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Curing bacon w/o sodium nitrite

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  • burtgrillinblanch
    Charter Member
    • Dec 2014
    • 2
    • Oak Park, IL

    Curing bacon w/o sodium nitrite

    Hey grillmasters - quick question for anyone that's doing home-cured pork belly for your own scratch bacon recipe (aka following the AR recipe). Is anyone curing without sodium nitrite, and using just kosher salt or the like? Getting mine down pat and wondered if I take out the sodium nitrite, and go with just kosher - is it better? And how long should bacon last in fridge? Any thoughts/comments/suggestions welcomed!
  • RonB
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 12825
    • Near Richmond VA
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    #2
    In Meatheads article on curing meats, he highlights that you should not leave the sodium nitrite out. I would follow Meatheads recommendations to the letter.

    Not doing so could have catastrophic consequences.

    Comment


    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      Yea its called botulism

    • burtgrillinblanch
      burtgrillinblanch commented
      Editing a comment
      You're right my friend - posted out of curiosity. Appreciate the cautious response. :-)
  • Spinaker
    Moderator
    • Nov 2014
    • 10680
    • Land of Tonka
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    #3
    Please follow our recipe. People try to make changes to this recipe. Please simply follow our recipe to ensure you will be safe.

    Many do not read Meathead's article on How to Cure Meats Safely, before they attempt to cure. Give that article a read, if you have not already.

    Comment


    • burtgrillinblanch
      burtgrillinblanch commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks and have with success last few tries w/nitrite. Was curious if anyone was doing so w/o it. Totally helps -thanks!
  • jfmorris
    Club Member
    • Nov 2017
    • 3094
    • Huntsville, Alabama
    • Jim Morris

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    #4
    Without the sodium nitrite, you are not curing the meat, and run the risk of botulism and other nasties...

    The crazy consumer market of "uncured" lunch meats and bacon in the super market actually uses celery or celery juice, if you look closely. Celery is high in nitrites/nitrates, and they may as well use curing salt. I look at all that uncured stuff as false advertising, as they just used an indirect source of nitrites.

    Comment


    • burtgrillinblanch
      burtgrillinblanch commented
      Editing a comment
      Agreed - and a play on the old quasi attempt to name their products "natural..."
  • ecowper
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 3356
    • Maple Valley, WA
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      Eric Cowperthwaite aka ecowper

    #5
    I find that bacon that I've cured and smoked myself will last about 2 weeks, give or take, in the fridge. Thought I'd answer that question, since the other one is beat to death ;-)

    I like to experiment with flavor profiles in the cure, while understanding that the salt and Prague Powder will penetrate the meat, but the rest will just create a surface profile. I have done maple-whiskey, peppered, savory, fresh herbs .... basically any flavor profile you can dream up. You don't need a lot of whatever you're adding. For example, maple-whiskey involves 2 tbsp each of maple syrup and rye whiskey.

    Comment


    • burtgrillinblanch
      burtgrillinblanch commented
      Editing a comment
      You are SO right and that's the fun of it! Maple whiskey huh?!! That is awesome!
  • EdF
    EdF
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    • Jul 2016
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    #6
    Regardless of the above comments, I have done every bacon cure (6 or so, maybe more) without the pink salt. I didn't experience any particular degradation of flavor or quality, and nobody got sick. Treat it like meat that needs to be refrigerated etc, and you'll be fine.

    Comment


    • ecowper
      ecowper commented
      Editing a comment
      as long as you are using distilled water and enough salt, and the pork belly is fully submerged and not touching air, there should be no botulism issue. Personally, I like the look and taste that Prague Powder adds and I know I'm fully safe :-)
  • Backroadmeats
    Club Member
    • Dec 2018
    • 508
    • Central mn

    #7
    Originally posted by EdF View Post
    Regardless of the above comments, I have done every bacon cure (6 or so, maybe more) without the pink salt. I didn't experience any particular degradation of flavor or quality, and nobody got sick. Treat it like meat that needs to be refrigerated etc, and you'll be fine.
    What temp are you smoking the bacon at?? People don't take botulism serious enough... You may get by with cheating the system a few times but you can only die once!!

    Comment


    • EdF
      EdF commented
      Editing a comment
      Usually 225-250F to 150. It's always going to get cooked further, right? I think there's a bit of religion around prague powder for hot smoked foods later treated like fresh meat.
  • Backroadmeats
    Club Member
    • Dec 2018
    • 508
    • Central mn

    #8
    At that temp you are fine.. bacon by USDA definition is an uncooked food.. mine never gets above 125 for smoker temp.. you are essentially BBQing it.. I have made grey ham as I called it when my wife was pregnant. No cure, .use the same brine and crank the temp up to 225.. if you leave temp at 145 or 160 you stay in the danger zone to long and risk botulism.. cooking bacon at 225 is no different than cooking a pork butt.. the temp of the smoker is the key... 200 or so and lower you would be foolish to not use cure in my opinion..

    Comment


    • EdF
      EdF commented
      Editing a comment
      No argument there. 200 or lower is prague powder territory.

    • burtgrillinblanch
      burtgrillinblanch commented
      Editing a comment
      Agreed and like both yours and EdF's back/forth. Love this community...totally helps. I've done the recipe to spec, smoke bacon 2 hours for an internal to 170-175 then off to fridge. Fun to do...but don't want anyone sick is right!

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