Check my math?

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by kes9799, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. kes9799

    kes9799 Newbie

    Hi.  My husband started hunting this year, and I'd like to make deer bologna like my family used to.  (I grew up with deer bologna aging in my closet because it was the coldest corner in the house.)  My grandma's recipe (from the 1930s/40s) calls for 1.5 oz of saltpetre per 100 lbs of meat, which equates to 0.94 g/kg.  I've been reading up on the various cures and understand that commercial cures are recommended because of potassium nitrate's toxicity.  (Very informative page:  As a result of my reading, I am leaning away from using Grandma's recipe as written.  But I need to continue to talk myself out of it.  The EPA's TEACH website shows a limit of 1.6 mg/kg-d for consumption.  If my son weighs 120 lbs (54 kg), I think he would be able to eat 0.1 kg (3.5 oz) of bologna per day, assuming all of the nitrate remained in its original form, which it won't, but we'll be cautious.  Am I right?

    If I don't use food-grade potassium nitrate, would I use cure #2 instead?  Despite it also containing nitrite, which my recipe doesn't call for?

  2. I'm not familiar with your recipe but I assume your bologna is dry cured in which case you would want to use Cure #2. Saltpetre hasn't been used in a very long time due to the product itself being unreliable or unstable. While You can get ahold of potassium nitrate, the safe bet is to use Insta Cure No. 2 or Prague Powder No. 2. It contains Table Salt,about 5-6.5% Sodium Nitrite and 1%Sodium Nitrite. With the cure I use, the manufacturer states to use one flat teaspoon per five pounds of meat (As you can see, it's really not much but it gets the job done.) I'm not sure how much bologna you're making but it's easy to scale up or down from there. When using Prague Powder No. 2 the nitrates over time will be converted to sodium nitrite which will cure the meat. This can take weeks or even months. When using the premixed curing salts such as No. 2 it is safer than you may be lead to believe. As long as you have a controlled environment in which to age your product and your curing salts are used correctly and proportional to your meat I'm confident in the safety of your food. I hope this helps somewhat.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  3. It's not a good idea to assume.
    We need to know the exact recipe and method before we can offer good advice.

    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  4. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Talk yourself out of using pure potassium nitrate.... The art of curing has come along way in the last 80 years.....

    Like Marin said.. provide more detail from the recipe.....

    About nitrates.... Nitrates convert to nitrites in the presence of certain bacteria.... Those bacteria are necessary for the conversion to take place... When using a nitrate based cure to cure meats, it is necessary to hold the meat at a temp in the range 45-58 def F for some recipes and higher for others, in the presence of humidity from 65-90 % depending on the specific recipe.... all the while, the salt is dehydrating the meat to an acceptable water activity level to form an inhospitable environment for bacteria to grow.....
    The elevated temps are necessary for the bacteria to grow and the nitrate to convert to nitrite... among other chemical changes that take place.. the above described method takes a fair amount of skill, good equipment and good recipes to make a "safe for consumption" product...

    Todays modern cure #2 contains nitrate and nitrite and salt... the nitrite in the cure is the immediate attacking chemical to do in the bacteria and botulism in the meat... then the nitrate takes over during the long curing time to further reduce and eliminate botulism... The modern form of "diluted" cures is much safer to use, as measuring the amounts necessary is easier...and leaves "some" room for error when weighing small amounts... Dave

    ... click on pic to enlarge.....
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014

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