Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Air dried cured Meat Techniques

Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby johnnycurewell » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:52 pm

Hi guys

Having spent some time researching recipes for bacon cures I've noticed nitrite percentages tend to vary quite a bit. Is this normal?

From what I've read on this forum a typical nitrite percentage (1kg of meat) is around 0.25% (2.5g), however I've also come across reputable looking recipes calling for amounts as low as 0.1% (1g), and often as high as 0.5% (5g).

Looking through Michael Ruhman's 'Charcuterie' book I see his two 'Basic Dry Cures' use different percentages of nitrite, even though they're intended for the exact same purpose. If my calculations are correct the cure using sugar equates to 0.15% nitrite per kilo, and the cure using dextrose 0.17% per kilo; both below the 0.25% recommended on this site. I realise the UK and US have different guidelines and that nitrite strengths in pink salt / cure #1 are different in the two countries, but unlike salt / sugar ratios I had it in my head that amounts for nitrates were somewhat fixed, or perhaps it isn't an issue as differences are so small?

I'm fairly new to curing (with nitrites / nitrates) and would really appreciate some clarification on this matter. It is of course possible that I've got all my calculations wrong!!

Apologies if this topic has already been raised but so far I haven't been able to find anything about it.


Thanks for any help :)
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby NCPaul » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:31 pm

Welcome to the forum. :D I believe most of us on this forum dry cure bacon to the FDA guidelines of 150 ppm nitrite. So the math looks like this for 1000 grams (1 Kg) of meat and cure #1 (6.25% sodium nitrite).

1000 X 0.00015 / 0.0625 = 2.4 g cure #1

The FDA advises against nitrates in bacon, so you needn't worry about them. Higher or lower amounts of cure #1 may be from a inaccurate conversion of a volume measurement to weight.
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby wheels » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:57 pm

I've moved this as it was in a 'moderated' area.

Welcome, johnnycurewell. :D :D

Assuming that we're referring to dry cure bacon, the permitted level that can be added to the meat commercially in the UK & Europe is 150mg/kg (150 Parts Per Million - PPM) nitrite.

In the US it's 200PPM if the rind is on: 180PPM if it's off.

Many US home-curers (particularly our members) choose to use the lower 150PPM UK limit as they know it works, so why add more?

There will be minor differences between some UK recipes and US ones as our cure #1 has slightly less nitrite in it. These differences are not significant enough to warrant altering the recipes.

It should also be noted, that although not allowed by the US FDA, nitrAtes are allowed in UK & European bacon. The level for these is also 150PPM (max) although older recipes may show 300PPM as the amount only changed in 2008.

If you want to check compliance, there's a calculator here:

http://www.localfoodheroes.co.uk/calcul ... ure_bacon/

I hope this helps.

Phil
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby johnnycurewell » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:24 pm

OK, thanks people.

I guess following government guidelines makes sense.

Handy to know the difference between UK / European and US nitrite levels isn't significant enough to have to take into account (I actually have the 6.25% pink salt).

From what I've read there's no need to worry about nitrates as far as regular dry cures for bacon is concerned, so I'll save those questions for another day…

Still unsure why the 'Charcuterie' book's two basic dry cures would be different though with the amounts of pink salt used - Sugar version: 450g salt, 225g sugar, 50g pink salt; Dextrose version: 450g salt, 425g dextrose, 75g pink salt. (I'm assuming a larger quantity of dextrose is used because it's not as sweet as sugar?)

Thanks again :D
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby wheels » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:48 pm

From what I've read there's no need to worry about nitrates as far as regular dry cures for bacon is concerned, so I'll save those questions for another day…


Now, I wouldn't go that far!

My views on the bacon recipes in the 'Charcuterie' book are well recorded, so I'll not elaborate here; the pork liver pate recipe is superb though!

People have a fear of words like nitrites and nitrates, but will happily chuck salt and sugar and other things that are familiar to them about without any thought. One of our members was fond of pointing out that nutmeg is as hallucinogenic as LSD; who'd have thought that? But it illustrates the point.

It's a case of learning how to use the unfamiliar chemicals as safely as those that you are familiar with. I'm sure that with the start you've made that won't take long.

Phil :D
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby DiggingDogFarm » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:59 am

johnnycurewell wrote:Still unsure why the 'Charcuterie' book's two basic dry cures would be different though with the amounts of pink salt used - Sugar version: 450g salt, 225g sugar, 50g pink salt; Dextrose version: 450g salt, 425g dextrose, 75g pink salt. (I'm assuming a larger quantity of dextrose is used because it's not as sweet as sugar?)


There's a lot of questionable information in the Charcuterie book, the Salumi book is even worse.
Ruhlman says that him and Brian like to use dextose because it's not as sweet as regular sugar, yet they proceed to use much more.
Try to figure that out.
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby johnnycurewell » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:48 pm

Hi guys

Sorry, what I meant was there's no need to worry about using nitrates for regular dry cures (bacon) if only nitrites are required. I certainly wasn't dismissing the importance of nitrates if that's how it came across. It goes without saying, the workings of both nitrates and nitrites (plus any other potentially hazardous additions) need to be fully understood and respected for successful and safe meat curing.

Yes on first impressions, to the inexperienced curer anyway, Ruhlman and Polcyn's Charcuterie book is quite impressive, however there does seem to be some discrepancies. It is at least reassuring that others back up my initial concerns. I shall certainly give the recommended pate recipe a try though Phil.

Again, thanks for sharing your valuable knowledge with me on this fascinating science / art.
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby wheels » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:31 pm

No problem here Johnny. :lol: :lol: :D :D
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby thaisausage » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:21 am

I want to make my own instacure no1 and no2. Does anyone have a recipe for that Many thanks in advance
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby thaisausage » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:23 am

NCPaul wrote:Welcome to the forum. :D I believe most of us on this forum dry cure bacon to the FDA guidelines of 150 ppm nitrite. So the math looks like this for 1000 grams (1 Kg) of meat and cure #1 (6.25% sodium nitrite).

1000 X 0.00015 / 0.0625 = 2.4 g cure #1

The FDA advises against nitrates in bacon, so you needn't worry about them. Higher or lower amounts of cure #1 may be from a inaccurate conversion of a volume measurement to weight.



That assumes that all the nitrite ends up in the pork?
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby wheels » Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:22 pm

thaisausage wrote:That assumes that all the nitrite ends up in the pork?


That's true. As the US scientists detailed the level permitted, and the way to calculate compliance, one assumes that they took this into account.

thaisausage wrote:I want to make my own instacure no1 and no2. Does anyone have a recipe for that Many thanks in advance


Instacure #1 is simply a mixture of 1 part in 16 sodium nitrite to salt (That's 1 part nitrite, 15 parts salt). If it's made like Prague Powder, it's dissolved and then recrystallised as per US Patent 1950459 which can be viewed here:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/patimg.htm

Although simple in principle, it looks awfully difficult to do.

If you want to make it yourself because of difficulty in supply, I wouldn't use just a mixture of the two salts as an alternative; it's likely to 'separate' on settlement. Instead, I'd use very accurate scales and weigh it on a project by project basis.

HTH

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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby thaisausage » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:36 pm

Thanks very much for your reply. How about no 2?
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby wheels » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:28 pm

That's normally 6.25% sodium nitrite, 4% sodium nitrate and 89.75 % salt.

HTH
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Re: Differences In Nitrite Quantities

Postby thaisausage » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:34 am

thank you very much
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