Reusing salt

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Zimmy
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Reusing salt

Post by Zimmy » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:56 pm

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I have read many documents of varied ages that discuss dry salt cures for meat or vegetables.

After your meat or vegetables have been dry cured you generally would smoke, air dry, or pack in a brine solution.

The salt you use will be contaminated with juices from whatever you cured. Can you reuse it beyond boiling the needed amount for a brine? (Much less than required for dry curing)

Keep in mind that many plans for smokehouses from the old days include a salt box. I don’t know if this is for curing or storing.

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Re: Reusing salt

Post by raptor » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:41 pm

Not an expert, but I would think collecting salt that has been in contact with raw meat, poultry and fish would pose a potential health risk. So assuming you can collect it you would want to treat it to kill and nasties.

Heating the salt to 450f + for a while should be useful.

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Re: Reusing salt

Post by ZombieGranny » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:46 am

I believe the smokehouses would have a saltbox to keep the salt dry, but also to keep it handy for curing.

I did a search for your answer; and really there isn't any agreement among meat smokers.
I know the USDA doesn't allow it, as it hasn't been proven to be safe.

Personally, I would discard the first batch of salt that was on raw meat* but have little problem reusing that which was used to dry vegetables or herbs.

*Similar to discarding a marinade. If using it for a sauce, one boils it for at least 5 minutes.
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Re: Reusing salt

Post by Zimmy » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:35 pm

ZombieGranny wrote:I believe the smokehouses would have a saltbox to keep the salt dry, but also to keep it handy for curing.

I did a search for your answer; and really there isn't any agreement among meat smokers.
I know the USDA doesn't allow it, as it hasn't been proven to be safe.

Personally, I would discard the first batch of salt that was on raw meat* but have little problem reusing that which was used to dry vegetables or herbs.

*Similar to discarding a marinade. If using it for a sauce, one boils it for at least 5 minutes.
A smokehouse would be a terrible place to keep salt dry (IMO) since water is a major product of any combustion. The water coming out of the meat couldn’t make it better.

However, smoke smell could help keep out vermin. A well sealed box in the smokehouse could be for that. You could also salt cure while smoking, I suppose.

I’m of the opinion that roasting the salt then sieving out the clumps might do the trick. Not for the table but ok for curing and later brining as required.
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Re: Reusing salt

Post by Halfapint » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:24 pm

tagging mostly to follow along, I have some pretty substantial salt stores because both myself, mom, and grandparents have lots of meat in freezers. I had a hook up on some 55gal drums of kosher salt so I bought them at ridiculous prices. I've always thought that if the time comes and power goes out one of the first things I'd do would be salt cure as much o the meat as I could. Never thought about what to do with the salt after. Figured I'd be waste, however, isn't that the point of salt? it takes the moisture out of things to inhibit bacteria growth? I'm not saying it would be a great idea, but the salt should be fine as long as it doesn't soak up to much moisture. I figure it might look ugly, but if you were worried you could heat it up and sterilize it.

Do it now, and you could market the salt as "meat flavored" and make a killing! I'm patenting that and putting it next to the "raw water" I'll make my millions yet! :awesome:
Last edited by Halfapint on Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reusing salt

Post by raptor » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:05 pm

Meat flavored salt and raw water for the win! :clap:

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Re: Reusing salt

Post by Zimmy » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:05 pm

Think how good it would taste after being stored all year in an active smokehouse
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Re: Reusing salt

Post by wagdhead » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:08 pm

Reusing salt is not good. Even if you boil it there is no guarantee it will kill off everything. My understanding that in Colonial times they took the old salt and fed it the livestock and used it melt snow/ice and spread it in areas around field to keep the local vegetation from growing over into the field.

As for the salt box in the smoke house, when they slaughtered hogs in the winter they would pack the fresh cut meat in salt for about 6 weeks. Then they would remove it and hang it in the smokehouse for up to two years. The smokehouses were typically one of the tightest buildings on the property, so it made sense to keep the process all in one building.

Good article: http://www.history.org/foundation/journ ... /smoke.cfm

My brother (well respected historical renovator) relocated a smokehouse from a property being developed to his farm. It was circa 1780. He learned a whole lot. The right side of the building had more fat soaked into the wood than the left. The reason people work from right to left, so over the years the new meat was hung on the right and rotated left. Why is this important? When you rebuild the smokehouse and seal it up again, the fat that has soaked in tothe wood come back up to the surface, and goes rancid quick. He had to remove wood back to the "dry" portion, and that failed.

Here's an excerpt from a post I did several years ago on the project:

"We took it down numbered everything and move the material 20 miles. Poured a foundation, and began to rebuild. One BIG problem. Smokehouse timbers absorb allot of fat over the years and this must be removed. We were going to replane the siding but it was 1" thick and the fat layer was 1/2" which was no good, so we reused some other oak he had from another job, and used the smokehouse boards for a doghouse (dog licks his house) and a great smelling bonfire. The structural timbers we heated and then scraped the fat off. Below is the finished project which we will turn into a ...wait for it... a smokehouse. "
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