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Oct 29, 2006 03:37 PM

Source for pink curing salt in Boston area

I've made sopressata with my in-laws in PA for years and am looking to do this on my own in MA but am having trouble finding pink curing salt. Does anyone have any sources or suggestions? I live in Watertown.

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  1. I don't know of anybody local. Here's a couple of mail order places I've dealt with:

    1. There is always Christina's in Inman square, they sell small amounts of nitrate salt. They sell pink curing salt as well as yellow curing salt.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Foodies_r_Fools

        I tried Christina's as well but they did not have it (March 2008). Like the other's I ordered mine online.

        1. re: ulmerw

          I'm not quite sure why this very old thread got pulled up, and you may have meant that you didn't find it in March 2009 rather than 2008, but I can say for certain that I saw pink curing salt at Christina's this past Saturday - Feb 28, 2009.

          1. re: Allstonian

            Ah yes, 2009. But I was there yesterday and the ladies working there looked at me like I was crazy and all I saw was generic pink salt. Thankfully Karl's Sausage Kitchen on Rt 1 was kind enough to sell me a little from their stock.

            1. re: ulmerw

              So why was the generic pink salt not acceptable? Instacure, TCM, DC Curing salt, it's all the same thing isn't it?

              1. re: Guido

                Pink CURING salt is salt + nitrites, used in curing meats and not for table salt or cooking purposes -- it is dyed pink to prevent accidental ingestion. It is used in (for example) sausage making or curing pancetta or bacon.

                The kind of pink salt you'd find in a spice shop like Christina's is probably from the Himalayas or Hawaii and is naturally pink from mineral deposits or coral coloring. It is safe for table use.

                1. re: johncb

                  Christina's does sometimes carry curing salt (cure #1 only, not #2), plus the more ubiquitous Morton's Quick Cure sometimes available in supermarkets (which you cannot use as a substitute 1:1 for instacure in recipes, you need to follow their recipes). But they are often out and you are better off just buying it online. We also don't have much in the way of hunting and game oriented businesses so it is a bit difficult to buy locally. I know a couple of local purveyors which offer it to wholesale basis, including that sell cures per-lb, but the only one that was willing to do cash and carry wanted to sell a case (eg 16, 2lb boxes). Given the number of local restaurants and butchers which cure their own meats but have limited space, there has gotta be a purveyor who at least sells the 2lb boxes and will do cash-and-carry, but I haven't found it yet.

                  1. re: itaunas

                    I smoked a pastrami a couple months back and needed Morton's Tender Quick to cure the brisket. Long story short and after calling / visiting 30+ supermarkets or butchers (Christinia's included) I ended up having to order it. For some reason New England has not adopted the art of curing meats like some other areas of the country. Mmm.... cured meat.

                    1. re: Dog Boy

                      Its not a regular thing, but tender quick is easier to find than pink salt. I have seen Morton's Tender Quick on a few rare occasions at a Johnnie's Foodmaster (the Arlington store definitely doesn't carry it, but it might have been the Rt 16 store) and I the occasional Stop & Shop (maybe Malden or Melrose). And I think Walmart may have it in their superstores. I definitely saw it about 6 months ago at Christina's when they were out of the pink salt, but they don't seem very serious about keeping curing materials around.

                      New England has a long history of curing meats, with and without nitrates. And restaurants are definitely getting into the basics in a big way (cured, but not fermented products) here. But a combination of enthusiasts willingness to order online as opposed to sitting in 2 hours of SE expressway traffic, lack of hunting oriented businesses right around Boston, and less people that buy from chains like Walmart... it seems the online (or buying together as a group) is the better bet around here.

      2. I didn't have any luck with Christina's. I had to order mine online.

        1. As finding casings proved to be hit-or-miss in retail places around here too (I have gotten some incredible runarounds from places like WF) I decded to go mail order for all of my curing/suasagemaking supplies. Got a bag of pink salt that will last me for at least a couple of years (or more).

          Now I want the OP's recipe for sopressata.....

          1 Reply
          1. re: Zatan

            For Salt Packed hog casings you can just about always get them at Demoula's in Somerville and before the rennovation Chelsea (I haven't looked since), Lord Jeff's also carried them but I haven't been recently to check. For casings in solution, plus beef middles, hog bungs, sheep casings you can buy them cash and carry in Medford, but its casings for 100lb/s of sausage in the standard sizes instead of 25 or so, so you would end up having to freeze some of the product and the convenience is only the first time. It also works out to about the same price (eg its not cheaper), with a bigger investment upfront. Some butchers will also sell what they have, but usually its casings in solution for 50-100lbs of sausage. My email address is in my profile if someone serious wants the contact info in Medford (have to pull it from my old cell phone).

          2. I bought a (very) small packet of pink (nitrate) salt from Christina's two weeks ago.
            Depending on how my bacon turns out, and I make it again, I will probably order online because I thought it was pretty pricy for a tiny amount.

            4 Replies
            1. re: cpingenot

              Christina's definitely has it. I just bought a pound (only $6.00) - you have to ask for it, they have it in bulk in the basement (the teenie packets on the table are $1.50, not much but not a good deal if you plan to do it again). No, the ladies don't know anything about it, there's not much retail demand. You have to ask the owner, who is very friendly and supplies some of the local restaurant chefs who do their own charcuterie. Good luck on the project.

              1. re: Guido

                Can anyone update this post. Will christinas still have pink salt in the basement? Or any one on morons tender quick. Seems crazy to pay the crazy shipping to getbthis project going this weekend. Thanks.

                1. re: chefboyardee

                  I bought pink curing salt at Christina's about a month ago in the smaller packet mentioned above. If they have the packets then they might have some in bulk.

                  1. re: chefboyardee

                    I was able to get pink salt at Christinas for my home-cured pastrami. I did need to talk with the owner since the sales person was trying to sell me Himalayan salt. The owner asked how much I wanted [by weight] and disappeared. He returned with the exact amount that I wanted.

                    I had to promise to store the salt in a container that was clearly marked. The owner was concerned that someone might mistake it for a regular salt. After the assurances were made, I had what I needed.