Too much nitrite?

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by mtodriscoll, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. First time poster, long time reader...

    I started my BBB making adventure last night (9/1/15) with 2 butts from Sam's club, each deboned and split in half. I used High Mountain BBB Cure, which comes in 3 small bags. I also added a handful of brown sugar to each of the bags as I've seen that recommended on this forum due to the salty nature of the High Mtn cure. 2 of the bags also received some maple syrup. It's arguable whether the sugar or maple will even flavor the meat during the cure, but I figured it couldn't hurt.

    I weighed each half-butt and then measured out the cure at the indicated amount (1Tbl + 1.25 tsp per pound). What a pain! How are you supposed to measure out cure for 4lbs. 3 oz. of meat?!?  (e.g. 0.8375 of a teaspoon)

    Anyway, on the last butt, which weighed just under 3.5 lbs., I was short by 0.5 teaspoon of the BBB cure. I really didn't want to open the last little bag of cure just for 1/2tsp., so instead I added 1/2tsp. of Prague Powder #1 (oops). Finished it off with some brown sugar, maple syrup and CBP.

    For that small amount of meat, I probably could have just left out the 0.5 tsp and let it cure longer than 10 days to be sure it cure all the way though. For 3.5 pounds of meat, I would have needed 0.7 tsp. of Prague Powder for the entire cure.However, in this case, I was using High Mtn cure, so there was already cure in there.

    Anyway, on to my questions:

    - Did I ruin that last bag by adding 0.5 tsp prague powder instead of the High Mtn BBB cure?

    - It's only been in the bag less than 1 day, so can I rescue it if it was too much cure by a dangerous amount?

    - Finally, and on a side note, are there recipes which utilize meat/cure ratios by weight of cure and not by "spoons"?


  2. smokerjim

    smokerjim Meat Mopper

    i'm sure you'll be alright,i'm sure someone will be along to help you,all i can tell you if you want an easy  but good recipe use pop's brine,just look it up in the search. that's all i use it's so simple yet good. good luck
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Time to spend $9 on a scale....

  4. Thanks Dave - but I already have a digital scale - that's how I weighed the pork butt. See second paragraph of my post... ;).

    I wasn't happy with the included instructions which are in tablespoons/teaspoons per pound of meat. They should have been in grams/oz. per pound of meat. More accurate and more easily converted, compared to 'spoonfuls'. For all the same reasons why I prefer to bake by weight and not by volume.

    Next time I'll just use the recipe for Pop's brine instead of wasting my money on pre-made "kits". (Found the brine recipe after I had already purchased the High Mtn.cure).

    In my reading today, I doubt if my 1/2 tsp. mistake is that far over the recommended PPM given my addition of brown sugar and maple syrup to the meat. I can always mark those package of meat and use them last so the nitrites have more time to oxidize out.

    - Matt
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
  5. I re-read the Amazon link above and realized my scale at home is not as accurate as this one for measuring out cure, so I believe I'll take your advice Dave and get this scale after all. Thanks!

    By adding an unmeasured and variable amount of brown sugar and/or maple syrup to the bags of pork, I potentially threw off the cure formulations from High Mountain. That coupled with rounding off the meat weights has me nervous.

    I'm considering throwing out all the meat out and starting over from scratch for peace of mind. The pork cost $24 and the high mountain cure $8. I'd rather learn a $32 lesson from this than a hundreds/thousands lesson!

    This forum has a treasure-trove of information...

    - Matt
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good choice..... Cheap lesson.... especially if your family is involved.... Dave
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You don't need to throw anything away. Cure weights is so you don't go too high. The difference of adding sugar will not change anything significant. The extra half teaspoon is not going to get you anywhere near toxic level... about a teaspoon of " straight " sodium nitrite for a 150 pound adult, eaten all at one time.That half teaspoon is only 6.25% sodium nitrite not 100%. Just make your Bacon and enjoy. Many of the recipes on this site are in weight measurement or you can do the conversion from the chart given in the link below...JJ
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015

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