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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
I see the template defaults to 6.25% - is that a standard?