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Old 02-25-2008, 11:31 PM   #21
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I've got to agree with Micheal in FW about this, as well as UB.

Morton's Tender Quick is a readily available product to use to cure meats. In a cookbook I was reading 18 months ago ("Charcuterie: The Art of Curing and Preserving Meat", by Chef Bryan Polcyn and Micheal Ruhlman), they mentioned Tender Quick, as well as another product, called "pink salt". The pink color is a harmless food coloring, added to be a visible reminder that the product IS NOT regular salt. However, the ratios of saltpetre to other ingredients are set and you don't have to worry about getting to much of one compound and not enough of another compound.

Also, definitely read up on the differences between "nitrates" and "nitrites" (YT, your experience is requested here). Once of them (I can't remember which) activates immediately to kill any microbes and render the protein an "unfit environment" for microbial growth. The other compound (I think it's the nitrite) degrades over time into the first compound, and acts as a "time-release" chemical that keeps the protein an "unfit environment" for microbes over a long period of time. This compound is only used in products that are going to be stored at room temperature for longer periods of time.

To the original poster, what is wrong with the Corned Beef in your area? Is it thawed or frozen when you buy it? Does the package container a spice packet to add to the boil when you cook it? How long do you cook it?

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Old 02-26-2008, 03:30 AM   #22
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potassium NitrATE = KNO3
potassium NitrITE = KNO2

the nitrIte will indeed decompose and pull another Oxygen into the molecule to form the nitrAte. although having said that nitrItes are extremely Toxic! more so than nitrates.
the Sodium analog (Sodium Nitrite) also tastes identical to house salt and looks the same also.
there have been Many deaths as a result of making this mistake (And a few Murders).
methaemoglobinaemia is really rather Nasty!

Methaemoglobinaemia associated with sodium nitrite in three siblings | British Medical Journal | Find Articles at BNET.com
eMJA: Methaemoglobinaemia following ingestion of a commonly available food additive
023. Death by Sodium Nitrite

and according to the MSDS it`s also recognised as a potential carcinogen.
I have a 500g tub of Lab Grade NaNO2 here and I must admit, I can`t see myself confusing it with regular house salt, as it has a Slight yellow tinge and a mild but perculiar smell, although IN a recipe, you would never notice.

Personally I`d stay well clear of Any nitrItes in a DIY food recipe or experiment, a miss placed decimal point could kill you! best to use the pre-mixed/made stuff and then just add your own herbs/spices.

Katherine Snow. xx
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Old 02-26-2008, 09:38 AM   #23
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Yup! That's why that cookbook I mentioned stressed using Tender Quick or "pink salt" to make cured meats with.
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:19 AM   #24
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Ok, thanks everyone for all the info! AllenOK, the corned beef I can buy here is fatty, flavorless and just plain dull. I used to travel for a living (the people that have been coming to the site a while may remember that) and after being exposed to delicattassen corned beef that is cured on premises (pastrami too!) I became spoiled. Now, the stuff I can buy at my local Super-Mega-Mart just doesn't cut it! Additionally, instead of brisket, I want to make mine from eye of round which is not availabe in my area. All this being said, the main reason i want to do it is because cooking is FUN! I get my greatest joy by coming up with recipes and cooking methods. PLUS when my wife takes a bite of something I have made from scratch, looks at me with those big, beautiful, brown eyes and says "That is the best (pizza, barbecue, smoked salmon, curry powder...whatever) I have ever had in my life!" I get a nice, warm glow all over! 'Nuff said!
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Old 02-27-2008, 01:07 PM   #25
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I don't think use nitrate salt is good. As I used to work in the project of determining concentration of nitrate in water and dairy, I know that elevated nitrate concentrations in drinking water or food could pose a risk of methemoglobinemia in infants and cancer mainly in adults.
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Old 02-27-2008, 08:38 PM   #26
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Here is a source for FOOD GRADE salt peter....
Products - Grandma Gertie's Cooking Supplies

They specifically say FOOD GRADE..
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Old 03-02-2008, 11:12 PM   #27
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Well potassium nitrate (KNO3) and potassium nitrite (KNO2) are both toxic chemicals. There are many possible hazards and risks with using nitrates and nitrites, such as killing yourself over corned beef.

Just buy a pre-made mixture rather than fiddling around. It looks similar to table salt so it could get misplaced and before you know it, you've tossed a generous amount of nitrates/nitrite into something that require table salt.

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