Friday, April 24, 2009

Critical Ingredient - Cure #1 and #2

All my recipes I've posted thus far have called for "cure #2". I've been asked a number of times by email what exactly this ingredient is. I figured I'd write a short post about it to clarify.

Cure #2, also called "Prague Powder #2", is a mixture of salt, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite. Cure #2 is used on items that are dry cured over an extended period of time, like salumi or cured meats. The sodium nitrate in the cure breaks down over time to sodium nitrite and that is then broken down to nitric oxide, which acts as an oxidizing agent keeping the meat safe from our most evil of enemies, botulism. It's therefore CRITICAL to making safe cured meats. At least in my mind it is.

Cure #1 consists of salt and sodium nitrite only. The nitrite keeps the meat safe for a short period of time, and keeps the meat a nice red color as well as give it that "cured" taste. This is used in products that are made and then cooked and eaten quickly like fresh sausages. Don't confuse cure #1 with cure #2 they are NOT interchangeable.

You can buy both of these items very cheaply ($4 for 16 oz, which is enough for many years of sausage making) from many online sources. Just google the name of the cure you're looking for, you should find it very easily.

I don't feel like writing a scientific explanation, suffice to say that if you're not a risk taker and value your life, you should use cure #2 in your cured meats. Can you do without, maybe. I guess you could. Would I? Hell no.

Please don't email me telling me nitrates are bad for you. I don't feel like arguing, and it'll just prove you haven't done your research because there are more nitrates in a bowl of spinach than in a WHOLE salame.

Hope this helps.

122 comments:

Anonymous said...

Eh, I've never used either of these cures. Of course, that's because nothing like that was ever in our family recipes for dried sausage or 'lonza' (coppa). Haven't died yet!

I'll likely pick some of these up now that I'll be making cured meats on my own and not with others.

-James O'Meara

Nick Dawson said...

Love your site - been following the adventures in curing for a while. Sounds like you are having great success.

I tend to think of pink salt as being the shorter cure - what you'd use in bacon and fresh sausages. Do I have it backwards?

Thanks
-N

Jasonmolinari said...

Nick, i guess it depends on location. My cure #2 is actually pink, my cure #1 (sausages and bacons) is white.
Guess it depends on location/source.

Jennifer S said...

Grazie, Jason.

Thanks for the comment on nitrates, spinach and salame, too. I may need that one down the line.

-Jennifer

Larbo said...

Boy, just when you think that everyone's been able to agree on a standard to make things idiot-proof, someone apparently comes along and does things differently just to keep us on our toes.

Jason, are you sure your cure #2 is pink and contains both nitrates and nitrites? I see the picture you've included, from the Sausagemaker website, but everything else I know (every book on sausagemaking, every other website) says that ONLY cure #1, which, as you say, contains only nitrites, is tinted pink and called Tinted Cure Mix (TCM) or "pink salt."

If Insta-Cure is now tinting its #2 mix the same color as #1, this is dangerously confusing!

Jasonmolinari said...

Larbo, you're right. I'm looking at butcher-packer and cure #1 is pink as well, and cure #2 is white.
I'm definitely sure that my cure #2 is pink. It's entirely possible that they put cure #1 in the bag and mislabeled it!
Now i'm confused as well.

I'll remove the reference to pink salt in the post, so as to not confuse people. I guess the lesson is just make sure you use the right stuff!

Larbo said...

Looking at the Wedliny Domowe site, they say "Both Instacure 1 and Instacure 2 contain a small amount of FDA approved red coloring agent that gives them a slight pink color," so I guess Insta Cure is different from everyone else in tinting both their cures. Don't know how long they've been doing this, but it does mean that we shouldn't say "pink salt" or "tinted cure mix" anymore for our recipes. We should specify Cure #1 or #2, and everyone needs to remember that nitrites are for fast curing items (bacon, cooked sausages), while nitrite and nitrate together are for long-curing items (ham, raw salumi).

Jasonmolinari said...

Good to know. I don't know what brand mine is.

scott said...

I have Butcher-Packer, my #1 is pink, #2 is white.

Jasonmolinari said...

That's weird Scott. Mine is pink for #2 and white for #1 (actually possibly an ultralight pink, it does list a red dye as a colorant).
Maybe they changed suppliers. Mine is from 2004./

scott said...

Mine is only about 3 months old. I thought there was a discrepancy when I initially read your post. Now, I'm doubting myself, gonna go check to make sure.

Chad said...

Just checked mine from Butcher & Packer last year. DQ Curing Salt, what I would call pink salt or Cure #1, is cotton candy pink. Package labeled "D.Q. Curing Salt #2" has a subhead that reads "For Dry Cured Sausage Only" and is off-white.

However, looking at pictures from The Sausage Maker (www.sausagemaker.com) shows their "Insta Cure No. 2" as light pink. Could be that different suppliers color their products differently. If so, this is dangerously confusing.

Chad said...

Ahh, just re-read the comments and realized that Larbo had said the same thing earlier. Sorry for the repeat.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if there is a difference between Cure #2 and Tender Quick ?

Thanks
Jake

Anonymous said...

Sorry there was an embedded hyperlink in there that didn't make it through, here is the link to Tender Quick:

http://www.mortonsalt.com/products/meatcuring/tenderquick.html

Thanks
Jake

Jasonmolinari said...

Jake, the difference is in the fact that Tenderquick uses sugar as well as salt, and the % of nitrates and nitrites isn't the same as cure #2.

it isn't interchangeable.

Scotty said...

As one who can easily drive to the Sausage Maker, I can tell you that both Instacure #1 and #2 are pink!

jhenrysmith said...

hey jason,
i appreciate the nit/spinach comment...man, some people just believe anything they read...also, just wanted to know if you use pink salt for your bacon. i used to but now that i've tried it a couple times without i actually like it better without. no real noticeable changes (quality/color) and it seems the pork flavor really comes thru without the overly 'cured' flavor (which i also like)...either way, i appreciate your comment!

Anonymous said...

I would like to read for myself about the amount of nitrates in spinach. If that is true I wont hesitate consuming my salami because of that. Can you tell me where I can find that fact on spinach?

Jasonmolinari said...

Jhenry: i've never made my pancetta without cure #2. Given that it is a dry cured product that dries in the curing chamber i would hesitate to not use it, but that's just me.
If you're talking real bacon, smoked and all ,i've never actually made it

Anonymous the information can be found in "The Art of Fermented Sausages" book, which cites a European study by MAFF, number 158 year: 1998.

as well as by googling:
http://sciencelinks.jp/j-east/article/200603/000020060306A0023595.php

Aisha "careers new Zealand" Fox said...

I've never tried any one of them!
Is it safe?
Thanks for the idea!

Jane said...

Hi Jason,

I have a question on something that isn't related to the current post.

Here is the question. I just got a bonelss leg of lamb and I'm going to be using your recipe to dry cure it. Why do you use powder garlic and not the "real" thing. I think it's cause of mold issues? Am I right? Sorry for asking it here.

Jane

Jasonmolinari said...

there are some concerns with mold and the wet garlic, but given the amount of salt, it should be fine. I use powder b/c it is easier to measure, disperse and make into a cure mix.

Jane said...

Jason,
Thank You! You are such a big help.

Jane

Adriana said...

Hi Jason, I live in Brazil and have been curing bacons for a while with something they call "salt cure", which is your cure #2, sodium nitrite and nitrate. I'm about to embark on my first lonzino, and am wondering if I can pull it off without the mold, which seems a bit hard to find around here. What about salames?

Jasonmolinari said...

Adriana, making lonzino or salame without the mold should be perfectly fine. I just recently started using it, and i've always had good results.
good luck!

The Humble Chef said...

Thought you might enjoy this:
http://humblechef.blogspot.com/2009/05/important-message.html

Jasonmolinari said...

heh, home made salami IS best!

Mango Mama said...

Hi Jason
Love your blog and am ready to start making my first homemade....help where to I start! What would you recommend for this first time? Thanks

Jasonmolinari said...

Mango Mama, i would start with pancetta:
http://curedmeats.blogspot.com/2008/08/pancetta-easiest-cured-meat-of-all.html

Mango Mama said...

Thank you! Regarding the curing chamber - what do you suggest to use and what would the optimal conditions be?

Jasonmolinari said...

Mango mama, i've answered this question in the pancetta posts, as well as whole posts dedicated to the curing chamber.
Please look at my archived posts.

Anonymous said...

I think you're waaaay over due for your next segment :)

Bill

Jasonmolinari said...

Bill, i really am. I've just been so busy on weekends i haven;t had a chance to do much of anything.

Next project is a venison salame.

Anonymous said...

I was just ribbin' ya a bit (and maybe just a little proddin' too). :) I know you're busy but your work up to this point has been so captivating! I think I speak for several here when I say "WE WANT MORE!" LOL ;~) Lookin' forward to your venison salami segment.

Take care,

Bill

scott said...

Jason, drop me an email when you are starting the venison. I was just given another piece by the butcher.

Jhon said...

WOW!.... You published many ideas.
Thanks for the ideas....

--
Jhon
Home Security Systems no CREDIT CHECK everyone is approved

Anonymous said...

re: The color pink.
I once spoke to a plant inspector at Columbus Salame Co. in San Francisco, California and asked about the pink color of "curing salt" and was told it is added not to color the meat but to make sure it isn't confused with plain white salt which would be extremely dangerous. This makes sense to me.

Al Verona

Yellow said...

Hi all, I came to this post by searching for the home-made production of salted meats and I just wanted to point out this link (it's in italian): http://www.forumdiagraria.org/suini-f19/salnitro-e-insaccati-t6102.html#p48103

I'm saying right now that I found that link too through simple searching and I'm not actually pro or against any of the two arguments (about safety of using nitrates or nitrites for meat salting). I'm just trying to find out the right, or the least wrong, way of doing home meat salting.
What do you think about the things told in that post (and following posts in the same thread)? Did you already had this information?

Jasonmolinari said...

Yellow, that's an interesting thread. One of the users states that the main issue is the formation of nitrosamines in the stomach after consumption of nitrites.

I was under the impression that nitrosamines formed at high temperatures, and not in the stomach.

The real question is "in what dose do these things become an issue". I'm not sure there is really an answer to that.

Anonymous said...

I live overseas and cannot get my hands on any of the brands of cures listed here. Nor can I find a curing salt on the shelf. Can you offer advice on how to make my own cure? Could I buy the necessary stuff and mix it?

Jasonmolinari said...

You could get pure sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, but i doubt that is available, plus it would be impossibly difficult to measure in the microscopic weights that would be used.

Where do you live?

Yellow said...

If I recall correctly somewhere within some of those posts someone said the limit was like 150mg for each kg or something like that, even though I'm not sure how they got these numers.
One question that I have though, is: you use those nitrates mainly to conserve the meat *afterwards*, i.e. so you can consume it safely later on, or can stuff like botulin attack the meat directly when it's completely covered is salt? Because conservation is not my main concern considering the fact that in my family we're pretty efficient at making this meat disappear quickly ;)

Jasonmolinari said...

Yellow, nitrates are used to protect the meat while it dries over the course of weeks in the curing chamber. Once it reaches a water activity level below a certain point, botulism can no longer grow anyhow, but while it's losing water to reach that safe water activity level, i like to use it to keep the meat safe.
Take a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_activity#aw_Values_of_microorganism_inhibition

it has a chart that shows water activity levels and growth inhibition of various microorganisms.

Jasonmolinari said...

Yellow, nitrates are used to protect the meat while it dries over the course of weeks in the curing chamber. Once it reaches a water activity level below a certain point, botulism can no longer grow anyhow, but while it's losing water to reach that safe water activity level, i like to use it to keep the meat safe.
Take a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_activity#aw_Values_of_microorganism_inhibition

it has a chart that shows water activity levels and growth inhibition of various microorganisms.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
Re: Yellow's question.
You can make your own "cure" by bying Saltpeter at a drug store.
Saltpeter (potassium nitrate)is used in curing meat at a rate of
25g per 100kg of meat. This proportion is very difficult to measure when dealing with the relatively small amounts of meat used at home,so to make your "cure"
you mix together 25g of saltpeter
and 250g of salt. You then use this
mixture at the rate of
0.25% (1/4 of one percent)or
4 oz. per 100 lbs.

Also, whenever i use nitrate I ad
0.05% of ascorbic acid (plain powdered vitamin C). It degrades the nitrate over time.

AL VERONA

Jasonmolinari said...

Al, i wouldn't recommend doing that. When you mix the nitrates with the plain salt, there is no way to know that you've gotten an even distribution, and that when you're scooping the mixture you're getting the correct amount of curing salts and regular salts.

When cures are made commercially, the salts are dissolved in water and re-evaporated so the nitrates are bound to the salt crystals, rather than just being mixed together.

Scotty said...

Jason, let me disagree with you slightly. While I would never substitute a saltpeter blend for instacure #2 in dry curing, I have used it for years on things that will be fully cooked, Like corned beef and Canadian bacon.

Plus, you can make smoke bombs with it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
I'm sure you're right, I just never heard of the evaporation process used for making the cure.
I've been using potassium nitrate mixed well with the salt in a jar for 40+ years with no ill effects
and I always use ascorbic.

AL VERONA

Jasonmolinari said...

Scotty, what difference does it make if it the item is cooked or dry cured? When making a salt/salt peter blend, the blend distribution is unknown.

To each their own of course.

Honestly, i dont see a benefit of making a blnd at home, given how cheap the premade stuff is..but hey, if it works for you guys!

Scotty said...

OK, I’m not here to pick a fight, or hog up your blog space, but:

1. The main purpose of curing salt is to prevent food borne pathogens. Dry cured meats are eaten raw – there is a reason the Roman word sausage was botulus. The things I described are cooked past the point where that is an issue.

2. Distribution of the nitrate is irrelevant to the type of item I mention. They are either wet brine cured, or spend time in a brine created from the fluids extracted by the salts. Just flip the item over twice a day.

3. All of these of items can be successfully and safely made without nitrates at all. But the result, while tasty, is not pretty.

4. When my Grandma showed me how to corn beef, pink salt was not available, there was no Tender Quick in the market, and color television was the latest thing. You went to the local pharmacist, who you knew by name, and asked for a jar of saltpeter. After he made you promise not to make smoke bomb, he gave it to you. I still keep a jar around, and every year or so I corn a brisket for Rosh Hashanah the old way.
YMMV

Happy Holidays

Jasonmolinari said...

Scotty, nothing wrong with a discussion.
1) There is no way you are able to cook your food beyond where botulism spores are destroyed, unless you're pressure cooking. They survive well above boiling point of water. Whether or not spores are formed during your cure period is up for discussion, but the cooking temperature is irrelevant if they do form.

2)I'm taking about distribution of the nitrates in a salt/nitrate mixture. If you mix 1 part nitrate to 100 parts salt (for example), shake it up, and then scoop 1 tablespoon worth of that mixture, there is no way to know whether your tablespoon is still a 1:100 mixture of the salt and nitrate. Therefore, you don't truly know how much nitrate you're adding.

3)Sure, they could. I can also play russian rulette, and not die 5 out of 6 times on average, but do i?

4)Sure, but just because that's how it used to be done, doesn't mean it's the best way to do it. Will it work, yes. Will it hurt you? Probably not. Is there a CHANCE that something goes wrong? Yes. I say "why take that chance when the proper product is readily available".

But, as i said, to each their own. I'm not saying my way is the only way. My way is A way to do this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,

Looks like I started a "cure war"
here! The reason I posted my statement about making your own blend was because anonymous said he couldn't find any prepared cure.
The reason I make my own is not to save money but because of my conviction. I just don't
want to use nitrite (which is found in both cure #1 and Cure #2.
I go back to Italy every year where I have an uncle who owns and operates a "salumificio"
(Salumificio Franco Verona, near Vicenza). He uses only potassium
nitrate (salnitro neve) E-252. From what I understand nitrites are
not allowed by law in Italy. He tells me that potassium nitrate with the addition of ascorbic acid
is the safest way to go.
Like you said "to each his own"
This is my own.

AL VERONA

Jasonmolinari said...

Al, i understand what you're saying, but you're consuming nitrItes whether you add them or not.
NitrAte over time is reduced by bacteria to nitrIte, which is then converted to nitric oxide over time.

So, adding just nitrAte only slows down your initial cure. Eventually, it becomes nitrIte, and then nitric oxide.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
I'm with you that nitrate will be converted to nitrite,but my reasoning is why add nitrite in the begining when there will be enough
provided by the nitrate to complete the curing process and effectively take care of the botulinum problem? Also from what I've read here and there
the "dangerous" (suspect) additive
is nitrites not nitrates.
Also (correct me if I'm wrong) the
addition of ascorbic acid accelerates the action of the nitrates to nitrites so you have it when you need it most, in the beginning of the curing process.

AL VERONA

Jasonmolinari said...

Al, adding nitrites at the beginning is important b/c there is a time lapse between the start of the cure and the reduction of nitrate to nitrites. The nitrites keep the meat safe at the start of the process.

Even if the suspect additive are the nitrites, how are those different to the ones formed when the nitrate is reduced?

I'm not sure if the ascorbic acid speeds up the reduction process. I have read that the ascorbic acid stops the formation of nitrosamines, which theoretically are the cancer causing compounds.
I'm still learning a lot about this stuff, so this is a good discussion.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
I'm back! Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me, I really appreciate it. I too am learning as I go. Over many years I've made a lot of salami, sopressa
(vicentina), prosciutti,coppa,cotechino, pancetta and many different sausages. I'm getting set up to make venison sausages. A couple of friends of mine bagged 5 deer a month or so ago and as we do every year, we make a lot of sausage with
the trimmings. Looking forward to talking to again,

AL VERONA

Anonymous said...

P.S.: Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo a te e famiglia.

Jasonmolinari said...

Grazie Al, ed altrettano!

Al, Do you share your recipes?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
What I have are just basic recipies that I use to start with and then add to (experiment with)
and make a note of each time I make something. I'm glad to share anyting I have. But with all the recipies available out there I doubt that mine would be of much interest.

Jasonmolinari said...

I'm especially interested in your cotechino recipe...i'm always looking for new ones, and a few people have asked about a prosciutto recipe and method.
Any help?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
I'll gladly share my cotechino recipe with you. At this time I can give you only my basic ingredient part of the recipe. Let me explain why. I've been making cotechino for many years. Every year up until last year I made all of my salumi from one whole pig
that was raised by a friend who has since passed away. When i cut up the carcass I separated the various parts for each type of salume. Since I use several parts for cotechino and I wheigh them together in one batch, I can't give
you the correct portions by weight of each component part. If you don't mind waiting,in a few weeks I'll be buying the parts I need for cotechino and I'll wheigh them separatey and give you a correct recipe.
As you may know,in the Veneto region of Italy we consume a large amount of cotechino. Much more than just the skin is used to make it. All the meat from the head is used, especially the
jowls, cheeks, snout ("muso" hense
the name in most of the local dialects "musetto or muset").

Anonymous said...

P.S. Also I've been using a prepared blend of spices from Italy called "concia per cotechino". It is really good. If you send me an e-mail with your address I'll send you some. I bring some back fron Italy every year. (bert@theveronas,com).

AL VERONA

Jasonmolinari said...

Thanks Al. I'll be making mine this week for New Years, but i'd love to get your recipe once you have accurate weights.

Anonymous said...

Jason,
When you make your cotechino you might want to consIder putting in the mix some jowl (guanciale) at least the leaner part if you don't
want it to be too fatty. It adds a good unctuous flaver. Also if you use a shoulder ( called picnic here) instead of a boston butt and use all the white muscle ligaments where the muscle attaches to the
bone and joints, this will add more collagen.

AL

scott said...

Yes, please. I'll be making mine this week as well. I'd love to see a recipe.

Scott

Anonymous said...

Jason and Scot,

Like I already mentioned before I cant give you precise weights but if you want to experiment I'll tell you what parts go into my cotechino:
I use all of the meat from the head,Jowls (guanciale), snout, cheeks, all the ligaments aroung the joints especially the thick ligaments in the trotters that go from the toes to the ankle and whatever soft cartilage you find around the joints. This is the old fashioned way I've always made my cotechino, when every part of the pig was utilised. I'll probably have to settle for less now that I buy separate parts. AL

Jasonmolinari said...

Al, thanks for the tip. I wish i could get raw jowls, but i haven't been able to find them...even at mexican or asian markets...
z

Anonymous said...

Jason,
That's unfortunate. Here in the San Francisco Bay area there is a large Asian (and Italian) population. I can find just about any porky part I need. Again, if you want to try my "concia" just e-mail your address and I'll put it in the mail.

AL VERONA

Anonymous said...

P.S.: I forgot to mention that I do not boil the skin. I use it raw. I cut in narrow strips and put it in the freezer then grind it through the biggest plate first then a 1/4 in.

Jasonmolinari said...

Al, I emailed you earlier. Let me know if you hanvent gotten it.
I always boil te skin first as I didn't think the grinder would handle it raw, though I've never tried. Maybe this year I'll see if my grinder can do it without exploding!

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Jason,
I think you've said you use a KA grinder. I don't know if it will. I have a commercial Hobart grinder.
If you try it, cut the skin into very thin strips, freeze then grind
through the biggest plate you have.

AL

Anonymous said...

Jason, just a couple suggestions for cotechino fans. I simmer it for about 2 hrs, take it out of the water and let the water cool. I
save the water in the pot and place it in the fridge overnite. Next day I scrape and discard the hardened fat off the surface and cook beans or lentils in it. You can make bean or lentil soup or add veggies and make a good minestrone. It's also good to use when making stew.

AL VERONA

scott said...

Cotechino stock.....fabulous.

Anonymous said...

Jason,
I too am going to make a very small batch of cotechino this week.
Today I bought two jowls, some
shoulder meat and some skin.I don't want to bring out my big grinder for such a small amount so I decided do an experiment which may interest you. I removed all the skin, cut it into 3 in. strips, rolled them up tightly and
sliced (like slicing salame)into
1/8 to 1/4 slices. I froze them on
a flat pan until hard. I then dropped them into my food processor, pulsed for a bit, then let it run till it formed a ball.
Looks perfect!! I'll give you an
update of the final result.

AL VERONA

Jasonmolinari said...

Interesting method Al. Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
You should receive mail in 4 - 5 days.
AL

Anonymous said...

Jason,
Since it's cotechino time of the year, I have another suggestion you may want to try. You take a pork loin and cut a piece about 1 to 2 inches longer than your cotechino. You push a long narrow knife through the center and cut a cross (+) about 2 inches wide, then
you insert the cotechino that has been cooked, refrigerated (hard and stiff) and peeled, into the center and push it to the other end. Finally, you tie it with string and cook it however you normally cook a pork roast. I've done this many times and like it very much.
undyinw
AL VERONA

Jasonmolinari said...

Thanks for the concia Al!
Stuffing a pork loin with a cotechino. Very interesting. If I have any left over i'll do that!

Anonymous said...

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/nitrate/nitrate.html

Above link contains more comprehensive info on nitrates/nitrites. Supports prior comments that vegi's contain the most as compared to cured meats.

Anonymous said...

Jason, thanks for the link, I had already been there. It is very informative. I've seen this info in so many places that I no longer worry about using nitrates in the proper doses.

AL

Anonymous said...

Sodium erythorbate (C6H7NaO6) is a food additive used predominantly in meats, poultry, and soft drinks. Chemically, it is the sodium salt of erythorbic acid. When used in processed meat such as hot dogs and beef sticks, it reduces the rate at which nitrate reduces to nitric oxide, thus retaining the pink coloring. As an antioxidant structurally related to vitamin C, it helps improve flavor stability and prevents the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines. When used as a food additive, its E number is E316.

Sodium erythorbate is produced from sugars derived from sources such as beets, sugar cane and corn.
This from wikopedia
I also have a hard time finding Cure 2 in Thailand.
I was wondering if this(which is locally available would be benifical in a saltpeter/salt mix as above.

Anonymous said...

hi, I would like to find a curing salt mixture that uses a high quality sea salt or other natural salt from a pure source. The list of ingredients in the salt cures says "salt" but they don't tell you the source. Can you help me out?

Jasonmolinari said...

I don't think you're going to find a curing mixture that specified a high quality salt. It's an industrially made product and used in tiny tiny amounts.
Sorry.

Larbo said...

As Jason says, the amount of salt in the curing mix is just a tiny fraction of all the salt used in the cure. "Natural" salts, such as unrefined sea salts will contain trace elements that may add to the flavor, but as "impurities" could also affect the cure negatively.

Anonymous said...

I have a pound of both cure #1 and #2. Both are pink! When you buy gas the smell is added so you know you are dealing with gas. The same with cures. If you find pink salt in a saltshaker you might think twice before using it.

Nick C said...

I used cure #2 to make bacon and some Panceta. Is this going to be a problem? Do I need to dispose of the meat?

Jasonmolinari said...

nick, cure #2 is normally used for dry cured items. It's fine for the pancetta, but not a good idea for bacon.

Nick C said...

Jason;
should i throwboil it to remove some of the cure or what? it away or can i

Nick C said...

That came out goofy. Do I throw it away or what can I do other than make panceta with it?

Jasonmolinari said...

im not sure honestly....i'd make pancetta out of it

Nick C said...

OK. Pasncetta is good. Thanks for the help.

Chefboyardee said...

Where can I purchase cure # 2?

Jasonmolinari said...

chefboyardee, check my links section. Butcher-packer has it.

MDmobile said...

Hi, can I mix the insta cure #2 with table salt (in my country it is mixed with iodine and fluorine)? Thank you!

Jasonmolinari said...

MDMobile, i'm not sure i understand the question. Are you concerned that the iodine and fluoride would have an effect on the nitrates/nitrites?

If so then i don't know, but i'm pretty sure you're fine using table salt.

Anonymous said...

i need help, after asking my butcher to sell me some curing salt and using it in my dry cured italian sausage (3oz per 10lb of meat) now I read I should have used #2, not sure what i purchased and butcher is now closed. the question is what would happen if it turns out i have used #1?

Jasonmolinari said...

Using #1 wouldn't keep the nitrite levels at a safe level for the whole curing phase. I wouldn't eat anything cured with #1 in a dry curing chamber.

Unknown said...

So I am attempting my first cure by curing my own corned beef for St. Patrick's day. I am using the recipe from Michael Ruhlman's book, Charcuterie, except I am using a much larger brisket than the recipe calls for. So, my question is,do I need to multiply the volume of all the ingredients in the brine accordingly, and do I need to leave the meat in the brine for longer to complete the cure since it is larger? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!

Jasonmolinari said...

brining is actually a rather complex process and not quite as easy to calculate as a dry cure. I don't know how ruhlman calculates his quantities, if he bases it off an absorption time or an equilibrium brine, so i'm afraid i can't really help unfortunately.

The way i would do it is calculate an equilibrium brine for salt and nitrite. All i can offer is the FDA calculation handbook for equilibrium brines and tell you to go forth and calculate the salt and nitrite quantities on your own.

The FDA handbook is here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf

good luck!

Unknown said...

So, from my understanding from what I read there, once the equilibrium is reached, it maintains. So I don't have to worry about too much nitrite or nitrate absorbing into the brisket if I leave it in the brine for longer?

Jasonmolinari said...

That's correct. Assuming your calculations are correct. Don't forget cure #1 and #2 are not 100% nitrites/nitrates. You have to look up the $ of nitrite in your cure and be sure sure you account for it not being 100%.

It's the same theory to equilibrium dry curing really, except in a brine case there is water which "keeps" some of the salt/nitrite.

Unknown said...

Well, I think I've got it now. Using the formula for immersion cures from the link you gave me, as long as my math is correct, tells me that I need to lower the amount of nitrates in the brine. Thank you for your help!

Jasonmolinari said...

I assume Ruhlman's brine is overly strong because he doesn't allow enough time to equilibration.

That's the other thing. You have to make sure you allow enough time for the meat and brine to reach equilibrium....the big question is "how long is that". The answer is i don't know!

Unknown said...

That seems to be the consensus on all the research I have done on the web. I'm going to ask a local sausage maker in town this week and see if they have any insight. If I get a good answer, I will let you know.

Anonymous said...

 I had already used DQ curing salt however I used very little only 3 tsps to 20lbs of beef this pass weekend. In two weeks I have to apply more salt, Can I apply curing #2 at that time? or is it late because of the DQ. I used prior. I realized DQ was wrong  after the fact. I should of use #2 instead.

Jasonmolinari said...

I assume by DQ you mean cure #1? I think you should be ok puting cure 2 on the next salting, but you'd have to account for the already added nitrites from the cure #1 you have in there already. I don't think you'd want to double up on them.

Jasonmolinari said...

I assume by DQ you mean cure #1? I think you should be ok puting cure 2 on the next salting, but you'd have to account for the already added nitrites from the cure #1 you have in there already. I don't think you'd want to double up on them.

Anonymous said...

Yes i used DQ cure 1 which I mixed with kosher salt 3 tsp to three cups of salt. I stated 20 lbs of beef cut 2x4x10 but also with that same mixture I used on 15 lbs pork butt cuts 2x4x7 pieces I didn't use all the mixture (3 cups salt which had the 3 tsp of DQ 1) I used a little do to nurves lol and then after realizing that it was cure 2 that I needed. So should I use the cure 2 on next step because when I think about it I have less then 3 tsps for 35 lbs of meat. You know. .. what you think boss

Anonymous said...

Im making dried smoked beef and pork. I forgot to add. And Thank you for replying

Jasonmolinari said...

Sorry, i can't possibly tell you. I can't really follow what you did, nor can i figure out what you should do.
I'm as lost as you are based on this.
Sorry.

Anonymous said...

The cures are dyed so they don't get confused with regular salts. In large enough amounts they ARE fatal, so you don't want to be dumping it in your mashed potatoes by mistake.

Brian said...

Hi,

I am in a similar predicament to the poster who mistakenly used cure #1. I have several pieces of shoulder butt I had planned to dry age, but they are 9 days into curing with cure #1.

Can I rinse them and apply a new rub with cure #2, proceeding as usual for a coppa-style curing/aging process? Is the health risk too great to double up on cure, in a way?

Alternatively, I have considered grinding these whole chunks into sausage. The problem is, all recipes I've seen call for the addition of cure #1 into ground pork whereas mine has cured with the cure #1 applied to the exterior of whole pieces. Can I grind this into sausage? Would I add more cure #1? I don't want to double up on cure dangerously.

Third option, might I make this into sauccion sec?

What can I do with these chunks of #1-cured shoulder butt!? Thanks all. This is a great thread--I just hope someone is still reading the comments!
Brian

Jasonmolinari said...

If youre curing a whole muscle, cure #1 SHOULD be ok. I definitely would not add more cure #2, nor would i grind it into sausage.

Just leave them as is, in whole chunks and proceed with the drying. It should be ok because it's a whole muscle.

Brian said...

THANK YOU for the rapid response. This has been troubling me for a couple days now and I'm relieved that it should (emphasis noted) be OK. Now, to finally make use of my new toy -- that plug-and-play temperature/humidity controller you helpfully turned me on to. Thanks for everything.
Brian

Anonymous said...

Good morning, I just woke to find the refrigerator door ajar on my meat. Three whole muscles went in yesterday at 3pm, the door was opened last night at 10 pm and was not closed all the way. The three whole muscles were in their initial curing stages before they go into the curing cabinet. They all have DQ #2 in their cure, should I be overly concerned about the temperature they reached by this morning? They were even under the light all night on the top shelf, I'm so stressed right now, I'm sick!! any suggestions and opinions are very appreciated!! Charles, 1st time here.

Jasonmolinari said...

I really have no way of knowing if the meats you will have will be safe. Part of it depends on how warm they got and for how long.
The safe thing is always to discard when in doubt unfortunately.

James Simpson said...

Does anybody have a recipe for cure #2? The components are so much cheaper than the mix.

James Simpson said...

Does anybody have a recipe for cure #2? The components are so much cheaper than the mix.

Jasonmolinari said...

james, the % are easily findable online, but i'm pretty sure it's not just a mix of the ingredients, or there could be settling in the product and uneven dispersion. I believe they're combined in solution and re-evaporated, but i could be wrong.

Iconoclasta said...

I have a question. In my country, there's only one type of curing salt containing salt and nitrite only. ¿Should I buy curing salt #2 overseas?

Jasonmolinari said...

For long cured items (like most of these on my page), cure #2 is, in my mind, a requirement, yes.