If you’re a fan of cured meats like bacon, ham, and sausage, then you’re probably familiar with pink salt.
This curing salt is a crucial ingredient in the process of preserving and flavoring meat. But how much pink salt should you use per pound of pork? And what’s the difference between cure No. 1 and cure No. 2?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more, so you can confidently cure your own meats at home. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a curious beginner, read on to learn everything you need to know about using pink salt in your pork recipes.
How Much Pink Salt Per Pound Of Pork?
The amount of pink salt you should use per pound of pork depends on the type of cure you’re using. Cure No. 1 is used for meats that require cooking, brining, smoking, or canning, such as poultry, fish, ham, bacon, and corned beef. For these meats, you should use 1 teaspoon of pink salt per 5 pounds of ground meat.
If you’re using cure No. 1 for a brine, you’ll need to use 1/2 cup of InstaCure No. 1 per gallon of water, along with 1 3/4 cup of table salt, 2 1/4 tablespoons of sugar, and any spices you wish.
Cure No. 2 is formulated for dry-cured products like pepperoni, hard salami, prosciutto hams, and dried sausages. For these products, you should use one level teaspoon (a mix of 1 ounce sodium nitrite (6.25 percent), 0.64 ounces sodium nitrate (4 percent) to 1 pound of salt) per 5 pounds of meat.
It’s important to note that the cures are not interchangeable, so be sure to follow the recipe closely and use a recipe from a reliable source.
What Is Pink Salt And Why Is It Used In Curing Meat?
Pink salt is a type of curing salt that is used in meat processing to generate a pinkish shade and to extend shelf life. It is both a color agent and a means to facilitate food preservation as it prevents or slows spoilage by bacteria or fungus. Curing salts are generally a mixture of sodium chloride (table salt) and sodium nitrite. Pink curing salt comes in two forms: cure No. 1 and cure No. 2.
Cure No. 1 pink salt is used to cure all meats that require cooking, brining, smoking, or canning. This includes poultry, fish, ham, bacon, luncheon meats, corned beef, pates, and other products. It is made up of 93.75 percent table salt and 6.25 percent sodium nitrite. It is used at a rate of 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of ground meat. If you are using it for a brine, you use 1/2 cup InstaCure No. 1 per gallon of water, plus 1 3/4 cup table salt, 2 1/4 tablespoon sugar, and any spices you wish.
Cure No. 2 is formulated for dry-cured products such as pepperoni, hard salami, prosciutti hams, dried sausages, and other products which do not require cooking, smoking, or refrigeration. One level teaspoon (a mix of 1 ounce sodium nitrite (6.25 percent), 0.64 ounces sodium nitrate (4 percent) to 1 pound of salt) is used per 5 pounds of meat.
The reason for using nitrite-containing curing salt like pink salt is to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum that causes botulism in cured meats. Pink curing salt helps stop the bacteria in its tracks by preventing reproduction and the growth of the toxin.
Nitrites prevent the growth of anaerobic bacteria while nitrates turn into nitrites over time making them a “time release” inhibitor of the harmful compound. Sodium nitrite can only be purchased when it has been mixed with and cut by salt. When added to meat for curing, the nitrites in pink curing salt are converted to nitric oxide during the curing process, a compound that is not harmful.
While curing salts are clearly effective for the safe preservation of meats by killing any potentially dangerous food-borne bacteria, there are other alternatives you can consider such as Saltpeter/Saltpetre or sea salt as substitutes for Prague Powder #
Understanding Cure No. 1 And Cure No. 2
Cure No. 1 and Cure No. 2 are two types of pink salt used in meat curing. Cure No. 1, also known as Prague Powder #
Tips For Safely Using Pink Salt In Your Meat Curing Process
When using pink salt in your meat curing process, it’s important to follow safety guidelines to avoid any potential health risks. Here are some tips for safely using pink salt:
1. Use the correct type of pink salt for the type of meat you’re curing. As mentioned above, cure No. 1 is used for meats that require cooking, brining, smoking, or canning, while cure No. 2 is formulated for dry-cured products.
2. Always use a reliable recipe from a trusted source. Following a recipe will ensure that you’re using the correct amount of pink salt and other ingredients.
3. Use a scale to measure both the meat and the pink salt accurately. Curing is a game of weights, and even small variations in measurements can affect the final product.
4. Ensure that the meat you’re curing is fresh and hasn’t been sitting out for an extended period of time. This will make it easier to manage the decay process during curing.
5. Maintain proper humidity and temperature levels during the curing process. For dry curing, humidity should be around 83% and temperature at a near-constant 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Proper air circulation is also crucial to prevent the growth of pathogens.
By following these tips, you can safely and effectively use pink salt in your meat curing process to create delicious and preserved meats with an extended shelf life.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Using Pink Salt In Pork Recipes
When using pink salt in pork recipes, there are a few common mistakes to avoid to ensure your meat is safe and delicious.
Firstly, do not confuse pink salt with regular table salt. Pink salt is a mixture of sodium chloride and sodium nitrite, and is used specifically for curing meats. Using regular table salt in place of pink salt can be dangerous, as it will not prevent the growth of harmful bacteria like botulism.
Secondly, do not use pink salt in the same way as regular table salt. Pink salt should only be used in cured meat recipes, as it is not safe to consume on its own or in large quantities. Follow the recommended guidelines for the amount of pink salt to use per pound of meat, and ensure that you are using the correct type of cure (No. 1 or No. 2) for your recipe.
Another common mistake is over-curing the meat. If you use too much pink salt or cure the meat for too long, it can become overly salty and potentially harmful to consume. Follow the recipe closely and do not exceed the recommended curing time.
Finally, be sure to store your pink salt in a safe place out of reach of children, and always measure it carefully before using it in your recipe. By avoiding these common mistakes and following the recommended guidelines, you can safely and deliciously cure pork using pink salt.
Delicious Pork Recipes To Try Using Pink Salt
If you’re looking for some delicious pork recipes to try using pink salt, here are a few options to consider:
1. Pink Salt Pork Chops – This recipe is simple yet flavorful. Start by drying the pork chops with paper towels and preheating a sauté pan to medium-high heat. Place the pork chops in the pan and cover them with pink salt. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the salt begins to clear and dissolve, then flip the chops over and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until they reach your desired doneness. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top for an added burst of flavor.
2. Slow Cooker Kalua Pork – For a tender and juicy pork dish, try making slow cooker Kalua pork with pink Himalayan salt. Simply pierce the pork roast all over with a fork and place it in a crockpot. Sprinkle both sides of the roast with ground pink salt and liquid smoke, then cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Once done, shred the pork with two forks and enjoy in salads, wraps, tacos, burritos, tostadas, and more.
3. Pink Salt Bacon-Wrapped Pork Roast – This recipe involves wrapping a pork roast in bacon before cooking it in a slow cooker with pink salt and paprika. Make incisions into the pork roast and fill each one with a garlic clove before laying bacon slices on the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the pork on top of the bacon slices, season with pink salt and paprika, then cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the pork falls apart easily with a fork.
4. Himalayan Pink Salt and Pepper Tuna Salad – If you’re looking for a lighter option, try making a tuna salad with Himalayan pink salt. Mix together grilled or canned tuna steak with diced celery, red onion, green bell pepper, pink salt, black pepper, and mayonnaise for a healthy and flavorful lunch option.
These are just a few delicious pork recipes to try using pink salt. Experiment with different flavors and spices to find your perfect meal.