To one hundred pounds beef, take eight pounds salt, five of sugar or five pints molasses (Orleans best, but any good will do), two ounces soda, one ounce saltpeter, four gallons soft water, or enough to cover the meat. Mix part of the salt and sugar together, rub each piece and place it in the barrel (oak is best), having covered the bottom with salt. When the meat is all in, put the remainder of salt and sugar in the water. Dissolve the soda and saltpeter in hot water, add it to the brine and pour over the meat; place a board on top of meat, with a weight sufficient to keep it under the brine. Let the pieces intended for dried beef remain in the brine for three weeks, take out, place in a tub, cover with water, let stand over night, string and dry. String it (smoke for a few days, if you like), hang it up to ceiling over the kitchen stove, or on a frame set behind the stove, turn round once a day so*as to give all parts an equal exposure, and let remain for three or four weeks. Test by cutting a piece, which should be well dried on the outside, and free from rawness to the center. When dried, sprinkle with ground black pepper, put in paper sacks, tie up tightly, and hang in a cool, dry, dark place, or put, without sacks, in an empty flour barrel, and cover closely. Boil brine, skim well, let cool, and pour over the bony pieces left. These are good boiled and eaten either hot or cold, and they will keep good for several months. Tongue may be pickled with the beef.
Brine made the same way, with the addition of two pounds more of salt, is good for hams and shoulders. Take part of the mixture of salt and sugar, rub each piece thoroughly on fleshy side, lay in barrel (having first covered the bottom with salt) skin side down. When all are in, make a pickle of the remainder of the mixture, as directed in "Brine for Beef," pour over the meat; have a round board, a little smaller than the barrel, place on the meat with a weight (a large stone is good, which may be washed clean and laid away to be used year after year), sufficient to keep it under the brine; let remain from four to eight weeks, according to size; take out, drain, sprinkle with cayenne pepper, particularly around the bone. Hang them ready to smoke, let them drain for two days, and then smoke with corn cobs or green hickory or maple wood, taking care to have smoke, but not fire enough to make heat. Hang up to smoke with hock downwards, as the skin then retains the juices of the meat. After smoking four weeks take down, sprinkle with ground black pepper, tie tightly, in whole paper sacks, hang in a dry, dark, cool place, watching closely for fear of mold. Or, wrap in paper, sew in a coarse, cotton bag, whitewash on the outside and hang near the roof in the garret; or, wrap in brown paper, and cover with dry ashes (dry leached ashes are best); or, pack without sacks, hock end uppermost, in oats or shelled corn, or in clean, sweet hay, before flies come. Cover box or barrel closely, and keep in a dry, cool place. If there is any danger from flies, take direct from smoke-house and pack immediately. Brine for pickled pork should have all the salt it will dissolve, and a peck or half bushel in bottom of barrel. If pork is salted in this manner it will never spoil, but the strength of the brine makes it necessary to salt the hams and side meats separately. Pork when killed should be thoroughly cooled before salting, but should not remain longer than one or two days. It should never be frozen before salting, as this is as injurious as salting before it is cooled. Large quantities of pork are lost by failing to observe these rules. If pickled pork begins to sour, take it out of the brine, rinse well in clear, cold water, place a layer in a barrel, on this place charcoal in lumps the size of a hen's egg or smaller, add a layer of meat and so on, until all is in the barrel, cover with a weak brine, let stand twenty-four hours; take meat out, rinse off the charcoal, put it into a new strong brine, remembering always to have plenty of salt in the barrel (more than the water will dissolve). If the same barrel is used, cleanse it by placing a small quantity of quicklime in it, slack with hot water, add as much salt as the water will dissolve, and cover tightly to keep the steam in; let stand for a few hours or over night, rinse well, and it is ready for use. This is an excellent way to cleanse any barrel that has become impure. The pork must not be salted in whisky barrels; molasses barrels are the best. The whisky is said to injure the bacon. - D. Buxton.