I have a nice email from John Warr, a gentleman spoken of as having nothing, paid quarterly. Everything below this line of text is from Mr. Warr.Hello , I have experimented (and shamelessly copied the work of others) quite a lot since I wrote the post reproduced on your web site.
There are a couple of things worth mentioning. The use of nitrate / nitrite is not as necessary as it was in the days before refrigeration.
A teaspoon of Prague #2 powder per 2.5 liter of brine (or 5 lb meat) is probably enough. Prague #2 powder is .64 parts sodium nitrate, 1 part sodium nitrite and 16 parts sodium chloride.
Some of the salting times can also be reduced. This gives a lighter cure which many people now-a-days may find more to their taste. Here is a recipe I have recently used for pastrami by the way:
You want a nice big bit of brisket for this. Trim the meat and put it in a large bowl. Cover with brine and leave to soak for 7 days. Remove the meat and pat it dry with white kitchen paper. Soak in cold water for 12 hours or so to lift some of the salt out and then air dry to form a pellicle. Cold smoke for about 16 hours. Remove from the smoker and leave hanging in a cool, dry place for 24 hours.
• half tsp garlic powder
• 3 tsp soft brown sugar
• 3 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
• half tbsp ground ginger
• half tsp black cummin
• 2 tsp coarsely ground coriander seed
• 2 tsp black onion seeds (ajawan seeds -ed.)
Bake really well wrapped in aluminium foil 5 hours at 115C. (239 degrees F. -ed.) Allow to cool slightly in the cooking liquid, then drain. Press down with a weight and leave to cool. Refrigerate before slicing.
The pastrami will keep for 4-6 weeks in the fridge. Should you like, you can put an ox tongue in with the brisket, and treat it just the same. Instead of baking it, poach in a court bouillon for 2 - 3 hours (until you can easily push a wooden skewer through) and then cool enough to skin it & allow to cool in a meat press. Slice thinly.
Like pastrami it makes GREAT sandwiches. I use a generic brine for this. It comprises:
Demerara sugar 250gm
Water 2.5 liters
And whatever seasoning you like- peppercorns, garlic, juniper, what-have-you to taste.
This will make streaky bacon from pork belly with about 48 - 72 hours brining (which I think is technically porc demi-sel).