What is Cured Meat?

Cured meats are the outcome of a centuries-old exercise of food conservation and a star element in the culinary community. These universally adaptable meats are used in all kinds of recipes, from sandwiches to salads and brand pasta dishes. 

They are also a must-have when creating a charcuterie board for a group or little get-together with companions.

History of Cured Meat

Curing meats is an age-old technique that goes all the way back to 3000 B.C. Historians have encountered indications of historical people residing in Mesopotamia conserving meat and fish in sesame oil and salt. 

This technique gave them a basis of protein during harsher months when food was insufficient and was significant to their survival.

By 200 BC, meat curing was exercised mainly in European countries and had evolved from a standard of survival to an advanced culinary procedure. Once well stabilized in France, it did not take too long for the creation of the charcuterie board to develop. 

Cured meat became an outstanding delicacy relished by kings and other aristocrats of high stature and continues to be one of the most prominent and prized snacking choices centuries later.

Cured meat is created through techniques that eliminate water from the meat through osmosis, which drains potentially dangerous bacteria. Most procedures call for a mix of salt and regular or synthetically developed nitrates that function to oversee moisture loss and conserve characteristics like color, taste, and longevity.

Methods for Curing Meats

When it comes to the procedure of curing meat, each aspect falls into two classifications. 

Wet or dry. The significant distinction between both of them is that wet curing comprises a liquid brine while dry curing doesn’t. 

No matter the procedure, all techniques for curing meat need the salt-based treatment to permeate through the entire portion of meat to guarantee it is sure to be eaten. 

The other conditions like time, humidity, temperature, and spices all support the flavor improvement of the particular delicacy being created.

5 Ways to Cure Meat

Numerous techniques are used for curing meats, relying on the cut of meat and the planned final product. The traditional curing methods are as follows:

Dry curing: The most conventional dry curing method includes immersing a piece of meat in a jar of salt and sometimes other herbs and whole seasonings for an extensive period. 

Precipitation sponges out of the meat in the salting procedure, maintaining the component while developing an intensely delicious flavor. Cured meats like pancetta, bresaola, and prosciutto utilize the dry-cured procedure.

Equilibrium curing: This is another procedure of dry curing that includes calculating an exact percentage of salt found on the weight of the meat, proportional to about 3% of the meat’s entire weight, and coating the surface with salt before vacuum-sealing the meat in an airtight bag and positioning it in the refrigerator. 

The equilibrium-curing procedure enables the meat to formulate a savory flavor without expending pounds of salt.

Brine curing: Also recognized as wet curing, brine curing is identical to pickling. It comprises curing the meat with the assistance of a salt and water mixture (what is known as brine). 

There are two choices for brine curing. The first is to completely immerse the meat in the solution keeping an object on top to have it weighed down, and then put it in the refrigerator to cure. 

The other is to implant the curing solution into the meat utilizing a meat pump before simmering the meat.

Combination curing: This collection of dry and brine curing entails implanting the meat with a curing mixture before putting a dry rub to the covering and stocking the meat in the refrigerator. 

This method can avoid spoilage, as curing happens on and under the meat’s exterior.

Sausage curing: This technique comprises mixing curing salt, spices, and herbs promptly into ground meat before getting cured in a refrigerator.

4 Tips for Curing Meat

These pointers will help show you the way you through the curing technique to generate a vast expanse of delightful, safe-to-consume proteins:

1. Attempt it with different seasonings 

When formulating home-cured meat, attempt it with numerous herbs and spices to generate deviations in flavor.

2. Retain a constant temperature

Try to maintain the temperature and keep it as steady as probable throughout the curing technique, ideally, thirty to forty degrees Fahrenheit. Disclosing the meat to hotter temperatures could ensue in spoilage while adjusting the temperature or making it any cooler could impede the curing procedure.

3. Customize the curing period

Various sizes and variations of cured meat will need various curing times. Do your study regarding the proper curing period for the kind, density, and fast volume of your meat cut before starting the curing procedure.

4. Broil your cured meats

When curing meats in your house, it’s important to simmer the meat before eating it to decrease the chances of food-borne illness.

Types of Cured Meat

If you’ve ever gone to an Italian restaurant, tapas bar, or local deli, then you have most feasibly experienced a few distinct kinds of cured meats. The immensely prominent variations are salami and prosciutto, but it is crucial to point out that every society globally has its own brand of cured meats; this implies that there are thousands of variations to get to know.

The main characteristics that set various kinds of cured meats apart are the kinds of meat, cut of meat, curing technique, and spices utilized for flavoring. Prosciutto, for instance, is a slow-cured ham that is salted and matured for many months. 

Identical to prosciutto, bresaola is also dry-cured. Still, the beef eye of round is utilized rather than pork, and, due to its tinier size, it is matured only about three months to preserve its elegant texture.

Is Cured Meat Safe to Eat?

We recognize how the notion of curing meat by putting it out at room temperature for an extended duration of time may not sound the most alluring, let alone sure. Unlike the chicken breast you brought out of the fridge a couple of days ago, cured meat is cautious to eat as long as adequate safety protocols are followed.

The central element that puts rancid and cured meats apart is water. 

A steak that sits out in the sun all day will accumulate harmful bacteria, bringing about sickness. When a curing mix of salt, sugar and other spices is inducted into a sliver of meat by either coating or injecting, the moisture is drawn out and eventually evaporates through a process called osmosis. 

The absence of water builds a setting that deters bacteria from thriving, making cured meats faultlessly safe and delightful to consume.

How Long will Cured Meat stay Fresh?

The proportion of salt utilized in making cured meat assists it in staying fresh for a long duration of time. Most whole cured meats can be shut and kept elegant for many months. If you’ve unrolled the package, it is advised to eat it all up within one week.

Different Ways to Enjoy Cured Meat

There are many unique means to relish cured meats. You can utilize them as elements in a recipe, disperse them on a charcuterie board, develop delicious pairings, or relish them right out of the package. Different recipes are abundant, pairing ideas and charcuterie board suggestions to calm you into the vast community of cured meats. 


Curing meat can be a confounded and frequently lengthy process, but the outcome makes it all worth it. This time-honored procedure has contributed a diversity of imaginative modern means to relish various kinds of meat. 

Once you have attempted a bite, it’s hard to suppress the craving that is certain to follow. 

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