I am new to this process of curing meat. Here is what I am doing...
I have a recipe from my late father-in-law for making landjager (He used to make and sell this awsome sausage). I never was involved helping him with the grind, spices and cure, only the stuffing and smoking part so I don't know for positive what was done in that stage.
The recipe calls for 30 lbs of beef. There is written in his recipe two methods for curing the meat. In both instances the recipe calls for Morton Tender Quick.
1. The Brine Method: Add 1 1/2 lbs of Tender Quick to 1 gallon of water. Brine beef chunks for 1 - 1 1/2 weeks. Drain the meat and dry for 24 hours then grind coarse and season. Let sit for 2 days then grind medium, stuff and cold smoke.
2. The Dry Method: Grind meat coarse (no brine). Add 3/4 lbs. of Tender Quick and spices to meat. Here it is a bit sketchy... I assume he let it cure after the grind and cure/spices were added for 2 days like the brine method and then let it cure for a week (in refrigerator) after the second grind at a medium grind. Then stuff and cold smoke?
After the cold smoke he hung it for a week in a refrigerator. After that time it can air dry with no needed refrigeration or cooking.
My concern after doing some reading is using the Tender Quick rather than a #2 Prauge type cure. I realize there is not as much of the Nitrate cure in the Tender Quick as the #2. Does the time of cure, one week, compensate for this? I have contacted Morton but have not heard from them as of yet.
I certainly don't want to poison myself or family or waste 15 lbs. of beef (I am making a half recipe).
Any thoughts from those who would know whether this method is a safe one or not?
EDIT 9-25: I have decided to cut the trial run to 5 lbs. rather than the 15 lbs. half recipe.
I also have talked with the Morton people and of course they could NOT guarantee, as I knew they wouldn't or even should, the complete safety of using this process with Tender Quick.
They did not think the amount of nitrites or nitrates involved in this recipe were beyond a health risk as a related amount of the nitrite/nitrates for consumption. So that answered one of my concerns.
They were not sure if the amount of time (1-1 1/2 weeks curing in the refrigerator post adding Tendrer Quick) as a long enough process for the nitrite/nitrates to cure the sausage. Something for me to think about.
I also want to thank everyone here in advance for all the help they have given now and in the future. THANK YOU.
Edited by clarkr - 9/25/13 at 10:00am