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Salt Block Curing

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I was hoping a few of you had some experience with using Himalayan salt blocks for curing, rather than for cooking. I checked the forum and found some small threads on cooking and serving but nothing on this topic.

Here's the idea- Bitterman's book "Salt Block Cooking" has a recipe for salt block gravlax that involves seasoning the piece of salmon then sandwiching it between two blocks with some fresh dill. Now, I got my hands on these nifty little thin sheets of cedar. The way you typically use them is to soak them then wrap something in them before throwing on the grill or in the oven.

I got the notion to combine the two by putting the salt block on the bottom, then salmon, then cedar sheet, then something about as heavy as the salt block, like a cast iron skillet. Bitterman's recipe says 3-5 days so I thought flipping the fish halfway through would expose both sides to both elements equally.

I have two concerns and they both have to do with spoilage. (1) will the side exposed to the cedar begin to spoil during the 1.5-2.5 days that it isn't directly exposed to the salt block? (2) should I actually double the curing time to 6-10 days to ensure that both sides eventually get the full amount of time expected? If so, would it be best to flip just once, halfway through, or to flip three times at quarterly intervals? Questions, questions.

I'm happy to haul off and just experiment, but any guidance that could avoid wasting food or making me sick is certainly welcome!!
post #2 of 2

HI JayCobb,

The time-temperature duo is crucial in controlling microbes.  The surface in contact with the salt retards spoilage while the other side is expose to the elements.  The cedar plants won't really help prevent anything here and may even aggravate the situation since it may have spores on the surface.  If you have only one salt slab, I would turn it often in the beginning to cure both surfaces as quickly as possible then turn less over time.  My suggestion would be to also double the curing time since only one surface is in contact with salt at any one time.


In my opinion salt is salt.  Any fancy salt is mostly (95%+) salt with dirt in it for colour.  Being a highly food safe cautious person, I would place the filet on the salt slab and dry salt the expose surface with Kosher salt, wrap it in plastic, place a weight and refrigerate. Turn and repeat the next day then, turn and press without salting for the next 4 to 8 days.


Good luck!

Luc H.

I eat science everyday, do you?
I eat science everyday, do you?
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