A curing formula developed by Qfan, Mike Kerslake, of London, Ontario.

Easy and Accurate Home Curing Formula

Through years of working on home curing and charcuterie projects, Reg Pelletier of Niagara Falls, Ontario settled upon a formula that created satisfying and foolproof results each and every time.  Reg passed this formula on to me as I worked on curing projects for the Dizzy Pig website as well as for home use.  In doing so, I worked some Dizzy Pig product into each recipe for a flavor boost and dubbed the approach the ‘Formula for Success’.  I think you’ll enjoy the results you achieve using Reg’s formula.

This easy-to-use formula makes meat curing for the home hobbyist an error free, yet creative, venture.  Based on percentages rather than fixed ingredients, it allows each user to tailor projects to suit their own on-hand ingredients and utensils.

The basic formula is:
  • Meat you plan to cure, weight in lbs
  • Water to create curing brine, enough to cover meat completely, weight in lbs at 8.3 lbs/gallon
  • Salt at 3% total weight
  • Sugar at 2% total weightFor cure, if using Morton Tender Quick, use in place of salt at the 3% level of total project
If using ‘pink salt’ cure (i.e. Prague Powder #1, Insta Cure #1, Modern Cure, Sure Cure or other butcher supply cure with nitrite level at 6.25%) add an additional 0.05 oz coarse sea/kosher salt per lb of total project (curing brine plus meat weight).

Additional ingredients for flavoring could include, but not limited to:
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Vegetables
  • Herbs such as thyme, sage, oregano and bay leaf, peppercorns, juniper berry, allspice berry, cinnamon stick, clove, and, of course
  • Dizzy Pig spice blend products

This is where home meat curing allows for chef creativity, so tailor your project to suit your own tastes!

Simply add water, salt, sugar, and cure along with aromatics, herbs, peppercorns etc into large pot and boil hard for 10 minutes to infuse flavors.  Allow to cool to 36-38°F in fridge in non-reactive curing vessel.  Add meat and submerge completely, adding non reactive weight, such as enamel dinner plates, to hold down the meat.  Allow to cure for allotted time as per recipe.  Remove, rinse off any remaining peppercorns etc, pat dry and smoke or finish as per recipe.

Always discard curing brine after use; do not use on repeat projects!

As well, allowing projects to rest after brining, just as you would ‘rest’ a large roast after cooking,  to allow for even distribution of cure and flavor.

An example of the Formula for Success at work
  • A 7.7 lb pork loin requiring 1 gallon of water to cover completely.
  • Water weight: 1 gallon at 8.3 lbs per gallon
  • Meat weight: 7.7 lbs
  • Total ‘project’ weight: 16 lbs
  • In large pot, combine 1 gallon of water (tip: curing brine cools faster if you use 1/2 gallon to create the curing brine and add 1/2 gallon ice cold water afterwards).
  • Add 3% salt or Tender Quick  (.03X16 lb = 0.48 lb or 7.68 oz)
  • Add 2% sugar (recommend light or dark brown sugar) (.02X16 oz=0.32lb or 5.12 oz
  • If using ‘pink salt’ curing agent, add at level of .05 oz/lb (.05X16 oz=0.8 oz)
  • To the curing brine, add whatever vegetables, aromatics, herbs, peppercorns, seeds and Dizzy Pig spice blend you wish to create desired flavor profile.
  • Bring curing brine to a hard boil on stovetop and boil for 10 minutes approximately or until all additions infuse the brine with their flavor.
  • Cool curing brine to 36-38°F range in refrigerator.
  • Brine can either be strained of solids or they can remain for duration of curing period.
  • Add meat to the brine and ensure it is completely covered by brine liquid, using non-reactive weights (such as dinner plates) to hold submerged.
  • Allow to cure in fridge for prescribed timeframe (generally 5-10 days depending on size of project).
  • Remove meat from curing brine at completion of curing period.
  • Wipe or quickly rinse off any clinging seeds, peppercorns or herbs.
  • Smoke or finish meat as recommended in recipe.