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Sausage cure

backyard bbq

Meat Mopper
Joined Jan 1, 2012
I just wanted to get everyone's opinion on this. I have read several articles and such on different types of sausages and methods of making fresh or smoked sausage. I'm a getting this correct?

1. Fresh sausage - requires no cure but must be cooked fully within 4 hours.
2. Fresh sausage (hot smoked) - requires no cure but must be cooked fully within 4 hours.
3. Cold smoked (fully cooked)- requires cure can be eaten cold of reheated.
4. Cold smoked (flavor only not fully cooked) requires cure but must be cooked fully prior to eating.

Also I have seen recipes require cure but then suggest a hot smoke. Why is cure needed if your going to hot smoke it? That doesn't make sense to me.

The sausage making books are in my Christmas list but I wanted to learn as much as I could from Y'all before i read. Thanks!!!


Joined Dec 4, 2012
Hard to say without seeing recipe, but many times curing salt is added to promote color and flavor changes rather than for its anti-microbial properties.


Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Group Lead
Joined Dec 25, 2010

Cures are used in sausage products for color and flavor development as well as retarding the development of bacteria in
the low temperature environment of smoked meats.
Salt and sugar both cure meat by osmosis. In addition to drawing the water from the food, they dehydrate and kill the bacteria that make food spoil. In general, though, use of the word "cure" refers to processing the meat with either sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate.
The primary and most important reason to use cures is to prevent BOTULISM POISONING (Food poisoning). It is very important that any kind of meat or sausage that will be cooked and smoked at low temperature be cured. To trigger botulism poisoning, the requirements are quite simple - lack of oxygen, the presence of moisture, and temperatures in range of 40-140° F. When smoking meats, the heat and smoke eliminates the oxygen. The meats have moisture and are traditionally smoked and cooked in the low ranges of 90 to 185° F. As you can see, these are ideal conditions for food poisoning if you don't use cures. There are two types of commercially used cures.

Prague Powder #1
Also called Insta-Cure and Modern Cure. Cures are used to prevent meats from spoiling when being cooked or smoked at low temperatures (under 200 degrees F). This cure is 1 part sodium nitrite (6.25%) and 16 parts salt (93.75%) and are combined and crystallized to assure even distribution. 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. As the product is stored and later reheated for consumption, the decline of nitrite continues. 4 ounces of Prague powder #1 is required to cure 100 lbs of meat. A more typical measurement for home use is 1 level tsp per 5 lbs of meat. Mix with cold water, then mix into meat like you would mix seasonings into meat.

Prague Powder #2
Used to dry-cure products. Prague powder #2 is a mixture of 1 part sodium nitrite, .64 parts sodium nitrate and 16 parts salt. (1 oz. of sodium nitrite with .64 oz. of sodium nitrate to each lb. of salt.)
It is primarily used in dry-curing Use with products that do not require cooking, smoking, or refrigeration. This cure, which is sodium nitrate, acts like a time release, slowly breaking down into sodium nitrite, then into nitric oxide. This allows you to dry cure products that take much longer to cure. A cure with sodium nitrite would dissipate too quickly.
Use 1 oz. of cure for 25 lbs. of meat or 1 level teaspoon of cure for 5 lbs. of meat when mixing with meat.
When using a cure in a brine solution, follow a recipe.

Hope this helps you out some.

mike johnson

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
Joined Mar 9, 2012
IMO fresh sausage needs to be used within a couple days. As long as its refridgerated it should last that.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Jul 26, 2012

your post about cure process could not be better, easy to understand and straight to the point,



Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Group Lead
Joined Dec 25, 2010
Sausage Shelf Life
Bologna and Frankfurters, unopened- -2 weeks1-2 months
Bologna and Frankfurters, opened*- -3-7 days- -
Dry Smoked Sausage (e.g. Pepperoni, Jerky, Dry Salami), unopened1 year- -- -
Semi-Dry Sausage (e.g. Summer Sausage)- -2-3 weeks6 months
Smoked Sausage (e.g. Mettwurst)- -1 week1-2 months
Smoked Breakfast Sausage Links, Patties- -1 week2 months
Fresh Sausage- -1-2 days1-2 months
Dry Smoked Sausage (e.g. Pepperoni, Jerky, Dry Salami), opened- -1 month

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