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curing salt question

bigphilbigphil Posts: 1,390
edited August 2012 in EggHead Forum
i wanna try to do canadian bacon and wondering is there a difference between Morton tender quick cure and pink salt .
Large Big Green Egg , XL Big Green Egg . BBQ Guru, Weber Kettle, Weber Q grill for road trips.


  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited August 2012
    Hard to explain. Think of it this way: pink salt is only one ingredient in tender quick. Sorta

    You cannot sub one for the other

    To be clearer, if you had pink salts, you'd add further salt and sugars. THEN you would have a cure. TQ is a cure

    Also TQ has nitrate and nitrite, pink salts contains nitrite

    TQ: lots of salt and sugar, nitrite, nitrate, glycol

    Pinks salts: nitrite, small amount of salt (to lessen the concentration of nitrite to make it safer), colored pink as a warning to make it even safer
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • bigphilbigphil Posts: 1,390
    @stike Thanks , so am guessing to make canadian bacon get the pink salt 
    Large Big Green Egg , XL Big Green Egg . BBQ Guru, Weber Kettle, Weber Q grill for road trips.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,972
    the dizzy pig site has a recipe that subs one for the other, it may give you an idea which way to go with the amounts. its a good canadian bacon recipe
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited August 2012
    Re:" so am guessing to make canadian bacon get the pink salt"
    Well not necessarily

    TQ is a cure. Pink salts is an ingredient in a cure

    If you go buy pink salts, you'll just be adding salt and sugars to make a cure anyway

    TQ is akin to a boxed cake mix. You can use it to cure loin bacon. You will need to add other flavors though, because it's just salt and sugar (plus nitrite/nitrate)

    Or you can build your own cure from bottom up using pink salts.

    I buy a pound of pink salt, then add kosher saltto make my basic cure. All else is flavor (sugars too). TQ uses white sugar. But i hold that aside because i may want to use brown sugar, molasses, maple, honey, etc

    Pink salt more flexible, TQ perfecty fine though
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • AleBrewerAleBrewer Posts: 555
    The Mortons product has pink salt in will work for bacon, but I found it to be pretty salty. I used it a few times before making my own brines or dry cures.

    Stikes description of Tender Quick is spot on.....has both nitrite and nitrate + glycol( prevents caking)

  • bigphilbigphil Posts: 1,390
    Thanks everyone for the info . This is what makes this board so great fantastic help and advice 
    Large Big Green Egg , XL Big Green Egg . BBQ Guru, Weber Kettle, Weber Q grill for road trips.
  • AleBrewerAleBrewer Posts: 555
    @fishless.......thanks for posting that recipe. That looks like a great one to try next!
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,618
    The maximum concentration of sodium nitrite sold as a food additive in the US is 6.25%.  The balance is usually regular salt. 

    Also known as curing salt #1, Prague powder #1, or pink salt #1. 

    Sodium nitrite is poisonous - LD50 for rats is 180 mg/Kg.  An average person would only need to eat 5-10 grams to receive a potential lethal dose - an amount of salt that is easily consumed.  Adding the additional salt (diluting the nitrites) makes it extremely difficult for someone to accidentally use sodium nitrite rather than salt and poison the consumer without the food being unpalatable.

    Typically in cured food, the concentration is between 20 and 200 ppb (parts per billion).  That food is further diluted by your body mass when you eat. 

    So, used as directed, sodium nitrite is safe.  The main issue is it reacts with amines - naturally occurring in food - and in the presence of acid or heat react to form nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic.  That's why microwave bacon isn't good for you.

    The chemists in the food industry realized that a strong antioxidant like ascorbic acid (vitamin C) inhibits nitrosamine formation, and that additive, along with reducing the nitrite levels in food has resulted in a measurable decrease in the amount of stomach cancer in the general population.

    The nitrite inhibits bacteria growth, keeps fats from oxidizing (going rancid), changes the texture and stabilizes the color of food.  It protects food from spoilage and helps make pastrami and corned beef have the color, taste and texture it does, as well as other benefits.

    And, everything Stike said about it compared with Morton's TQ - the analogy is a good one.  You never use the pink salt directly on food without mixing it into a curing mix, where it is further diluted dramatically. 

    Follow recipes - don't ever substitute Pink Salt for anything than pink salt.  The #2 has a small amount of sodium nitrAte in addition to the same concentration of sodium nitrite, which is for longer aging applications.
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