Getting to know Morton Tender Quick......

Discussion in 'Curing' started by sausageboy, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. FWIW, I was told by a Morton rep many years ago that Tender Quick is approximately 79% salt, 20% sugar, 1/2% sodium nitrite, 1/2% sodium nitrate with a touch of Propylene Glycol.

    Directions and Rules for using Tender Quick, from the bag and the Morton website with added tips and tidbits.....

    Tender Quick is a blend of the finest quality salt, sugar and meat curing ingredients.
    It is perfectly blended for fast cure action and improved flavor and color of the meats.

    Use fresh or completely thawed frozen meat that is clean and chilled to 36-40 degrees F internal temperature. Pork chops, spareribs, chicken and other small cuts of meat can be cured with 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) of Tender Quick cure per pound of meat. Rub cure into meat thoroughly then place in clean plastic and tie securely. Store in refrigerator at 36-40 degrees F for 4-8 hours to cure. Rinse just prior to cooking. For brine curing, dissolve 1 cup Tender Quick in 4 cups water. Place meat in brine, refrigerate and allow to cure for 24 hours. For pump pickle, follow proportions for brine curing.
    For ground meats use 1/2 a tablespoon ( 1 -1/2 teaspoons) of Tender Quick per pound of meat. No additional salt is required, or salt to taste.

    Ideal for dry curing, brine curing and making a pumping pickle. Follow recipe directions carefully. Cook meat before eating.

    CAUTION: This curing salt is designed to be used at the rate specified in the formulation or recipe. It should not be used at higher levels as results will be inconsistent, cured meats will be too salty, and the finished products may be unsatisfactory. Curing salts should be used only in meat, poultry, game, salmon, shad and sablefish. Curing salts cannot be substituted for regular salt in other food recipes.

    Tricks of the Trade
    When curing meat there are a few key points to consider.

    1.The amount of time spent curing meat will depending on the thickness and amount of bone and fat. For thicker cuts of meat, you may want to lengthen the time you cure.
    2. Find your curing style by experimenting with different spices. But be sure to not exceed the curing levels in the recipe.
    3. As a reminder, we recommend labeling the date and time the meat should be removed from your refrigerator.
    4. Cure meat at a temperature between 36 degrees – 40 degrees F. Colder temperatures will prevent you from curing properly and warmer temps will encourage spoilage growth.
    5.In the case that meat is too salty, soak or boil it in water to remove the excess salt. In the future, remember to rinse cured meat or reduce curing time.
    6.Cured meat is still raw meat, so always remember to cook your meat and poultry after curing. If you give a home-cure as a gift, remind the recipient that they too will need to cook it before consuming.
    7.Cured meat will turn pink or reddish when cooked. For poultry, use a meat thermometer to determine when it's finished cooking.

    Sample recipes.....

    Canadian Bacon.....

    Beef Salami

    German-Style Cured Pork Chops (GEPOCKELTE)

    Deli Style Corned Beef

    Herbed Sausage


    Morton Salt's "A Complete Guide To Home Meat Curing", online and free for your enjoyment.......

    (1) How to Butcher Pork....

    (2) Cutting and Curing Pork.....

    (3) More from the Morton Salt Book....



    That should be enough information to keep anyone who's interested busy for a while.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
    floridasteve likes this.
  2. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for the links to Morton's recipes...
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    " Unsupervised rebellious radical organic farmer, homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist and contrarian who questions everything! "....Yeah Me Too!...Well, I'm not a farmer...Great links...JJ
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  4. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice post on TQ.
  5. smokinal

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

    Thanks for the links, although I use cure #1.
  6. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Thanks for the post. Lots of good info.
  7. forumuser

    forumuser Newbie

    I have a question about curing via Brine.

    "For brine curing, dissolve 1 cup Tender Quick in 4 cups water. Place meat in brine, refrigerate and allow to cure for 24 hours"

    Is that good for any amount of meat (as long as it is fully immersed in the liquid?)


    I have about 2 pounds of meat cut for jerky currently curing brine style. Since they don't give a specific meat/cure ratio like they do for the dry cure I have to assume each piece of meat will absorb enough of the solution to cure, and the rest of the solution will not affect the end product: unlike adding to much dry cure would.

    Should I season/marinate while brine curing, or dry rub after curing: or is it personal preference?
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This thread is from 2012... FWIW...
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I personally only Dry Cure with TQ, but yes---"As long as it's covered with brine".

    If I was going to Brine Cure, I would probably use Cure #1 with "Pops" Cure method. 

    However I would say it depends on what seasoning you're talking about-----I would sprinkle seasonings like CBP. Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, etc, etc, after curing & patting Dry. That's what I do after Dry Curing, but before smoking.

    BTW:  Please stop in at "Roll Call" and introduce yourself so you can be properly welcomed.[​IMG]

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2015
  10. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I also prefer dry curing.  Keep in mind the length of time curing, wet or dry, depends on the fat content of the product being cured.  For example, Morton recommends dry curing the leaner Canadian bacon 3 - 5 days while recommending curing the fattier belly bacon for 7 days per inch of thickness (14 days for a two-inch slab).

    Always use the cure manufacturers recommended amount and time when curing meats.  This is not the place to cut corners as you want a good cure while allowing the sugars and spices the time to penetrate the meat also.

    There is no problem adding extra spices to the dry cure while curing.  Salts, sugar and spices all penetrate the meat at a different length of time, so take your time, you will be well rewarded.

  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The following pertains to using TQ:

    Before anyone gets confused by the above statement, you don't want to calculate how long to cure anything by the name of the cut of meat or the fat content.

    The most important thing to use in your calculation for dry curing is the thickness of the meat being cured.

    There are a number of formulas used for the curing calculations & most of them are fine, as long as the cure ends up getting all the way to the center of the meat.

    I calculate my Belly Bacon, BBB, CB, Dried Beef, and most everything I cure & smoke by the Thickness of the pieces, and I use the same formula for all of them.

    You have to cure things long enough to get the meat cured all the way to center, if you're planning to Low & Slow smoke or cold smoke it, the two methods nearly everyone on this forum uses.

    You have to read Morton's recipes closely, because many of them finish with cooking the food at 350° in an oven----Not smoking at low temps.

    The only reason Morton's has a recipe calling for curing a Pork Loin in the fridge for only 3 to 5 days is because they aren't going to smoke it. After those 3 to 5 days, they just keep it refrigerated, and slice off 1/8" thick slices for frying. That CB will never be in any Danger Zone (40° to 140°) for 4 hours, so being cured to center is not important to them. So the reason they're only curing it for 3 to 5 days is not because it's lean, it's because they aren't going to low & slow smoke it like most of us do it.

    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
  12. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've never noticed it in the stores - but now I've moved to another part of town so maybe they stock it around here.
  13. forumuser

    forumuser Newbie

    Looks like this didn't post when I wrote it a couple days ago.....

    --Most of my initial post was poorly worded, I was in a hurry. 

    What I meant was, is it best to combine the seasonings with the wet brine (so it's basically a marinade?) I wouldn't want it to interfere with the curing process, though, my initial guess is it would not.) Or, should I put the seasonings on as a dry rub after the TQ brine process? 

    Since I really want to be sure the cure is correct, I can have 1 or 20 pieces of meat in the brine, as long as ratio is 1 cup TQ per 4 cups of water (or any other re-proportioned amount.) 

    Thank you all for the input.--
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  15. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Having nearly 60 years of smoking foodstuffs and 40 years of curing pork bellies, I in no way consider myself an expert at either and far from perfect. After much research on the proper amount of time taken to fully cure pork belly using Morton Tender Quick.  It was decided to talk to the USDA directly. After doing so, I was reassured, once again, that my method of curing pork belly was spot on.  The USDA representative I talked to recommended when curing pork belly with MTQ, using the dry rub method, that the 7 day per inch thickness guideline is used (14 days for two-inch thick slab).  This guideline is the same recommended by Morton. As I only use the dry rub method on pork bellies, no other method, cut of meat, or cure was discussed other than time sequences.

    Notable notes:

    1. The main determination in cure timing is the method in which pork bellies are cured.  Core injection being the fastest, then brining or immersion process, while curing with a dry rub takes the longest amount of time to achieve a full cure.

    2.  Nitrite reacts with myoglobin or muscle cells only, not fat. 

    3.  Salt in a cure adds flavor to the fat while reducing the water activity (aw). 


    USDA phone number  1-800-233-3935

    Additional information:

    Fully cured pork bellies provide a long shelf life at room, refrigerator and freezer temps.

    For dry-cured products, cure 7 days per inch of thickness.

    A belly two-inches thick should cure in 14 days.

     "Effect of Frying and Other Cooking Conditions on Nitrosopyrrolidine Formation in Bacon"

    Further information: 

    Mr. T's "Sugar Cured Bacon"

    Salt vs Sugar Absorption Rate?

    Calculating bacon cure time using Morton® Tender Quick® or Sugar Cure® (Plain or Smoke Flavored)

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