I dry cured some chicken for three weeks: I cut chicken breasts into 1 inch slices, usee 10-20% salt and rubbed thoroughly. I left it to dry cure for 2-3 weeks. I did this however I forgot to remove all the fat that may have been on the breasts. After the 1st week a bad smell started to appear and it has got worse over the last 2 weeks.

Although I used chicken breasts there was still strings of fat on the chicken and my guess it seems the smell is coming from the fat. The meat itself looks red, hard and cured.

  1. If it is the fat, is the fat unsafe to eat?
  2. Is the meat still usable even though it has been surrounded by this odour for 2 weeks?
  3. If I just cut the fat pieces of will that make the meat safe to eat?
  4. If I do not cut of the fat and then steam/or cook the meat in a soup with the fat, will the soup water and meat become unsafe to eat?

Just to add: I am NOT trying to make beef jerky or the like and I do NOT want to use a dehydrator. The thing I am trying to cook is a soup where the chicken meat is very salty. Dehydration or wet brining doesn't achieve this. As such I am trying to dry cure the meat and then cook the soup as you would have with Virginia ham.

  • 6
    Can you tell us what recipe/method you used? It certainly sounds like you just let your chicken spoil, but knowing what you did would help people figure out what went wrong.
    – Cascabel
    Jul 25, 2013 at 15:17
  • If you're just trying to get salt into it, not make jerky, why are you curing it for three weeks (instead of a day or so), until it's cured dry and hard?
    – Cascabel
    Jul 25, 2013 at 23:21
  • 2
    Where is the cure in your curing? You can't just throw some table salt on it and wait. You need a curing salt! You also didn't specify how it was stored, but that chicken has definitely gone bad after 3 weeks.
    – Aaronut
    Jul 25, 2013 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


Don't eat it! The soup or the chicken.

Chicken meat may contain bacteria (inside the meat, not just surface) and can grow. Even if you've kept in the fridge for the weeks, it can still carry enough bad bacteria to seriously harm you. From what I know, the meat and fat structure of chicken doesn't lend it to curing in open air and long term.

If you are in fact trying to make a beef-jerky or cured sausage style and then cook in the soup to give the soup flavour and maintain decent flavour in the chicken, then you should be doing it differently.

You can dry cure the chicken in a dehydrator set to temperatures above 140°F as in this recipe.

For the soup: you'll need a soup base that is nearly as salty as the chicken (say %6 solution) so the salt doesn't leave the chicken and try to establish a new equilibrium between the saltiness of the chicken and soup.

This may mean that you might have to hold a portion of your soup back to add after the chicken is pulled out so it becomes less salty, but maintain the chicken flavour.


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