(1) Injection pumping is performed mechanically. The machine consists of a
tabletop conveyor and a bank of attached needles that automatically penetrate the meat
and inject a predetermined amount of pickle as the product passes.
(2) Stitch pumping is the introduction of pickle into the various parts of the
tissue by hand-operated needle injection equipment.
(3) Artery pumping is the distribution of pickle through the arterial system of
the meat. This method is confined to hams and uses the same equipment as stitch
c. Pickle Curing Equipment. Meat is pickle cured in open vats, boxes, or
tierces. Vats are constructed in place and made of concrete or other durable material.
Other curing equipment is constructed of wood, stainless steel, or galvanized metal.
Stainless steel curing equipment is the most easily cleaned and maintained in a sanitary
condition. Wooden equipment can be maintained in a clean condition only so long as it
is in good repair. Galvanized metal tends to corrode; therefore, thorough cleaning is
required very often to maintain these boxes in a sanitary condition. Curing equipment
should never be connected directly to a sewer. Tierces are casks or barrels made from
wood, usually of 42-gallon capacities.
Dry-salt curing of meat is less complicated than pickle curing. The curing agents
are applied directly to the cut surface of the meat either by rubbing or by sprinkling over
the surface. To facilitate the adherence of maximum quantities of the curing agents to
the surface of the meat and to hasten solution absorption, the meat is sometimes
dipped into a vat of brine before applying the dry curing agents. After the pieces are
covered with the proper amount of cure, they are piled on top of each other (skin side
down) in symmetrical piles. The pieces contact each other as closely as possible to
exclude air and reduce the escape of moisture. Racks are used to raise the bottom
layers 3 or 4 inches above the floor. The floors of dry salt cellars are usually wet;
therefore, splash boards are placed around the piles to avoid soiling the bottom layers
of the meat. Clean salt may be heaped around the edges to protect the meat. Dry salt
meat is piled in varying heights according to the class of meat.
The use of Dry-box curing is confined largely to pork bellies. The boxes usually
have a capacity of 500 to 600 pounds and are made of stainless steel. These boxes
are watertight and practically airtight to prevent loss of moisture and discoloration due to
oxidation. Before use, the bottoms and sides of the boxes are lined with oiled or wet
waxed paper. A specific quantity of bellies and a proportionate quantity of cure are
weighed out for each box. The bellies are covered lightly with dry cure and placed in
the box, skin down and in close contact with the others.