Smoked Meat Curing / Seasoning Spices
Can anyone recommend a place in Toronto (downtown preferably) where I can buy curing spices or a kit that I can use for smoking my own meat? I have a fancy new smoker and want to use it!
Do you have Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn? It will get you started, using spices and herbs in most kitchens. Not all meats, and few fishes, need a curing agent, which in any case is available online.
When I first picked up 'Charcuterie', I dropped by the Healthy Butcher hoping to pick up some pink salt. The guy I talked to was fairly nervous about selling me some. He suggested I come back and show him the source for my recipe and discuss what I was going to do. He mentioned that he would rather just provide me the salt for free then sell me the wholesale product which came in large containers. I think his concern was that I had a tested recipe and that I wouldn't kill myself with bad technique.
Since then, I think 'Charcuterie' has become a bit of an instant classic (the shop stocks it now) and the same request might be treated differently. Myself, I still haven't done anything other than gravlax and terrine. I now have a vague fear that my cold victorian row house basement (which is probably perfect for hanging and curing meat) is not a controlled enough environment to do so safely.
ah, you just need to google any recipe by mark bittman to figure out what to buy and then hit a bulk store. def. cheaper than buying a pre made kit.
You can order Morton's Tender Quick and both types of "pink salt" from stuffers.com (it's in BC). Tender Quick is best for small curing jobs, but adds a flavour that you might or might not want. Pink salt (Prague powders #1 and #2) is extremely concentrated, and thus difficult to use when you want to dry cure very small amounts of product. It's fine in brines.
You don't need any nitrates to cure fish or to make a good corned beef. The corned beef will be gray, but will taste fine. You should use them for dry curing, say, salamis or anything else that will hang for a while. You don't actually need them for making pastrami/smoked meat, but the end products won't taste right.