Tenderquick to pink salt conversion

Discussion in 'Curing' started by phogi, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. phogi

    phogi Fire Starter

    Hey yall.

    I'm making some pork confit. But I only have tenderquick. My recipe calls for 1/2 tsp.  pink salt. How much tenderquick do I need to match that?
  2. Hey Phogi, as for the use of TQ in place of cure #1 for your confit, I would have to defer to someone else on the forum as to it being a suitable substitution since I've never cured confit....

    As for the amount and use of TQ in gerenal, there should be directions on that package of Tender Quick as to the amount to use per pound of meat or gallon of brine.  It would be safer just to follow the manufacture's directions as to the amount of TQ to use instead of trying to do a conversion.  In addition to salt, TQ has both Sodium Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate in it whereas pink salt or cure #1 is salt and 6.25% Sodium Nitrite only.

    Hopefully someone can address the feasibility of the substitution question for you regarding confit.


    Edited to add:  I did a little more research on cured confit since this post got my curiosity going... and all the recipes I found list Cure 1 with no mention of TQ.  With that said, I'm still not sure if TQ would be a good substitution...but... after reading some of the recipes for cured confit... I think I'm going to have to give it a try.  Sounds very good!
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    If I were you I would just get some cure #1. Whenever a recipe calls for cure #1 the amount of salt you add would be different than if you were using TQ. If a recipe calls for TQ that's what I would use & the same goes for cure #1. Some of the experts on here can probably interchange the cures in a recipe, but for safety & taste reasons I just follow the recipe directions & the directions on the package of cure #1 or TQ.
  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    i am not aware of TQ to Cure 1 conversion except those that adjust for the salt and not the nitrate/nitrite.  i looked over a couple of pork confit recipes and they list the cure as either optional or not used at all.  Maybe you can consider going that way.
  5. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree with both Al's!

    Unless you really know exactly what you are doing, this could be a dangerous attempt.

    Also, subbing in TQ for #1 is complicated by the huge and unknown amounts of salt and sugar in the TQ as compared to #1.  We know about the percentage of salt and sugar combined in TQ, but I think the proportions of salt to sugar in TQ is proprietary info.  We could make a guess?  But I don't work with guesses when using curing products.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  6. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Could you share the recipe? you mentioned 1/2 a tsp but not the weight of the meat. I'm wondering if it's use for color and not curing?
  7. phogi

    phogi Fire Starter

    Well, I decided to just use 1 tbs TenderQuick per pound. The recipe is out of Michael Ruhlman's book "Charcuterie" which, btw, is an AMAZING book. So, it is a copyrighted recipe, so I cannot share it.

    But the idea is this: Buy some back fat. Render it. Buy some pork. Cut into one inch or larger cubes or slices. Dry rub with cure and lots of fresh herbs and seasonings. Let is sit 24-48 hours in the fridge. Then remove from the fridge, and rinse it off. That fat you rendered? Heat it up in a saucepan til it is liquid. Sink the cubes in the fat (Spaced out from one another, I think), then put it in the oven for many hours at the lowest possible temp. Now that I think about it, I think a crok pot might be the best way to do it. After that, stick it in the fridge. It will keep for months. When you'd like to eat some, dig it out of the fat, clean it off, and heat it however you like...pan seared, pan fried, shallow fry, deep fry, BBQ, etc...

    Anyway, that is confit. Most popularly done with duck in duck fat. This will be my first attempt at it!
  8. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would be interested to know about your assessment of the saltiness of the dish?

    Also, I don't think there is a problem sharing a recipe as long as we credit the source?

    Good luck and good smoking.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  9. Recipes ain't copyrightable, only collections of recipes can be copyrighted.
    Photos and 'creative' writing surrounding and relating to the recipe are, of course, copyrighted.

    Lists of ingredients are not copyrightable.

    From the U.S. Copyright Office website...
    "Copyright law does not protect recipes that are mere listings of ingredients. Nor does it protect other mere listings of ingredients such as those found in formulas, compounds, or prescriptions."

    Recipe directions and ingredient amounts are not copyrightable.

    "Nor can there be copyright in the method one might use in preparing and combining the necessary ingredients. Protection for ideas or processes is the purview of patent."

    See the case of PUBLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL, LIMITED, Plaintiff/Counterdefendant-Appellant, v. MEREDITH CORPORATION, Defendant/Counterplaintiff-Appellee.


    Anyway, try Chef John's pork confit method sometime, it works great.....requires a lot less fat to get the job done.



  10. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I am with all the others on this. 

    FIRST AND FOREMOST THIS IS BY NO MEANS A CONVERSION. I use to use TQ in my brine for turkeys. I used 3/4 of a cup of TQ  in the brine along with 5/8 cup salt in 1.5 gallons of brine.  I have switched brine's and now use DQ#1 1.5OZ in 1.5 gallons of brine along with 5/8 cup salt. This switch was due to family members needing reduced sodium intake. The brine I use to use was much higher in sodium, very close to a full strength brine, it would float an egg. To my knowledge there is no direct conversion from Cure#1 to TQ and vice versa. The switching of my brine's was not done haphazardly it was done threw consulting with people that know curing extremely well, and developing a formula that was safe, with the reduced sodium. I could not just decrease the amount of TQ and have a safe brine, yes I could have just removed the salt but I would also have had more sodium.  Brining and making sausage are totally different curing applications I just used this to kinda show how you can't just switch between the two cures. 

    It is also very risky to take a recipe that calls for cure #1 and add TQ or vice versa. I recommend you hold off making this till you have the proper cure. Many butcher shops have cure#1 and will sell you a small amount. All you have to do is ask around. Many times the initial cost is higher but when you figure in shipping its actually cheaper. 
  11. There's no risk as long as you follow the rules. Recipes are converted all the time.

    I hope you left out the other salt in the recipe. :biggrin:

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  12. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    Would you elaborate on the rules for the conversion.   I have not found a way to account for the nitrate in TQ when moving from Cure1 to TQ in a recipe.  My problem is that nitrate converts to nitrite at different rates depending on biological activity and temperate so I can't figure out how to use TQ for short term curing procedures and not have residual Nitrates.  The salt conversion is pretty straight forward but I am hung up on the nitrate.

    I always cite the chef when copying a recipe more out of respect for the chef as anything else.  I am a big fan of John Folse's books and over time will post many different recipes from his collection.  I wonder how far I can go before I run into copyright laws if posting multiple recipes from the same book or books.    
  13. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I agree totally with what you say.

  14. I suggest that those who have an irrational fear of nitrate over nitrite not use TenderQuick. :biggrin:

    "Pure sodium nitrite is an even more powerful poison than Nitrate as you need only about ⅓ of a teaspoon to put your life in danger, where in a case of Nitrate you may need 1 tea-spoon or more. So all these explanations that nitrite is safer for you make absolutely no sense at all."


    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  15. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't, but mainly because of the salt content. I'm not that knowledgeable about Nitrate since I don't do any dry cure and really haven't researched it much. but this does make we wonder what happens to the Nitrate when heated at low temps. Is it converted to nitrite then eventually into nitrosly-heomchrome <sp> (pink meat color) as the nitrite did? I don't think I've ever read anything about this
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  16. I think this comes from the FDA regulating the use of Nitrates in products like bacon, when fried at high temps it can produce nitrosamines which can cause cancer, altho it is not a problem with sausages and hams, or other cured meats, but I think that leaves some feeling un-easy about it
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This statement made by SausageBoy is taken out of context and is very misleading

    "Pure sodium nitrite is an even more powerful poison than Nitrate as you need only about ⅓ of a teaspoon to put your life in danger, where in a case of Nitrate you may need 1 tea-spoon or more. So all these explanations that nitrite is safer for you make absolutely no sense at all."

    I have copied part of the section, for ease of our members to examine for themselves. The complete explanation.... http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/sausage-making/curing/nitrates

    I encourage all members to educate themselves on the accepted practices from "those who know" the curing of meats....  It is a long involved process that could be dangerous..

    Also, we have at least 2 resident "experts" on the forum where questions on curing should be directed....  Pops and Chef JJ....  they are trusted by the owner of this forum to give accurate advice...   

    What’s Better, Nitrate or Nitrite?

    Both Nitrates and nitrites are permitted to be used in curing meat and poultry with the exception of bacon, where Nitrate use is prohibited. Sodium nitrite is commonly used in the USA (Cure #1) and everywhere else in the world. To add to the confusion our commonly available cures contain both nitrite and Nitrate.

    Many commercial meat plants prepare their own cures where both nitrite and Nitrate are used. All original European sausage recipes include Nitrate and now have to be converted to nitrite. So what is the big difference? Almost no difference at all. Whether we use Nitrate or nitrite, the final result is basically the same. The difference between Nitrate and nitrite is as big as the difference between wheat flour and the bread that was baked from it. The Nitrate is the Mother that gives birth to the Baby (nitrite). Pure sodium nitrite is an even more powerful poison than Nitrate as you need only about ⅓ of a tea-spoon to put your life in danger, where in a case of Nitrate you may need 1 tea-spoon or more. So all these explanations that nitrite is safer for you make absolutely no sense at all. Replacing Nitrate with nitrite eliminates questions like: Do I have enough nitrite to cure the meat? In other words, it is more predictable and it is easier to control the dosage. Another good reason for using nitrite is that it is effective at low temperatures 36-40° F, (2-4° C), where Nitrate likes temperatures a bit higher 46-50° F, (8-10° C). By curing meats at lower temperatures we slow down the growth of bacteria and we extend the shelf life of a product.

    When Nitrates were used alone, salt penetration was usually ahead of color development. As a result large pieces of meat were too salty when fully colored and had to be soaked in water. This problem has been eliminated when using nitrite. Nitrite works much faster and the color is fixed well before salt can fully penetrate the meat. Estimating the required amount of Nitrate is harder as it is dependent on:
    • Temperature (with higher temperature more nitrite is released from Nitrate).
    • Amount of bacteria present in meat that is needed for Nitrate to produce nitrite and here we do not have any control. The more bacteria present, the more nitrite released. Adding sugar may be beneficial as it provides food for bacteria to grow faster.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  18. First of all, it's not my statement.

    Secondly, whether the quote was "taken out of context" or not doesn't change the fact that nitrite is potentially more dangerous than nitrate.

    What exactly is "very misleading"?

    I hope this isn't going to start some crazy argument.

    TenderQuick contains both nitrite and nitrate and has been used for decades to cure all types of meats.

    There are only two curing "experts" here?

    How exactly does a person qualify as an "expert"?
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  20. tigerregis

    tigerregis Meat Mopper

    The reply makes sense to me. One can choose to pooh-pooh so-called expertise at his peril. Yes, there usually is a new way to do things and  I wouldn't stand in the way of innovation or invention, however there is a feeling of confidence when one follows grandma's cooking regime.(or any other arbiter of good practice).

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