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Air aged bacon - mold


YoungTom
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Hi all.  I’ve been curing and smoking for my own use for a few years, mostly bacon, with good success.

I usually use  curing salts from a supplier (Surfeys) as I find the natural methods of River Cottage a little salty for my taste.

Recently I have been air drying my bacon outside in a converted steel cabinet with flyproof mesh panels added.

But ..... for the first time since I started doing this I went to get the bacon prior to cold smoking it (it had been there about 20 days) and I noticed mold!
I’ve never had this before, so would appreciate some advice.

There were small white specs on the meat and in one place a small patch of something a little more furry (white in colour).

I wiped it with all down with white vinegar and am smoking as I type.

the other piece, kept in the fridge, was fine.

So, should I be worried?

any advice gratefully received.

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1 minute ago, YoungTom said:

Hi all.  I’ve been curing and smoking for my own use for a few years, mostly bacon, with good success.

I usually use  curing salts from a supplier (Surfeys) as I find the natural methods of River Cottage a little salty for my taste.

Recently I have been air drying my bacon outside in a converted steel cabinet with flyproof mesh panels added.

But ..... for the first time since I started doing this I went to get the bacon prior to cold smoking it (it had been there about 20 days) and I noticed mold!
I’ve never had this before, so would appreciate some advice.

There were small white specs on the meat and in one place a small patch of something a little more furry (white in colour).

I wiped it with all down with white vinegar and am smoking as I type.

the other piece, kept in the fridge, was fine.

So, should I be worried?

any advice gratefully received.

 

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Hi Young Tom and welcome to the forum

Surfeys (sausagemaking.org) is a good supplier for cure. I also agree that the celebrity curing methods usually produce a bacon that is way too salty.

A couple of questions regarding your bacon.

  • What is the purpose of air drying it - are you looking to produce a "Parma Ham" style charcuterie or a standard dry cure bacon?
  • Which cure did you use (#1 or #2) and how much did you use?

If you are trying to produce charcutarie then the mold is easily addressed by lightly spraying with diluted vinegar (50:50) and wiping off any excess mold and liquid. The acetic acid in the vinegar will kill the mold and will inhibit further mold growth. You may need to repeat this every few weeks. You may want to wrap the bacon in several layers of muslin (or use an air dry curing bag) in future as these help prevent mold spores, and unwanted critters, from getting to the meat surface.

If you are looking to produce fully air dried ham then did you use Cure #2 (Nitrite and Nitrate)? Cure #1 is not suitable for long duration cures as the Nitrite breaks down fairly quickly and it require the additional Nitrate to slowly convert to Nitrite to keep the levels topped up.

Did you use a dry cure method or did you immersion brine it?

The reason for asking what you are trying to produce and your method is important as when producing a standard dry cure bacon (rather than charcuterie) the meat should be kept refrigerated.

Could you let us know a little more detail about your process so far and we can offer some more focused advice.

Cheers, Wade

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18 hours ago, YoungTom said:

Hi all.  I’ve been curing and smoking for my own use for a few years, mostly bacon, with good success.

I usually use  curing salts from a supplier (Surfeys) as I find the natural methods of River Cottage a little salty for my taste.

Recently I have been air drying my bacon outside in a converted steel cabinet with flyproof mesh panels added.

But ..... for the first time since I started doing this I went to get the bacon prior to cold smoking it (it had been there about 20 days) and I noticed mold!
I’ve never had this before, so would appreciate some advice.

There were small white specs on the meat and in one place a small patch of something a little more furry (white in colour).

I wiped it with all down with white vinegar and am smoking as I type.

the other piece, kept in the fridge, was fine.

So, should I be worried?

any advice gratefully received.

Thanks for replying Wade.

So, I used their standard bacon cure mix (sodium nitrite) left it vac-packed for the requisite amount of time, rinsed it off after it’s cured and then, I like to leave it to dry for a while in the fridge, and sometimes, if the weather is cold, outside in a meat safe.  I think it makes the meat a little dryer and firmer.  After this, I either slice and pack or smoke (and agin leave for a period to let the flavour equalise).

my main concern if whether the meat is spoilt with this mold or not..

 

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39 minutes ago, YoungTom said:

Thanks for replying Wade.

So, I used their standard bacon cure mix (sodium nitrite) left it vac-packed for the requisite amount of time, rinsed it off after it’s cured and then, I like to leave it to dry for a while in the fridge, and sometimes, if the weather is cold, outside in a meat safe.  I think it makes the meat a little dryer and firmer.  After this, I either slice and pack or smoke (and agin leave for a period to let the flavour equalise).

my main concern if whether the meat is spoilt with this mold or not..

 

From the method you have described and the meat being fully cured it should be safe. Use the vinegar spray above to help deal with the mold spots. Used sparingly this should not affect the flavour of the end bacon.

Let us know how you get on :thumb1:

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