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osx-addict 10-04-2012 09:46 PM

Getting Cured..
Ok.. I'm ready to dive into some basic curing.. I'd like to do some pastrami or perhaps corned beef and would also like to try my hand at bacon..

So, I see lots of different 'cures' out there -- Morton, DC/DQ, etc.. Since I can't seem to find any locally I'm going to mail order -- the place I was going to get some from (Butchers & Packers) has Morton's Tender Quick, DC curing salt (pink) & DC Curing Salt #2 (yellow), brown sugar cure and a few others..

I was reading that DC Curing Salt is the same as Cure #1 (whatever that is).. So, IF I'm going to order some curing salts just to have around the house, I was planning on at least getting some Tender Quick -- what else should I get? Perhaps the DC Curing Salt (aka Cure #1).. Should I get anything else (that's cheap!)? :doh: (e.g. Pickling spice,etc)?

Also, once I get it, is it OK to keep on the shelf (does it have a shelf life?) or should it be stored in the freezer?


Big George's BBQ 10-04-2012 10:37 PM

check out thirdeye's blog He discuses both pastrami, porkbelly bacon and buckboard bacon I have done the pastrami and pork belly Both very good

Bama Ron 10-04-2012 10:42 PM

+1 for thirdeye.

Tatoosh 10-04-2012 11:46 PM

Get some Cure #1 and you'll be set for most of your needs unless you decide to get into air dried meats and sausages. Those take Cure #2. But for bacon and pastrami, Cure #1 is the way to go. In fact, once you've cured and smoked your own bacon, there ain't no goin' back!

I'm in the Philippines and had to ship my stuff all the way over from the USA. They have cure here, but the local vendors a very lax about labeling. So no way to tell if you are getting #1 or #2. Morton Tender Quick is fine, but expensive when you compare it to buying your own salt and sugar to mix with Cure #1. And it contains Sodium Nitrate (Cure #2) which you really don't need or want in your bacon or meats you cook at a higher temp for eating.

I make my own "curing mix" now, with Salt, Sugar, and Cure #1. Easy to do and a heck of a lot cheaper. Part of that will depend on how much you use and that will depend on if you brine or dry cure. Dry cure does not take so much mix, while a curing brine will take quite a bit more and you'll be going through the Morton pretty darn quick.

Lots of good info on the 'net for recipes. MartinF of Digging Dog Farm has a great calculator he's developing for figuring cure amounts --> here

Bacon Recipe are all over the place but I use this one often -- here

Skidder 10-04-2012 11:53 PM

I've done thirdeyes pastrami and bacon and both were great.

centexsmoker 10-04-2012 11:59 PM

All awesome advice above. i also highly recommend the book/E-Book "Charcuterie" by Ruhlman. it's an invaluable resource in all things curing. Just picked it up on advice from a guy who has cured a sheetload of animal parts in his basement neatly tucked away in a suburban neighborhood in the greater New England area.

gtr 10-05-2012 12:04 AM

I've got Instacure (cure #1) and Morton's Tenderquick, haven't really needed any other ones. I'll add to the chorus saying to go check out thirdeye's blog. Cowgirl does a little curing herself and she has a fantastic blog here.

This is a great book

As is this one

Once you start doing this stuff you most likely won't go back to store bought cured meats.

BTW I see you're in SoCal - we're putting together a bash for Sat. Nov. 10. Come on over!

charray 10-05-2012 02:00 AM

Go with the pink sale aka instacure #1 or aka prague powder #1. they contain Sodium Nitrite versus #2 which contains Sodium Nitrate. The Nitrate is time released. Theses are Cheaper and contain a lot less salt than morton tender quick which allows you to add your own seasoned salt.

This is a great book" target="_blank"> <a href=" border="0" />

However, if you're going to start dry curing meats, you'll need #2

IamMadMan 10-05-2012 03:05 AM


Originally Posted by gtr (Post 2235039)
I've got Instacure (cure #1) and Morton's Tenderquick, haven't really needed any other ones.

This is a great book

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting,Smoking,and Curing: Michael Ruhlman,Brian Polcyn,Thomas Keller: 9780393058291: Books

As is this one

Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing: Rytek Kutas,Ben Kutas: 9780025668607: Books

Once you start doing this stuff you most likely won't go back to store bought cured meats.

I agree with the books above, I also have both...

To avoid confusion, Cure#1 is not directly interchangeable/substitutable with Morton TenderQuick.

The difference is that Cure#1 contains 6.25% nitrite, whereas Mortons TQ contains Salt, Sugar, .5% Sodium Nitrate, .5% Sodium Nitrite, Propylene Glycol. Morton also makes a SugarCure which contains Salt, Sugar, Propylene Glycol, .5% Sodium Nitrate, .5% Soduim Nitrite, Spice Extratives, and Dextrose for making bacon/ham. TenderQuick and Sugar Cure are interchangeable with each other because they are premixed. Thus the weights/volumes for curing are substantially different between Cure#1 and a premixed cure. Hi Mountain is another producer of premixed cures targeting the sportsman, hunter, and fisherman.

If you are using Cure#1 (pink salt, praque powder, instacure) you will have to weigh out the sodium nitrite and mix with salt and sugar to make a curing agent. .. Thus the weights/volumes for curing are substantially different.

Cure#1 and premixes serve similar functions but the formulations are different.

I prefer to use Cure#1 as I control what goes into the mix, but I do have used the Morton and Hi Mountain products to save time when my job requires me to travel.

SmokinAussie 10-05-2012 06:41 AM

Go nuts...



osx-addict 10-05-2012 10:05 AM

Thanks guys as usual for the great insight to the subject!

Tatoosh -- cool that you're in the Philippines! Been there once a number of years ago -- my wife is a Filipina -- I've been to Makati, Batangas and a handful of other places outside of just Manila..

Iam - Thanks for the background on the constitution of each mix and the interchangability (or lack thereof) info..

All: Thanks for the links & book recommendations -- I actually have the Charcuterie book on my Amazon wish list when I've got some spare $$

I'll keep you posted on my meat curing adventures!

IamMadMan 10-05-2012 02:09 PM


Originally Posted by osx-addict (Post 2235229)
Thanks guys as usual for the great insight to the subject!

I'll keep you posted on my meat curing adventures!

We look forward to your posts...

chad 10-05-2012 02:19 PM

It ain't rocket science but done wrong it can kill your a$$! I own Ruhlman and Kutas books and always review before diving into a project. Good luck, it's fun and very rewarding. My current projects are sausage but I've done pastrami and buckboard bacon in the past. A pork belly is in my future plans.

captndan 10-05-2012 02:37 PM

+4 for Third-eye.

caseydog 10-05-2012 04:49 PM

I just bought Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting,Smoking,and Curing, and I am making some Tasso this week. Great book!


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