# Actual % Sodium Nitrite Calculation in a Curing Mixture

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#### thirdeye

##### Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
The current jerky thread discussing the addition of curing agents to the jerky seasoning mixture got me wondering. And my question is going to involve some cipherin' as Jethro used to call it. Below is some background and then my question. I'm going to tag daveomak and chef jimmyj but anyone is welcome to chime in on this. Get your No. 2 pencils ready....

Background and known parameters:
1. Cure #1 contains 6.25% sodium nitrite in a salt carrier. The amount needed to cure meat is 0.25% of the weight of the meat. This amount is then mixed with salt, sugar, and seasonings to make a "Curing Mix".
2. Tender Quick is a ready-to-use "Curing Mix" and per the label contains salt, sugar, 0.5% sodium nitrite, and 0.5% sodium nitrate or 1% total cure.
3. Hi Mountain Seasonings Jerky Cure is also a ready-to-use "Curing Mix". It has salt, sugar and per the label shows 0.85% sodium nitrite.

Question:
The percent of of sodium nitrite in TQ and HM curing mixes is expressed as a percent of the total amount of the curing mix, in other words the actual percent of sodium nitrite per volume. What is the actual percent of sodium nitrite in a curing mix described in 1) above and mixed below?

For ease of calculation let's say I've got 1000 grams of jerky meat, and I mix up a Curing Mix use these ratios:
1% salt = 10 grams
1% sugar = 10 grams
0.25% Cure #1 = 2.5 grams
The total weight of the Curing Mix is 22.5 grams. How do I arrive at the actual amount of sodium nitrite in this curing mix?

The amount of nitrite doesn't change in the mix. (You do add another 2-1/3% of salt using cure #1 based on your ease of calculation. )
You must use the entire mix on your jerky to get the desired nitrite level.

I don't use Tender Quick and only used a commercial blend once for (ground meat) venison jerky.
I am strict on my salt levels (love your 1%) and limit regular sugars.

So..not enough information in your post to determine what you are looking for. need the actual percentage of sodium nitrite in the mix and the weight of the mix. And the recommended pounds of meat the seasoning mix will cure......

I went to Hi Mountain website and pulled this from one of the jerky mixes..

Ingredients: Salt, spice, garlic powder, mesquite powder and spice extractives with malto-dextrin, and not more than 2% soybean oil (refined to be allergen free) and silicon dioxide to prevent caking. Cure: Salt, sugar, sodium nitrite (.85%), caramel color.

Is the cure and seasoning separate or is it all mixed together? Either way, will need that info to figure it out. It is not posted on the website. And IMO pictures of both the front and back of the packaging should be posted on the website, but are not.

Last edited:
2.5 g Cure #1 X 0 .0625% Nitrite = 0.15625g Nitrite in the Recipe.
That's if I Was Cipherin' correctly. I did get into Granny's Rheumatis' Tonic earlier...JJ

Cure#1 has 6.25% Sodium Nitrite so...
1 gram has 0.0625 grams .... X 2.5 grams = 0.15625 grams sodium nitrite and it doesn't matter how much other stuff you add... The Sodium Nitrite amount is the same..

Note the Tiny amount of Nitrite and the reason we use Cure #1 and Not try to weigh and use Pure Nitrite in home production...JJ

Fueling Around
So..not enough information in your post to determine what you are looking for. need the actual percentage of sodium nitrite in the mix and the weight of the mix. And the recommended pounds of meat the seasoning mix will cure......

I went to Hi Mountain website and pulled this from one of the jerky mixes..

Ingredients: Salt, spice, garlic powder, mesquite powder and spice extractives with malto-dextrin, and not more than 2% soybean oil (refined to be allergen free) and silicon dioxide to prevent caking. Cure: Salt, sugar, sodium nitrite (.85%), caramel color.

Is the cure and seasoning separate or is it all mixed together? Either way, will need that info to figure it out. It is not posted on the website. And IMO pictures of both the front and back of the packaging should be posted on the website, but are not.
I probably didn't explain well enough what I was after. I used label information from TQ and HM only as an example because those labels express the percent of sodium nitrite (not the percent of Cure #1) in their pre mixed products. So, going back to the HM product description, I don't need their breakdown because they are telling me that the amount of sodium nitrite is 0.85%. So if I had a thimble full or a pick-up load.... it would still contain 0.85% sodium nitrite... right? What I want to know is the percent of sodium nitrite in the 22.5 grams of "curing mixture" I listed so I can compare apples to apples if I design my own jerky curing mixture using Cure #1.

Below is the label to the bulk container. The curing mixture is a stand alone base product in all their jerky kits, the amount to use is based on meat weight. Also included in each different kit is a bag of signature seasonings. You mix the two together and wind up with a "seasoned curing mixture". I make up my own seasonings to mix with their jerky cure. The price savings is tremendous, I got 7# of cure for something like \$15. Me and a buddy have been using the same bottle for 5 years.

2.5 g Cure #1 X 0 .0625% Nitrite = 0.15625g Nitrite in the Recipe.
That's if I Was Cipherin' correctly. I did get into Granny's Rheumatis' Tonic earlier...JJ

Cure#1 has 6.25% Sodium Nitrite so...
1 gram has 0.0625 grams .... X 2.5 grams = 0.15625 grams sodium nitrite and it doesn't matter how much other stuff you add... The Sodium Nitrite amount is the same..

Ok guys.... your calculations agree that there is 0.15625 grams of sodium nitrite in 2.5 grams of Cure #1 (which is the amount used in my 22.5 grams of "curing mixture"). With that information..... Am I correct in saying that my 22.5 gram amount of "curing mixture" contains 0.7% sodium nitrite? And as long as I kept the percentages for salt, sugar and Cure #1 the same any amount of the "curing mixture" would also contain 0.7% sodium nitrite?

That's what I came up with

Yes....(0.15625g ÷ 22.5 ) × 100 = 0.7% Nitrite in the overall Mix. Double it or Halve all the ingredients, the % Nitrite remains the same. 0.7%...JJ

Just now checking back into this thread.....and the guys got you covered....

And thanks for all the help on the math everyone!! Sometimes the math is fuzzy from point A to point B. For example..... One and one is two; two and two is four; and "five will get you ten" if you work it right.

thirdeye
These guys have you covered. However this does bring up an interesting point. In Cure #1 they have a proprietary process that keeps the 6.25% nitrite from separating from the salt, so any volume or weight is always 6.25% nitrite. However, I do not know in these other cures how well the nitrite stays mixed. Hi mountain and waltons come to mind. They both have similar curing salt mixtures, sugar, maple, whatever. But the question is, does the nitrite stay in concentration with the other ingredients? I don’t know. When I mix cure #1 or #2 with other salt, sugar and spice, that cure salt always settles to the bottom.

thirdeye
These guys have you covered. However this does bring up an interesting point. In Cure #1 they have a proprietary process that keeps the 6.25% nitrite from separating from the salt, so any volume or weight is always 6.25% nitrite. However, I do not know in these other cures how well the nitrite stays mixed. Hi mountain and waltons come to mind. They both have similar curing salt mixtures, sugar, maple, whatever. But the question is, does the nitrite stay in concentration with the other ingredients? I don’t know. When I mix cure #1 or #2 with other salt, sugar and spice, that cure salt always settles to the bottom.
It's all about particle size. As long as the nitrite and salt are the same grain size, then it will stay mixed.

It's all about particle size. As long as the nitrite and salt are the same grain size, then it will stay mixed.
What then happens in cure mixtures with sugar(s) not the same specific gravity. I don’t know, just curious. I’m sure they are all good to go, but I have wondered about different “sugar cures” sold in bulk. That’s the main reason when on occasion I use a box mix, like HM, I toss the cure pack and add my own cure #1 and sugar.

Fueling Around
It's all about particle size. As long as the nitrite and salt are the same grain size, then it will stay mixed.
I thought they would just dissolve the sugar salt and nitrite in water then dehydrate and grind

We are mixing terms in this post that will mislead.

Nitrite percentage is based on your meat weight.
It is NOT based on the percentage of your spice blend

...
I don't need their breakdown because they are telling me that the amount of sodium nitrite is 0.85%. So if I had a thimble full or a pick-up load.... it would still contain 0.85% sodium nitrite... right? ...
Yes and NO.
The percentage of sodium nitrite is NOT a percentage of the weight of your seasoning package.
It is based on the weight of your meat product.
A thimble full is not enough for 10# of meat same as a pick-up load is deadly for 10# of meat

The percentage of sodium nitrite is NOT a percentage of the weight of your seasoning package.
It has to be. If the package weighs 5 pounds and it says 0.85% nitrite then it is by weight. Otherwise the package wouldn’t be labeled 5# but rather in cups or gallons. Everything scientific is based on weight, not volume. Volume measuring differs by the device used to measure volume. No two measuring spoons, or cups are the same. Weight however, is universally the same.
Going further, a given volume of cure is not ideal for a given weight of meat. A given volume of meat is not workable either. We don’t do cups of meat, and we shouldn’t do spoons of cure. Everything BY WEIGHT to be accurate.

No
Nitrite is based on the meat.

No
Nitrite is based on the meat.
Ok.
Cure #1 is 6.25% nitrite. Based on what?

No
Nitrite is based on the meat.
Yes, you are correct. The amount of nitrite is based on the weight of the meat, which is why the spice mix has the weight of meat that the mix will season on the package. We were discussing the percentage of nitrite IN that spice mix...

chef jimmyj
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