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mixing meat with spices and cure??

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by dalton, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. dalton

    dalton Smoke Blower

    I am preparing to make some snack sticks,  I have read several recipies here and elswehere and seen different suggestions on mixing and cureing. 

    some recipies suggest mixing meat and cure only and let cure#1 (tq) for 1-2 days in the fridge.  some say mix twice a day others say just let it sit.  some say to let it cure before you mix in the other spices and others say mix it all at once. 

    some recipies say mix all together and stuff then let sit in the fridge to cure then move on to smoking/ cooking.

    so my questions are as follows:

    1. is there any benifit to mixing cure and meat only, letting it cure then mixing in the spices or is all at once fine?

    2. when the meat mixture is cureing is it neccesary to mix it once or twice a day during the curing time?

    3. is there any benifit to stuffing after curing is done or is it just as good to stuff and let it cure after stuffing?

    4. when curing in a bowl should it be tighly covered (plastic wrap totally covering the meat up to the edge of the bowl)? or should it be in a sealed container with air space in the sealed container?  one recipie I read even suggested covering it with cloth???

    I would just like to take a second to thank all the folks on this site who have answered my questions (however uninformed they may be) with patience and such a helpful attitude!  I look forward to the day when I can contribute to the training and knowledge of others from what I have learned here and the experience that comes from doing it.  until then I will continue to be blessed by the helpful folks here at this website!!!  

  2. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    All at once is fine.  It is done all the time in sausage making and Canadian Bacon Cures. Cure #1 is not TenderQuick.  They are not interchangable.

    Whole cuts I do once a day.  Sausage I stuff and let cure in the casing.

    My whole cuts are cured in ziplocks.  My sausage links if I am not smoking them right of way are in a regridgerated bowl covered in saran wrap or foil.

    Hope this helps. 
  3. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    I use the K.I.S.S. method on snack sticks. I like using 85/15 ground beef, 1/4 ts. pink salt per pound of meat, 1 oz. of water per pound. For the seasoning I use either LEM products, 4 ts. per pound or some homemade concoction. You can use seasoning salt and dilute it with onion and garlic powder to lessen the salt content to taste. If I dont have the time to cold smoke I'll switch out liquid smoke for the water and use my dehydrator, cheating, well ya got do that sometimes. Hope this helps. [​IMG]
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm with Rick on this one. I mix my sausages or meat once and then leave it alone. Now some stuff like Canadian bacon (which I'm curing right now) I do mess with everyday.
  5. dalton

    dalton Smoke Blower

    what is the difference between cure #1 and tenderquick?   is it just a different concentration of nitrate and nitrite and therefore different ratio of tq per pound of meat?  I have not used them interchangably since all the recipies I have actually call for tenderquick but I thought they were the same...   help a rookie understand!

    thanks for all the help
  6. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey Dalton,

    I mix cure, spices and water at the same time and stuff into casings.  Stuffed casings sit in the fridge before I smoke.

    I've used both Pink Cure Salt(Cure #1) and Tenderquick with good results.  Both will cure your sausage, but quantities per pound are much different.  I would pick up a packaged snack stick seasoning kit for your first run, just so you know how it's done.  Then, you can experiment on your own.

  7. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    Like the others, I mix everything at once when making sausage & sticks.

    But when I do whole meat, the only thing I add to Tender Quick is Brown sugar, to counter the salt.

    If I used any of the other cures, I would add both salt & sugar.

    I have added other seasonings to the curing process, and didn't find much added taste,

    so I add CBP, Garlic Powder & Onion Powder, after curing & before smoking.

    My 2 pennies,

  8. dalton

    dalton Smoke Blower

    thanks for responses. 

    I understand the value of moving meat in a brine around on a semi regular basis. 

    just made some bunny stix the other nite and the meat is curing in the fridge.  tonight I get to put them in the smoker.  I will post pics and such after the finished product is out!

    thanks again for the help
  9. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Cure #2 and TQ both contain nitrite and nitrate but they are used in very different volumes and are not interchangeable.

    Cure #1 contains nitrite but no nitrate and is considered a quick cure but is not to be confused with TQ or any other cure for that matter.

    Be very, very careful when using cures because they are different and meant to be used differently.  Incorrect handling can result in a dangerous product.

    Good smoking and good luck.
  10. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  11. dalton

    dalton Smoke Blower

    thanks for the link.  it explained the difference better than what I had read before.  the bottom line is that you can use any of the cures that are appropriate for your project.(fast or slow) just make sure that you are using it in the right ratio.  each cure is different and just make sure that you mix the right amount!!

    for those newbies (like me) reading this...  it can't  be stressed enough that what ever cure you use make absolutey certain that you are using the right amount for the weight of meat you are using.  to little and it wont do its job and too much and it can be poisonous.  measure twice and make sure.
  12. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    You're getting it Dalton.

    The best thing for you to do for now, would be to do your research, come up with a plan, and then post your plan a couple days ahead of time, and let some experienced guys make sure you aren't getting something wrong in your plan. Then after awhile, you'll be one of the experienced guys looking at other's plans (payback time).

  13. dalton

    dalton Smoke Blower


    I am looking forward to that day...   I am totally good with "payback"  I love to learn new stuff but I love sharing that info with others even more!!!

    I did make some meat stick and jerky last night.  I am going to post a qview tomorow.  used a recipie I found on the net and some of your methods.  made sure I was using the right amount of tq.  turned out great.