common Curing Salts

 

Why is the use of curing salt recommended in the curing process?

  • Prevent the possibility of botulism in the meat.

  • Aid in preservation.

  • Improve the flavor of the finished product.

  • Render the finished cooked product pink in color (if you don’t use a cure, your bacon may have more of a gray color).

 

Cure #1 (also referred to as Prague Powder #1 or pink curing salt #1)- This is the cure that is used for short term cures.  This is what is typically used for all styles of bacon.  It contains 93.75% salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite. It is recommended to use one level teaspoon of Cure #1 per 5 pounds of meat. Often contains red dye so it can easily be distinguished from regular table salt.

 

Cure #2 (also referred to as Prague Powder #2 or pink curing salt #2)-  This is the cure that is used for long term curing and would be suitable for meats such as dried salami, pepperoni, and other cured products that will not be cooked. It also contains salt and sodium nitrite, with the addition of sodium nitrate (percentages of these may vary depending on the source).  Often contains red dye so it can easily be distinguished from regular table salt. 

Himalayan Pink Salt is NOT cure #1. It CANNOT be used as a curing salt for bacon!

Morton's Tenderquick (MTQ)- Morton's Tenderquick is an alternative to Cure #1 that many people have used for many years in the bacon curing process. The mix contains salt, the main preserving agent; sugar, both sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, curing agents that also contribute to development of color and flavor; and propylene glycol to keep the mixture uniform. Recently, Morton's has added a disclaimer to their description of the product that implies that they do NOT recommend it for the curing of bacon due to weight variables.  However, many still use it with good results.  Ultimately, it is your choice to do your own research and make your own decision about its use. If you do choose to use it for any type of meat, the recommendation is 1 level tablespoon per pound of meat. 

Further reading