Curing meat is the process of drying out meat and preserving it for future use while enhancing the flavor. There are two primary methods for curing meat -- dry and wet. Wet curing is generally easier for inexperienced cooks because dry curing requires checking the humidity and careful monitoring to make sure bacteria doesn't grow. Check out how to do both of these methods below:
Dry curing relies on salt, which preserves the meat and prevents bacteria from growing while it cures.
If at any point during the curing process you notice that the meat has a nasty or unusual smell to it, throw it out -- this means that the salt wasn't properly applied and the meat has begun to rot. It's better to play it safe so as not to contract foodborne illnesses.
Applying herbs or spices to cured meat enhances the taste. However, you don't want to overseason because the meat's flavor will be diluted. You can add the seasonings with the curing salt or add them after rinsing the salt off the meat. Common seasonings for cured meats include black and pink peppercorns, demerara sugar, fennel, coriander and mustard seeds, rosemary, thyme and sage.
Wet-curing is a quicker way to cure meat that's easy for beginners and provides powerful flavor. You simply submerge the meat in water and add your seasonings and cures to create a brine. It also prevents bacteria from growing and brings out more flavor in the meat.
After it sits, the meat is ready to eat. Meat that has been wet-cured can stay in the fridge for 30 days without worry of bacteria growing.