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?? Confused about CURES ??

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by fpmich, Oct 9, 2013.

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  1. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    There is so much to learn about curing.   It's new to me.

    These are not all my questions, but will get me started anyway

    1. Does cure#1 give a "Hammy taste" to all smoked meats?

    Such as turkey, fish, beef jerky?  I'd like my smoked meats to be safe for eating later, but don't want them all to taste like ham.

    2. One ounce of cure#1   (Typo edited to read 1 tsp.) for 5 lb of meat seems to be a rule.

    I don't have a digital scale yet.  How many teaspoons would 1 oz. of cure be?   And is that rubbed on, or in a brine?

    3.  I like brining meat, like poultry.  Is there a ratio to adhere to for amount of liquid. or does it depend on weight of meat.

    I read somewhere, that 1 level cup of cure#1 in one gal. of water/brine, would be acceptable for most things.   (Edited out.  Web page was promoting something without sodium nitrite in it.)

    But I trust the opinions of this site, over the one I read that tidbit.

    4.  I've read too much cure can be hazardous to us, but what are the limits?  Is it better to use a little less cure, and brine longer?  Most of the meats will be ate within a month, or frozen for later.

    Like I said: "There is so much to learn about curing".

    I'm not even going into sausage curing right now, cold or hot.

    But, I'll get there sooner or later.  I will have many more question over the next year or two.

    Thank you all, for your good advice, and patience with us newbies.

    I know some of you post the same thing over and over again, and get tired of it.  But just blame it on the poor search that most forums have.  I usually do a search here, and then a site:search with Google.

    Sometimes we just have to ask.  Thanks again.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  2. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

  3. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You should PM ChefJimmyJ....... he's the expert......   
  4. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

  5. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for your replies good folks.

    S2K9K, I was talking about Cure #1 (pink salt cure)  not TQ.  I think I can control the amount of salt better with that than TQ.  At least that is what I understand from reading in the forums.  A lot of people seem to think TQ is too salty for their taste sometimes.  If I am wrong in my understanding, please correct my ignorance.

    DaveOmak, I will search out ChefJimmy J and look at some of his threads, but I hesitate to PM anyone I haven't spoken with in a thread before.  Just seems bad form to me.  Mom's manner lessons are still with me it seems.  Sometimes anyway.  LOL

    Bearcarver, I did mean to say 1 tsp. per 5 lb. of meat, for dry curing.  Just a typo.  I will go back and edited that.

    BTW... I have your profile bookmarked, so I can find your recipes.

    I've found Pops6927 simple brine cure

    for every 1 gallon of water, add:

    1/3 to 1 Cup sea salt (depending if you're on a lo-salt diet)

    1 Cup granulated sugar or Splenda®

    1 Cup brown sugar or Splenda® brown sugar mix

    1 TBS cure #1 pink salt

    But I don't know if the amount of meat to be brined should change the amount of cure.  I read somewhere, here or there, to weigh both liquid and meat, to determine the amount of cure #1.

    It's a good thing I didn't just jump right in using that 1 cup to gallon posted on that other site.  They call it Bacon Cure #1, but to a novice, it sounds like it is Cure #1 pink salt.  Someone is going to get sick from that sites lack of information.  Their Bacon Cure #1 contains no sodium nitrites.  But that isn't obviously mentioned.
  6. pigbark

    pigbark Smoke Blower

    I have around 15 lbs of Pork in 1 Gal. of Pops brine rite now.. I read a lot of the same crap your reading on my journey of learning to cure meat for Bacon..

    The best thing I can tell you is to stay away from sites that do not have solid Moderators viewing posts on curing meats and other safety related issues.. The Mods here watch closely and will intervene when they see something posted incorrectly.. You and I being new to curing meat need that type of support so we don't get sick or make anyone sick from our trials.. You seem very interested in learning and I will vouch for this forum being a safe place to do so...

    First thing I would suggest to ya is, clear your memory bank and cache... a lot of the stuff me and have read is so bogus we don't need the hassle  to figure out whats safe and what isn't!!!

    cure#1 6.25% sodium nitrite pink salt aka DQ is safe @ 1 TSP per Gal. = Accurate info.  Pops has the math broken down in one of his threads..

     Here is what I did.. I picked Pops brine.. I ordered the cure, in the mean time I was reading threads where people were using the brine.. I also asked a couple members for their help if I ran into a problem, nothing like stacking the deck in your favor "Aces"... by the time the cure arrived, I had my recipe down which most of it was given to me and I only added 1 thing.. I knew my measurements and already lowered the temp in the fridge.. all I had to do is trim the meat and add everything together ,, inject the meat with the brine, cover and place in fridge... My first brine has been in since 10/6 ..

    Its a very easy process that I encourage you to try.. All the reading I had done actually complicated a process that is simple as long as you have accurate information...

    My Mortons TQ just got here today, looking for a sale this weekend...


    edit- typo , imagine me misspelling a word , just 1 wow I did good lol..
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  7. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    When I saw the amounts you mentioned I thought someone might have confused TQ with cure#1 because a lot more TQ is used than cure#1.
    Sorry for my confusion.
  8. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes that is the right amount of Cure #1 for dry curing 5 lbs of meat. To cure 5 lbs of whole meat with TQ, it would take 5 TBS (2 1/2 ounces) of TQ.

    You can also find many of my Step by Step recipes in my Signature, at the bottom of all of my posts.

    Also: If I was going to brine cure with Cure #1, I would go with Pops' method.

  9. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for all the info everyone.

    I have another question now.

    As I understand it,

    cure #1 is for quick cure for foods to be smoked or cooked at low temps.


    cure #2 is to be used for long time curing of uncooked meats and will not be safe for using as a quick cure because the cure doesn't dissipate until after an extended time.

    And that these two should not be used together.

    But.... TQ seems to have both #1 & #2 in it.

    If cure #2 takes so long and is unsafe for quick curing, why is TQ safe to use for a quick cure with something your going to eat quickly?
  10. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    PigBark, my memory bank and cache were cleared out years ago, and stay clear to my chagrin.  LOL
  11. pigbark

    pigbark Smoke Blower

    LOl I hear ya , I meant no harm bro..

    Ill take a shot at your question but I may be wrong so if a Mod edits my post,its all good and im sure to learn...

    If im not mistaken ,Mortons TQ has a lower %  of cure in it... Sodium Nitrate = 0.5% Sodium Nitrite = 0.5%

    Pops Brine for example uses 6.25% Sodium Nitrite / Same preservative but different % amounts...
  12. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic

    I have been wondering about the amount of cure #1 (pink salt) in a wet brine.  I noticed that pops brine has 1 TBL (Tablespoon) per gallon of brine.  Were if you are dry curing it calls for 1 TSP (teaspoon) per 5 pounds.

    Just wanted to confirm this?  The wet brine isn't based on the weight of the meat. 

    I have been using pop's brine for a while now and just wondered about the amount of cure.

    I hope this helps with fpmich's questions also.

    Thanks everyone!

  13. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    This is correct!
  14. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What you have here is true. Your last statement has come up many times and has been fodder for some heated argument. What it boils down to is both Nitrate and Nitrite can be toxic in large quantities so using the proper amounts are important. The Cure Calculator that DiggingDogFarm wrote and Alesia posted is a great tool for determining the proper amount of cure for a given weight of meat. The issue with the small amount of Nitrate in TQ is, some years ago various studies showed that Sodium Nitrite can combine with the Amine Proteins, found in meats and any protein containing foods, in the stomach to form Nitrosamine, a Carcinogen. This causes Cancer in the digestive system. Sodium Nitrate came under scrutiny, with Bacon getting the most attention because the high heat and long cooking of Bacon to get it crisp forms Nitrosamine and the digestive system converts any residual Nitrate in cured meats to Nitrite and increases the level of Nitrosamine in the stomach. As a result the USDA reduced the  level of Nitrite used to cure Bacon to 120PPM, the minimum effective amount, and the use of Nitrate in Bacon production was banned. So the argument has been if the USDA banned the use of Nitrate in Bacon, why does TQ still contain Nitrate? Opinions vary but the most reasonable answer seems to be, TQ is used to cure a variety of meats not just Bacon and Morton's Recipes take the Nitrate into account. Additionally the USDA regulates the commercial production of cured meat not what you do at home for personal consumption. The good news is that further studies of Nitrite, Nitrate and Nitrosamines has found that the addition of Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin C, at 550PPM to cures inhibits the formation of Nitrosamine. So now Sodium Erythorbate, an isomer of Ascorbic Acid which is cheaper, is added to commercially cured meats. On a much simpler note, there is no need to sweat using TQ to cure Bacon as a big glass of Orange Juice with breakfast will help inhibit the cancer causing chemicals. Looks like Grandma was smarter than we thought...[​IMG]...JJ 
    kel krause likes this.
  15. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't remember what that frying pan heat is, but when I looked it up a couple years ago, I found the temperature they were calling dangerous was higher than I ever fry Bacon, in fact I had to keep my electric burner on high continuously to get there when I tested it, and I don't think anyone does that. It causes you to burn everything. Therefore even though orange juice is Great & good for you, it isn't needed, no matter what cure you use on your Bacon. IMHO

  16. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The temps studies found to be a problem are 350°F or higher. Unfortunately is 350-375°F is the typical temp that Restaurants and most people cook at in a frying pan, med/hi. This is more so out of habit and the need for speed. This is also the temp that browns meat and other food quickly. I pretty much feel Nitrosamines can form in the stomach from ingesting a variety of foods and I only eat Bacon once a week at most. There is a lot more stuff that will kill you faster than eating Bacon...JJ
  17. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks so much for all the replies and information supplied to me in this thread.  I appreciate it very much.

    The answers to my TQ question was pretty much what I was thinking.  I did notice that it has a much lower quantity of nitrate compared to nitrite, but I still thought it best to ask, rather than just assume.  So thank you for confirming this for me.

    I've also learned that cures will make pork taste hammy, but not beef or fish.

    However, I am still wondering about poultry taste if using a cure.

    I've tasted smoked both chicken and turkey had a nice smoke flavor, and some turkey that did have a hammy flavor.

    I'm guessing  that just smoking, and cooking poultry to proper temps for immediate eating, or chilling to be reheated in a couple a days for a dinner, would just give a smoky flavor.  And I assume the hammy turkey I've tasted, was smoked with a cure.

    Answer this last question, and I should be done with this thread, except for reading it over and over to digest everything.

  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    With Chicken, I just hot smoke it, 275°F to the desired IT. The Chicken has a nice smoked flavor but taste like Chicken. Additionaly, I always Brine my birds but never add cure so I can't speak to how it taste with cure. Turkey on the other hand does taste similar to Ham if a cure is used. Think Deli Turkey Ham, Turkey Bacon and Smoked Turkey Legs at County Fairs and such...JJ
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  19. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Chef JJ.

    Yes, I've done chicken on a grill indirect heat with smoke and it was great.  But I never done Turkey leg or breast that way.

    So I guess if I am going to smoke turkey, I'll just brine the bird same as I do for oven cooking, only cook it @ 300* in smoker.  I would finish in oven if I couldn't approaching 165* IT in reasonable amount of time on smoker.

    Thanks for your quick answer.  I want smoked turkey, not turkey ham.
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