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Tender Quick Curing Questions

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm going to be making/smoking Venison Summer Sausage using Tender Quick. I have a couple of questions because I have read so many conflicting answers. Any assistance would be Greatly Appreciated.

1) How much Tender Quick per pound? I have read 1.5 tsp, 2 tsp, and 1 Tbl per pound.

2) Proper Cure Time? I have read: grind, mix and let sit refridgerated for 3 days mixing each day, then stuff and smoke. I have also read: mix, grind, mix then stuff. Then let sit refridgerated overnight in the casing for at least 24 hours and then smoke.

Looking for some input.

post #2 of 15
See if this helps you.

post #3 of 15
Ok all I am going off of is rytek's book for amounts. And he specifies "insta cure no.1" I am under the impression that tender quick is the same. 4oz for a hundred pounds of meat. so 1 oz every 25lbs of meat. That works out to about 2 TBS for 25lbs. Hope this helps.
post #4 of 15
I don't think they are interchangable. TQ has a lot of salt. TQ has .5% nitrates, .5% nitrites, the rest is salt.


If you are going to use TQ follow the recipe from Mortons, just MHO.

Good luck.
post #5 of 15
Having used both I have to agree with Ron. In fact you have to be very careful when using TQ with recipes that include salt. In those cases I will usually not add any salt and let the TQ provide the saltiness.
post #6 of 15


Hi dhuebner,

I'm a newbie, but have made a good deal of venison snack sticks and 1 batch of sausage in the last few weeks since joining this forum. I use TenderQuick too, and the rule of thumb that someone told me out here on this forum was that you needed 1.5 tsp per lb of meat. I believe that is the amount that the Morton's website recommends too, as well as the recommendation on the bag. Tender quick is nice because you don't have to add any additional salt to the mix. I will be switching soon to instacure, as my 2 lb bag of TQ is almost gone, and I can't seem to find it any any grocery stores here. PDT_Armataz_01_19.gif

FYI, the insta-cure in Rytek's book is not the same as Morton's tenderquick. Make sure that you always follow the recommendations by morton's. I have made 4 batches of sticks and just made my first batch of summer sausage using recipes with 1.5 tsp per pound of meat, and i have eaten a lot without tipping over, so i would say 1.5 tsp per lb is enough. I had the same questions, as i know a lot of recipes do say 2 tsp of TQ per lb. confusing as heck, I know. PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif

Also as far as curing times, I normally just let it sit overnight, but I believe the modern cures, and everyone, correct me if I'm wrong, don't need to sit overnight. The only reason I do this is that I do most of my smoking after work, and I don't have the time to stuff and smoke in the same night. So I mix, cure, and stuff one night, and smoke the next. I have found that the meat cures just fine in the casings overnight. Of course, this is with TQ, I'm not sure about insta-cure.

It is good that you are asking for info out here though. The guys on this forum are really smart and have a lot of good information. I would have murdered a lot of batches of meat to get where i am now had i not found this forum. They know their stuff.

Anyhow, good luck on the sausage. hope it turns out great.
post #7 of 15
Good to know Ron. I have never used tender quick but I am sure some day I will
post #8 of 15
I have always seen it say 1 tsp per pound of meat.
post #9 of 15
If you have any local meat markets try looking for TQ there. That's where I get mine.
post #10 of 15
The closest things I could find on Morton's website was the one posted by Ron & there are 2 others on there that were similar: Herbed Sausage & Pepperoni, which both call for 1.5 tsp Tender Quick per Pound of meat. DO NOT interchange Prague Powder, instacure (#1 OR #2) for Tender Quick in any recipes. I use Tender Quick in cured smoked sausage at the rate of 1.5 tsp per pound of meat & the insta cure as specified by the recipe.

The ratio printed on my Instacure #1 is 6 tsp (2 tbsp) per 25 pounds of meat.
post #11 of 15
Ron is correct. Cures are not interchangable. Period. Be safe. Use 1.5 tsp TQ per lb of ground meat. It is different for solid cuts. Follow TQs instructions to the letter and ya wont get sick or make others sick. It really doesnt matter if ya let the cure work before stuffing or after IMO> I have done both with good results.
post #12 of 15
I'll just reiterate what the folks have been saying...not interchangeable.'

I use insta cure, and the proper amount for sausage is 1 level teaspoon for 5 pounds of meat, but as shooter said, it takes a lot more for solid cuts.
If I'm curing one whole pork belly I put 4 tablespoons of insta-cure #1 in the rub.
post #13 of 15
Agreed 100%...I've read numerous web documents which state that with the modern cures available to the in-home processors like ourselves, the name on the package pretty much says what you need to know...Instacure...Tender Quick...they don't require long term curing for meat mixes, however, whole muscle meats require the long-term curing to allow the salt and nitrate/nitrite to penetrate throughout the meat.

My understanding is that the nitrate/nitrite is for prevention of bacterial colonization during what we normally consider to be the danger zone (40-140* internal meat temp). This is what allows us to do cold smoking of Kielbasa, pork bellies, summer sausage, etc., and being in the 40-140* range for extended periods without risk of poisoning. The other benefit of curing is for the creation of such delectible cured meat treats as corned beef pastrami and canadian bacon, etc, though these are not cold smoked, the texture, moisture content and some of the flavor of the finished product is a direct result of being cured.

Granted, I'm not an avid sausage maker, but have been educating myself for quite some time on the topic, and whenever something on the subject of curing catches my attention, I latch onto it. I've been experimenting with a few types of cured meats and sausages with very good results thus far, and I'm looking forward to going into an all-out full-blown sausage mania...trying new sausage recipes and cured meats as I follow my newly found passion.

A little sausage curing history:

The naturally fermented, cured, dried smoked summer sausages and salamis have much of the same characteristics as if using nitrate/nitrite curing agents, but it is accomplished through the by-products of introducing good/safe species of bacteria via a starter culture. These in turn colonize and produce an acidic waste by-product (I don't recall the type of acid) in the meat which later kills itself and the harmful species of bacteria which could later be introduced into the meat. The low Ph (acidity) prevents the development of new bacteria in the meat during the 40-140* range of further processing (drying, aging, cold smoking). This is an age-old method dating back hundreds of years, long before nitrates and nitrites were developed.

The so-called tangy summer sausages available at most any grocery store are made with the modern curing agents, while the old world style
sausages will have a less tangy, but much more developed and deaper flavor. If buying these sausages, you will notice a huge difference in price, as the natural process can take several month's for the finished product to be ready for consumption. A Virginia Ham is another good example of a very time consuming process, hence the consumer's price. The tangy sausages may take less than a day, or up to 3 or 4 days to finish. When you walk into a meat market, and see these high prices, understand that you are paying for the quality of the product, so don't be shy about shelling out triple the cash for the good stuff...

If you are creating one of your works of art (or labors of love as known by most), you can do without cure in meat mixes if it is not available to you, as long as the 40-140*/4 hr rule of thumb won't be breached. So, if it's a hot smoked sausage, toss a bit of salt in the mix in place of TQ and get that smoker fired up...just because it's sausage doesn't mean it can't be a fresh sausage instead of cured. Toy with the possibilities...

A method I've been developing for my home-made sausages involves using a curing agent for 2 reasons: I want the meats to marinate in the seasonings for extended periods of time, and with my limited batch sizes in my attempt to do larger volumes, I have to do the weighing chopping and mixing well in advance of being able to smoke the sausage. So, curing allows me to accomplish these two things safely. The meats are hot smoked, so the curing process would not normally be needed, as with fresh sausages which would be cooked a day or 2 later.

That's my take on curing. I have much less experience and practical knowledge than many others here, but I am learning and practicing more every chance I get.

Enjoy the sausage and cured meats addiction! It doesn't get much better than this....

Thanks to all the sausage-heads out there!

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanx Rhino

I was figuring that I did not need to let the meat sit and cure for 3 days.

So in summary. 1.5 tsp of Tender Quick per meat. I can mix and stuff one day and then smoke the next day.

Thanx for the confirmation. I have read this before, but have also read many other variations.
post #15 of 15
just for comparison, instacure #1 or prague #1 has 6.25 percent nitrite to salt. big difference!!!
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