Discussion in 'Sausage' started by smokey2, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Ok, I went to the store and asked if they put nitrites in there sausage.The guy said that they use nitrites in the process. I looked at the sticker and found no info. after a 10 hr smoke there is a pink ring and grey in the center of a cut piece. I REALLY want to be safe.It seems I can't get anything in black and white on the pack.any input would be great. Thanks
  2. atcnick

    atcnick Smoking Fanatic

    I may be wrong here, but I think they have to put nitrates in it. Otherwise they label it as no-nitrate. Maybe others can shed light
  3. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's a smoke ring. The pink they refer to when discussing curing is the difference in a piece of pulled (green) pork and a ham. Curing changes the flavor, texture and color of a piece of meat. It can be a little confusing but the smoke ring is created by the smoking process. There are lengthy reads on what causes the smoke ring to form and if your interested in it you may want to research it more.

    When you say you really want to be safe.... are you trying to eliminate any nitrites from your food? I'm not sure what your talking about.
  4. I may be wrong, but if it had cure, it would be pink/red all the way through after cooking, not grey.

    So, I think you have no cure and a 10 hr slow smoke is not safe.
  5. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nitrites are used to create color fixation in foods to keep them more appealing also. This is a different use than using it as a cure. Just because something has nitirites in it doesn't make it safe to slow smoke as if it has been cured.

    I'm just not really understanding your question or what you've done. Could you be a little more specific. What kind of sausage... temps you smoked... etc. If you bought sausage to smoke and it didn't reach 140 degrees in 4 hours or less, it isn't safe to eat.
  6. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic


    I think he is smoking store bought sausage, that he is not sure if it has nitrites in it.

    My understanding is that nitrites are used to prevent botulism spores from producing toxins, which happens in moist, oxygen free environments at temperatures between 40* F and 140* F. That describes what goes on inside a meat smoker perfectly. Smoked hams, bacon and smoked sausages etc. get the nitrite (cure by another name). Put another way, if it doesn't have nitrite in it, you don't smoke it for this long at these temps. You might grill it, but not "smoke it".

    Unless you are willing to take a chance on botulism poisoning, if it's smoked at these temps for this long, you would want to be sure it has sodium nitrite in it.

    The pink color, etc. are side effects. That is a pink color all the way through. That is different from a smoke ring, which forms on the outside.

    BTW, if you want to enhance the smoke ring on your pulled pork, briskets, etc. put a little insta cure #1 in your rub. It's cheating, but makes the outside bright pink like a smoke ring. It's not for "cure", it's just that pink side effect working on the surface.
  7. Thanks for all your help. I buy country sausage at the food store and smoke it for 10 hrs at 150 to about 180.I then put in the fridge and enjoy the next few days. I want to make sure that what I'm buying has cure and is safe to eat with no problems.hope this helps.
  8. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It has to do with the way the nitrites were used. If the nitrites weren't used as a curing agent and the sausage cured properly then the nitrites are just a color enhancer and a deterent to bacteria.... not a cure. I'd suggest you look into this more... you can't smoke something for 10 hours at 150 to an internal temp of 180. That is impossible. From what your describing to me.... I would not do what you are doing. Just because a meat has added nitrites doesn't suggest that it has been cured. In my opinion and the knowledge I have... nix the plan.
  9. OK,
    Then you need to be smoking it at 225-250 degrees like you are cooking any other pork. Cook/smoke until it hits 160 deg to be safe. It needs to hit 140 in < 4 hrs. ((That is unless you are sure it has nitrates, but it sounds like this sausage does not have nitrates otherwise it would not be grey after cooking.)

    Smoking for 10 hrs is not safe (unless the meat gets to 160 in 4 hrs and then you are continuing to smoke for 6 more hours after it is cooked)
  10. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have to make sure this is clear... just because the sausage or meat contains nitrites or nitrates.... it does not mean it has been cured.
  11. It Ain't Done Right Unless You Do It Urself
  12. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    Not sure what you mean by this, but if it's the assumption that a "cure" takes time, that is the case for hams, bacons, etc. where the nitrite and it's salt carrier are applied to the surface of a large hunk of meat, and it takes time to seep/work itself into the meat. Soaking or injecting brines with nitrite in them are methods to short circuit the time it takes to get nitrite in the meat, vs. a dry rub on the surface.

    For sausage, where the nitrite is combined with other spices and mixed into ground meats.....a lot of times with water, then the benefits of nitrite are nearly instant. You can grind, mix, stuff and smoke all the same day with no danger. It's called "cure", but but the process is to get nitrite coverage into the sausage.
  13. So, If I want to smoke STORE BOUGHT sausage how should I do it? thanks again for the help
  14. If it does not list nitrites or curing salt in the ingredients, then smoke at 225-250 until sausage hits 160 deg internal temp. Probably only take about 1-2 hrs.
  15. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    If the man that makes/sells it doesn't know if its cured then I would assume its not. I find that unless the maker smokes some and offers it for sale then its usually just fresh sausage without cure.
    You can smoke fresh sausage but you would need to hot smoke it keep the smoker temp hotter to insure you get through the danger zone in time. Depending on the size of the sausage this can usually be done at temps between 200 and 225 just be sure to get the sausage from 41-135 internal within 4 hours thats the danger zone
  16. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Arrrrrrgggggghhhhh. You guys are making my head hurt
  17. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Its not hard Dude [​IMG]

    Cured == Cold Smoke

    Fresh == Hot Smoke

    and if your not sure its been cured hot smoke it to be safe
  18. gargra03

    gargra03 Fire Starter

    dont mean to impose but I have a few questions, I just got half a pig ( sausage, hams, roast, ) can I smoke all of these ?
  19. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Yes you can if it is not cured just hot smoke it and you'll be fine.
    Some of it you could cure and cold smoke if you chose to like the ham for instance.
  20. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This is good info.... I'm not very well versed in sausage making. I'm just starting to get into it and learning the methods. My point is.... nitrites are used in meats including fresh ground sausage to retain and enhance the color and not in sufficent amounts to create a cure for the sausage. It would be important to note this when buying sausage that your wanting to smoke so you can choose the proper method of smoking. Nitrites are used to retain the color and sellability of fruits and vegetables too but they aren't "cured". If your buying sausage and it lists nitrites as an ingredient that doesn't necessarily mean that it has been added in amounts that would make it "cured sausage". I'm suggesting that anyone doing this know the difference. Where I buy fresh ground breakfast sausage... it has nitrites to sustain color... but it hasn't been cured so it would need to be hot smoked.

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