Help! A nitrite dilemma!

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Omnivore

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Sorry for the long post but I wanted to make sure I explained my situation

I'm in the middle of making a couple batches of snack sticks with PS Seasoning spice blends. I'm also using their liquid smoke because I can't use my smoker at the moment. The directions state to add the sodium nitrite to ice water and then add to the meat. Then add your spice mix. I decided to also add the liquid smoke to the sodium nitrite and water mix for a more even distribution when pouring it over the meat. This is when things got weird.

So the note on the liquid smoke bottle said to NOT add to liquid smoke to brine solutions containing sodium nitrate as a nitrogen dioxide gas may be emitted. I thought I'd be fine adding the liquid smoke to my cure + water solution since I was using sodium nitrite, not sodium nitrate. Well it did indeed fizz up quite a bit (and possibly gave off a smell) and alas I must not have been thinking things through because I still added the now fizzy water, cure, liquid smoke mixture to my meat.

My concern is that by doing things in this order I either created some sort of toxic solution which I then added to my meat and now shouldn't proceed further with that batch, or more likely, by adding the liquid smoke directly to the cure, I ultimately deactivated the sodium nitrite and must now cook these sticks within 4 hours and they will likely be grey/brown and not pink.

I haven't really worked with the combination of liquid smoke and cure, so my concerns are based on some quick googling of the situation. The following link was something that popped up when I was searching for an answer and it gives further explanation of the breakdown of sodium nitrite when mixed with an acid like liquid smoke.


Recipe:
12.5 pound mixture of venison/pork
453 grams spice mix (half of a 25 pound batch)
13.5 grams speed cure (half of a 25 pound batch)
1 cup ice water
2.5 tsp liquid smoke

Thanks for any insight!

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zwiller

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You inadvertently have stumbled across a highly debated matter. I think you were fine. I think the warning is mostly a CYA. That being said and more importantly, how did you "deactivate"?
 

Omnivore

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You inadvertently have stumbled across a highly debated matter. I think you were fine. I think the warning is mostly a CYA. That being said and more importantly, how did you "deactivate"?
Interesting and thanks for the response. I had no idea and just really thought I was in the clear since the PS Seasoning note only mentioned nitrates. Most of the time when I come across a post regarding nitrates and nitrites, it's about how they are not the same and shouldn't be treated as such 😐

Maybe deactivate is the wrong word. But from the link I read it sounds like the fizzing means that the sodium nitrite has decomposed and would no longer be effective in the cure.
 

SmokinEdge

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When adding acidic ingredients to sausage you always run the risk of burning up the nitrite. The acid acts as a cure accelerator and promotes the conversion of nitrite into nitric oxide much faster or even instant. Same thing happens with ECA, except the nitrite is already mixed with the meat and stuffed.

You more than likely should now treat these sticks as uncured and follow the 40 to 140 in less than 4 hours. You may still get a little cure color but probably not much.
 
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zwiller

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ALWAYS best to take safest approach when it comes to food. Good news is, your not smoking so 4 hours will work just fine. I vote full cure/pink.
 

Omnivore

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When adding acidic ingredients to sausage you always run the risk of burning up the nitrite. The acid acts as a cure accelerator and promotes the conversion of nitrite into nitric oxide much faster or even instant. Same thing happens with ECA, except the nitrite is already mixed with the meat and stuffed.

You more than likely should now treat these sticks as uncured and follow the 40 to 140 in less than 4 hours. You may still get a little cure color but probably not much.
Thanks for the feedback SmokinEdge. Yeah I think might not have burned up the nitrite so severely if I hadn't added the liquid smoke directly to the water/cure mix and just mixed it in at the end, after everything else had been mixed together. Just glad that they are still safe to eat as long as I stay in the 4 hour zone. Thanks again.
 
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Omnivore

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ALWAYS best to take safest approach when it comes to food. Good news is, your not smoking so 4 hours will work just fine. I vote full cure/pink.
I'll let you know in 4 hours!
 

SmokinEdge

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I vote full cure/pink.
This is possible, but “pink” doesn’t necessarily mean “safe” as in cured.

The actual break down of nitrite is that some converts to nitrous acid (HNO2) and some into nitric oxide (NO).

From my research, it is believed that the Nitrous acid is the element that combats toxic bacteria like botulism. The nitric oxide fixes itself to the iron molecules in myoglobin and fixes the color and acts also as a preservative. So any time curing salt has been compromised I would play safe. Nitric oxide has been tested in laboratory against bacteria and the bacteria number did not change.
 

SmokinEdge

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zwiller zwiller
Also I would add that about 50ppm nitrite is sufficient to produce the pink color in cured meat. Most of the folks here that use a very popular brine are only imparting about 70ppm nitrite and their meats look fantastic, this is fine in whole muscle products but in commuted meats like sausage we need a minimum of 120ppm to ensure safety. If you apply nitrite at 156ppm as the OP here did, then he introduced acid, which lets just say he burned up half his nitrite, not all of it, this would leave him with about 78ppm nitrite. Should have a good cured color but if botulism was present we don’t have enough nitrite to make the sausage safe.
 
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Omnivore

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You don't have to do it within 4 hours of mixing but meat must go from 40-140 within 4 hours when cooking like SmokinEdge SmokinEdge said. I'd cure it overnight.
The cure that came with the kit is a "speed cure" so they say you can cook right after stuffing. Would you cure overnight because of this particular situation?
 

Omnivore

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SmokinEdge SmokinEdge and zwiller zwiller thank you for all of this valuable information! Between this humbling situation and the interesting post this week on tasting test patties immediately after mixing in cure, my mantra is "I don't know what I don't know" 😜
 

indaswamp

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I use to use Worcestershire sauce in the cure when making tasso and learned about acids and cure....I no longer do that. Instead, I now wait for the cure to penetrate the meat, then coat with the W sauce and apply the rub....
 
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TNJAKE

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SmokinEdge has you covered....

What I wanna know is what the hell they put in the liquid smoke to cause the reaction?!?!?!
Liquid smoke in most cases is just condensed water and smoke. Some companies might add caramel coloring......the answer to your question though is smoke is acidic itself. As far as how it reacts to nitrite I can't help with that.......I'm an American not an astronaut lol
 

Omnivore

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SmokinEdge has you covered....

What I wanna know is what the hell they put in the liquid smoke to cause the reaction?!?!?!
Yeah good question. I think smoke is acidic so maybe because liquid smoke is such a concentrated form of that?

I know it's fully my responsibility to know how these things work before cooking with them but I'm still a little sour with PS Seasoning for the vagueness on nitrate warning lol
 

SmokinEdge

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Yeah good question. I think smoke is acidic so maybe because liquid smoke is such a concentrated form of that?
Anything acidic will and can cause a problem. But really it’s more application than the ingredient. Always mix the nitrite in with the salt along with other spices first, then mix until sticky, looking for protein extraction, then add liquid or worsy or liquid smoke or vinegar or citrus last. Just like with ECA, it’s added and mixed just before stuffing.

I use sodium erythorbate (cure accelerator) in most of my cured sausages but I dissolve it in water and mix it in at the end just before stuffing, no issues.
 
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PolishDeli

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what the hell they put in the liquid smoke to cause the reaction?!?!?!

Liquid smoke is mostly pyroligneous acid.
AKA
Acetic acid, acetone, and methanol.
AKA
Vinegar, nail polish remover, and bad moonshine.

The vinegar is what will react with cure.
The solvents are there to help the hydrocarbons/creosote stay dissolved.