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Bacon Question with no pink salt?

yzziyzzi Posts: 1,407
edited August 2013 in EggHead Forum
So I just finished reading all nine pages of "All this bacon talk" (http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1147375/all-this-bacon-talk), and I was wondering if anyone has ever done a version without using the pink salt. My wife has been getting the nitrite free, raw bacon (at close to $10/pound) as we're just not sure about the nitrite/nitrates so I was hoping someone has some insight on curing with just a regular salt or another method.
Dunedin, FL

Comments

  • yzziyzzi Posts: 1,407
    Found this article to be very interesting. I found several of them saying the same thing, but I think the author here has a good reputation with the forum (http://ruhlman.com/2011/05/the-no-nitrites-added-hoax/). I never knew that about the celery powder. Hopefully I can get my wife to read this.
    Dunedin, FL
  • @yzzi, in doing my own research regarding curing with nitrites/nitrates I came across many articles like the one you cited. I guess we all just have to find our own comfort level with whatever "issue" is at hand. I'm sure that a persuasive case can be made for any of several different points of view; whatever the subject is.

    BTW, I used a sodium nitrite product to cure my smoked meat.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
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  • NDGNDG Posts: 857
    My sister is a super smart food science major.  She had the highest GPA at ohio state within her major for 4 years in a row, so I asked her about this topic, and this is what she had to say . . . 

    Here is the deal with nitrites. Very common in veggies and other food products. However it isn't the nitrite itself that is dangerous it is the combo with proteins at high heat. In cured meats there is a high risk of a food borne illness from a toxin producing bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. Really nasty little bacteria that can make this toxin which one little drop has enough power to kill thousands (and ironically is the same toxin used for botox at a very very very dilute level because it paralyzes your muscles aka no wrinks). So sodium nitrite happens to be an AWESOME antimicrobial agent against this guy. It also has a nice bonus effect that it binds with hemoglobin causing a more stable compound which keeps meat looking red (and hotdogs pink). Soooo they added this stuff to meats/cured stuff like crazy back in the day. Well in the 1970s research found that when sodium nitrite is in contact with amines (small building blocks of proteins, which protein=meat) at really high temperatures they can combine and form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. There has been a lot of research done on this and they have found it to cause liver and lung cancer in animals. So in the late 1970's the FDA thought about banning the use of sodium nitrite however it is so successful at inhibiting Clostridium botulinum growth that they decided that the risk of botulinum outweighed the risk of carcinogen formation and have since set restrictions on the amount of sodium nitrite which can be added to cured meats (120 ppm). 

    That being said the original research done was conducted in the 1970's and has since been questions. But there is no doubt that nitrosamines  are carcinogens and they can be found in cured meats (especially bacon since it is fried at such a high temp ~340F). Maybe the egg doesn't cook at that high of temperatures and does more of a low and slow cook?  Also there is studies that buffering your meats by adding ascorbic acid (vitamin C) helps inhibit the formation of nitrosamine. And either way it seems like just about everything causes cancer these days so I would go with the everything in moderation! Enjoy some egg bacon!
    Columbus, Ohio
  • yzziyzzi Posts: 1,407
    Thanks for posting that NDG. Very interesting stuff.
    Dunedin, FL
  • NDG said:
    My sister is a super smart food science major.  She had the highest GPA at ohio state within her major for 4 years in a row, so I asked her about this topic, and this is what she had to say . . . 

    Here is the deal with nitrites. Very common in veggies and other food products. However it isn't the nitrite itself that is dangerous it is the combo with proteins at high heat. In cured meats there is a high risk of a food borne illness from a toxin producing bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. Really nasty little bacteria that can make this toxin which one little drop has enough power to kill thousands (and ironically is the same toxin used for botox at a very very very dilute level because it paralyzes your muscles aka no wrinks). So sodium nitrite happens to be an AWESOME antimicrobial agent against this guy. It also has a nice bonus effect that it binds with hemoglobin causing a more stable compound which keeps meat looking red (and hotdogs pink). Soooo they added this stuff to meats/cured stuff like crazy back in the day. Well in the 1970s research found that when sodium nitrite is in contact with amines (small building blocks of proteins, which protein=meat) at really high temperatures they can combine and form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. There has been a lot of research done on this and they have found it to cause liver and lung cancer in animals. So in the late 1970's the FDA thought about banning the use of sodium nitrite however it is so successful at inhibiting Clostridium botulinum growth that they decided that the risk of botulinum outweighed the risk of carcinogen formation and have since set restrictions on the amount of sodium nitrite which can be added to cured meats (120 ppm). 

    That being said the original research done was conducted in the 1970's and has since been questions. But there is no doubt that nitrosamines  are carcinogens and they can be found in cured meats (especially bacon since it is fried at such a high temp ~340F). Maybe the egg doesn't cook at that high of temperatures and does more of a low and slow cook?  Also there is studies that buffering your meats by adding ascorbic acid (vitamin C) helps inhibit the formation of nitrosamine. And either way it seems like just about everything causes cancer these days so I would go with the everything in moderation! Enjoy some egg bacon!
    Great stuff.

    It's also true that cooking any protein over wood/lump can produce in carcinogens in the food. It's not just nitrates/nitrites. Like she said- seems like everything gives you cancer these days. My guess is breathing our polluted air and drinking our polluted water, eating vegetables loaded with insecticides/fertilizers every single day are far more harmful that a couple of slices of bacon. I just finished a breakfast taco with my homemade bacon in it (as I do almost every morning) while I read this. It made me happy.



  • Well all I know is if I don't die of sort of cancer it will be a Xmas miracle. I spend all day in the sun on construction sites, chew tobacco, smoke, drink like a fish, and eat red meat about 15 times a week. Not to mention that I breath all of the dust from being around the grading equipment which is full of silica (which has been known to cause cancer in laboratory animals). So that being said I'm personally not going to worry about what bacon is doing from a cancer stand point. Just my 2 cents
  • NDGNDG Posts: 857
    @dstrbd488  . . . i just hope your life insurance underwritter is not on the BGE forum!
    Columbus, Ohio
  • Understood I'm just saying that we seem to worry over every little thing these days and for the most part all the worry, in my opinion, is probably just as detrimental as the things we worry over. I know that I'm a little more on the side of asking for the troubles than most and I don't want to die soon but it seems every time you turn around someone on a forum is asking these questions. Should I use pink salt, is charcoal going to kill me, is charcoal dust going to get me, should I not eat anything charged, etc etc... I mean if the. World is just going to live in that kind of fear install a bomb shelter, supply it, and move in. I sorry I don't mean to rant this is one of the things that grinds my gears.
  • yzziyzzi Posts: 1,407
    Yikes. I think you just ground a few gears off your life getting all upset about that.
    Dunedin, FL
  • I'm sorry I didn't mean to go off on a rampage but we're having a tough time at work with people quitting and I'm taking up the slack in every way except pay and then it seems as if everyday someone is asking if something related to what ever is going to kill them so I might have gotten a little out of hand earlier and for this I apologize
  • yzziyzzi Posts: 1,407
    All good. Keep it cool though because stress will definitely kill you ;)


    Dunedin, FL
  • Well I work for an engineering firm and in the last 3 weeks 3 senior project managers, 4 project managers, 2 engineers, and the head of the cad dept have quit leaving me no management on 2 multimillion dollar projects that I'm inspecting so been pretty stressful
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