Curing salts?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by turkeyhandle, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. turkeyhandle

    turkeyhandle Newbie

    Hi all, been lurking for a while here and finally decided to register an account on this site. Now to my question/concern. 

    I am planning to smoke some pastrami and in haste I picked up some random curing salt I found at my local asian market (because I was too lazy to drive around and too impatient to wait for online orders). The recipe I used called for two tsp of prague #1  salt, so I substituted the prague for the curing salt I bought and placed my meat in the brine in the fridge. So my question is whether or not this curing salt would be an ok substitute for the Prague 1 salt.  If not, would the meat still be salvageable or should I cut my losses and start anew.


    If this is in the wrong section, I apologize mods and please move to the appropriate sub forum 

  2. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Check the back of the bag,see if it has any sodium nitrite in it.

    Depending on how long the meat has been brined, you may be able to rinse it and cook.

    turkeyhandle likes this.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What does the back of the package have on it... Please take a clear picture of the back and post it...

    "Curing salts" can be anywhere from ~ 1% to pure sodium nitrite at 100%... 6.25% is the norm for the standard USA cure #1....
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK, I found a similar product... this one is made in China... Look at the back... No nitrite listed.. look at the iodine...

    I would not use this product for curing meat or anything else as far as that goes until I knew how much to use and in what recipe..... It looks as if it is intended for some specialty Chinese product.... to me anyway..

    turkeyhandle likes this.
  5. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic

    Cure #1 and #2 (AKA Prague #1 and #2) are tinted pink (which explains the term "pink salt") to differentiate them from common salts.  As Dave said, Cure #1 has sodium nitrite in it.  A 140 pound person would likely die after ingesting as little as 4.6g of pure sodium nitrite so 6.25% soduim nitrite is compounded with common salt to help ensure that a person won't eat enough of the salt to ingest a fatal dose.

    Given the amount of mistranslated labels in any asian grocery store I wouldn't trust any label from one if it involves critcal food safety.  We've likely got 2-3 dozen asian food tiems in our pantry and without looking first I'd bet that half of them have basic translation errors in their labeling.

    You say the recipie called for 2 tsp.  Is that per pound of meat, some measure of water or what?  How much additional salt?    A little more info on the recipie would be helpful.

    I can't tell from your picture whether the salt is pink.  Is it and what does the label say about contents?  If the salt isn't pink and you can't tell whether it's Cure #1 or something else I'd get the meat out of the brine, rinse it under cold running water for five minutes or so and place it in cold water changing the water every hour for 2-3 hours and longer if it's been brining a day of more.


    turkeyhandle likes this.
  6. turkeyhandle

    turkeyhandle Newbie

    Thanks for the responses so far.  The pictures that DaveOmak kindly posted up is the exact same packaging as the one I used.  It has been in the brine for about 13-14 hours. I already drained it and started to let it sit in water.

    This is the recipe I used 

    About 4 pounds of beef brisket

    1 gallon distilled water

    8 ounces Kosher Salt, by weight (about 7/8 cup)

    2 teaspoons Prague Powder #1

    1 cup brown sugar, preferably dark
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    It does not sound like a Cure as in contains Sodium Nitrite...Please note, Not all Cures are Pink. American Spice Co used to sell jars and packs of Double Strength Cure that is 12.5% Sodium Nitrite and it is a White Powder. I have been using it for the last 4 years, of course I use half of what the recipes calls for. That Recipe seems light on Cure, 1/3 less than Pops Brine. I don't see a need to toss it but Hot smoke it like any other brisket..JJ  
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
  8. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic


    The brine recipie I use is from one of the Marianski's books and using it a 40 degree brine would call for a gallon of water, 1 pound of salt and 136g (7-1/2 Tbsp of Cure #1 and will cure about 17 pounds of meat.  For pastrami they call for injection pumping brine to 10% of the original weight of the meat followed by tightly packing the meat in brine for 4-5 days.  For a four pound hunk I'd mix only a quart of brine and put it in a plastic bag to cure.

    My last pastrami was saltier than I like and I figure that was due to a single hunk of brisket in the brine and it being more exposed to the brine than if it were one piece of a batch of tightly packed hunks..  Next time I'll either scale back the salt or the amount of immersion time.

    If you can get your hands on the correct cure I don't see any reason you can't still cure it.

    Good luck whichever way you go.

  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Lance, morning...... If you are looking for a sure way to get the salt level you desire....

    Weigh the meat and water separate... Total the weights.... add 2-3% salt to the water and dissolve.... submerge the meat for several days, up to a week, under refrigeration.... The meat will absorb the salt until equilibrium.... no more, no less..... adjust future salt levels to your preference... I prefer about 2%...

  10. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The big problem with that curing salt is that it gives you no info regarding content or dosage. You don't know what is in it or how much to use. I would toss it.
  11. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic

    Good thoughts, Dave

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