Universal Cure Calculator

Steve_A (Tatoosh)

TVWBB Super Fan
I wish there were a few "sample" exercises showing common applications though. Even great tools benefit from a bit of instruction. I really like it but am uncertain of what I should be setting some of the fields too.
 
I'm working on some examples.
What fields are you uncertain about and in what context?
That info will help me form the best examples.

Thanks!

Cheers, peace and bacon grease,
~Martin
 

Steve_A (Tatoosh)

TVWBB Super Fan
Particularly the salt and sugar percentages. For bacon, what should I set the salt and sugar percentages? Lets look at the NY Times recipe that is used by many newbies, including myself. It calls for 2.5 pounds of pork belly, then 2 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher Salt, 1/4 cup of Sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of Cure #1.

Let's look at the salt component first. Morton Kosher Salt reportedly is about 6 grams per teaspoon and 2 1/2 tablespoons is 13 1/2 teaspoons or 81 grams. How do I specify that as a percentage for 2 1/2 pounds or 1134 grams of meat? I realize that recipe using weight measurements instead of volume measurements are much preferred, but new users are faced with both and do not have much of a guide to switching reliably between the two. And even if the volume can be changed to a weight reliably, there is the next hurdle of figuring it as a percentage.

Then the sugar from that recipe is 1/4 cup, again a volume measurement but much easier to convert to a weight. But how would I do this if I wanted to find a percentage? They say either regular or brown sugar, so there is roughly 50 grams per quarter cup. How do I work this if I am specifying a percentage?

So a guide to salt percentages and then sugar percentages for commonly found recipes and/or cured items would be great. You could take a couple of popular recipes and show how they work using your calculator, where to get the percentages you need to plug in. Or what range of percentages are often used for certain types of meats to be cured, with upper and lower limits if applicable.

I am working the recipe backward - I find that for 1134 grams of meat (2.5 pounds), I want to enter 7.3 as the salt percentage and 4.5 as the sugar percentage. Once I have those figured, I get a figure of 2.83 grams for Cure #1. So using another calculator for volume to weight, it looks like 2.5 grams as a working measure for a half teaspoon. That might not be salt, but rather water. The .33 gram difference between Ruhlman's recipe and Martin's calculator is, to me, acceptable and likely outside of many newbies ability to measure until they decide to spend the money on accurate digital scales of appropriate ranges.

Lastly, a couple of examples of how to do the math manually would be very good too. I love calculators, but knowing how to do it is very reassuring to some of us, so we can check the math and evaluate recipes to be sure they have reasonable or required amounts of specific ingredients, so to speak. The "how to figure it manually" can be a different page for the really motivated, I don't want to overwhelm someone with working formulas when all they want or need to do is plug a few figures into your calculator and be good to go. But for some of us, it would be a useful addendum.

I really look forward to working with your calculator and getting more expert and comfortable with figuring percentages of cure mixes myself. Thanks for doing this!
 
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Thanks Steve!

Particularly the salt and sugar percentages. For bacon, what should I set the salt and sugar percentages?
Bacon is typically in the 2-3.5% salt range. The sugar level can vary wildly from recipe to recipe.

Lets look at the NY Times recipe that is used by many newbies, including myself. It calls for 2.5 pounds of pork belly, then 2 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher Salt, 1/4 cup of Sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of Cure #1.

Let's look at the salt component first. Morton Kosher Salt reportedly is about 6 grams per teaspoon and 2 1/2 tablespoons is 13 1/2 teaspoons or 81 grams. How do I specify that as a percentage for 2 1/2 pounds or 1134 grams of meat?
Here are the approximate working weights I have for various applicable ingredients:
(I weighed these several times to get an average weight)

Morton's Table Salt:..................304 grams per cup
Morton's Pickling Salt:...............296 grams per cup
Morton's Kosher Salt:................248 grams per cup
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt:.....181 grams per cup
Granulated White Sugar:............198 grams per cup
Light or Dark Brown Sugar:.........212 grams per cup

If I remember correctly Morton's Kosher Salt is what Ruhlman/Polcyn recommend in their book Charcuterie.

So, Morton's Kosher Salt is ~15.5 grams per tablespoon (248/16=15.5)
The pink salt is ~2.5 grams per 1/2 tsp and pink salt is 93.75% salt

2-1/2 tablespoons of Morton's Kosher Salt is ~38.75 grams (2.5 X 15.5=38.75)
The amount of salt in 2.5 grams of pink salt is ~2.34 grams. (2.5 X .9375=2.34)

Total salt used in the bacon is 41.09 grams (2.34g in the pink salt + 38.75g Kosher salt)

So, the percentage of salt in that bacon recipe is 3.6% (41.09g salt/1133.975g pork belly=0.03623536674
A little high, IMHO, I don't like more than about 2.5% salt in my bacon.

I realize that recipe using weight measurements instead of volume measurements are much preferred, but new users are faced with both and do not have much of a guide to switching reliably between the two. And even if the volume can be changed to a weight reliably, there is the next hurdle of figuring it as a percentage.
So a guide to salt percentages and then sugar percentages for commonly found recipes and/or cured items would be great. You could take a couple of popular recipes and show how they work using your calculator, where to get the percentages you need to plug in. Or what range of percentages are often used for certain types of meats to be cured, with upper and lower limits if applicable.
I'm working on that.

Then the sugar from that recipe is 1/4 cup, again a volume measurement but much easier to convert to a weight. But how would I do this if I wanted to find a percentage? They say either regular or brown sugar, so there is roughly 50 grams per quarter cup. How do I work this if I am specifying a percentage?
Using the granulated white sugar conversion weight that I posted above, the weight of a 1/4 cup would be 49.5 grams.
So to calculate the percentage of sugar in that bacon.....
49.5g sugar/1133.975g pork belly=0.04365175599
So ~4.4% sugar in that bacon

The .33 gram difference between Ruhlman's recipe and Martin's calculator is, to me, acceptable and likely outside of many newbies ability to measure until they decide to spend the money on accurate digital scales of appropriate ranges.
Only the recommended maximum safe ppm levels of nitrite should be used with the calculator, Ruhlman/Polcyn don't always observe those.

Lastly, a couple of examples of how to do the math manually would be very good too. I love calculators, but knowing how to do it is very reassuring to some of us, so we can check the math and evaluate recipes to be sure they have reasonable or required amounts of specific ingredients, so to speak. The "how to figure it manually" can be a different page for the really motivated, I don't want to overwhelm someone with working formulas when all they want or need to do is plug a few figures into your calculator and be good to go. But for some of us, it would be a useful addendum.
That's also in the works, along with a recommendation that one fully understand how the calculations are made before using the calculator.
The challenge will be conveying all the information in a way that will not result in confusion or cause info overload.

I really look forward to working with your calculator and getting more expert and comfortable with figuring percentages of cure mixes myself. Thanks for doing this!
Cheers, peace and bacon grease,

~Martin :cool:
 
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Steve_A (Tatoosh)

TVWBB Super Fan
Thanks for going through those figures. I don't quite know how I made the leap between 2 1/2 tablespoons and 13 1/2 teaspoons. I know better than that without looking it up! Doh! Thanks for pointing me toward the correct path. I really look forward to your page and using your calculator with confidence and understanding what I should be seeing.

There are different learning styles, so people find the answer in different ways and use individual approaches to comprehending a problem or process. Your calculator and the explanations that accompany it will be of great value to those of us at the early stages of understanding the process.

I used your Replacement Cure recipe which is close to Ruhlman's Basic Cure recipe at 8% versus 7.7%* of Cure #1, last night to do some bacon. However I used his 5 percent rule of the green weight.

I forgot to mention that a small section on figuring a wet brine would be handy. I have to read more on the equilibrium brine approach and how to figure a brine and cure amounts for various weights of meat. I have a short term brine for pork chops I need to work out the correct amounts per pound. Your calculator will be very handy for that!


*Ruhlman's Basic Cure was published online as 2 ounces or 50 grams, the common cooking measurement substitute equivalent weight. I adjusted to the more correct 56 grams since the cure weight demands more diligence than either salt or sugar.
 
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Jon Des.

TVWBB Gold Member
Great sticky Chris!

Martin - I think I know the answer, but for the record: your calculator does take into account the fact that the other X percent (93.75% in your example) of pink salt is just salt, right? I'm sure this will come up at some point.
 
Great sticky Chris!

Martin - I think I know the answer, but for the record: your calculator does take into account the fact that the other X percent (93.75% in your example) of pink salt is just salt, right? I'm sure this will come up at some point.
Yes, the salt in the Cure#1 is accounted for.

~Martin
 

JimK

TVWBB Olympian
What determines the % of Nitrite that you want? I see the template defaults to 6.25% - is that a standard?
 

Len Dennis

TVWBB Diamond Member
I see the template defaults to 6.25% - is that a standard?
Cure No. 1, a basic cure 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 too numerous to mention. Cure #1 contains salt and sodium nitrite (6.25%) (no nitrates).

Cure #2 is specifically formulated to be used for making dry cured products such as pepperoni, hard salami, genoa salami, proscuitti hams, dried farmers sausage, capicola and more. These are products that do not require cooking, smoking, or refrigeration. Insta Cure™ No. 2 can be compared to the time release capsules used for colds--the sodium nitrate breaks down to sodium nitrite and then to nitric oxide to cure the meat over an extended period of time. Some meats require curing for up to 6 months. Cure #2 contains salt, sodium nitrite (6.25%) and sodium nitrate (1%).

 

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