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Where can I buy curing salts?

I am having a hell of a time finding curing salts for chow's pancetta recipe. I don't want to order online, so has anyone seen or purchased curing salts in San francisco? With so many restaurants doing housemade salumis and such, you'd think this would be easier to get.

HELP!

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  1. You want Prague Powder #1or Pink Salt.Pink salt is NaCl and sodium nitrite with a little food coloring to distinguish it from table salt. Pink salt for curing is not from Murray River, Hawaii or Tibet. I got some by asking nicely in a restaurant where they cure their own meat and where I was a fairly regular customer. You don't need much. Longer cures for salumi and such require Prague Powder #2 which is a different compound.

    1. kosher salt comes to mind (really cheap). i prefer run-of-the-mill coarse sea salt (pretty cheap) but it's all good.
      am i missing something?

      6 Replies
      1. re: steve h.

        yes,
        curing salt is not just salt.
        it usually contains sodium nitrate and/or sodium nitrite.
        two common mixtures as mentioned by wolfe are:

        Prague #1: 6.25% Sodium nitrite: 93.75% Salt (for fresh and cooked sausages)
        Prague #2: 6.25% Sodium nitrite: 4% Sodium nitrate and 89.75% Salt (for dry-cured sausages)

        1. re: kungful

          cool. is that a common formula in italy where they cure those beautiful hams? any difference in spain where they do a pretty good job, too?

          1. re: kungful

            You can actually cure meats and sausages w/o nitrites/nitrates. And, in fact, its becoming more and more preferable.

            1. re: chemchef

              You certainly can but I'm not sure it would be appropriate with rolled pancetta (assuming the OP is rolling) given that the interior of the roll could grow anaerobic bacteria.

              1. re: Junie D

                My step-father (full-blooded Italian) does it all the time, and we haven't died yet. :-)

              2. re: chemchef

                There are nitrite-free cures, but it's potentially dangerous to substitute table salt for curing salt in a recipe.

          2. Had the same experience last fall with no time to wait for an online order. It seemed bizarre to us also that it was so hard to find. We finally bought some from the great guys at Willowside Meats in Santa Rosa. They actually advertise no nitrates in their sausage, because they freeze them immediately, but use the pink salt in their bacon and so on.

            Willowside Meats 3421 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa 707-546-8404

            I'd say it is worth the trek to sample some of their work.

            We made pancetta from Ruhlman and Polcyn's Charcuterie - amazingly savory and so simple.

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            Willowside Meats & Sausage
            3421 Guerneville Rd, Santa Rosa, CA

            1 Reply
            1. re: Junie D

              thanks for your suggestion. i, too am in the same predicament...got my pork belly already and thought it'd be no problem to find the salts!

              UGH. what an annoying thing to be searching for. and i need so little of it! i'll check out some local restaurants and if that doesn't work i'll be heading up to santa rosa!

              thanks a lot!

            2. Any butcher with housemade sausage might sell you some.

              This is a butcher supply place, dunno if they sell retail:

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              Carlson's Seasoning & Food Equipment
              50 Mendell St # 12, San Francisco, CA

                1. re: chilihead2006

                  The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of curing salt for 11 pounds of pork belly. The smallest sausage maker amount is 1 pound for $8.99 plus shipping. Trying to wheedle some out of a local bacon pancetta maker, priceless.