So I live in tropical Australia, and during wet season it is hot, humid and rains every day. Although in dry season it is cool, dry and never a cloud in the sky. The dry season lasts roughly 6-8 months of the year if you're lucky, although the first and last few months are fairly hot anyway. I am having to adapt alot of principles of crops and such to the tropical climate, more tropical plants and less southern things like beans and onion and garlic and stuff.
So my question is this: Is there anyone on this forum that has extensive experience with curing meat? I would love to be able to cure some bacon or a ham, but I think the climate would make the meat rot faster than down south. Would dry season cause it to rot? (Dry season has on average 20C lows and 35C highs, with little humidity) Would I have to keep the meat hung in the pantry or would a bugproof (hopefully) outdoors hanger suffice?
Well in case anyone is wondering, I have so far heard and read that you should hang it up in either a very cool pantry, a dry cellar or a fridge. Although I think the fridge would need some sort of air flow in it to help it dry out. If I ever get to do it I'll put my findings up here.
Bacon is pretty easy. It should be stored in a refrigerator (10 days) or freezer (3+ months), not in the open air. You cure it in a refrigerator as well.
You'll absolutely want to use curing salt, which includes sodium nitrite, to inhibit growth of botulism. If you think adding nitrite is a problem, you should know that your body creates nitrate, which breaks down to nitrite, and that most veg have between 1,800 and 3,200 ppm (parts per million) of nitrate/nitrite, while bacon cured with curing salt typically has less than 200 ppm of nitrite. If you're concerned about nitrosamines (which only rarely appear in bacon), take a bit more vitamin C, problem solved.
Recipes and detailed instructions for slab bacon and Canadian bacon (smoked pork loin) are on my website ( http://stumptownsavoury.com ).
Thanks for the info. I am going to be making a smoker a few months down the track, but I am a little sketchy on what wood to use as fuel. I have read that eucalyptus is a no go, while paper bark is fine and ti-tree is good. Any suggestions on Australian smoking recipes/woods?
lhtown wrote: I thought I had heard some years ago that cold smoking of meat like in the old smokehouses presents a cancer risk. Is there any truth to that or does my (not very good) memory betray me?
It's tough to say anything for certain about slight risk of cancer. Famously, frustratingly difficult.
In principle, it makes sense that smoke would have some benzene-related compounds in it, some of which would increase risk. I think some studies have supported this notion, but that the risk is too slight for all studies to consistently produce slam-dunk statistics.
"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men. They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.