Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Florida Cooperative Extension Service ; 11
Title: Home-curing pork
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 Material Information
Title: Home-curing pork
Series Title: Bulletin
Physical Description: 8 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Spencer, A. P ( Arthur Perceval )
Publisher: University of Florida, Division of Agricultural Extension
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1917
Subject: Pork -- Preservation -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by A.P. Spencer.
General Note: "November, 1917".
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00025615
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002569291
oclc - 47284965
notis - AMT5593
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The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

November, 1917



P. H. ROLFS, Director

The home-curing of pork presents some difficulty to the
average Florida farmer, due to the mild temperature which pre-
vails thruout most of the year. Much of this difficulty may be
overcome by observing a few precautions which in themselves
are simple, but when neglected are sure to result either in a total
loss of the meat, or in leaving it in a tainted and very inferior
condition. The unusual demand for pork, and the high prices
paid for it, should cause everyone to exercise greater care now
than under normal times. It is of great importance to the
Florida farmer that he supply himself with sufficient meat to
last thruout the year.
Because of the high prices offered by the meat packers, there
may be a tendency for farmers to sell their fat hogs with a hope
of buying later. This practice, however, is not a wise one, inas-
much as the price of pork products may continue to advance, and
the farmer with an empty smokehouse will be at the mercy of the
In order to have firm, well-cured meat it is advisable to feed
the hogz mostly on corn from thirty to sixty days before killing.
This insures firm meat and lard, and makes the curing process
easier; and, if properly handled, the meat should have a better
flavor ten months after killing than when it was first cured.
Hogs fattened on acorns, mast, and peanuts will dress out
soft whereas if they receive in addition to this ration a fair
supply of corn or sweet potatoes, the meat will be much firmer

Bulletin 11

Florida Cooperative Extension

and less difficult to cure. The fat of corn-finished hogs will show
white and hard when chilled while the fat of soft hogs will be
oily. Altho oily meat can be cured, the lard will not be white or
firm, and consequently will be of poor quality.
The hog should be confined for twenty-four hours before
butchering. During this time there should be plenty of water
given him, but no feed. This allows the intestinal tract to become
empty, making the carcass more easily cleaned. As soon as a
hog is killed fermentation begins in the intestines if they are full
of food. This fermentation may be sufficient to taint the meat
should there be any delay in butchering. As fresh meat absorbs
odors readily, it is not uncommon to find cured meat with a dis-
agreeable taste due to this cause.
Hogs which are accustomed to being handled can be slaugh-
tered by laying them on their backs, and cutting the main artery
of the throat with a long knife. This results in rapid and com-
plete bleeding. However, with hogs which are wild and hard to
manage it may be best to stun them or to shoot them with a .22
caliber rifle before sticking, in which case the bleeding must be
done promptly to be complete and leave no traces of blood in the
meat. Hogs which have been chased or overheated will not bleed
freely, and if killed while in a heated condition the meat is harder
to cure, even under favorable conditions.
As soon as the hog is dead it should be put into the scalding
vat, where the temperature of the water is about 1750 F., and
held there until the hair on the feet, and the bristles along
the back, slip easily. This should take about two minutes. The
body should be kept in motion all the time so that its surface will
be scalded evenly. The time required for the hair to slip varies
with the temperature of the body. The higher the temperature,
the quicker the hair becomes loose. However, if the temperature
is 1800 F., or higher, there is danger of "setting" the hair and
making the skin hard to clean if the hog remains in the water
more than a minute,-a time too short in which to handle the
carcass if the scalding is to be uniform.
As soon as the hair is scraped off, wash the skin with cold
water, and remove the internal organs. If the weather is cool
the carcass should remain hanging over night, and if cool

Bulletin 11, Home-Curing Pork

weather continues, leave the body undisturbed until the thickest
pieces of meat are thoroly chilled to the bone. Should the
weather turn warm, and no ice is available, it may be advisable
to cut up the meat before it is cool so that the cooling may pro-
ceed more rapidly. It is necessary to have all animal heat out of
the meat before salting, or souring will occur near the bone in
the larger pieces.
It is always a wise precaution to have a supply of ice on hand.
If only one or two hogs are to be killed there should be two hun-
dred pounds of ice for every one hundred pounds of meat. In
case the weather turns warm, chop the ice into small pieces and
spread a layer on the floor or table, sprinkle some salt on the ice,
then lay the pieces of meat skin-side down and cover them with
chopped ice. If the meat remains in this condition for twenty-
four hours it will be thoroly chilled. If, however, cold storage is
convenient, with facilities for handling meat, it may be more
economical to place the meat in the cooling room until thoroly
chilled, and ready for salting. Several ice plants in Florida have
cooling rooms provided for handling the farmer's meat, and some
have additional facilities for salting and smoking. A nominal
charge is made for curing, and for storing the meat until it is
thoroly cured and smoked.

After the hog has been slaughtered, dressed, and properly
cooled, the next step is to cut up the carcass. In preparing the
hams they must be trimmed closely, making them appear plump
and without any ragged ends. The shank-bone should be cut
short, and the shoulder cut as closely behind the shoulder blade
as possible, making the piece round and attractive. The same
holds true in cutting out the backbone, and the sides for bacon.
Trim off all the parts that make the piece look ragged, before
packing the meat away for curing. Most of the pieces trimmed
off can be made into sausage, so there will be no waste.
The most important factor in the process of curing meat is
that of destroying the bacterial organisms which bring about
decay. There are many preservatives that might be used were
this the only factor to be considered. In curing meats it is
necessary to use such materials as are not poisonous, or will
make the meat unfit for human consumption. A second factor
that must be regarded is the preservation of such flavors as will
make the meat palatable, disgestible, and otherwise fit for human

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consumption. Meat with the meaty flavor gone would be worth
There are two methods of curing pork commonly used in the
South-curing in brine, or pickling, and dry curing. The former
method is the more simple in that no expensive equipment need
be provided. Unless cold storage is available, the latter method
can be practiced only during cold weather.
After the meat has been cut up and trimmed, lay it out on
clean muslin or some other clean surface, or on fresh pine-tops,
sprinkle with salt, and let it lie from twenty-four to forty-eight
hours, or until it is thoroly cooled before attempting the curing
process. Meat lying in this condition for forty-eight hours will
lose considerable bloody water, and will thus avoid the necessity
for changing the brine after the meat has been placed in the
solution. Meat that has not been thoroly chilled, or retains some
of the animal heat, is very likely to sour or become tainted near
the bone. This is particular true with large hams.
Next, provide thoroly clean barrels or boxes and place the
meat in them snugly, after having washed off the salt and the
bloody water, and cover it with a solution made as follows:
Salt ........................................... 8 pounds
Saltpeter ...................................... 2 ounces
Sugar ......................................... 3 pounds
Cane syrup .................................... 3 pints
Dissolve this mixture in 4 gallons of water. Increase the quan-
tity of solution, maintaining these proportions, in keeping with
the amount of meat to be cured. This brine should be strong
enough to float a fresh egg-a spoiled egg will always float.
Another solution may be made and used in this way:
Salt .......................................... 30 pounds
Saltpeter ..................................... 5 ounces
Soda ......................................... 8 ounces
Brown sugar ................................. 10 pounds
M olasses ..................................... 1 gallon
Dissolve this mixture in 20 gallons of water. This will be suf-
ficient for 400 to 500 pounds of meat. Put the solution in a large
kettle and let it come to a boil, then take from the fire and skim.
When cold, pour the solution onto the meat and let it stand five
weeks. The larger pieces will require a little longer time and the
smaller ones not so long. Do not put in any pieces that are
tainted or have begun to sour for they are useless, and will spoil

Bulletin 11, Home-Curing Pork

all the pieces in the box or barrel if left a week or ten days with
It is very important that every part of the meat should
be well covered by the solution. A ten-pound ham should stand
in this solution about forty days, and a fifteen-pound ham sixty
days. The brine should be examined every week as there is
always some possibility of its souring, which would spoil the
meat. If the brine is found to be sour, remove all of it, wash the
meat and the box or barrel, and then make a fresh solution. If
a mold appears on the surface, skim it off.
The next step is to hang the meat up and let it dry for three or
four days, when it will be ready for smoking.

Another method of curing pork is known as "dry" curing.
After the meat has been thoroly cooled, and all the animal heat
gone, place each piece of meat on a clean, bleached muslin cloth
about a yard square, or on an opened flour sack, after covering
the cloth with newspapers. Place the ham or shoulder skin-side
down on top of the newspapers and apply the following:
To a fifteen-pound ham, take 1 teacup of granulated sugar,
2 teacups of salt, 2 tablespoons of black pepper, and 1 tablespoon
of cayenne pepper. Place all in a vessel and mix thoroly. Con-
tinue to rub this into the meat until every part of the meat has
absorbed all it will. It is necessary to do this very thoroly.
After this application, fold the cloth entirely around the meat,
being careful that every piece is well covered, and hang in a cool
The main advantage of dry curing is that it holds to a large
extent the original flavor; but it is more difficult to cure meat in
this way, particularly during warm weather, and should never
be attempted unless the weather is cool. When handling thick,
heavy hams or shoulders during warm weather it will be dif-
ficult to prevent souring close to the bone unless a curing solu-
tion is allowed to come in contact with this part. Since most per-
sons prefer to leave the bone in the piece, inject a solution of
weak brine and saltpeter with a hypodermic syringe deep into
the piece and around the bone. A special, strong needle will be
necessary for the work. These needles are made with a cap on

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the end. so that when forced into the meat the opening will not
be closed.
Meat that has been cured in brine will have a better flavor
if it is smoked, which may be done in this way:
After the meat has been in the brine the proper length of
time, take it out and wash off the salt. Let the pieces dry for
twenty-four hours, and they are ready for smoking. From two
to three weeks will be required in the smokehouse. It is not ad-
visable to have a fire in the smokehouse or near the meat as a
high temperature will cause the meat to drip, losing flavor and
moisture. However, a smudge may be used inside the house if
the meat is hung four or five feet above the fire to avoid much
heat and a consequent dripping. It is preferable to have the
fire in a stove outside the smokehouse, and bring the smoke into
the house thru a pipe extending well into the house. The smok-
ing process should be gradual; that is, large amounts should not
be given at any one time. In fact, some recommend giving a lit-
tle smoke each morning and allowing the fire to go down before
night. Hickory chips or hard maple with corncobs make the best
smudge and add something to the flavor of the meat. Do not use
pine, soft woods, or any resinous materials as they deposit soot
and make the meat unsightly. The smoking should be continued
until the meat is a dark amber color. It is possible to smoke
meat in much less time than this, but it is preferable not to
hasten the process.
If the weather is moderately cool and the meat is to be kept
for a short time only, it may remain in the smokehouse. Of
course, it should be kept dark and well screened. If it is to be
kept for an indefinite time, wrap each piece first in paper, then
cover with burlap, and then dip it in milk of lime, which is a
lime solution with a larger quantity of lime than the water will
dissolve; or use a yellow wash made as follows:
For 100 pounds of ham or bacon, take 3 pounds of barium
sulphate, 1/2-pound of glue, 3/4-pound of chrome yellow (lead
chromate), and 6 ounces of flour. Mix the flour with 1 gallon of
water; dissolve the chrome in 1 quart of water; add this and
the glue to the flour mixture and bring it to a boil; then stir
in the barium sulphate slowly. Let stand twenty-four hours,
then apply it with a brush thoroly, covering every crack.

Bulletin 11, Home-Curing Pork

It frequently happens that fat hogs ready for slaughter-
ing must be kept for several weeks before there is seasonable
weather for curing the meat. With a simple cold storage plant
on the farm, one may be entirely independent of weather condi-
tions in so far as curing meat is concerned. The following de-
scription of a meat curing house built and used by J. E. McIn-
tosh, Luraville, Fla., is described by H. E. Savely, States Rela-
tions Service, U. S. D. A., as follows:
Size of the cold storage house, 8 ft. by 10 ft. Corner stud-
ding, 4 in. by 4 in. by 8 feet. Intermediate studding, 2 in. by 4 in.
-by 8 feet. Joists to be nailed on side of studding, at top, so that
when ceilings and weather-boarding is nailed on, will leave a con-
tinuous air-space all around. Ceiling 1 inch thick is nailed on
horizontally, then on this a layer of insulating paper, and on this
another like ceiling perpendicularly. On other or outer side of
studding a like wall is put on. A beveled floor, made with like
walls and edges lined with felt, of convenient size. Two layers
of floor with felt between, the floor slanting backward and to
center with gutter in center to drain room to back-end into a
U-pipe thru the wall. An ice rack near top as possible to admit
200-pound blocks of ice.
About 800 pounds of ice per week are required. The house will
hold about 5,000 pounds of meat placed in racks on the sides.
Under normal conditions, this house cost about $75. The cost
of operating would be the cost of the ice plus the wages of one
This house can be built by any good carpenter. Care should
be exercised to see that the doors are properly constructed so as
to give a perfect fit. The size of the house can be larger or
smaller than the foregoing plan, to suit the farmer's needs.
It is frequently the custom to pack shavings, sawdust or
some other material in the open air-space between the walls.
Experience has shown, however, that it is much better to leave
the air-space between the walls open, without putting in sawdust
or other packing material. A dead air-space is one of the best
non-conductors of heat.
The meat should be cut up (without unjointing hams and
shoulders) as soon as possible after killing, salted thoroly and

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bulked together, skin-side down, in piles. Spread at night; salt
again next morning and place in cold storage. Put not over 200
or 300 pounds in each rack to itself. Cross the pieces, leaving
ventilating spaces thru the pile.
The temperature should be kept at 400 to 480 F. All meats
weighing less than 15 pounds to the piece will cure in thirty days.
Pieces weighing from 15 to 25 pounds will take forty-five days,
and 40 pounds will take sixty days. If the temperature is above
500 F., the ice should be put in the storage four or five days be-
fore the meat is put in, in order to bring it down to 45. If the
temperature is 400 or less, the ice and meat can be put in to-
gether. The temperature of the meat when put in governs to a
great extent the amount of ice required.
One feature that is important is to have a ventilated door to
be used to give the meat fresh air when the outside temperature
is 40 degrees or lower.
With a cold storage plant, such as outlined in the foregoing
description, the farmer can kill and cure his meat with perfect
safety at any time in the year.

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