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Where to buy Morton's Tender Quick and size

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by dougmays, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    i want to try my first jerky smoke this weekend but i cannot find any Tender Quick.  I've tried a couple publix's so far...any suggestions of a better place? or do most order it online?

    Also is the 2lb bag the smallest quantity...most recipes call for just a little bit so i'd prefer to buy a smaller package so it doens't go bad. 

    Lastly, kind of unrelated...how long can i estimate the jerky to cook..i've done alot of reading and i've seen times ranging from 5-18hours.  i'm assuming i'll do less then 5lbs of jerky for my first time.

  2. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Try this Morton's locator---Sometimes it helps:


    A 2 pound bag really isn't very big.

    I don't think they sell any smaller amount.

    Depending on where you get it, the cost will be between $3  &  $6 for the 2 pound bag, and it keeps for years (at least).

  3. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    a follow up question...if i plan to eat or give all of this jerky away within a week d you think i need mortons? or should i always use it just to be safe in the smoking process?
  4. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Curing meat makes it possible to smoke meat for longer than 4 hours at a low temp.

    Without curing, meat has to get through the Danger Zone (40˚ to 140˚) in less than 4 hours (with a few technical exceptions).

    Lot's of guys smoke Jerky without curing it first.

    I would not.

  5. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    seems like that should be very easy to do since the cuts of meat are so thin....for non-cured meat what temp would you smoke at? 120? 150?
  6. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    In our area, MTQ is also hard to find in the usual grocery stores.  Only place we can get it is out in the country at a Southern States Coop.  It does come in a 2-lb bag for about $6.00 and the bag lasts us for several years.  We only use it to make our corned beef for Saint Patrick's Day.  Keep it in the original bag, put inside of a larger plastic jar with a screw top lid. 

    Since it is basically salt and salt-peter, I don't think it should go bad.
  7. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    You aren't very far from me.

    Do you have a Wegman's down there?

    That's where I got mine for about $4 per two pound bag.

  8. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I am familiar with Wegmans, and have visited their stores in NY state.  They do have two stores in Maryland now, closest is 30-40 minute drive. 

    They are building one in our city, but it will probably not open until 2012.  They had to jump through a lot of hoops because of opposition from the local grocery union.  That delayed breaking ground for at least a year.  We look forward to them opening -- nice store.
  9. bilder

    bilder Fire Starter

    If you cannot find TQ in your area, you can always make a substitute using pink salt, which is easy to buy online and a little goes a long way. You can also check with your local butcher supply shop and they will usually carry it.  Here is one of the cures I use. I got this from another source online and have used it for a variety of meats.

    This recipe/formula comes from Charcuterie, by Ruhlman and Polcyn, and I've found it to be a good substitute for Morton's Tender Quick. For cuts of meat 4 pounds or less, I measure the cure the same way I measured TQ. For cuts above 4 pounds I use 2.25 teaspoons of cure per pound.

    Basic Dry Cure:
    • 1 pound/450 grams pickling salt
    • 8 ounces/225 grams granulated sugar
    • 2 ounces/55 grams pink salt (InstaCure #1; or DQ Powder; or Prague Powder #1; or Cure #1; or TCM)
      Makes about 3 1/2 cups
    1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. It is important to mix this thoroughly to ensure that the pink salt and other ingredients are equally distributed.
      • I used a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (do not use the whisk). I mixed the ingredients at speed #2 for two minutes. Scraped the sides and mixed for two more minutes.
    2. For meat up to four pounds measure 1 tablespoon per pound.
      • The actual measurement should be 2 ounces per 5 pounds of meat. Which comes to about 2.25 teaspoons per pound, but you don't have to be exact when using a dry cure.
    3. Store in an air tight container away from sunlight, and it will last indefinitely.
      • If hard lumps form during storage discard and make a new batch. If the lumps fall apart easily with a little pressure the cure is still good to use.
    4. To use the Basic Cure Mix as part of your favorite curing recipes, measure out the amount per pound that your need, then you can add your additional seasonings such as additional sugar, garlic, onions and/or herbs (do not add additional salt).This recipe/formula comes from Charcuterie, by Ruhlman and Polcyn, and I've found it to be a good substitute for Morton's Tender Quick. For cuts of meat 4 pounds or less, I measure the cure the same way I measured TQ. For cuts above 4 pounds I use 2.25 teaspoons of cure per pound.
    becky3086 likes this.
  10. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now I have always had to order it from morton and I know you get beat up on the shipping but you don't have to order that often. Then if  you have some friends you guys can get together and make a big order that way the shipping doesn't hurt that much.
  11. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    i just dawned on me...Publix will special order anything for you.  so i just called them and there manager is going to give me a call soon
  12. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    You can not substitute anything for TQ.

    Morton's adds Propylene Glycol to it's mix, and bonds it, making it so it stays mixed in proper amounts for dry curing.

    With that substitute, the various specific gravities would cause stratification.

    Also that is the first time I have ever heard anyone say "You don't have to be exact when using a dry cure".

    That's scary!

    I didn't check any of your other statements, as I only use TQ (so far).

  13. bilder

    bilder Fire Starter

    The above recipe comes from what many consider the bible of meat curing......Charcuterie.  Not sure what is scary about that, but to each his own I guess.

    Of course you can use something other than TQ to cure meats.  Saying you can only use TQ to cure meat is like saying you can only use Sweet Baby Ray's to make BBQ.

    TQ is a cure mix, nothing more.  It is the most popular, but not the only one. 

    There are many other cures out there besides TQ. Many of the  jerky seasonings and summer sausage packs out there are simply another kind of cure mix.   TQ is easy to use, but not always easy to find.  If you cannot find it, there are other methods or mixes out there that you can use.  And not all of them use the exact ratio of nitrates in their cure.  All fall within a certain range, but no two are alike.

    Nesco makes a jerky cure.  So does Cabela's and several other retailers out there.  If you cannot find TQ and do not want to make your own cure mix, you can use one of them.  Just follow the directions for the particular cure you have and you will be fine. 
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
    becky3086 likes this.
  14. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Sounds Dangerous to me, probably a good way to get Nitrite Poisoning.  Government Regulations are very specific on safe amounts of Cure #1(Sodium Nitrite)

    Prague Powder #1. Insta Cure™ #1 contains salt and sodium nitrite (6.25%). Use 1 level teaspoon per 5 lbs. of meat.
  15. bilder

    bilder Fire Starter

    Which is the ratio you get from the above recipe.  Maybe plus or minus a fraction of a percent, depending on how well you measure.  Would take a lot more than that to hurt you.

    Our forefathers cured some pretty tasty meats without digital scales or Federal Regulations.  Use common sense and you should be fine.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
  16. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Gets popcorn...leans back... I love this place.
  17. bilder

    bilder Fire Starter

    Here is some information on Nitrite poisoning:

    The following information on nitrite toxicity is from "GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) Food Ingredients: Nitrates and Nitrites (Including Nitrosamines)," 1972. This report was prepared for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Battele-Columbus Laboratories and Department of Commerce, Springfield, VA 22151.

    According to this source, the fatal dose of potassium nitrate for adult humans is in the range of 30 to 35 grams consumed as a single dose; the fatal dose of sodium nitrite is in the range of 22 to 23 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Lower doses of sodium or potassium nitrate or sodium nitrite have caused acute methemoglobinemia (when hemoglobin loses its ability to carry oxygen), particularly in infants, resulting from conversion of nitrate to nitrite after consumption. There is no confirmable evidence in the literature on the carcinogenicity (cancer-causing capacity) of nitrate as such.

    It has been reported that people normally consume more nitrates from their vegetable intake than from the cured meat products they eat. Spinach, beets, radishes, celery, and cabbages are among the vegetables that generally contain very high concentrations of nitrates (J. Food Sci., 52:1632). The nitrate content of vegetables is affected by maturity, soil conditions, fertilizer, variety, etc. It has been estimated that 10 percent of the human exposure to nitrite in the digestive tract comes from cured meats and 90 percent comes from vegetables and other sources. Nitrates can be reduced to nitrites by certain microorganisms present in foods and in the gastrointestinal tract. This has resulted in nitrite toxicity in infants fed vegetables with a high nitrate level. No evidence currently exists implicating nitrite itself as a carcinogen.

    To obtain 22 milligrams of sodium nitrite per kilogram of body weight (a lethal dose), a 154-pound adult would have to consume, at once, 18.57 pounds of cured meat product containing 200 ppm sodium nitrite (because nitrite is rapidly converted to nitric oxide during the curing process, the 18.57 pound figure should be tripled at least). Even if a person could eat that amount of cured meat, salt, not nitrite, probably would be the toxic factor.

  18. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Yes, There are lots of commercially made cures out there but they follow the FDA on approved amounts of Nitrite...

    TQ has .05% Sodium Nitrite and .05% Sodium Nitrate so your mix is not a replacement for TQ...

    Cure #1 contains 6.25% Sodium Nitrite and NO Sodium Nitrate.  Cure #1 is used 1oz per 25# of meat or 1 tsp per 5# of meat (Ground or Whole Muscle).
  19. bilder

    bilder Fire Starter

    Cure #1-  Quarter teaspoon per pound of meat.

    TQ - One Tablespoon per pound of meat.

    There are three teaspoons in a tablespoon.  That means TQ is measured at 12 times the amount of straight Cure #1.

    0.05% x 12= 6%

    So, TQ and the recipe given above are 0.25% off of each other in Nitrite content, with the recipe actually coming in a tad under the Government recommendation, not over.  I am not going to loose any sleep over 0.25%.

    Both will cure meat just fine.  Relax and enjoy the jerky.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
  20. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I didn't say you can't use any other cure but TQ. I said "I Haven't".

    All I said was that you can't make a substitute for TQ, and you can do what you wish, safe or not safe, but you should not be telling people that that recipe is a substitute for TQ, and I personally wish there was a way to delete that DANGEROUS statement saying "You don't have to be exact when using a dry cure". 

    I hope nobody reads that & thinks it's true, because that is just plain DANGEROUS !

    Sometimes it takes days of arguing to overload dangerous statements with safe statements, and I just don't have the time right now.