Questions regarding smoking/curing meat : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I recently ran across a recipe for a "meat rub" used to cure meats (probably ham) written by one of my ancestors (I am into genealogy as well as prepping). The recipe was simple; "Mix 1 cup sugar with 2 cups salt and some pepper, rub real good all over the meat and set aside for two or three days. Then rub the mixture all over it again and wrap with clean cloth and hang up to store".

I remember my grandfather curing his own pork; hams, sausage links, and ham hocks. He used what he called a "sugar cure" which was actually salt and sugar and some other spices, the spices depending on what he was curing. It was probably much the same as the recipe noted above (from a different ancestor). So much for the introduction.

I have an old freezer that I replaced. It is an upright with good door seals (the compressor went out) and I thought I might make a meat "smoker" or mini smokehouse out of it. My questions are:

1.) Will just salt and sugar do the trick? Or do I need something like sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate like the commercially cured hams use?

2.) What kinds of meats can you cure like this? Only pork and fish? I've never heard of beef being cured in such a manner. And what about poultry?

3.) What would be the "shelf life" of a cured ham? I know they will keep in excess of a year; grandpa's did.

That's all I can think of right now, but then, I may not know enough to ask any more.


-- Gerald R. Cox (, October 08, 1999


Check out " The Foxfire Book" edited by Wigginton. there are a lot of curing recipes there as wellas some from one of the southern Universities. While you are at it, hunt down the other (what 8, 9, 10?) foxfire books. ALMOST as good as Carla's encyclopedia, and definitely a lot funnier read.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, October 10, 1999.

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