Using cure #1 in wet brines for chicken?

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scvinegarpepper

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Feb 23, 2010
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I've pretty much always brined anything that flies. I've only ever used cure #1 (Prague Powder, the pink stuff, I'm pretty sure that's #1?) when curing bacon. But I keep seeing people recommend it for quicker overnight brines, i.e., as opposed to long curing brines. What's the deal here? I've tried searching the boards for reasons/science behind this but can't find it. What does it do in an overnight brine, and is there a specific amount/ratio to use? Doing some chickens this weekend and thought about giving it a shot. Thanks!
 

chopsaw

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is there a specific amount/ratio to use? Doing some chickens this weekend and thought about giving it a shot.
I do a lot of whole birds . I use Pop's brine in this configuration .
1 gallon water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
1TBLS. cure #1

Optional add :
1/2 to 1 tsp lemon extract .

I inject and soak overnight .
Next day I drain and rinse . Pat dry and store on a rack over a sheet pan in the fridge .
My fridge for this stuff is 36 degrees . I keep an alarmed therm in there too . Actually reads the temp and also lets me know if there's a temp problem .

I don't use any salt on the surface of the bird . Black pepper only , or a salt free rub .
Should be enough salt from the brine .

I have gone over night to 10 days . Either way I treat them as Un-cured and get them cooked . I also inject and soak my chicken parts for grilling . Same brine mix .
 

scvinegarpepper

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Feb 23, 2010
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Lowcountry, SC
I do a lot of whole birds . I use Pop's brine in this configuration .
1 gallon water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
1TBLS. cure #1

Optional add :
1/2 to 1 tsp lemon extract .

I inject and soak overnight .
Next day I drain and rinse . Pat dry and store on a rack over a sheet pan in the fridge .
My fridge for this stuff is 36 degrees . I keep an alarmed therm in there too . Actually reads the temp and also lets me know if there's a temp problem .

I don't use any salt on the surface of the bird . Black pepper only , or a salt free rub .
Should be enough salt from the brine .

I have gone over night to 10 days . Either way I treat them as Un-cured and get them cooked . I also inject and soak my chicken parts for grilling . Same brine mix .
Awesome, thank you. So the pink Prague Powder I have is cure #1, right?
 

mneeley490

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If you've ever had a turkey leg at Disneyland, then you will know what adding cure #1 will do. It gives the poultry a slight "hammy" taste, and a pinkish color if left in it long.
 
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SmokinEdge

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Cure #1 and cure #2 are both pink. Is it not labeled? If so cure #1 is sodium nitrite and cure #2 is sodium nitrate
Cure #1 is 6.25% sodium nitrite.
Cure #2 is 6.25% sodium nitrite And any where between 1% and 6% sodium nitrate. The amount varies by manufacturers.
 
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thirdeye

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Often Cure #1 or Tender Quick will be called for in short duration poultry brines, jerky cures and added to some sausages or pork chops when food safety is of no concern. The desired result is a slight change in texture, a slight pink color, and the 'cured' flavor especially noticeable in jerky.
 
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scvinegarpepper

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Often Cure #1 or Tender Quick will be called for in short duration poultry brines, jerky cures and added to some sausages or pork chops when food safety is of no concern. The desired result is a slight change in texture, a slight pink color, and the 'cured' flavor especially noticeable in jerky.
Thanks, that’s what I was wondering, how it changed the product with just a 24 hour brine. I’m curious how it changes the texture on chicken or turkey.
 

SmokinEdge

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Thanks, that’s what I was wondering, how it changed the product with just a 24 hour brine. I’m curious how it changes the texture on chicken or turkey.
The texture will become “soft” if left to long. This does depend on the strength of the brine (salt percentage) usually an over night to 24 hour soak is enough. But you can always go longer,,,,, but then you need to equilibrium brine so you don’t over do salt or sugar in the meat.
 

tallbm

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Thanks, that’s what I was wondering, how it changed the product with just a 24 hour brine. I’m curious how it changes the texture on chicken or turkey.
I find cure #1 in chicken and turkey to tenderize yet firm up the meat. Much like ham meat with pork. It is both tender yet dense, never tough.

So a 24 hour brine with cure #1 AND injecting the mixed up cure/brine all into the chicken will give you this in a fast period of time. Injecting the solution greatly speeds it up.

The end goal is flavor but the fact that you can inject all over and make it happen fast and more evenly is a no brainer.

I measure the proper amount of cure for both the water + chicken/turkey weight so it can never go wrong. If I cure/brine it 12 hours or 4 days it will never go wrong with salt and cure content.

The flavor is AMAZING!

I hope this info helps :)
 
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thirdeye

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Thanks, that’s what I was wondering, how it changed the product with just a 24 hour brine. I’m curious how it changes the texture on chicken or turkey.
I think a curing brine (verses a flavor brine) sort of firms-up or tightens up the meat just a little bit. It's still moist and tender. The texture is especially noticeable when I chill chicken breasts to use in a salad or cold pasta dish. I smoke chicken and turkey breasts without the skin and only black pepper.
syFzXTt.jpg
I use a similar (short time) curing brine on pork chops and this photo will give you an idea of the "pinkness" you can expect as well as the texture change. It has a ham-like texture.
kYAVrpz.jpg
 

alan Maples

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I do a lot of whole birds . I use Pop's brine in this configuration .
1 gallon water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
1TBLS. cure #1

Optional add :
1/2 to 1 tsp lemon extract .

I inject and soak overnight .
Next day I drain and rinse . Pat dry and store on a rack over a sheet pan in the fridge .
My fridge for this stuff is 36 degrees . I keep an alarmed therm in there too . Actually reads the temp and also lets me know if there's a temp problem .

I don't use any salt on the surface of the bird . Black pepper only , or a salt free rub .
Should be enough salt from the brine .

I have gone over night to 10 days . Either way I treat them as Un-cured and get them cooked . I also inject and soak my chicken parts for grilling . Same brine mix .
I think I'm going to use this brine on a capon. I've smokes meat for over 30 years, but never a capon. Pop's brine is a good starting point.
 

chopsaw

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I think I'm going to use this brine on a capon. I've smokes meat for over 30 years, but never a capon. Pop's brine is a good starting point.
Try it at the rate I posted above . Inject and soak overnight . The next morning I drain , and dry the surface . I season with black pepper only , because there's plenty of salt and sugar in the brine . Then back in the fridge uncovered until I'm ready to cook it .
If you're wanting to add other flavors to the brine try to get them dissolved . I just did an anise and fennel pork loin . Cured 14 days then cooked Sous vide . I ground all the fennel seed to a powder used anise extract , then mixed into the brine .
For overnight I use the extracts . I like lemon on poultry , but I also have maple and anise that I use with pork .

This is all opinion and how I do it , and how we like it here . So take the idea and apply what you know and what you and yours like .
it makes great poultry .

20201011_165012.jpg
20201011_165017.jpg
 
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chopsaw

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if using Pop's brine and injecting, does it remain kind of salty on the inside beings it can't be rinsed ? Just curious :emoji_thinking:
No for my taste . Remember , I don't add any salt on the surface after the brine , and There is 1 cup total sugar to the 1/2 cup salt . All the rubs I make are salt free , but I do black pepper only on the surface of most poultry done this way .
Also , you're injecting from the gallon mix of brine and even injected it will hold about 10% of the solution after the soak . The injection is just a head start for an overnight soak .
It's to the point if I don't do it this way I get " questioned " at the table .

Same bird ,
Before injecting and soak .
1663516026903.jpeg
Next day . Injected and soaked overnight . I did use a salt free rub on this one .
Ready for the kettle . Full of flavor .
1663516057057.jpeg
 
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