Pink Salt and Pastrami
Well I have decided to make the pastrami from scratch this time and I have a few questions.
I remember a lot of what I was taught by my Mother during potty training, so I think I know the difference between #1 and #2 but it cant hurt to ask, right?
1. I got some pink salt but I am not sure if it is #1 or #2. Does it really matter if I am going to smoke it anyway? I think #2 is mainly for sausages and meats that are not cooked but wondering if it would work for a pastrami.
2. I have a 14.85 lb. whole packer. I plan on trimming the brisket of most fat, but was wondering about whether I should separate the point and the flat or just try to remove the deckle and not separate them. Perhaps, just cut the brisket into (3) pieces to make it more manageable.
I tend to like a little more fat than most people and it seems like it would be easy enough to remove a little fat before serving.
Any reason why I should not do the whole packer?
Q-Junkie, I have never made a Pastrami, but just did a quick search/read on the interwebs :wacko:.
Check out this link: http://bbq.about.com/cs/barbecuetips/a/aa022302a.htm
They recommend separating the point from the flat. But do also recommend leaving 1/4" fat layer too. Anyway it's a good reference read, with links to both a brining and Pastrami rub recipes. I hope you find it useful.
Don't mean to sound like an alarmist, but I wouldn't "wing it" when it comes to curing meat. If you're not sure what it is, chuck it and get some Cure #1. It's cheap and you'll know what you're dealing with.
I will be able to find out for certain what type it is sometime later this week but just really wanted to know if it would work in a brine if it was #2. I would not use a #1 to make dried meats but thought #2 would work for a pastrami that is going to get smoked well beyond 165 degrees.
P.S. I will not use it for anything until I know what it is for sure.
IE: Himalayan Pink Salt, Hawaiian Pink Salt, ect.. These are mineral salts not curing salts.
The main reasons to use curing salts in meats and smoked sausages is to prevent food poisoning, as well as impede the development of many food spoiling bacteria that can thrive in low temperature environment of a smoker. These curing ingredients extend the self life of the meat, retard rancidity, and provide the characteristic flavor and color associated with specific meats.
Extreme caution must be exercised in using these cures; never use more than the amount called for in the recipe. All curing agents, are designed to be used at the rate specified in the formulation or recipe. When used as directed curing salts are safe for home use.
It is important to remember, more is not better and it can be toxic. Using these ingredients in higher levels your curing results will be inconsistent, cured meats may be too salty, the finished products may be unsatisfactory and/or nitrite burn may occur. Too little can cause food poisoning
During the curing stage, always keep meat refrigerated (36° to 40°F). The closer to 40°F, the better; lower temperatures will slow the curing process, and temperature below 28°F will stop the curing.
Cure #1 can be used as a dry brine (dry cure) or in a wet brine (pickle). It provides the same curing properties of sodium nitrite, and is considered a quick cure, because it starts curing immediately upon contact with the meat. As mentioned earlier, this type of cure is used for curing meats for a short period of time that will be cooked, smoked, or canned. This includes poultry, fish, ham, bacon, luncheon meats, corned beef, pates, sausages, and other products too numerous to mention.
Cure #2 has the same curing and food preservative properties as sodium nitrite, and the extended curing time of sodium nitrate. It is specifically formulated to be used for making uncooked dry cured products that require several weeks to several months to cure. Dry curing meat or sausage properly cannot be done with Cure #1 which contains sodium nitrite only because it dissipates too quickly.
Nitrites (cure #1) are used for curing meats that will be cooked, and must be used in sausages that are smoked at low temperatures over a long period of time or corned beef in your case. Nitrites are considered a fast acting cure, because they begins to cure immediately upon contact with the meat. Nitrites possess antimicrobial properties that make them an excellent preservative. They are a very effective agent in protecting foods from most food spoiling bacteria, and most importantly they prevent the growth of clostridium botulinum that causes botulism poisoning.
Botulism, though it can grow in improperly low acid canned/vacuumed foods and juices; was once referred to as the ‘Sausage Disease’ - botulus is Latin for sausage. Sausage at one time was the most common source of botulism poisoning, and is now the second most common source. The primary source is caused by improper home canning.
It is definitely a curing salt. Just not sure what #
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