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Jun 12, 2009 11:12 AM

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

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. If you're after "pink salt", your best bet is to buy it online from 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

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

      1. re: gegtik

        then go with online source.

        no problem and happy curing.

        1. re: grandgourmand

          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

            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

              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

          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. 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

          I just picked up Michael Ruhlman's book Charcuterie ( ) 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

            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. 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. 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

              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

                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"


            2. 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

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