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Curing meat with Morton's Tenderquick

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 18 November 2010 at 15:09

NOTE - all specifications, measurements and curing times for Morton's Tender Quick apply equally to TennerQuack!, available from www.MadHunkyMeats.com.


From http://www.mortonsalt.com/products/meatcuring/tenderquick.html:

 
Morton® Tender Quick®
 
This mix is a fast cure product that has been developed as a cure for meat, poultry, game, salmon, shad, and sablefish. It is a combination of high grade salt and other quality curing ingredients that can be used for both dry and sweet pickle curing. Morton® Tender Quick® mix contains salt, the main preserving agent; sugar, both sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, curing agents that also contribute to development of color and flavor; and propylene glycol to keep the mixture uniform. Morton® Tender Quick® mix can be used interchangeably with Morton® Sugar Cure® (Plain) mix. It is NOT a meat tenderizer.
 
CAUTION: This curing salt is designed to be used at the rate specified in the formulation or recipe. It should not be used at higher levels as results will be inconsistent, cured meats will be too salty, and the finished products may be unsatisfactory. Curing salts should be used only in meat, poultry, game, salmon, shad and sablefish. Curing salts cannot be substituted for regular salt in other food recipes. Always keep meat refrigerated (36° to 40°F) while curing.

Meat Curing Methods

Dry Curing
 
Dry curing involves applying the cure mix directly on the meat. Curing is done in the refrigerator. After curing, the meat is rinsed to remove the excess salt and then cooked. Dry curing is used in curing hams and bacon as well as smaller cuts of meat.
 
Brine Curing
 
Brine curing is also popular for curing meat. This method is also called a sweet pickle cure. Brine curing involves mixing the curing salt with water to make a sweet pickle solution. The meat is cured with this brine by injecting the brine using a meat pump or by soaking the meat for a specific time. Curing takes place in the refrigerator and the meat is cooked after curing.
 
Combination Curing
 
Combines the dry rub cure with injection of brine solution (also known as a sweet pickle solution). A combination cure is used for curing hams. This method shortens the curing time required and reduces the chance of spoilage because the cure process takes place inside and outside the ham. Curing takes place in the refrigerator and the ham is cooked after curing.
 
Sausage Curing
 
The method for making cured sausage is different from the curing methods described above. Curing salt and spices are mixed with ground meat. Curing takes place in the refrigerator and the sausage is cooked after curing.
 
Tips
 
1) Dry Curing: After applying the cure, place meat in a plastic food storage bag and tie end with a twist tie. For large cuts of meat and poultry, use large-size food storage bags which are available in most grocery stores. Do not use garbage bags.
 
2) Brine Curing: To prepare the brine, use non-corrosive bowls, such as plastic, glass or stainless steel. Crocks work well, too, but will take up more space in the refrigerator. Prepare enough brine so that meat is fully submerged. Use a bowl or plate as a weight to keep meat fully immersed in the brine.
 
3) Meat cuts differ in thickness and amount of bone and fat which affect cure penetration rate. You may have to lengthen curing time if using a thicker cut than specified in a recipe.
 
4) Feel free to experiment with spices when curing to suit your family's taste. However, do not exceed the curing levels indicated in the recipes.
 
5) To eliminate guesswork, label and date meats before curing. We recommend labeling day and time the meat is to be removed from the cure.
 
6) If meat is too salty, soak or boil in water to remove excess salt. Next time, remember to rinse cured meat under running tap water to remove excess salt or reduce curing time slightly.
 
7) Cure meat in the refrigerator (36° - 40°F). At colder temperatures, meat will not cure properly. Warmer temperatures encourage growth of spoilage microorganisms.
 
8) After curing, meat and poultry are still raw and must be cooked before being eaten. For your convenience, most recipes include suggested cooking instructions. Should you decide to give a home-cured delicacy as a gift, let the recipient know if they need to cook it.
 
9. Cured meat turns a pink or reddish color when cooked. If meat is fully cured, it will be pink throughout the cut. For poultry, use a meat thermometer to determine doneness, as meat will appear light pink when fully cooked.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2011 at 11:11
based on current information that i have (if it changes, i will edit this post), here are the amounts needed for curing:
 
  • ground meat (sausage cure) - 1.5 teaspoons per pound, cure overnight
  • whole cuts, dry cure - 1 tablespoon per pound, 1 day per quarter-inch of thickness from the centre unless specifically stated otherwise for thinner cuts such as pork chops etc.
  • whole cuts, brine cure - 1 cup tenderquick to 4 cups water (i don't yet have a time available per inch of thickness - will update when i can)
 
The following info is taken right from the bag:
 
Quote Curing Meats In Your Kitchen
 
Use fresh or completely thawed frozen meat that is clean and chilled to 36-40 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature. Pork chops, spare ribs, chicken and other small cuts of meat can be cured with 1/2 ounce(1 tablespoon) of Tender Quick cure per pound of meat. Rub cure into meat thoroughly then place in clean bag and tie securely. Store in refrigerator at 36-40 degrees Fahrenheit for 4-8 hours hours to cure. Rinse just prior to cooking. For brine curing, dissolve 1 cup Tender Quick cure in 4 cups of water. Place meat in brine, refrigerator and allow to cure for 24 hours. For pumping pickle, follow proportions for brine curing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 June 2014 at 21:41
Some added information where salt is concerned:

Tender Quick is comprised mostly of salt - a carrier that the Morton company uses in order to make the process user-friendly and to help distribute the curing agents throughout the meat. Because of this, it is usually not necessary to add any salt to a recipe when making some charcuterie products such as jerky or cured whole cuts of meat - you can simply omit any added salt in a recipe. 

For sausage, however, I’ve found that when using Tender Quick, there is not quite enough salt flavour in the sausage; if you also find that sausage cured with Tender Quick needs a little extra salt, I would suggest adding some salt to the recipe, as I do. The amount of added salt that I recommend (remember that there is already some in the Tender Quick) is one-quarter teaspoon per pound; you can tweak it from there, if you want to. 

This recommendation does not apply to whole cuts of meat cured with Tender Quick - for those, the recommended amounts of Tender Quick are darn-near perfect as they are and no added salt is needed for whole cuts, especially when balanced with up to an equal amount of dark-brown sugar. This advice might apply to jerky, depending on the other ingredients that you use.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Percebes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 December 2014 at 09:07
I have never personally used Tenderquick as I have some concerns with using it in my recipes.
Because it is premixed you cannot reduce the saltiness without reducing the protective benefits of the cure.
For example in my Pepper Cheese Smokie recipe I reduce the salt to 14G. I do this because the aged cheese I use contributes salt, as well as the pickled pepper juice contributes salt.
If I attempted this recipe with Tenderquick it would leave me with too little cure and I would have to guess how much cure to add.
And I refuse to guess on the matter of food safety. Having  residual ppm's of nitrite in my sausage is dangerous.
And being how I am a control freak- I prefer to blend salt and cure separately to my specific requirements.
For most meat applications I like to keep Salt at a max of 20g per kg of product and the specific brand of Nitricure  I use dosed at 3g per kg.
But that said, I can see no issue in using Tenderquick in a standardized recipe.
Just my preference for the customized results that I am trying to achieve.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 December 2014 at 20:21
My own experience (keep in mind I do this at home, not professionally) is that the curing and salt content have just fine. 

I have 100% confidence in TQ's ability to cure meat; nothing has ever been under-cured when TQ was used according to instructions. Like all curing agents, it can be mis-used unintentionally, which is why the instructions should be understood.

As for salt content, it has always been "just right" when used on whole-meat cuts; for sausage or jerky, the salt content has always actually been a little low - I've found over the years that - depending on the salt content of any other ingredients - I often need to add about a quarter-teaspoon of salt per pound to jerky and sausage in order to make the final product "salty enough."

Keep in mind, these are my results only, used at home - but those findings do dovetail with the experiences of others who have ezperience using TQ. It's definitely not the ONLY way to cure meat, but I do have full faith in it. 

Having said that, if a person has a system/recipe/method that s/he is comfortable with, then that is the one to use!Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gregvx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2016 at 15:03
Hi All,

I am new to the forum. Does any one have a suggestion for how long to leave salmon fillets (.75 of an inch) in a tender quick brine for. The salmon would be cold smoked after.

Thanks, Greg
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 September 2016 at 02:58
Originally posted by gregvx gregvx wrote:

Hi All,

I am new to the forum. Does any one have a suggestion for how long to leave salmon fillets (.75 of an inch) in a tender quick brine for. The salmon would be cold smoked after.

Thanks, Greg
Is it going to be a dry brine (rubbed on) or a wet brine (fillets immersed) Greg?
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gregvx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2016 at 09:02
Hi,

I was thinking a wet brine.

Thanks
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 September 2016 at 04:11
Originally posted by gregvx gregvx wrote:

Hi,

I was thinking a wet brine.

Thanks
Ok Greg...given the thickness of your salmon if you use the recipe 1 cup tenderquick to 4 cups water, 24-36 hours should be sufficient. Personally, I'd go the entire 36 hours.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gregvx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 September 2016 at 07:53
Thank you, I never in a million years guessed that long.
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