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Where can I find salt-cured pork shoulder?

emery_jc Jan 23, 2008 06:22 AM

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.



  1. PorkButt Jan 23, 2008 12:19 PM

    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
      wally Jan 23, 2008 12:30 PM

      Fatted Calf theoretically doesn't use nitrates.

      1. re: wally
        PorkButt Jan 23, 2008 12:46 PM

        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
          wally Jan 23, 2008 03:09 PM

          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
            hohokam Jan 23, 2008 03:17 PM

            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
          hohokam Jan 23, 2008 12:51 PM

          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
            PorkButt Jan 23, 2008 01:22 PM

            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
              wolfe Jan 23, 2008 01:32 PM

              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
                hohokam Jan 23, 2008 01:35 PM

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

                1. re: hohokam
                  wolfe Jan 23, 2008 01:46 PM

                  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
                  PorkButt Jan 23, 2008 02:05 PM

                  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
                    hohokam Jan 23, 2008 02:08 PM

                    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
                      wolfe Jan 23, 2008 02:14 PM

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

                      1. re: wolfe
                        PorkButt Jan 23, 2008 02:24 PM

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

        3. Candice Jan 23, 2008 10:27 AM

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

          1. jason carey Jan 23, 2008 09:49 AM

            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. wolfe Jan 23, 2008 06:41 AM


              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
                jason carey Jan 23, 2008 09:48 AM

                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.

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