Curing meat in vacuum, faster than without?

  • Thread starter Havouza15
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In summary: Thanks for the input!In summary, the vacuum may not make a difference, based on what is known about diffusion in liquids.
  • #1
Havouza15
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Curing in vacuum faster
We are a group af hobby butchers, that use curing with salt as one method. Now a question has come up about the use of a vacuum sealer to speed up the process. So the question is probably easy for a physician. Will the salt solution go into the meat faster under vacuum than if we just put the meat in the salt solution in a container of some sort
 
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  • #2
Vacuum with brine tumbler supposedly works well, if you believe this blog:
https://promarksvac.com/blog/meat-vacuum-tumbling-machines-benefits/
Another take on this using 40°F and vacuum
https://www.storeitcold.com/how-long-does-cured-meat-last/

The assumption above is: - you seal and do not remove moist air, i.e. set it and forget it. I do not know about the tumbler version above that. I assume it is similar.

Low temperature retards anaerobic microbial growth and low oxygen (no air) stops oxidation of unsaturated fats. So the meat has time work be altered by salts without degrading.

Maybe some other PF member has some Food Science background and can help.
 
  • #3
Welcome to PF.

Vacuum impregnation involves moving a fluid such as air from a fabric, then allowing atmospheric pressure to push another fluid back in it's place.

If you pull a vacuum on meat, I expect that water will boil from the tissue and it will desiccate. Cool it and you have a freeze-drying process.

Greater fluid exchange or penetration of the volume may increase the rate of spoilage by moving the surface reaction and contaminants throughout the full volume.
 
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  • #4
jim mcnamara said:
Vacuum with brine tumbler supposedly works well, if you believe this blog:
https://promarksvac.com/blog/meat-vacuum-tumbling-machines-benefits/
Another take on this using 40°F and vacuum
https://www.storeitcold.com/how-long-does-cured-meat-last/

The assumption above is: - you seal and do not remove moist air, i.e. set it and forget it. I do not know about the tumbler version above that. I assume it is similar.

Low temperature retards anaerobic microbial growth and low oxygen (no air) stops oxidation of unsaturated fats. So the meat has time work be altered by salts without degrading.

Maybe some other PF member has some Food Science background and can help.
Thanks for the answer but it does not answer the question. Perhaps I should refrase, english is not my mother tounge.
I put a piece of meat in a container, pour on curing brine and put in fridge. Normally the brine penetrate the meat 10 mm per day. But if the container could be emptied from air, would the curing brine penetrate faster? Hope that is clearer.
 
  • #5
Havouza15 said:
But if the container could be emptied from air, would the curing brine penetrate faster? Hope that is clearer.
There is not a simple answer.
If the vacuum makes a difference it will be because of gasses in the brine solution or in the product. An initial vacuum will remove dissolved gasses from the brine solution, which may change the pH of the brine.

If gas is produced during the curing process, the gas will rapidly expand and move to the vacuum. That may open paths for the brine to follow. Without a vacuum, any gas would tend to reduce the diffusion of the brine. But we do not yet know if gas is being produced.

If the vacuum is not maintained then gas produced will reduce the vacuum as the process continues. Do you rely on an initial vacuum, or do you maintain the vacuum over time?
How much vacuum is there at the start, and then at the end of the process?
 
  • #6
Based on what I've found about diffusion in liquids (supposedly does not depend on pressure) I think vacuum won't matter as long as there is no boiling of any kind.

Once temperature & pressure is suitable for boiling it's a rabbit hole.
 

Related to Curing meat in vacuum, faster than without?

1. How does vacuum curing speed up the process of curing meat?

When meat is cured in a vacuum, the air is removed from the curing environment. This creates a low oxygen environment, which inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms that can spoil the meat. Without these microorganisms, the curing process can occur at a faster rate.

2. Does vacuum curing affect the flavor of the meat?

Yes, vacuum curing can affect the flavor of the meat. The lack of oxygen in the vacuum environment can change the flavor profile of the meat, making it more intense and concentrated. This can be a desirable or undesirable effect depending on personal preference.

3. Is vacuum curing safe for consumption?

Yes, vacuum curing is safe for consumption as long as proper food safety measures are followed. The low oxygen environment may inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, but it is still important to use clean equipment and follow proper curing techniques to ensure the safety of the meat.

4. How long does it take to cure meat in a vacuum?

The time it takes to cure meat in a vacuum can vary depending on the type and size of the meat, as well as the desired level of curing. Generally, vacuum curing can speed up the process by 25-50%, but it is important to monitor the meat and follow a curing recipe for best results.

5. Are there any disadvantages to vacuum curing meat?

One potential disadvantage of vacuum curing meat is the lack of oxygen can result in a different texture and appearance of the meat. Some people may prefer the traditional method of curing with oxygen for a more familiar taste and texture. Additionally, vacuum curing requires special equipment and techniques, which can be more expensive and time-consuming compared to traditional curing methods.

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