Swapping tenderquick for instacure #1

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Original poster
Dec 9, 2013
Ok, so I have a very old family recipe for venison bologna, mixed with pork and I'd like to replace the TQ with Instacure #1 each time I do it the fat seems to disappear while it's in the smoker.  I cold smoke for 3 hours around 120F then take the temp up to 225F until the meat reaches 155F.  The bologna comes out dry and there is no marbling left.  I've made 3 batches all with the same result.  Here's my process:

using TQ:

grind meat add TQ to each separately and rest separately

rest for 48 hours

mix with spices and stuff

rest for 24 hours

smoke at 120F for 3 hours

heat meat to 155F with 225F smoker

ice bath and refrigerate.


grind meat add instacure 1t for 5# of meat, I mix it all together and add spice and cure at the same time and stuff without resting.  

Does it need to rest?

Should I cure the mix separately?

Should I cold smoke then bring it up to temp in simmering water?

Seems like endless possibilities....

Any insight would be helpful.
It is not the Cure that is the problem. It's the Temp you smoke at. Setting the Smoker Temp greater than 170°F will cause the Fat to melt out. The 120° is fine to dry the casing out then start the smoke. Bump 10° every hour or so until you get to 170°. Let the sausage smoke to the desired IT 155° then chill. As far as your procedure, mix all together, whether TQ or Cure#1, and stuff the casing. Rest overnight and smoke...JJ
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Why doesn't this happen with TQ then?  It comes out perfectly marbled.
When you use the Instacure do you add the additional Salt that is in TQ? The TQ is salty and helps develop the binding proteins as the the sausage is mixed until very tacky...JJ
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ummmm, no..... you are right, the meat has a very different consistency from TQ to instacure and I did not add any additional salt. Good call, I'll give that a try.

Seems like anytime I use a prepackaged mix like Backwoods, instacure works just fine, even at the different temps.  When I try it with my recipe its craps out.  

Made a batch of venison and pork hot dogs yesterday and they sucked! dry dry dry. It was my first time trying to make hot dogs, the mix tasted good when I fried some in a pan but dried out somewhere between the smoker and simmering them. Got them up to 175ish which was probably too high.
Like JJ said, the missing salt will affect the texture, as well as the higher heat. You could use powdered milk (about 1 cup powdered milk for 5lbs. meat) if you want a little extra insurance or wish to cut down on the salt. The milk doesn't affect the flavor, it just works as a binder and lets the meat hold on to more of it's fat and moisture.
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