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Help! Is the pork belly I cured safe to cook and eat?

g
goodeatsgal Jul 15, 2012 12:03 AM

I have a 2 1/2 pound chunk of Mangalitsa pork belly which I've cured for 7 days basically following Michael Ruhlman's recipe published in the New York Times for Home-Cured Bacon. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/din.... I added sugar to the mixture of kosher salt and pink salt but otherwise did not use any other herbs and spices. (I added the sugar after reading other curing recipes.)

Tonight, I rinsed the pork belly in preparation for the air drying and slow oven-roasting called for by the NY Times, and noticed a bit of a greenish-grayish tint. The tint is only in the fat, in the part closer to the meat and not the part closer to the skin. Should I be worried? The meat smells totally fine - in fact, it barely has a smell.

I obviously don't want to poison anyone. On the other hand, I don't want to throw away this expensive piece of meat. I did some web searches and some people mentioned a green tint as well as fuzzy mold which they wiped off with vinegar, but those issues seemed mostly to be for meat that was hung dry to cure. (Mine doesn't have any fuzzy mold.

)

Please let me know if you have any advice or thoughts! Thank you!

  1. j
    jpc8015 Jul 15, 2012 03:24 AM

    Email Ruhlman and ask him. His email can be found on his website; http://ruhlman.com/.

    I emailed him a question before and he responded same day.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jpc8015
      e
      evansp60 Jul 15, 2012 04:35 PM

      If you've salted and rubbed according to directions your fine. The bake will take careof everything else. I'm curiouse as to what you are making. If it's bacon don't let the internal temp get over 150deg. If your cooking it higher than 150 then there was no need for the pink salt.

      So whatcha makin?

      1. re: evansp60
        g
        goodeatsgal Jul 15, 2012 09:03 PM

        I was making bacon. But uh oh. I was in a hurry to get out of the house this morning and I forgot to test the internal temperature! I cooked it at the 225 degrees / 90 minutes called for by the NY Times article (and yes, I tested my oven's temp and it was accurate). Since it's going to be cooked up as bacon, is there any worry if the internal temp didn't reach 150 degrees?

        1. re: goodeatsgal
          e
          evansp60 Jul 16, 2012 06:14 AM

          If the internal temp of the pork was greater than 150, probably was, then you have more if a ham than a bacon. That will give you some of the color issues your having. To make bacon you have to ensure that you do not exceed 150/155 internal temp. The pink salt is used as your temps are so low that it does not kill any potential salmonella or botulism, at higher temps these bacteria will not survive.

          1. re: evansp60
            g
            goodeatsgal Jul 16, 2012 09:10 PM

            evansp60 - what do you mean that it could be more of a ham than a bacon? What is the difference? And why can't the temp exceed 150/155 to be bacon?

            I'm learning a lot for the next batch. :-)

    2. p
      paul balbin Jul 15, 2012 06:27 PM

      I have also noticed a green tint in my home cured bacon. I have never had the slightest problem
      consuming it and I eat a lot of it. I smoke it at 190f for 4 hours. I would not worry about it in the
      slightest.
      Pablito el gordito

      1. drongo Jul 15, 2012 06:51 PM

        I think it's the green pigment discussed here: http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/201...

        2 Replies
        1. re: drongo
          g
          goodeatsgal Jul 15, 2012 09:00 PM

          Very interesting! Thanks for sending the link, drongo!

          1. re: drongo
            sbp Jul 17, 2012 10:00 AM

            Yep, I had the same thing happen once, found this link. It doesn't say much as to why it happened, so I assumed there was a greater concentration of pink salt around the green spots. I just cut them away and continued.

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