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Salt Peter?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have been looking for a good homeade corned beef recipe. Although I found a few that sounded pretty decent, they all called for salt peter. Here is the problem...I cannot find salt peter anywhere. None of the gorcery stores carry it, and the few specialty stores that I visited, none of them had it. In fact, one of those stores questioned me accusingly as if I was going to poison the water supply to our city.

Now I understand that the salt peter is to give the corned beef (and other meats for that matter) that pink color instead of the normal brown color of cooked beef. And after having made the corned beef, I realize that the salt peter isn't required. However, eating brown corned beef really was not very appetizing.

After searching and searching, the only place I could find salt peter was at certain hunting stores since salt peter is part of gun powder--and there are some people who like to stuff their own shotgun shells.

So my questions are 1) is there an acceptable substitute for salt peter in corned beef? and/or otherwise, 2) do you too see a problem adding an ingredient/chemical to your food that is purchased at a hunting store? :eek:
post #2 of 23
heres a link:
these folks ought to know.
post #3 of 23
You can buy a curing salt mix that will have the nitrates and nitrites, but probably not in the proportions you want for your recipe.

Froogle lists any number of sellers in different formats:


Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #4 of 23
You can buy it at most grocery stores. It's made by Morton and it's called Tender Quick.
post #5 of 23
Used to be able to get Salt Peter (Potassium Nitrate) in drug stores back in Iowa when i was a kid.

Most farm stores carry it for livestock...or at least they used to.

I wouldn't use anything less than Reagent grade in my food!

Hunting stores will probably be selling Technical grade. I wouldn't use it.

post #6 of 23
like Kuan said, Mortons Tender Quick is available almost anywhere-it is mixed with both salt and sugar i believe so you may need to adjust your recipe accordingly.

Instacure #1, Prague Powder#1(depends on who your buying from) is available online from many different sources; Butcher-Packer, Allied Kenco, The Sausagemaker and others.

Just make sure you read and understand the usage of the product as it can have serious effects if not used properly. You may find curing products in some hunting stores for fish, jerkys, so on. Use them only-not black or smokeless powder or other additives!

Nothing like a homemade pastrami. Knocked out a few at home using whole brisket. good stuff. If your seriously into it you may look into a meat pump or syringe also inject your product. IIRC pastrami is pumped to ~ 10% of its total weight with your brine. Helps to plump it and evenly distribute the cure-just like a ham.

hth, danny
post #7 of 23
Look Up Butcher And Packer Supply Company. They Will
Have Everything You Need From Mortens To Pink Curing
Salt. The Will Mail Things By The Pound.

We Used To Buy Salt Peter At The Drug Store. Mix With
1 Part Sugar And You Get A Great Smoke Maker. It Was
Also Introduced Into The Diet Of Military Personel To
Subdue Sexual Stamina In Places Where There Were
Elevated Risks Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Have
A Wonderful Day.

post #8 of 23
Salt peter can be a dangerous product so most places that sell it as an already mixed product. People have already mentioned Prague Powder #1 &#2, and Mortons Tender Quick. If you decide you need the straight stuff, please make sure you consult numerous resources before using. There isn't a whole lot of room, with nitrates and nitrites, between the amount needed to be effective and the amount that can make someone sick. You don't need scientific precision but you do need to be careful.
post #9 of 23
That's only about 5% KNO3 and the other Nitrites as I recall.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #10 of 23
Yeah but that's what we've always used. 6% TCM. I assumed that it was what he was asking about. I've never seen it come any other way.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your responses. They have helped. My one additional question then is this--will the substitutes, like Tender Quick, give the corned beef that pink color? Or is it purely a preservative-like product.
post #12 of 23
both-your curing agent will give it that distinct color. as i said, it helps to pump it also to evenly penetrate and distribute the cure-but not absolutely essential if you leave the product in the wet cure long enough.

If you're really into it, you may want to check out a book Rytek Kutas "Great sausage recipes and meat curing". Many recipes for many different cured products.
post #13 of 23

Salt peter - other uses

From what I understand about salt peter and not to be 'off color' about it, it can also prevent an occurance from happening. As an example for those of you that can decipher what I mean - (just an example) - There was not a lot of 'excitement' in the air.

A certain amount put in certain foods can void the 'occurance' of any exciting 'moments'.

Is this a misnomer ?
post #14 of 23
It's a myth.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #15 of 23
And one that many European armies perpetuate, with doses of salt peter in the food......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #16 of 23

Potassium Nitrate...Yeah, I had the same problem...

It's actually used more for preserving than adding any flavor.

It's used for fertilizer and can be used for bombs (unfortunately...they were going to use a variation of that here at the Nevada Test Site recently)

I had the same problem finding it so I opted making pastrami without. It turned out fine, but I had to use a brisket instead of the proper cut that you need so that changed the nature of it as well.

It didn't have the intense pastrami color and actually turned out to be a really good base for a pulled BBQ sandwich.

Of course it was also just one of bizillions of recipes out there.

Not a pastrami expert by all means other than knowing its' yummy.

April :lips:
post #17 of 23
Well you can purty well forget about Salt Peter I think. It been ruled illegal according to some I know. Now if you want to make something legal and edible I give you a hint over in the recipe section which will be found labled corned beef I think.

post #18 of 23
<Insert joke about adding gunpowder to your food for that "explosive" flavor> :roll:
I'm a MAN, man!
I'm a MAN, man!
post #19 of 23

How much Salt-Peter do you need per Kg when boiling a  lamb leg please Chef.


Thank you        Bob Smith.

post #20 of 23

Salt peter is no longer used for a meat cure. Prague Powder #1 & 2, Morton Tender Quick are meat cures that will give the pink color you are looking for. The Prague powders will not add much salt while tender quick will.

post #21 of 23
Tender quick contains pottasium nitrate which is salt peter, right? And is he corning lamb, or why would you add it to boiled leg of lamb?
post #22 of 23

My roomie wanted to cure meats.  He developed a relation with a local butcher  and then  asked for "curing salt."   The butcher gave him a small amount of "pink" salt for curing meats (and instructions on how to use it). It was either sodium or potassium nitrate  or nitrite.... I'm not sure of the chemistry...  the "recipe"  was a tiny amount of "pink salt" to the pounds or meat.  But much less than the amount of  the Mortons...  Its been three years and we're not dead yet...

post #23 of 23

You can buy Salt Peter from the Science Company 95 Lincoln Street Denver CO.80203 Phone 800 3726726.

Or if you are in Guadalajara Mexico at the Abasolo, (wholesale) market in bulk for 1 10th of the price

Buen Provecho


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