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Jan 23, 2008 06:22 AM

Where can I find salt-cured pork shoulder?

I'm looking forward to making this recipe from the Chocolate and Zucchini blog, but have no idea where locally to get the main ingredient - salt-cured pork shoulder. Any pointers or ideas? I can do the greater Berkeley area, San Francisco, and Marin.


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  1. Coppa

    Whole pieces of pork shoulder cured in a natural casing. Dark red, with thin veins of fat throughout. Spicy coppa is rubbed with cayenne.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wolfe

      Coppa is not what is being called for in this recipe.. This type of pork sholder is more like a brined sholder , not dry cured.

    2. If you can't find one, its easy to make your own,, see the book Pork and Sons for a good pork brining recipe

      1. Maybe Dittmer's in Mountain View or New World Market or Seakor Polish Deli, both on Geary in SF?

        1. On occasion Fatted Calf makes up a batch of petit salé but it's usually pork belly. Send them an email.

          I've made my own but it doesn't quite taste right without nitrates.

          13 Replies
          1. re: PorkButt

            Fatted Calf theoretically doesn't use nitrates.

            1. re: wally

              If you look on the list of ingredients on their bacon, ham hocks, and some fresh sausages, "curing salt" is there. Nothing wrong with that. I wonder if they source it from a natural deposit to keep in line with their credo.

              1. re: PorkButt

                I have heard, but don't quote me, that they use something from celery. There are natural sources of nitrate, I'm not sure what they are.

                1. re: wally

                  Niman Ranch lists celery-derived nitrates as an ingredient in their "uncured" bacon. TFC, on the other hand, specifically lists "curing salt" as an ingredient in their dry-cured salumi and smoked fresh sausages rather than "celery juice concentrate" or some such.

                  Saltpeter is a natural source of potassium nitrate, but I don't know that U.S. charcutieres actually use it these days.

              2. re: wally

                Hmm...they're pretty upfront about the use of curing salt in their salumi. Based on everything I've read, dry-cured sausages are treated with a salt that contains sodium nitrate (Insta Cure #2).

                For something like petit salé, however, I would assume that the non-nitrate based curing salt (Insta Cure #1, a.k.a. "pink salt") would be used.

                Both of these curing salts contain small amounts of sodium nitrite and a large amount of sodium chloride (table salt).

                1. re: hohokam

                  You're absolutely correct, for a fresh product like petit salé, a nitrite cure is used. Nitrate works better for aged products such as dry ham and salumi.

                  1. re: PorkButt

                    That knock you hear is the food police.
                    Prague Powder #2 (Insta Cure #2) has, as hohokam notes, nitrates.
                    Wikipedia states, emphasis theirs, "Prague powder #2 should NEVER be used on any product that will be fried at high temperature because of the formation of nitrosamines." Well there goes my salami and eggs.

                    1. re: wolfe

                      I'm not going to let some pinche nitrosamines stand between me and my Spanish-style chorizo and chickpeas. ;-)

                      1. re: hohokam

                        I was forced to go to the urban dictionary which in short form says "pinche" is "In Mexico, it's an all-purpose insult enhancer".

                      2. re: wolfe

                        Not to worry! (maybe)

                        I read in a fact sheet from an A&M type of university on curing meats that stated after a long cure, nitrate converts to nitrite. I haven't looked into this further, but that might why you shouldn't cure bacon, for example, with Prague Powder #2, but a country ham that's been hanging for a year is okay.

                        1. re: PorkButt

                          That is my understanding too. Basically, one can think of sodium nitrate is a slow-release form of sodium nitrite. Over the long curing period of something like salami or dry chorizo, the nitrate converts to nitrite.

                          1. re: hohokam

                            Does that mean there are no "pinche nitrosamines" in my kosher salami and eggs?

                            1. re: wolfe

                              Kosher salami is like a hot dog - made with nitrites. Eat away!