Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Amy Viny

Morton's Quick Cure

Recommended Posts

Good morning all--Forgive me if this has already been covered but, About a week ago I put up a pork belly using Michael's basic bacon formulation but I substituted Morton's Quick Cure for the amount of pink salt specified in the recipe. Is this safe? I've actually done this once before and the resulting bacon was FANTASTIC but as I embark on my second bacon adventure I just wanted to make sure I'm not putting family and friends in grave danger. Can you tell me anything about Quick Cure? The Morton website isn't particularly helpful. I purchased it at a store that sells wine, homebrewing and cheesemaking supplies. They said pink salt is highly toxic if used improperly. I thought Quick Cure might be safer to have around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Morton Tender Cure (I assume this is what you are referring to) contains both sodium nitrate and nitrite. I assume by 'pink salt' you are referring to saltpeter which is sodium nitrate rather than the pink colored salts that is the fashion rage these days ? Sodium nitrate is used in very small quantities to preserve the color of meat while undergoing curing.

You need to have some guidance for your curing. Substituting in a cure with a product that you really have no understanding of is not the best thing to do. The amount of cure in Tender Cure will certainly not harm anyone, its just not the thing to do.

I have been using the same jar of reagent grade sodium nitrate for over 20 years but I have an extensive chemistry education. If you and your family are not familiar with handling chemicals and following protocols, (I would term any recipe for a cure a protocol) then you are probably better off using Tender Cure. When you substitute Tender Cure for the amount of 'pink salt' specified in the cure, you are really decreasing the amount of sodium nitrate because Tender Cure is not 100% sodium nitrate and in that sense reducing the protection offered in the original recipe. Follow the cure recipe or use only Tender Cure but do not meld the two together without an understanding of what is involved.-Dick


Edited by budrichard (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been using the same jar of reagent grade sodium nitrate for over 20 years but I have an extensive chemistry education. If you and your family are not familiar with handling chemicals and following protocols, -Dick

Dick,

Please correct me if I am wrong, but technical and reagent grade chemicals are not FDA approved for human consumption. Therefore if you are using Reagent grade NaNO3 would you not be violating FDA protocol? A further observation which I hope you will correct me if I am wrong, is that after 20 years the shelf life of that NaNO3 has long since expired, has it not?

Just curious...

doc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good morning all--Forgive me if this has already been covered but, About a week ago I put up a pork belly using Michael's basic bacon formulation but I substituted Morton's Quick Cure for the amount of pink salt specified in the recipe. Is this safe?

Yes and no. Pink salt is 6.25% sodium nitrite. Morton's Tender Quick is a proprietary mixture of sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, sugar, salt and propylene glycol. Because you now don't know the amount of sodium nitrite you're using (and Morton's doesn't seem to share this info anywhere), you don't know if you've got the recipe amount.

Does this mean the bacon is unsafe? Not necessarily; it's quite possible to make bacon without sodium nitrite, and it's not super-precise how much gets absorbed in a dry cure. But one of the functions of the nitrite is to prevent botulism, and both too much and too little nitrite can be bad, so I wouldn't go off-recipe until you're sure about what you're doing.

So if a recipe calls for pink salt, use pink salt. If you want to make bacon with Morton's Quick Cure, find a recipe that calls for it. Yes, pink salt can be unsafe if used improperly; but so can just about anything, including uncured pork.


Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sodium nitrate (saltpeter) is mined. It was in the ground for millions of years before it was mined so a few years in a container won't matter, unless wet, it won't decompose.

I actually purchased the bottle (6 oz) from a pharmacist. In my growing up years, I had purchased some in this way because it is a constituent of gunpowder(The Statute of Limitations has passed on that one).

The bottle is actually marked 'For Technical Use Only' and is a McKesson product. It may or may not be Reagent Grade but it certainly is pure enough for human consumption (It hasn't killed me yet!). We used to use 97% alcohol (Not denatured) for cleaning purposes in labs and along the way some eventually made its way into the food chain. It's just a matter of what your technical background is.

Before pharmacies became little more than sellers of notions and magazines, Pharmacies and pharmacists were sources of chemicals. Just try to purchase any type of chemical these days. I needed some silver nitrite recently. I finally found a supplier for 30 grams and the Hazardous Shipping costs were double the product cost!

Many sources of recipes and methods for curing, use sodium nitrate for color preservation but it also has been shown to supress lethal organisms.

-Dick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good morning all--Forgive me if this has already been covered but, About a week ago I put up a pork belly using Michael's basic bacon formulation but I substituted Morton's Quick Cure for the amount of pink salt specified in the recipe. Is this safe?

Yes and no. Pink salt is 6.25% sodium nitrite. Morton's Tender Quick is a proprietary mixture of sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, sugar, salt and propylene glycol. Because you now don't know the amount of sodium nitrite you're using (and Morton's doesn't seem to share this info anywhere), you don't know if you've got the recipe amount.

Does this mean the bacon is unsafe? Not necessarily; it's quite possible to make bacon without sodium nitrite, and it's not super-precise how much gets absorbed in a dry cure. But one of the functions of the nitrite is to prevent botulism, and both too much and too little nitrite can be bad, so I wouldn't go off-recipe until you're sure about what you're doing.

So if a recipe calls for pink salt, use pink salt. If you want to make bacon with Morton's Quick Cure, find a recipe that calls for it. Yes, pink salt can be unsafe if used improperly; but so can just about anything, including uncured pork.

it says half a percent of each nitrate and nitrite


Jeremy Behmoaras

Cornell School for Hotel Administration Class '09

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there is an article in the new gourmet about a big smoking guy in virginia that just uses salt. its a good read. myself i use selrose,,,pink cure

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sodium nitrate (saltpeter) is mined. It was in the ground for millions of years before it was mined so a few years in a container won't matter, unless wet, it won't decompose.

I actually purchased the bottle (6 oz) from a pharmacist. In my growing up years, I had purchased some in this way because it is a constituent of gunpowder(The Statute of Limitations has passed on that one).

The bottle is actually marked 'For Technical Use Only' and is a McKesson product. It may or may not be Reagent Grade but it certainly is pure enough for human consumption (It hasn't killed me yet!). We used to use 97% alcohol (Not denatured) for cleaning purposes in labs and along the way some eventually made its way into the food chain. It's just a matter of what your technical background is.

Before pharmacies became little more than sellers of notions and magazines, Pharmacies and pharmacists were sources of chemicals. Just try to purchase any type of chemical these days. I needed some silver nitrite recently. I finally found a supplier for 30 grams and the Hazardous Shipping costs were double the product cost!

Many sources of recipes and methods for curing, use sodium nitrate for color preservation but it also has been shown to supress lethal organisms.

-Dick

First time I heard that Sodium Nitrate is also called saltpeter. Down on the farm, saltpeter was always potassium nitrate. What you have in your bottle is Technical Grade. If it was Reagent grade the label would say so. Doubt very much you'd ever get reagent grade in a pharmacy no matter what the year.

I never heard of blackpowder containing sodium nitrate but it was always potassium nitrate.

However, if I'm to believe wikipedia, it says that less frequently sodium nitrate is used in gunpowder instead of potassium nitrate.

I still would be hesitant to use it in food unless it was FDA approved for use in humans.

To each his own. :)

doc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... I put up a pork belly using Michael {Ruhlman}'s basic bacon formulation but I substituted Morton's Quick Cure for the amount of pink salt specified in the recipe. Is this safe? ... Can you tell me anything about Quick Cure? ... They said pink salt is highly toxic if used improperly. I thought Quick Cure might be safer to have around.

Nutshell upsum:

Probably safe for bacon, but wrong, and not a good idea to do.

Follow ALL curing recipes exactly, unless you really do know for certain that you DO know better.

Detail:

In "Charcuterie" MR refers to 'Cure No 1' as "pink salt". Cure No 1 is NitrIte, diluted with salt - so that there's 6.25% of NitrIte. The recipes call for adding more {normal} salt to the "pink salt" to make up the cure - ie to dilute it further.

Morton Tender Quick is a pre-mixed complete cure with 0.5% NitrIte and 0.5% NitrAte and does not need mixing with additional salt or sugar before curing.

Hence using the Morton complete cure in place of the "pink salt" would result in your process using slightly more sugar and less salt than the recipe, much less (like 1/13 th) NitrIte, and adding a little NitrAte (which will be a small part-compensation for the lack of NitrIte).

Discussion:

NitrAte and NitrIte firm up bacon, turn it pink, and make it taste like 'bacon' rather than salt pork.

They also are powerful anti-botulism agents.

Botulism isn't generally a problem with bacon - BUT - hot smoking bacon, as is the practice in North America, *could* potentially bring problems. (British bacon is either unsmoked, or cold smoked.) Hot smoking can activate C Botulinum spores and might not be hot enough to destroy the toxin.

However, proper cooking to above 70C (160F) before eating should destroy any of the dangerous botulinum toxin that might be present. And bacon is generally pretty thoroughly cooked...

There is a side-issue that the FDA doesn't like the use of NitrAte for bacon - although it is routinely used for bacon in Europe - the FDA want NitrIte, not NirAte for bacon and Tender Quick has both. (BTW the FDA wants some Ascorbate/Vitamin C in there too, which MR doesn't mention in "Charcuterie", and the rest of the world seems to think the FDA might be being over-cautious about a traditionally safe food.)

Cure No 1 (MR's "pink salt") contains only salt and NitrIte, both of which are in Quick Cure - it would be equally true to say that Quick Cure could be dangerous if used improperly. And substituting it for the same quantity of "pink salt" is certainly an 'improper' usage.

The addition of pink colouring is a safety precaution to demonstrate plainly that the product isn't ordinary salt, and No 1 only contains 6.25% NitrIte to limit the amount of NitrIte that you could possibly consume if you totally misunderstood things and made the more dangerous reverse substitution, *wrongly* substituting Cure No 1 when a recipe called for a ready-mixed cure, like Tender Quick... giving 13x too much nitrite - don't try it, please. :blink:

Follow authoritative curing recipes. Closely. :biggrin: Please!


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...