Wet cured chicken breast being smoked.
Picture of wet cured chicken smoking

 

What is wet curing meat and how do you wet cure food?

The Simple Answer to What is Wet Curing Meat

To put it simply, Wet curing food like ham, bacon, fish, meat and other food is the curing of the food by soaking it in a brine solution.

Wet curing is the curing of food by soaking it with a curing solution like a brine or salt water. The standard brine is 1 cup of salt (without iodine) in 1 gallon of water and then anything goes from there. Things like sugar, vinegar, molasses and other seasonings can be added to the brine. Sometimes potassium nitrate or sodium nitrite is added to the brine in small quantities to help preserve the coloring of the meat. Meats like turkey and chicken are usually wet cured as well as pork for bacon and ham. The meat is usually soaked in the brine solution for a few hours to a few weeks and usually kept refrigerated during this curing process for food safety reasons. It usually takes a little less time to wet cure meat than it does to dry cure meat. The time period can be shortened by injecting the meat with the brine solution before it is placed into the brine solution. This wet curing method is similar to marinating and the meat should be suspended in the brine or it should be agitated to make sure there is an even penetration of the curing agents into the meat. As with dry curing, many times the meat is smoked after the curing process. Either cold smoking, without cooking as is done for smoked cured bacon, or hot smoking, as is done for smoked ham, can be used.