The Art of Charcuterie by John Kowalski and The Culinary Institute of America includes recipes like Pastrami (Brined, Spiced, Smoked Beef); Dry-Cured Pancetta; Mousseline-Style Forcemeat; plus articles like Concerns Over the Use of Nitrate and Nitrites.
by John Kowalski and The Culinary Institute of America
There are several concerns related to the use of nitrates and nitrites. The most prominent concern is the formation of nitrosamines via the binding of nitrates to amino acids, which are a by-product of the degradation of proteins. A study done in the 1970s showed that rats that were exposed to nitrosamines developed malignant tumors. As a result, the USDA and FDA placed restrictions on the amount of residual nitrates and nitrites on food to 200 parts per million (0.02 percent) or lower. However, it becomes exceptionally hard to deal with such small amounts of the ingredient. Thus, premade mixtures are available for purchase: Insta Cure No. 1 and Insta Cure No.2.
Insta Cure No. 1 is a blend of 6 percent sodium nitrite and 94 percent sodium chloride (table salt). It has a distinctive pink color, which is why it is also known as Tinted Cure Mix (TCM). Insta Cure No.2 is much like its counterpart, but contains sodium nitrate instead of nitrite. As a further precaution, the FDA requires meat packers to use antioxidants such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid, or a vitamin C derivative (sodium ascorbate or sodium erythorbate) to further prevent the formation of nitrosamines.
The USDA recommends the following ratios of meat to nitrate/nitrite:
|Type of Meat||Nitrite Level (ppm)||Nitrate Level (ppm)|
|Bacon, pumped (injected with the brine 10%)||120 (with 550 ppm ascorbate or erythorbate)||None|
|Bacon, immersion-cured (immersed in the brine)||200 (2 lb/907g to 100 gal/384 L brine)||None|
|Cooked sausage||156 (1/4 oz/7g to 100 lb/45.36 kg meat)||None|
|Dry and semidry sausage||625 (1 oz/28g to 100 lb/45.36 kg meat, dry-cured)||1,719 (2-3/4 oz/76 g to 100 lb/45.36 kg meat)|
|Dry-cured meats||156 (1/4 oz/7g to 100 lb/45.36 kg meat)||2,188 (2 lb/907g to 100 gal/384 L brine at 10% pump (10% in brine of the total weight is injected into product)|
This page created February 2011
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