Hairy Bikers' Nitrite Free Bacon

Air dried cured Meat Techniques

Hairy Bikers' Nitrite Free Bacon

Postby Snags » Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:02 am

Hairy bikers where on TV here today they went to Northern Ireland and had black bacon which the butcher made with no nitrates.
Said it took him 4 years of experimenting to get it right and was not giving out the recipe.
It looked very pink and was smoked
Celery juice ???
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Postby wheels » Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:54 am

Was that the one with sheep or pigs on a island? If so, the shop's website is here:

http://www.blackbacon.com/products.html

I guess the question is, "Does it stay nice and pink when cooked?".

Phil
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Postby tristar » Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:20 pm

Hi Snags,

If they added celery juice, they would have added nitrates, which the juice contains. I wonder if they mean no nitrates or more accurately no artificial nitrates?

If it is a company called O'Doherty's they state on their website:

"NITRITES ARE USED IN BACON PRODUCTION IN THE FORM OF SALT PETRE AND HAVE TWO DISTINCTIVE FUNCTIONS:"

Saltpetre is actually potassium nitrate not nitrite and is converted by bacteria in the meat to form the nitrite's.

They also state that the nitrites are used to preserve the meat. Once again, I don't think this is true, they are there to prevent growth of the botulism producing anerobic bacteria, the salt and possibly sugars in the cure are the preservatives aren't they?

Whilst I am all for preserving traditional methods of curing and preserving, I am somewhat wary of commercial companies who don't appear to know the science behind what they are doing.

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Richard
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Postby Snags » Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:40 pm

wheels wrote:Was that the one with sheep or pigs on a island? If so, the shop's website is here:

http://www.blackbacon.com/products.html

I guess the question is, "Does it stay nice and pink when cooked?".

Phil

Thats the one
http://www.blackbacon.com/nitrite.html
sorry it was nitrite free not nitrate
I thought nitrates become nitrites when heated?
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Postby wheels » Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:38 pm

I've moved these posts here as they aren't really about the lamb bacon in the thread where we were having this conversation.

snags wrote:I thought nitrates become nitrites when heated


Not heated as such, they have to react with bacteria thingies in the meat, this is more effective above fridge temps, at about 8°C.

tristar wrote:I am somewhat wary of commercial companies who don't appear to know the science behind what they are doing.


Yes, you do get the impression, at least in the UK, that butchers' aren't taught an awful lot about the science of curing during their training. I guess the courses concentrate on the practical rather than the theory.

Phil
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Postby Oddley » Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:46 pm

I think this, from Graigfarm organics, is not only a good article, but highlights the difference between O'Doherty's, who seem to know little of the science behind curing and Graigfarm, who seem to have a good grasp of it.
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Postby wheels » Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:56 pm

That's very true Oddley.

I wonder what their view is on the review (before 31 Dec 2010) to look at removing sodium nitrite and potassium nitrate from the approved list of chemicals allowed in organic products?

They already have lower maximum levels of:

For E 250: indicative ingoing amount expressed as NaNO2: 80 mg/kg
For E 252: indicative ingoing amount expressed as NaNO3: 80 mg/kg
For E 250: maximum residual amount expressed as NaNO2: 50 mg/kg
For E 252: maximum residual amount expressed as NaNO3: 50 mg/kg

Taken from:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/Lex ... 084:EN:PDF

It will be interesting to see whether they can come up with a viable alternative.

Phil
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Postby Oddley » Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:21 pm

Am I right in thinking this is for organic foods? An amount of 80 mg/Kg is too low in my opinion. I think they are pushing the boundaries of safety.

We all know there is a problem with children and nitrites causing leukaemia, so we should be advertising that fact and perhaps advising mums not to give their kids the like of hot dogs.

On of my daughters friends has a little boy who has been diagnosed with leukaemia, he used to eat a lot of ham, bacon and hot dogs. I don't allow my grandchildren to eat these things.
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Postby wheels » Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:17 pm

Yes it's for organic Oddley.

I assume that Graig farm must use these levels.

I share your concerns.

Phil
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Postby grisell » Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:24 pm

Even if they wouldn't add nitrate (be it artifical or vegetable), nitrate is present in the meat and due to nitric bacteria that will transform into nitrite. Nitrite free cured meat doesn't exist.
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Postby wheels » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:08 pm

OK, we got the semantics wrong!

What we're talking about is 'No Added Nitrates/Nitrites'.

Phil
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