Never Heat Cure?

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Cody_Mack

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Feb 8, 2021
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Fulshear, TX
I thought it is a big no-no to heat Cure #1 and the like. Yet I see recipes (not necessarily here) that call for adding Curing powder to a brine mixture and actually boiling for a short.

Rick
 
I thought it is a big no-no to heat Cure #1 and the like. Yet I see recipes (not necessarily here) that call for adding Curing powder to a brine mixture and actually boiling for a short.

Rick
That is a subject for debate in some corners of the world. What is true is that heat degrades nitrite, question is by how much in a brine? I dont know the specific answer to how much.

Best practice is to boil the brine without the cure, then cool and add the cure #1.
 
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I say since the melting point is quite a bit above 212 F that boiling should not be an issue
This is per the footnotes from USDA/FDA:
As the meat temperate rises during processing, the sodium nitrite changes to nitric oxide and starts to ‘gas out’ at about 130 degrees F. After the smoking /cooking process is complete only about 10-20% of the original nitrite remains.

I don’t see why this reaction would be any different in hot water.
 
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I see no reason why it would be any issue at all to add the cure#1 after the brine has cooled, so why not err on the side of caution? As SE pointed out, there is enough evidence to show that heating cure#1 degrades the nitrite that you want to be there to cure the meat properly.
 
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I say since the melting point is quite a bit above 212 F that boiling should not be an issue

I'm not quite so sure this statement is true... I would have to see the proof for that ... cure #1 will dissolve/melt in cold water...

I agree to boil without the cure and then add the cure after it cools to ambient temps
 
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A Google search turned up this thread...sorry it didn't come up when searching here earlier...I was probably searching in the wrong group...


Yeah, maybe it'll work, and maybe it won't. But we ain't playin' horseshoes here, so I'm gonna say it dissolves pretty well in luke-warm, and cold water, too!

Rick
 
Not to go into a long discussion around chemistry, toxicology or cancer I'll just provide the data around melting point.
 
Not to go into a long discussion around chemistry, toxicology or cancer I'll just provide the data around melting point.
Interesting read, but I have thoughts. I’ll try not to complicate the discussion and use as much brevity as possible.

The chemical process that takes place when curing meat is not fully understood, other than we know some basic things and the final results. It’s actually pretty complicated but I won’t try to wade into all that. However, I don’t believe that in curing we are talking about nitrite specifically. That’s what we start with but some chemistry has to happen to effect the curing process.

Here is what happens,
Cure #1 (NaNo2) becomes HNO2 (nitrous acid) this is what is believed to interact with bad bacteria and neutralize it.
The HNO2 then breaks down to NO (nitric oxide) this is what binds with meat myoglobin and fixes the pinkish red color in cured meats.

So how does NaNo2 convert to HNO2? Well interesting enough this happens when we mix H2O with it. (NaNo2 + H2O= HNO2 + OH) (hydroxide)

Now meat is about 75% water, so when we mix curing salt with meat this reaction with water starts the conversion process I just described. (This is how I understand it)

So by mixing NaNo2 into brine (mostly H2O) I have to believe that this conversion starts, at what rate? I don’t know, but now we are talking about chemical conversion to nitrous acid. Now nitrous acid is not stable, and I believe can and is effected by heat, low level heat~ 130* or so increases the conversion to nitric oxide (gas).

Its all more complex than this, but goes back to what I stated earlier, I don’t believe we are only talking about nitrite and I don’t believe that the melting point of nitrite has anything To do with what chemical changes are taking place. If mixing curing salt with water created nitrous acid, and heat accelerates the transformation into nitric oxide, the yes, boiling the brine will in fact gas off a certain portion of the cure. How much is anybodies guess. Could be a lot or a little. Bottom line is don’t boil curing salt. Add it after the brine has cooled.
 
Boiling NaNO2 is perfectly fine (as long as you're not using accelerators).
But it is also totaly unnecessary.
And it is a waste of time, since you have to wait for it to cool before using it.

NaNO2 does not oxidize in boiling water. Nor is it reduced in boiling water.

In the explination provided by SmokinEdge SmokinEdge :
Acid + Base will neutralize.
Therefore, NaOH + HNO2 -> NaNO2 + H2O. Not the otherway around.
NaNO2 will form HNO2 in an acidic solution, and hence during the curing process. But not in water.

I ran a crude at-home experiment on this a while back. Here is the "lab report"
 
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