instacure #1 with fish?

Discussion in 'Fish' started by wagdog, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. wagdog

    wagdog Fire Starter

    I've spent a while searching and reading posts on different brine recipes that people have posted for fish. Some have instacure #1. Some don't. I had never really considered putting pink salt in my cures for fish. I don't think it could hurt anything. Here is what I do. I typically have a few pounds of trout, whitefish, or catfish that I'll smoke (yeah I occasionally have salmon but that is usually when my neighbor has done another fishing trip in Alaska). I think the most I have done at once was probably 5 pounds of fillets. I leave the skin on and do a 4:1 brown sugar to kosher salt ratio. Then I add about a tablespoon of garlic powder and maybe a little onion powder. After they sit in the mix for overnight, form a pellicle, etc. I smoke them at around 150-160 for 4-6 hours (depending on the outside temp and fish thickness). Now that I'm the proud owner of a few pounds of instacure #1, I'm thinking I should be adding this to my mix. Usually the fillets reach 145-150 degrees within 4 hours. What effect (other than killing any potential botulism) does the nitrite in the curing salt to do fish flesh?
  2. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    I started using a variation of Pop's brine on my fish sometimes when smoking larger whole fish at lower smoker temps. the first few hrs. for more smoke flavor, because they don't always get to 140 in 4 . I don't know if it was my imagination or not but I think they tasted even better then with no cure so now I use it all the time. If you're not afraid of using nitrates it doesn't hurt.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have smoked a lot of trout and salmon.... Since joining this forum I use cure in fish for the safety aspect... Since cure, sodium nitrite, is perfectly safe when used in proper amounts, and I have not found a difference in flavor or texture, I continue to use it....
    I too use a recipe like yours... I add cure #1 at 150 ish Ppm... 0.3 % of the fish weight... although my salt/sugar ratio is 50:50 the idea is the same..... I weigh the fish and add 4% of the weight of the fish in mix, to the fish... final product is 2% salt and 2% sugar...
    I add the cure #1 directly to the salt/sugar mix....
    The calculation for the cure is as follows...
    10,000 grams of fish needs 30 grams of cure #1 (188 Ppm) for adequate health protection... (FDA allows up to 200 Ppm nitrite)
    10,000 grams of fish at 4:1 BS and KS needs 200 grams salt and 800 grams BS
    Add the 30 grams cure #1 to the 1000 grams BS/KS.. Now you have a mix that has 170 Ppm nitrite... close enough... when added to the fish at a rate of 10% to the fish weight, and you will have 2% salt....

    I let the fish sit for 24-48 hours in the refer.... rinse .... dry.... etc.....
    The mix is good for years if sealed air tight.... Be sure to label it including weights of all ingredients for future reference....

    EDIT: If you weigh your fish, add what you would normally add then reweigh the fish.... calculate % of mix you normally add.... then adjust the cure #1 to add to the mix to get somewhere around 150-175 Ppm nitrite addition....
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  4. Dave has you covered.

    I look forward to seeing some pics.

    Happy smoken.

  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well I've been smoking fish for 30 years and I don't add cure to my fish. My reasoning is that the smoke process isn't long enough for me to be concerned. After smoking everything is either refrigerated (if eating right away) or vac packed and frozen. Depending on your process I think you could go either way.
  6. wagdog

    wagdog Fire Starter

    I appreciate all the replies and input. I hope to get out soon and get some fish so I have something to go in the smoker.
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Check out my most recent fish smoke Fish Trifecta. I'd post the link but my stupid iPhone won't let me copy and paste right now! Three types of fish all using the same 4:1 sugar to salt ratio. If you do different fish cure in different containers. Especially if your smoking tuna. The flavor will impart in the milder fish. Nothing worse than tuna flavored salmon!
  8. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    Here you go dirtsailor
  9. wagdog

    wagdog Fire Starter

    Well ask and ye shall receive. A friend of my wife called this afternoon and asked if I wanted some trout they just caught. Lucky for me these rainbows came from a local reservoir that has an extremely rich forage for these fish. The meat is orange-red like salmon. Fillets are curing in the fridge right now. Pics to follow tomorrow when I get them going!
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015

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