Originally Posted by The eager apprentice
I've never used it before but in this book I just picked up by Michael ruhlman called: charcuterie it mentions pink curing salt in all the recipes. That was my thought as well, we use saltpetre for all our cures at work. Thanks for the reply, I'll give the guide a look!
"Pink curing salt" would appear to be a proprietary mixture of rock salt, saltpetre and pink artificial colouring to give the meat an appetising appearance. Not sure why it should be necessary because the saltpetre performs that purpose.
Impossible to buy saltpetre in pharmacies in the UK nowadays because of the explosive connection. Mind you, I don't think I could blow up very much with a quarter of an ounce of saltpetre and if I was really up to no good it would take me years to acquire enough to make a worthwhile bomb if I was traipsing round all the shops in the district buying it at the rate of 1/4 ounce a time. Oddly, you can buy it in 1 kilogramme quantities on Amazon so the rule seems a bit silly.
I used to prefer to make my own curing mixtures, mostly taken from Jane Grigson's "Charcuterie and French Pork Cooking", so I could vary the flavours for different meats or dishes. Don't do it much these days as I don't have suitable storage facilities in this house.
If you do cure your own meat I can't recommend Mrs Grigson's book highly enough. It has some wonderful recipes and a lot of really in depth information.