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Saltpeter, curing salt and Sodium nitrates!! Portland Maine.

Ok in know they're all the same thing. I need help from my fellow food loving peeps out there, I want to corn some beef, cure some meats, maybe even make a couple of tasty sausages...... I know, nitrates suck and aren't good for you. I eats tons of organics and locals and naturals, even grow my own when I can, I just want some pink in the meats. I want the badass deli look for a change and honesty there I don't even eat enough cured meat to hurt me, least I hope right, lol. Well I hope someone knows somewhere to procure some of this stuff in the portland maine area, I want to get started. Thanks!!

P.S. Off the subject, I brew beer as well and want to grow some Hops, does anyone have a source? Lay it down

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  1. Nitrates rock!
    I'm the chef @ a small brewpub in Greenfield, MA (The People's Pint) and I make my own bacon, corned beef and pastrami all using pink salt (yet another name). I tried my meat suppliers but they didn't carry it. So I ordered it on-line from http://www.sausagesource.com/ you pay a little more for shipping but good luck finding it locally.
    Do you have the book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman? If not, I highly recomend it. It taught me a lot and has inspired me. If you don't have it-get it.
    As for hops (as luck would have it, I also grow my own hops!) I got my rhizome (thats what hops grow from) from my local brew shop (their website is www.beer-winemaking.com). but I'm sure you can find these at your local homebrew shop.

    Happy Curing!

    1 Reply
    1. re: chrisandbetsyc

      Your the man! THanks for the info. I have read through that book, it is awesome. I look forward to curing some tasty meats and throwing my own hops into my next homebrew. I'll have to hit the PP up next time I am down that way, sounds like your making some good stuff!

    2. You might want to check out The Sausage Maker:

      I also recommend Ruhlman.
      For a ton of more info, I'd also suggest
      Great Sausage Making and Meat Curing by Rytek Kutas shown here


      but probably cheaper on Amazon or something.

      I regularly make great bacon, smoked meat, corned beef, and ham. Different sausages, but mostly Italian and air dried.
      But you gotta treat nitrites with respect - a great tool, no doubt, just read up on it.

      1. Folks, we split off some discussion on curing meats to the Home Cooking board. Please keep replies to this topic on where to find supplies in the Portland area.

        You can find the new topic at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/603405

        1. Regarding the hops -- I saw a new brew supply shop on Forest Ave a few doors down from the Great Lost Bear. I don't know a thing about them (not even the name or when they opened) but perhaps they could help you source some hops to grow.

          If anyone has any info on this place, please post! Cheers

          1. Hey kingeats, I have pink salt in the restaurant here in portland. You probably don't need much. I'd be willing to donate some to a fellow foodie here in town. I have a supplier but it comes in big quantities. I'll happily trade for a sample of the finished product. Call The Back Bay Grill

            2 Replies
            1. re: bbgrill

              BOOYAH! Thanks bbgrill, How about some time monday afternoon, before service of coarse?

              1. re: kingeats

                We're closed all next week for deep cleaning, painting etc. I should be here all day mon. Give us a call.

            2. We are trying to locate some saltpeter for a first attempt at pastrami (well, a modified version). Has anyone seen it available locally - Portland, that is - since this original post? I would take the online route but I already have the meat and need to get going on it.


              5 Replies
              1. re: foodquest

                I make my own Pasrtimi all the time, the formular is from Katz's Deli in NY. the only reason nitrates are used is to keep the pink color. To my knowlwdge its a bit difficult to get as its a chief product in gun powder. If you really need something like that go on line and look for Mortons Sugar or Tender Quick its Salt, nitrates sugar and seasonings.

                1. re: Frank Terranova

                  Keeping a pink color isn't the ONLY reason for using nitrates - curing, flavoring, and inhibiting botulism are a few others.

                  1. re: porker

                    I am somewhat surprised that someone curing his own meats wouldn't know this, but NITRATES are used for fertilizer, bomb making, and rat poison.
                    NITRITES would be what you want to cure meat.
                    Hoping you are not mixing them up!

                    1. re: derekj

                      Totally agree, Plus bacteria cant grow in the correct presence of salt. I never use the stuff We make our own dry Italian sausage and only salt is used.

                      1. re: derekj

                        I don't know if you are referring to me, specifically, when saying 'someone curing his own meats'... but regardless....

                        I don't profess to be an expert in curing meats, thats for sure, but I do have a healthy respect for the activity.

                        When broadly speaking about curing, I often interchange 'NITRITE' and 'NITRATE', and yes I do sometimes mix them up, but again in the context of curing in general.

                        I happen to use both NITRATES and NITRITES in my repertoire of curing, but never mix them up in application.
                        Although NITRATES may be used for the applications you mention, it still remains an important substance in curing. Sodium NITRATE is sometimes described as a 'time release version' of sodium NITRITE.
                        Although the NITRATE doesn't do anything in the way of curing, it breaks down (over time) to NITRITE which in turn, does the curing.

                        So depending on the curing application (a very long drying time), you may want a combination of NITRATE and NITRITE.

                        BTW, pink salt (which I use in curing meats) generally comes in two varieties, commonly known as Instacure #1 and Instacure #2.
                        Instacure #1: combination of salt and sodium NITRITE (6.25%)
                        Instacure #2: combination of salt and sodium NITRITE (6.25%) and Sodium NITRATE (1.0%)