)   If whole muscle is more than 2" thick, then inject so it can cure i/o as well as o/i, and/or in and around bone structures, etc.

You can add any other flavorings you'd like, this is just the basic curing brine. 1 heaping tablespoon of cure is about 1 ounce.  The maximum concentration allowed safely is 3.84 ounces per 1 gallon of brine (24 lbs.per 100 gallons: 16 oz. x 24 = 384 ounces, 1/100th is 3.84 ounces).  You can experiment with different concentrations as long as you keep it between those parameters:

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TKOBBQ - THANK YOU! That is exactly what I needed to know. I looked all over the internet, and found many recipes, but no explanations about safety. So, worst case scenario, if I used 2 TBSs of curing powder (which I truly don't think I did), that would be about 2 ounces, and the recipe was 4 quarts of water (or 1 gallon), so I still had only about half the maximum allowed.

 

I knew someone out there had the answer! Again, my ignorance was believing that the dark pink color of the brine was from the salt, but now I know it is from the myoglobin of the meat. In fact, the second batch which I know for sure is only 2 TSPs, turned as dark pink. 

 

Thanks again!!!

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