Recently I was shown a Curing Salt product which purported to be ‘quick’, that is to say the representation was that it would transform raw meat into proper charcuterie faster (quicker) than its competitors.
I had not encountered such a product before. Indeed it is hard enough to purchase Curing Salts in this country. They contain chemicals which are, quite rightly, considered dangerous.
Nonetheless, these and other products are available often through online retailers. This particular product, I was sent a photograph of the list, contained 12% sodium nitrate.
I was asked whether this might be a product which could be used to cure pork to produce charcuterie. I gave it some thought and a little research. The results go like this:
Curing Salt No. 1 contains 6.25% nitrate
Curing Salt No. 2 contains 5.67% nitrate and 3.63% nitrite
Therefore, this quick curing product was neither Curing Salt No. 1 nor Curing Salt No. 2.
As you are aware, nitrite converts over time into nitrate. The latter being the action chemical in the curing process.
How does one make sense of ‘quick’ cures? Well I just do not know. I assume that the percentage of nitrite being roughly double in ‘quick cure’ means that the percentage of nitrate over time will similarly be about double. It follows, I guess, that the rate of curing to be achieved with a ‘quick cure’ will be proportionate. That is to say that they will work twice as fast.
The problem is this. They are something of an unknown to me in a field which is something of an unknown. What is the culinary benefit of such rapid curing? Is the end product better than that which is achieved with the well-known and understood recipes?
Do I want to find out?
Will I get too much nitrate/kg as a result?
In the event I think the product which is achieved as a result of the time tested recipes is good enough for me. You will be the judge as to what you will do. Nonetheless, I think that speed curing is not for me.