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JONESY
07-14-2010, 04:15 PM
So I have been wondering, are there many brethren that use tender quick on a regular basis, and if so in what types of applications? I have read that it aids in the formation of the smoke ring, but does it actually enhance the flavor or moisture in anyway? Thanks for any input.

smellysockalarmclock
07-14-2010, 04:44 PM
Unless your trying to visually impress you or someone else I would leave the TQ to curing.
The ring is created from the nitrites and nitrates in the TQ.
I would also be wary of the salt content of your rub with the use of TQ, if not rinsed properly you may end up with a very salty finished product.

Some more reading on the subject.
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=65412

RichardF
07-14-2010, 04:55 PM
i use tq as the first step in turning a brisket into a pastrami.

JONESY
07-14-2010, 04:57 PM
I mainly cook for myself and friends/family, and no real reason to try to impress with visual enhancements, I've just read a few threads that made reference to it. I usually brine my bone-in/skin-on chicken, and was told by a guy that he always uses tender quick in brines. Am i missing something?

dmprantz
07-14-2010, 04:58 PM
TQ does not tenderize meat in any way. I think it even says so on the packaging. It cures it, which is what gives the "smoke ring" and will also make it taste a bit saltier like ham. Great for cured sausages, bacon, corned beef, pastrami, etc. If you use it to give yourself a smoke ring, be sure to wash it off as too much nitrite is a bad thing.

dmp

JONESY
07-14-2010, 05:23 PM
Thanks for the clarifications. I am very happy with the smoke ring and flavor of my bbq, and have no intentions of using it. I just saw a recipe where the guy was using it like salt, and like you guys have pointed out I always thought of it as curing agent. So basically is this guy off his rocker using tq like salt?

MattB
07-14-2010, 05:30 PM
I use it when making smoked canadian bacon. It can give a hammy taste where you might not want one, and it has a less salty taste than salt. Unless you're curing or wanting an enhanced smoke ring, there's really no need for it.

Where did you see the recipe? What was it a recipe for?

Bacchus
07-14-2010, 05:52 PM
Works great for curing. I've done belly and loin bacon with it.

Jorge
07-14-2010, 05:56 PM
I'll use it in sausage, or making pastrami as RichardF mentioned. Beyond that I wouldn't add it to a brisket for home consumption, just to create a pretty pink ring.

I don't score for appearance at my table!

ZILLA
07-14-2010, 07:24 PM
I have heard that many comp cooks that use charcoal cookers such as backwoods and the like, apply it for 3-4 minutes then rinse it off. Charcoal it seems, does not produce a satisfactory smoke ring. I do not use charcoal so I don't know first hand. I have been told that many of those that use TQ will deny using it at comps because of the stigma attached to it. Same as those that use liquid smoke when cooking with charcoal. Oh what a tangled web be told when we cook with old charcoal. :heh: Just sayin....

Wampus
07-14-2010, 07:42 PM
I've only used it for salt curing salmon fillets. And only then because I used a Paul Kirk recipe for smoked salmon. Other than that, my bag sits in the cupboard.

Honestly seems a whole lot like salt to me. Don't really know the difference.

thirdeye
07-14-2010, 08:04 PM
So I have been wondering, are there many brethren that use tender quick on a regular basis, and if so in what types of applications? I have read that it aids in the formation of the smoke ring, but does it actually enhance the flavor or moisture in anyway? Thanks for any input.

TQ does several things. As a curing agent it will improve texture, color and help with moisture retention. It is used for curing things like corned beef, pastrami, buckboard bacon. It can also be used in brines (and dry cures) for preparing meats like fish, jerky sausages, poultry or chops for smoking.

Often times folks use it for safety reasons, like when cold smoking sausage or fish, and other times it is used for visual appeal, like in sausages or when you want to make a smoke ring pop out.

This is a beef/pork sausage with TQ added. It was grilled to 170 but still remains pink and juicy.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2012/DSC00030aa.jpg

These Texas hot links have TQ added, again not for food safety as they are hot smoked, but just for color, moisture and a tighter texture.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbeque/c9b39a95.jpg


Here is a TQ'd brisket.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2010/DSC08334a.jpg

This is meat from smoked turkey legs which were brined in a liquid that had some TQ in it. Once again, these were hot smoked, so the TQ just added the color and changed the texture to something like ham. I use this meat as a low fat substitute for pulled pork.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2011/DSC08848a.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2011/DSC08841a.jpg

Doing a TQ cure on regular chops, then hot smoking them gives you the same smoked chops the meat markets charge big bucks for.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/BDS/DSC05027AB.jpg

TQ was developed specifically for home use and has only 1% total of nitrates and nitrites, so it's relatively safe to use. The commercial "pink salt" used for curing is 6.25% nitrites.



Thanks for the clarifications. I am very happy with the smoke ring and flavor of my bbq, and have no intentions of using it. I just saw a recipe where the guy was using it like salt, and like you guys have pointed out I always thought of it as curing agent. So basically is this guy off his rocker using tq like salt?

Not really off his rocker.... think of TQ as nitrates/nitrites in a salt carrier. In this case the salt is around 98% of TQ, the nitrites/nitrates are 1% and some other chemicals make up the other 1%. The big problem is that TQ is really fine, so if you used one teaspoon of it in place of 1 teaspoon of other salts, you would actually be using much more (by weight) so things might taste salty. And of course if you substituted it for salt you would also get the benefit on the nitrate/nitrites in it, which you might not want in all cases.

jetmech
07-14-2010, 09:34 PM
How Long do you leave the TQ on, lets say chicken,ribs,and a brisket?

KnucklHed BBQ
07-14-2010, 09:52 PM
I've tried it on brisket - 15 min and then rinse well and rub/cook as usual, didn't notice a huge difference...

TQ on pork IS what makes sausage taste like sausage, ham like ham, bacon like bacon... etc.

TQ cured chicken or turkey legs gives them a slightly hammy flavor and texture as 3rd eye mentioned.

Read the labels on packaged meats and you'll be surprised to see that TONS (read most) of stuff has sodium nitrate/nitrite listed.

IMO - it's best left used for curing BBB, hams, jerky, sausage & pepperoni sticks

thirdeye
07-15-2010, 12:27 AM
I've tried it on brisket - 15 min and then rinse well and rub/cook as usual, didn't notice a huge difference...

TQ on pork IS what makes sausage taste like sausage, ham like ham, bacon like bacon... etc.

TQ cured chicken or turkey legs gives them a slightly hammy flavor and texture as 3rd eye mentioned.

Read the labels on packaged meats and you'll be surprised to see that TONS (read most) of stuff has sodium nitrate/nitrite listed.

IMO - it's best left used for curing BBB, hams, jerky, sausage & pepperoni sticks

After doctoring a brisket with TQ, and following the rinse..... put it back in the fridge for an hour or so. Then season and smoke as usual. The nitrates need some time to work.

How Long do you leave the TQ on, lets say chicken,ribs,and a brisket?

The concentration of a dry or liquid cure will be different for each application. That's why folks into brining, curing and smoking, follow proven or established techniques and recipes. For example....you can do a lite cure on pork chops for a couple of hours for color and moisture...or up to a couple of days if you want them to be like a ham steak. I really have never used a cure on ribs. And there are a couple of ways to use cure on a brisket. One is quick and will make the smoke ring pop out, the other is long and will give you a meal for St. Patricks Day.

It's easy to tangled up on terms. One of the most confusing are the words "smoke", "smoked", and "smoking". When a guy says he is smoking some salmon tonight, he might mean that he is planning on putting some fresh raw fish in his smoker and flavoring it with wood chips for 30 minutes or until it's done, and having it for dinner. Or.... it might mean he used a curing rub or a brine cure for 8 or 10 hours, then rested it overnight, then put the cured fish in his smoker and used wood chips in the coals for several hours until it was done. Then chilled it overnight and served it the next day as an appetizer. The original product is the same but the end results are totally different.

The same holds true if the guy mentions smoking a brisket... usually it means he is taking a fresh raw brisket and putting it in his cooker for 8, 10, 12 hours or longer until it's cooked itself tender. But.... let's say he cured the brisket in a corning brine for a week or so (transforming it into corned beef brisket) and then smoked that piece of raw meat. If he seasons it right, he will actually make pastrami. The same piece of meat to start with, but the end results are totally different. Oh yeah, let's say he braises or boils it after curing instead of smoking it..... Now he would have a corned beef dinner.

KnucklHed BBQ
07-15-2010, 01:12 AM
After doctoring a brisket with TQ, and following the rinse..... put it back in the fridge for an hour or so. Then season and smoke as usual. The nitrates need some time to work.

...I really have never used a cure on ribs.


Thanks, I'll give it a whack again sometime!

There's a meat packer 'round here that sells their smoked spares cured... haven't tried em but been told they're good. I really don't see how they can't taste like smoked ham on a stick tho... :confused:


Side note on how long or how much to use, pkg says how much to use per lb and how long, I've successfully used 1/2 as much as they say to use with an extra day of cure time and it won't turn out as salty... FYI

Edit: If you're not sure if a thick piece is cured all the way thru, cut a slice, fry it up and try it, if the center is not cured it will taste completely different from the outer edges.

This will also tell you if it's too salty or just right. If too salty, soak in cold water anywhere from a few hours to over night, slice another piece and fry/taste, amazing how much salt is drawn out in a few hours.

Neil
07-15-2010, 07:17 AM
TQ does several things. As a curing agent it will improve texture, color and help with moisture retention. It is used for curing things like corned beef, pastrami, buckboard bacon. It can also be used in brines (and dry cures) for preparing meats like fish, jerky sausages, poultry or chops for smoking.

Often times folks use it for safety reasons, like when cold smoking sausage or fish, and other times it is used for visual appeal, like in sausages or when you want to make a smoke ring pop out.

This is a beef/pork sausage with TQ added. It was grilled to 170 but still remains pink and juicy.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2012/DSC00030aa.jpg

These Texas hot links have TQ added, again not for food safety as they are hot smoked, but just for color, moisture and a tighter texture.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbeque/c9b39a95.jpg


Here is a TQ'd brisket.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2010/DSC08334a.jpg

This is meat from smoked turkey legs which were brined in a liquid that had some TQ in it. Once again, these were hot smoked, so the TQ just added the color and changed the texture to something like ham. I use this meat as a low fat substitute for pulled pork.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2011/DSC08848a.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2011/DSC08841a.jpg

Doing a TQ cure on regular chops, then hot smoking them gives you the same smoked chops the meat markets charge big bucks for.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/BDS/DSC05027AB.jpg

TQ was developed specifically for home use and has only 1% total of nitrates and nitrites, so it's relatively safe to use. The commercial "pink salt" used for curing is 6.25% nitrites.





Not really off his rocker.... think of TQ as nitrates/nitrites in a salt carrier. In this case the salt is around 98% of TQ, the nitrites/nitrates are 1% and some other chemicals make up the other 1%. The big problem is that TQ is really fine, so if you used one teaspoon of it in place of 1 teaspoon of other salts, you would actually be using much more (by weight) so things might taste salty. And of course if you substituted it for salt you would also get the benefit on the nitrate/nitrites in it, which you might not want in all cases.



Thanks for the wealth of knowledge Thirdeye. I have only used TQ for curing buckboard bacon and Canadian Bacon.

kickassbbq
07-15-2010, 08:20 AM
IMO find a good rub and leave all of the chemical food enhancers alone.

It's good for curing!!!

dmprantz
07-15-2010, 04:20 PM
think of TQ as nitrates/nitrites in a salt carrier. In this case the salt is around 98% of TQ, the nitrites/nitrates are 1% and some other chemicals make up the other 1%.

Great post overall Thirdeye, but as a reminder, TQ is not 98% NaCl. Rather it is about 65% by weight, with another 32% (ish) being sugar. This thread (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70823) from us points to an online recipe (http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showthread.php?441-Basic-Dry-Cure-Morton-s-Tender-Quick-substitute&p=691#post691) for TQ, and the thread has some suggestions to make it more exact. The sugar is a big part of the reason why I prefer DQ powder since I like to substitue brown sugar some times.

dmp

ps, this is my official I was wrong statement: A few months ago I claimed I had an old bag of TQ which listed EG as an ingredient. I finally moved and unpacked all of my boxes last week, it is actually PG as others said. My bad.

Darko
07-15-2010, 05:11 PM
Charcoal it seems, does not produce a satisfactory smoke ring. I do not use charcoal so I don't know first hand. I've never had an issue with charcoal not producing a good smoke ring. It's the nitrites in the wood smoke that chemically react with the meat to produce the smoke ring.

thirdeye
07-15-2010, 06:22 PM
Great post overall Thirdeye, but as a reminder, TQ is not 98% NaCl. Rather it is about 65% by weight, with another 32% (ish) being sugar. This thread (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70823) from us points to an online recipe (http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showthread.php?441-Basic-Dry-Cure-Morton-s-Tender-Quick-substitute&p=691#post691) for TQ, and the thread has some suggestions to make it more exact. The sugar is a big part of the reason why I prefer DQ powder since I like to substitue brown sugar some times.

dmp

ps, this is my official I was wrong statement: A few months ago I claimed I had an old bag of TQ which listed EG as an ingredient. I finally moved and unpacked all of my boxes last week, it is actually PG as others said. My bad.


Oops, you are right, I did not account for the sugar.... I stand corrected

cowgirl
07-15-2010, 07:54 PM
Sometimes I like to give chops or loins or chicken a quick cure using TQ.. just for a couple of hours.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70569

adds a different flavor to the meat.

http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg74/cowgirls-photos_album/161-1-1.jpg



and a pork loin...

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=85365

hb2301
07-15-2010, 10:04 PM
The first and ONLY time I used TQ was about 10 years ago when I decided to try it in a brine for a whole chicken. It was the first time I'd ever tried brining and I was torn between the recipe on the bag and recipes I'd seen in forums. I decided on the bag. The only thing I deviated was the time. I think I gave it 24 hours. It looked great when it came out of the WSM. When my wife and I took that first bite we just kind of looked at each other. It seems that I had created chicken ham! About a half hour later Dominos arrived at the door and we ate our dinner. Be careful with that stuff!

SmokinAussie
07-15-2010, 10:45 PM
When Brining Chicken, which I do a lot, I've never used any curing salts because I didn't have any. I've also dry cured bacon without it, same reason. Beside's having to make sure you smoke up to the proper temps to avoid any chance of botulism... the results have been super. Chicken for some reason still gets "hammy" especially if you brine it too long, but still tastes great.. so tender and moist it's really worth the extra effort.

I've just found a source for Curing Salts 1 and 2 and have a kilo of each. My 3rd lot of Jerky was treated with Cure #2 which is for air drying only. It's resulted in a more moist result and a better colour and flavour.

I'm still not sure that you need curing salts for chicken brines or for short cures where the food is going to be cooked to recommended temperatures. But when you are cold smoking or air drying.. it's a definite must.

bmanMA
07-15-2010, 11:34 PM
The last KCBS-sanctioned comp that I judged earlier this year made it very clear that they have added a provision preventing judging based on smoke rings because of products like this.

SmokinAussie
07-16-2010, 06:37 AM
The last KCBS-sanctioned comp that I judged earlier this year made it very clear that they have added a provision preventing judging based on smoke rings because of products like this.

Which just makes sense. In a BBQ Comp, all foods are brought up to a finishing temperature, and are ready to eat right there, so curing salts really are not necessary, and in fact, they can mask the flavour of a real Q and influence the Smoke Ring.

I'm not up to speed on Tenderquick, but it seems to be a concoction of salt and sugar with a few nitrates and nitrites thrown in, so it's a safe bet. It's not gonna kill you. If you don't know what you're doing (honestly) it can give you some good results.

But if you want to get serious and Air Dry meats and salamies, or make hams and prosciuttos and chorizo's and summer sausages, it's probably not the ingredient of choise... I'm thinkin'... What ya thinkin....?:confused:

dmprantz
07-16-2010, 08:11 AM
TQ is exactly as you think: table salt, sugar and relatively small amounts of nitrite and nitrate all combined. There is nothing wrong with using it to make cured meats such as the ones you mention and air dried. The key is you just have to know your ingredients and use recipes based on them. TQ has relatively small amounts of curing agents because it's designed to be added directly to meats or without additional salt. DQ has more so that you can "dilute it" yourself. Regardless, the point is use the one that the recice calls for or become enough of a chemist to make your own recipes, knowing the weight of what you are adding and the reason.

If you are just trying to create an artificial smoke ring, I would recommend TQ over DQ since it does have less curing agents and is less likely to actually cure the meat.

dmp

Gowan
07-16-2010, 10:24 AM
TQ generated "smoke ring" is obvious to the experienced eye, especially with brisket. I'd think hard before I used it at a comp as the artificial appearance it creates could hurt you as much as help you at the judging table.

I did some experiments with it once and was able to create a ridiculous looking flat that was almost pure pink easily. You definitely need to use a light touch with TQ.

thirdeye
07-16-2010, 11:55 AM
Which just makes sense. In a BBQ Comp, all foods are brought up to a finishing temperature, and are ready to eat right there, so curing salts really are not necessary, and in fact, they can mask the flavour of a real Q and influence the Smoke Ring.

I'm not up to speed on Tenderquick, but it seems to be a concoction of salt and sugar with a few nitrates and nitrites thrown in, so it's a safe bet. It's not gonna kill you. If you don't know what you're doing (honestly) it can give you some good results.

But if you want to get serious and Air Dry meats and salamies, or make hams and prosciuttos and chorizo's and summer sausages, it's probably not the ingredient of choise... I'm thinkin'... What ya thinkin....?:confused:

That's right. For that job you would be better off selecting a commercial product like Instacure #2 also known as Prague#2, and some manufacturers will have #2 in the name. These #2 curing salts contain nitrates and nitrites and over time the nitrate breaks down into nitrites, and then to nitric oxide. This slow breakdown allows for an extended cure time, because the products you're talking about (salami etc.) do NOT get cooked, and don't require refrigeration.

Instacure #1, is a more common cure (sometimes just called "pink salt"), it's a basic cure used to cure all meats that require cooking, smoking, or canning. Things like poultry, fish, bacon etc. These things require refrigeration.