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ISO curing salts (sodium nitrate/nitrite) in the toronto area

gegtik Jun 12, 2009 11:12 AM

Hi all,

I've been on the hunt for meat curing salts and it appears nobody in the Kensington Market area carries any. I also checked several chinese grocery stores along Spadina and they all seem to carry a particular brand of curing salt that already contains sugar and other aromatics.. I just want the plain curing salts so I can try my hand at making my own pancetta.

The one good thing I found out is that they sell sausage casings at the big butcher shop in Kensington market.

Anyone know where I can get some curing salt?

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  1. grandgourmand RE: gegtik Jun 12, 2009 11:25 AM

    If you're after "pink salt", your best bet is to buy it online from stuffers.com. They're based in BC. I ordered prague powder #1 and #2. I believe the #1 is what you're after. I forget.

    An alternative is to get REadycure from Canada Compound. You can buy some at highland farms on the meat counter, in a 1kg bag. I've got some. It's a pre-mix, including sodium nitrite and salt. So go by the dry cure directions, which tell you how much cure to use on how many lbs of meat. You would have to add your own spices in the cure (bay leaf, juniper, etc...0. ) HIghland farms is also a good source for casings.

    Making pancetta is pretty easy, and a really delicious end product.

    6 Replies
    1. re: grandgourmand
      gegtik RE: grandgourmand Jun 12, 2009 11:32 AM

      I am indeed after 'pink salt'... thanks!

      1. re: gegtik
        grandgourmand RE: gegtik Jun 12, 2009 12:14 PM

        then go with stuffers.com....reliable online source.

        no problem and happy curing.

        1. re: grandgourmand
          gegtik RE: grandgourmand Jun 12, 2009 01:15 PM

          Hmm, after further inquiry I see that shipping 3lb of salt would cost $18 for the salt... and another $18 for shipping.

          Maybe I'll be checking out highland farms afterall.. if I can manage to bum a ride up there :)

          1. re: gegtik
            gegtik RE: gegtik Jun 14, 2009 09:36 AM

            So the butcher counter at Highland Farms at Matheson had some readi-cure which is sodium nitrite. I had to ask a few people until i got an actual butcher and not a counter person (who didn't know anything), but it was worth it.

            I picked up a pig belly from St Lawrence Market (incidentally nobody there has curing salts) and I'm anxious to start my first attempt at pancetta!

            1. re: gegtik
              jayt90 RE: gegtik Jun 14, 2009 02:27 PM

              There are good pork bellies at many Asian markets, and they are fresh and competitively priced.

              Soon Lee
              629 Markham Rd, Toronto, ON M1J, CA

              T And T Supermarket Milliken
              5661 Steeles Ave E, Toronto, ON M1V, CA

        2. re: gegtik
          embee RE: gegtik Jun 13, 2009 12:27 AM

          Just a reminder that "pink salt" from Canadian suppliers may very well be white. Colouring it pink is apparently a US govt. regulation that doesn't necessarily apply here.

          If your recipe doesn't specify a type, quantity, and concentration of curing agent that is exactly the same as what you have, go by the package instructions - and not by your recipe - at least the first time .

      2. Paulustrious RE: gegtik Jun 12, 2009 12:43 PM

        You can get pre-mixed curing salt at Highland Farms, NW corner of Kennedy and Ellesmere. If it is not on the butcher's counter just ask for it. It's $4 / kilo. Unfortunately it does not tell you ratio. It only has Sodium Nitrate in - not nitrate.

        It is white though. I use it to make pancetta amongst other things.

        Whoops - just noticed that grandgourmand has already answered. Well - this is just a confirmation. The label has the useful information that you should use 2lbs for of salt for 100lbs of meat. You cannot however just scale down. A 3-5lb pork belly takes about 2.5 ounces of curing salts.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Paulustrious
          gegtik RE: Paulustrious Jun 12, 2009 01:04 PM

          I just picked up Michael Ruhlman's book Charcuterie ( http://www.amazon.com/Charcuterie-Cra... ) and he's got ratios and what have you in there.. I'm really anxious to get going on this book :D

          1. re: gegtik
            Paulustrious RE: gegtik Jun 12, 2009 02:00 PM

            I too have it. I tend to go brine / cure it for less time than he recommends. But then again if I were writing the book I would err on the side of caution.

        2. jayt90 RE: gegtik Jun 12, 2009 01:34 PM

          If you do some homework, you can get potassium nitrate from any Rexall pharmacy. It is $6. for a small package (1 or 2 oz) or $14 for 1 lb. They order it for you and it comes in next day.

          Homework? You have to find mixing formulas to convert pink salt to KN03. This is actually quite easy , on Agriculture extension sites at University of Missouri, or West Virginia Tech.
          These will tell you how to mix KN03 with salt, sugar and spices.
          There is an American bias (USDA) against the use of KN03, but it is widely used in Europe.and it is the lowest cost option.

          1. g
            gegtik RE: gegtik Jun 12, 2009 04:45 PM

            Just an update, after talking to MANY pharmacists (most say their chemical supplier doesn't have any of this stuff so they couldn't order any even if I asked).. one of them told me to check out a pharmacist on bloor just west of Royal York on the south side.. they are a compounding pharmacy which means they mix many of their own drugs from scratch, so apparently they are likely to carry potassium nitrate / nitrite!

            2 Replies
            1. re: gegtik
              jayt90 RE: gegtik Jun 12, 2009 07:24 PM

              I got the run-around from many pharmacies too, until I went to a local Rexall. They looked up potassium nitrate and ordered it. It comes in 24 hrs. or less.

              1. re: jayt90
                Paulustrious RE: jayt90 Jun 13, 2009 04:51 AM

                That's good info - as is embee's about 'pink salt' being a US regulatory matter. Do make sure that it cannot be mistaken for salt as it is toxic. Quoting the article below ... "the fatal dose of potassium nitrate for adult humans is in the range of 30 to 35 grams consumed as a single dose; the fatal dose of sodium nitrite is in the range of 22 to 23 milligrams per kilogram of body weight"

                Source: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribu...

            2. f
              federal RE: gegtik Aug 27, 2009 08:04 PM

              Canada Compound Corp. 391 Rowntree Dairy Road, Woodbridge, Ontario L4L 8H1
              TEL: 1-905-856-5005 FAX: 1-905-856-7096
              June of 2008 I bought 3/1Kg for $7
              Hope this helps you. They have anything for meat preparation, casings of all sorts and sizes, spices, prepartion equipment, they supply Highland Farms and sell to the public.
              I picked up the casings and binder for my sausages in July / 09.

              1 Reply
              1. re: federal
                Paulustrious RE: federal Aug 28, 2009 04:24 AM

                Thanks - it also led to an interesting section on starter cultures...


              2. c
                chianga RE: gegtik Apr 26, 2010 06:11 PM

                Bass Pro Shop at Vaughan Mills carries the LEM meat cure - 4 oz for $2.99. Just confirmed via phone today.
                In the summer I was able to purchase a suausage making kit (I believe it was for the Luhr Jensen smoker) which contained cases a plunger and pink salt at Le Baron in Markham.

                1. j
                  Jash RE: gegtik Apr 27, 2010 08:56 AM

                  Go to: www.butcher-packer.com

                  I live in Canada and recently ordered a bunch of equipment and curing aids. The F-Dick sausage stuff is the cheapest I found and two thirds cheaper than a large supplier here in Canada. F-Dick sausage stuffers are unanimously described as the "Rolls Royce" of sausage stuffers.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Jash
                    Kooper RE: Jash Apr 27, 2010 10:29 AM

                    You can also order from http://www.stuffers.com/ . Since they are in Canada you don't have to worry about things getting held up at the border for customs duties and GST.

                    1. re: Kooper
                      grandgourmand RE: Kooper Apr 27, 2010 05:11 PM

                      And order more than you think you'll need, depending on what type of curing you do. The shipping rate is the same, and the cure itself is pretty cheap. I use a lot more cure #1 and have barely tapped into my cure #2. So I wish I'd ordered more cure #1. If you catch my drift.

                    2. re: Jash
                      Dr Butcher RE: Jash Apr 27, 2010 05:40 PM

                      I picked up a LEM 5lb vertical stuffer from Bass Pro a few months ago for around $160. It's got metal gears and is built very well. I think they had a 15lb model for around $300. I don't think you can go wrong with the LEM vertical stuffers for the price.

                      Canada Compound, Malabar Superspice, Halford Hide are all Canadian business that will ship cures by mail.

                      1. re: Dr Butcher
                        grandgourmand RE: Dr Butcher Apr 27, 2010 06:06 PM

                        For real? Damn, I got my LEM from Cabela's for $200. Great deal, you got. Last year, Bass Pro wasn't carrying the stuffer.

                        I concur, though, they are great stuffers. Definitely worth the money and a major upgrade over the KA stuffer.

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