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Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
johnnymnemonic

After over a decade of desire, I finally ordered my KK

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Interesting Johnny.
The old gravlax salmon recipe has weight put on the salmon while refrigerated in a pot to push the liquids out of the protein. Ultimately it’s the salt that draws the moisture out.
I’ve started vac sealing the salmon and putting it under a box of beer. After 2- 3 days 90% of the moisture is drawn out.
My butcher sells a pineapple cured ham vac sealed with instructions to boil it…. No way, rinsed then cooked in the KK this ham is delicious.
Could kosher salt replace the salt Peta?
I’ll be interested to see how this looks.


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10 hours ago, Basher said:

Could kosher salt replace the salt Peta?

I don’t think so. Salt petre is potassium nitrate and not salt as we know it NaCl or sodium chloride.  Really interestingly, when I did a google search just now I found reference to the use of salt petre as a thickening agent in West African cooking.  You learn something new every day.  Here I am in the UK debating how safe it is to use small quantities of salt petre to make my salt beef come out pink in the middle when there is a chance that I consumed it in larger quantities in comforting childhood stews!

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That's interesting @tekobo - I've never heard of using Saltpeter in cooking either, just for making gunpowder! For preserving meat to prevent spoilage or worse - botulism, one normally uses Sodium Nitrate. So, NO, you cannot replace Pink Salt #1,  (Sodium Nitrate) or Saltpeter with kosher salt. 

How to Use Pink Salt for Curing Meat (thespruceeats.com)

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A lot of modern stuff contains nitrates.  @tony b @tekoboone of the main reasons why you don't see potassium nitrate or saltpetre more often these days is that it is white and looks like table salt.  It was removed from mainstream food use because of this.  There were issues with it hurting people that mistook it for table salt and sprinkled it on their food directly and used it often in this manner. 

My bet is that somewhere you could find 'curing salt' that contained the proper proportion of potassium nitrate along with regular salt.  The most common is curing salt containing sodium nitrate (like the link you shared about pink curing salt).   Fun Fact, when I rubbed the meat, the salt and saltpeter started reacting and turning pink when exposed to moisture.

I am pretty sure that in my recipe that I just made, I could do 9 tablespoons of pink curing salt instead of 7 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of saltpeter and it would come out pretty much the same - same flavor and everything - so if you prefer to just get curing salt, that is fine. I just wanted to make my recipe the same as my "Nanny" used to make it.  

Pink curing salt is roughly 90% salt and 10% sodium nitrate, so the proportions in my recipe are probalby heavier than necessary on the saltpeter.  If I wanted to try to minimize, I would do something like 8 tablespoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of saltpeter to get it more in the same proportions with curing salt.  But I doubt that at either of these concentrations that it's detrimental to health in curing one roast.  Some of it goes into the meat but a lot of it goes down the drain when the meat gets washed before smoking.

Research I did before I made this recipe basically says meat that is cured with nitrates is not good for you in large quantities.  If you consume them once a month or something, it should be fine.  In other words there's no reason to worry about curing one roast and eating it.  There's definitely heart disease risk if you do it on a regular basis.   In general staying away from mass produced cured meat like corned beef, ham, bacon is a good idea.

With vacuum sealing there probably isn't any reason to even use it.  It just gives that nice pink color that lets you know you're eating corned beef/pastrami.
 

Potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate do the same thing and have the same health benefit/detriment.  I'm sure you could find bacon or ham products with potassium nitrate in it, although sodium nitrate is more common.

I would imagine the appearance of Sodium Nitrate is the same reason why you find pink curing salt, but it is hard to find sodium nitrate by itself.  It's probably white and looks like table salt.  You can confuse pink curing salt with himalayan salt as well, but himalayan salt is not pervasive, and the curing salt isn't pure sodium nitrate.  (90/10).

I just thought of this - maybe you don't see much (if any) curing salt with potassium nitrate because sodium nitrate does the exact same thing and is cheaper to manufacture?  IDK would be interesting to find out.
 

I had to go ahead and cook this thing b/c the refrigerator I kept it in had an issue.  It cured for about 6 days.  The first picture is how it looked after a couple hours on the smoker before I wrapped it.  The second is the final product.  It is delicious.  I think it would be better with a brisket.  But this comes out as a very similar texture as boiling it according to my grandmother's recipe, but tastes much better smoked.

 

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Edited by johnnymnemonic
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That looks gorgeous @johnnymnemonic.  Super nice to be re-creating, and bettering, a recipe from your childhood.

Your post sent me on a very quick trip down a rabbit hole.  I have a range of "chemicals" that I call on when curing meats.  Prague No 1 and Prague No 2 are both pink salts.  Checking on the ingredients from the brand that I use, No 1 is mostly kosher salt as you say but has 6.25% sodium nitrite.  No 2 contains 4.75% of potassium nitrate as well as the sodium nitrite.  The former is for short cures and latter for long cures.  I also have some saltpetre that I keep in deep store and only get out to use and measure on my drug dealer scales when a recipe calls for it. Saltpetre is the stuff that gets you noticed by the police if you order it in any quantity as it is a component in gunpowder.  All of that makes me wonder why I am putting any of this in my food?!  Eek.  

All good.  Measured carefully and consuming the resulting cured meats in moderation hasn't killed me, yet.  

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