Author Topic: Nitrites/Nitrates in Smoked Foods - FYI  (Read 14389 times)

Offline BrentK

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Re: Nitrites/Nitrates in Smoked Foods - FYI
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2004, 05:04:16 PM »
Thanks for the info.  Last day of school today....my daughter says the garage "smells good dad, just like the meat store"  That sounds like a good sign to me.... the salmon is glazing in there.[:p]

BrentK
Grand Forks, ND

Offline trout

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Re: Nitrites/Nitrates in Smoked Foods - FYI
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2004, 07:40:35 PM »
Any type of grilling other than indirect produces carcinogens when the fat burns on the coals (or vaporizer if you use a gas grill).  And we all still love to grill steaks and what not.  So basically, nitrite allows you to cure without making your food over-salty tasting,  with no more risk to your health than grilling a burger.  So cure on, grill on and don't worry.  Most people will have health issues from hanging out on the couch long before they get cancer from eating too much sausage.  Have fun[:D][:D]

Let your trout go and smoke a salmon instead.

Offline JJC

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Re: Nitrites/Nitrates in Smoked Foods - FYI
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2004, 02:21:47 AM »
Hi All,

Don't mean to necessarily revive an old topic, but I'm a brand neew member with some science background.  More importantly, I have lots of friends who are science jockeys in diffrerent areas.  I thought it might be useful to add the following to the topic, since it involves both short-term and long-term health risks.

As for botulism and other microbial pathogens, the "10% brine" recommendation translates into the following:  For every quart of liquid  brine you need to make sure there is at least 3.2 ounces of salt.  Because some salt preparations (Kosher,  for instance) have larger granules than others (table salt, for instance), measuring the salt by volume rather than weight can be a problem, as others in this forum have pointed out.  Also, most recipes don't specify the salt preparation.  I don't have a scale in my kitchen (it's a PITA--I get enough of the precise protocol stuff at work), so I just make sure I use at least a scant half cup of non-iodized table salt or a rounded half cup of Kosher salt per quart of brine.

The reason for the non-iodized salt was also discussed in the forum.  I am told by my biochemistry brethren that iodine combines readily with trace metals in food and even the metal racks in the smoker to form rather bitter compounds, which is the reason I use wood spoons to stir my brine . . .

I also saw some inquiries about sugar.  Sugar is not as good a curative agent as salt, but it is a surprisingly effective anti-microbial.  At high concentrations, like in maple syrup and candy, it doesn't support the growth of bacteria which is why candy will last forever without spoiling (it will oxidize to an inedible form long before it spoils from bacteria).  Again, my biochemist friends tell me the rule of thumb is that sugar is about 1/3 to 1/2 as good as salt as an anti-microbial, so you can figure out how to reach the 10% brine level with a combination of salt and sugar if you wish.

The final issue I wanted to mention was nitrite/nitrate stuff.  The naming of compounds is standard but obscure unless you have to know it for a living (or a grade in a course).  WTF is correct in that the lower oxygen level for a compound is called -ite (NaNO2, sodium nitrite), and the higher oxygen level is called -ate (NaNO3, sodium nitrate).  There are even more obscure naming rules for oxygen containing compounds with 3 or more levels of oxygen, but that would give Chez a headache in a heartbeat.  As for carcinogens, all the publicity about nitrates causing liver cancer because they could form carcinogens called nitrosoamines often failed to mention one important fact:  nitrosoamines can only form if nitrates are combined with fats at high very temperatures--the kind of temps achieved when a drop of fat from a sizzling steak hits the burner on a BBG grill.  This is hundreds of degrees high than the temps we use in smoking.  Thus, the risk of generating significant carcinogens in a BS smoker, with its max temp of 325F, is extremely slight.

Hope this helps.  If not, please let me know and I will try to clarify.

John
Newton MA
John
Newton MA

Offline Chez Bubba

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Re: Nitrites/Nitrates in Smoked Foods - FYI
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2004, 11:48:22 PM »
John,

No apology is necessary. Although you may consider yourself to be a newbie and are looking for lots of advice from others, you obviously have some pretty pertinent knowledge to add to this thread. Your post will only make it more complete when another newbie comes looking for info. (Or I finally decide to take the curing plunge & do a search.)

Everybody is an expert at something, sharing our knowledge makes us all better smokers. That's the beauty of this board.[8D]

Kirk

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Ya think next time I check into a hotel & they ask "Smoking or Non?" they would mind?
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Ya think if next time I check into a hotel & they ask "Smoking or Non", they would mind?

Offline Oldman

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Re: Nitrites/Nitrates in Smoked Foods - FYI
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2004, 12:19:34 AM »
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Everybody is an expert at something,<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

That is what she said last night......right after I errrrr....finished the dishes [V]

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Offline Chez Bubba

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Re: Nitrites/Nitrates in Smoked Foods - FYI
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2004, 05:00:41 AM »
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by DoW-Oldman</i>
<br />
Quote
That is what she said last night......<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">I'm biting my tongue, I'm biting my tongue. Olds, please don't throw a fatty through the center of the plate,....please![:D][:D][8D][:)]

http://www.chezbubba.com
Ya think next time I check into a hotel & they ask "Smoking or Non?" they would mind?
http://www.brianswish.com
Ya think if next time I check into a hotel & they ask "Smoking or Non", they would mind?