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Nitrate Cure Question

 
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jebber45



Joined: 01 Apr 2014
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01 14 2:20 am    Post subject: Nitrate Cure Question Reply with quote

Hello All -

I have been making and smoking sausage for quite a while. My family is Russian Orthodox and we make several family recipes. The 'prize' is a family recipe that we make for Easter. It's basically similar to an old Kielbasa recipe.

So, in my adult life - My wife and I make (grind/case) the sausage and my Father-in-law is in charge of smoking. We typically bake half of it, and smoke the other half. My father in law smokes the sausage until it reaches, I believe, 160 degrees. This has all been going fine for many years.

My question is in regards to a cure. I've only ever learned sausage making from my family, and our recipe does not include a cure. Kosher salt is involved in the recipe but I've read this does not count. In trying to find answers I've become confused as to what constitutes 'fresh' sausage and what does not.

My questions as follows:

- Do I need to use a cure?
- Which cure would work best for a kielbasa?
- If I do use a cure, how much should I used?
- If I do use a cure, do I need to adjust the amount of salt already in the recipe?

Thank you so much in advance for any help you can give me. I honor our family recipes, but I do want to keep us all safe as well.
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Gray Goat
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01 14 10:03 am    Post subject: Re: Nitrate Cure Question Reply with quote

jebber45 wrote:

My questions as follows:

- Do I need to use a cure?
- Which cure would work best for a kielbasa?
- If I do use a cure, how much should I used?
- If I do use a cure, do I need to adjust the amount of salt already in the recipe?

Thank you so much in advance for any help you can give me. I honor our family recipes, but I do want to keep us all safe as well.



I have always considered "fresh sausage" to be sausage that is cooked in a relatively short time and does not contain a cure.

If you are smoking sausage for extended periods, I would recommend using cure #1 at the rate of 1 level tsp per 5lbs of meat. Simply dissolve the cure in whatever liquid is being used and add it to the meat.

After figuring in for the salt in the cure, most recipes have a salt content of between 2 to 3 % based on your taste.

I would also recommend weighing your salt for better accuracy.


I hope this helps and please post some pics of your results Very Happy
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Cat797
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01 14 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jebber45,

The key is how long are you taking to bring the sausage up to 160? If you are smoking it, I would bet this is an all day process, or at least several hours, which to me would necessitate you using the cure #1.

If it only took 2 hours to bring to temp, or you were grilling it, I would say you don't need it.......The cure protects you by stopping the harmful bacteria that grow in a low oxygen environment for an extended period of time, such as in a smoker, inside casings, using low heat to bring up the meat temp slowly.

Using the cure is what gives these types of sausages the characteristic pink hue throughout the meat. What do the sausages you normally make look like when cooked?

Let's see some pics, and maybe better yet, a recipe!! Shocked Cool Laughing

Ed
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jebber45



Joined: 01 Apr 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01 14 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cat797 wrote:
jebber45,

The key is how long are you taking to bring the sausage up to 160? If you are smoking it, I would bet this is an all day process, or at least several hours, which to me would necessitate you using the cure #1.

If it only took 2 hours to bring to temp, or you were grilling it, I would say you don't need it.......The cure protects you by stopping the harmful bacteria that grow in a low oxygen environment for an extended period of time, such as in a smoker, inside casings, using low heat to bring up the meat temp slowly.

Using the cure is what gives these types of sausages the characteristic pink hue throughout the meat. What do the sausages you normally make look like when cooked?

Let's see some pics, and maybe better yet, a recipe!! Shocked Cool Laughing

Ed



Thanks you guys for your replies! to give you some more details ..

I don't have the exact recipe on me here at work .. but it is pretty basic:

- pork shoulder .. onion .. garlic .. salt/pepper .. mustard seed

When my father in law smokes it .. I believe it usually takes around 6 hours... weather dependent. He just has one of those basic weber smokers that shows you whether or not the temperature is in the "good" range .. So he doesn't exactly monitor and plan out the temp changes like a hawk.

So what exactly is cure #1 and where can I buy it? I am stuffing this weekend, so I'll need to get it from a store.

I'm still concerned about how I should adjust salt content if I am adding cure. I don't want the sausage to be too salty.
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Cat797
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01 14 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jebber45,

Where are you located?

You can buy it at BassPro, Cabelas, etc. you could probably get it from a butcher too, or order it online from LEM or Butcher/Packer with express shipping....

You will be adding 1 level teaspoon per 5 pounds of meat, so I'd reduce your salt content by that much, then test fry a little bit to check for saltiness..... You can adjust from there prior to stuffing. At the timeframe you laid out above, I would definitely add the cure.

Also, it would probably be good to let the stuffed sausages rest in the fridge overnight before smoking.

Let us know what happens and definitely take pics!

Ed
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jebber45



Joined: 01 Apr 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01 14 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cat797 wrote:
Jebber45,

Where are you located?

You can buy it at BassPro, Cabelas, etc. you could probably get it from a butcher too, or order it online from LEM or Butcher/Packer with express shipping....

You will be adding 1 level teaspoon per 5 pounds of meat, so I'd reduce your salt content by that much, then test fry a little bit to check for saltiness..... You can adjust from there prior to stuffing. At the timeframe you laid out above, I would definitely add the cure.

Also, it would probably be good to let the stuffed sausages rest in the fridge overnight before smoking.

Let us know what happens and definitely take pics!

Ed


Thanks Ed .. I'm in Chicago. I'm sure I'll be able to find it .. Chicago is a good city for finding sausage supplies.

I was also looking on Amazon .. and found "Prague Powder Number 1" by Hoosier Hill farm. Is this what I am looking for?

We usually stuff the sausage on a Sunday, and then smoke it on the following Saturday. Is it ok to leave in the fridge for a week if it has the cure? We usually freeze it and then defrost before smoking.
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Cat797
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01 14 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Prague #1 is what you are after....

I know you have both basspro and cabelas up there so you should be good.

I'm not sure about the freezing and thawing, or waiting that long to smoke....Mosteverything I've seen is to smoke within 3 days. Probably would be ok but I can't say for sure....

Ed
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BillJ



Joined: 09 Apr 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09 14 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These sausages sound just like the ones I had growing up. I'm trying to replicate them and really don't want to add the cure as it changes the look and taste. I dont understand why we would need a cure if smoking at 190 degrees for a couple of hours. Health code states we have 4 hours cumlative time for the food to be in the danger zone 40-140 before it would need to be discarded. Sorry to but into the conversation, just getting started with sausage making and posting and this message hit home as I'm trying to do the same.
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jebber45



Joined: 01 Apr 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09 14 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I made the sausages last Sunday. I did 15lbs fresh (for baking) and 15lbs with the cure for smoking.

BillJ - as I understand it, if you're hot smoking the sausages - such that they will reach an internal temp of 152 within the 4 hour window - then you're fine without a cure. You're basically grilling fresh sausage.

We also hot smoke our sausages but it can take 4-6 hours for to bring them up to temp. I decided not to risk it. This is our grandparents recipe and they are all in their late 80s and 90s. Eating their parents' recipe from the old country is a major highlight of their Pascha (Easter) .. 2nd obviously to the Resurrection!

I decided to do everything I can to avoid anyone getting sick.. Especially the elderly.

Will it change the taste profile? Well, we will see. But as the cure is 97% salt, I can't imagine that 3% (nitrates) of 3 teaspoons is gonna do too much.
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BillJ



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11 14 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What type of smoker do you use? What temp do you smoke at? I'm going to make mine next week for the first time and made an assumtpion that I can get them to temp within 4 hours if I smoke at 180-190. I may have to rethink things if I can't get them to temp in 2-3 hours. Appreciate you sharing your experience.
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Gray Goat
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11 14 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got this from another forum that I frequent

Clostridium Botulinum is a common obligate anaerobic bacterium microorganism found in soil and sea sediments. Although it can only reproduce in an oxygen-free environment, when it does reproduce, it produces the deadliest poison known to man - botulinum toxin. One millionth of a gram ingested means certain death - about 500,000 times more toxic than cyanide. Botulinum spores are extremely persistent and will survive heating up to 250°F. (121°C), freezing, smoking, and drying. An obligate anaerobe cannot grow in the presence of oxygen. Without oxygen, the addition of sodium nitrates or sodium nitrites is necessary to prevent botulism poisoning. It also becomes crucial that meat be removed from the “danger zone” temperature range as quickly as possible during any preparation or cooking process. This includes grinding, mixing, and stuffing sausages - procedures often supported using ice, ice water, or refrigeration and freezing. As bacteria need moisture to multiply and meat is about three-quarters water, it becomes an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria, even when it is mostly dried.

The rod-shaped bacterium was first recognized and isolated in 1896 following the poisoning of several people who had consumed bad ham. It was later discovered that due to the enzyme superoxide dismutase, the bacterium might actually tolerate very small traces of oxygen. Once again, botulinum spores are extremely persistent and will survive heating up to 250°F. (121°C), freezing, smoking, and drying. Insidiously, they lie in wait for the right conditions to occur and give no foul smell or taste, making it even more treacherous. In non-cooked fermented sausages, the microorganism must be destroyed using a combination of salt, a drop beyond 5.0 pH, and a minimum drop in Aw water activity to 0.97 or less.

The onset of its symptoms can occur quickly and include nausea, stomach pain, double vision, and spreading paralysis, ultimately reaching the heart or respiratory organs. Although fatalities occur yearly, especially in countries where home canning is popular, the risk of acquiring botulism is very, very low. Worldwide, there are only about 1000 cases of botulism each year. However, the lethal consequences of poisoning may make you wish to reconsider the proper addition of sodium nitrate/nitrite in your products to almost eliminate the risk. I believe that one thousand cases annually are one thousand too many! Shocked

The perfect oxygen free environment is inside of a sausage casing while covered in smoke.

As for the smoking temps, I never go above 160° cooking temp and finish at an IT of 152°. If you use higher cooking temps, you risk rendering out the fat and having a dry, crumbly texture.

I don't mean to preach, this is a great hobby but it does have risks and I don't want to see anyone get sick or worse.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12 14 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

May I add that the name for Botulism is derived from the word botulus, meaning sausage in Latin,
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