Tender Quick® mix is a fast
cure product that has been developed as a cure for meat, poultry,
game, salmon, shad, and sablefish. It is a combination of high
grade salt and other quality curing ingredients that can be used
for both dry and sweet pickle curing. Tender Quick mix contains
salt, the main preserving agent; sugar, both sodium nitrate and
sodium nitrite, curing agents that also contribute to development
of colour and flavour; and propylene glycol to keep the mixture
It is NOT a meat tenderizer.
CAUTION: Curing salts are designed to be used
at the rate specified in the formulation or recipe. They should
not be used at higher levels as results will be inconsistent,
cured meats will be too salty, and the finished products may be
unsatisfactory. The curing salts should be used only in meat,
poultry, game, salmon, shad and sablefish. Curing salts cannot
be substituted for regular salt in other food recipes. Always
keep meat refrigerated 36°F to 40°F (1°C to 4°C) while curing.
Meat Curing Methods
Dry Curing - Dry curing involves applying the
cure mix directly on the meat. Curing is done in the refrigerator.
After curing, the meat is rinsed to remove the excess salt and
then cooked. Dry curing is used in curing hams and bacon as well
as smaller cuts of meat.
Brine Curing - Brine curing is also popular for
curing meat. This method is also called a sweet pickle cure. Brine
curing involves mixing the curing salt with water to make a sweet
pickle solution. The meat is cured with this brine by injecting
the brine using a meat pump or by soaking the meat for a specific
time. Curing takes place in the refrigerator and the meat is cooked
after curing. Often larger cuts of meat and poultry such as hams
and turkeys are injected with a sweet pickle cure. Smaller products
including whole chickens and fish may be soaked in a curing brine
Combination Cure - Combines the dry rub cure
with injection of brine solution (also known as a sweet pickle
solution). A combination cure is used for curing hams. This method
shortens the curing time required and reduces the chance of spoilage
because the cure process takes place inside and outside the ham.
Curing takes place in the refrigerator and the ham is cooked after
Sausage Cure Method - The method for making cured
sausage is different from the curing methods described above.
Curing salt and spices are mixed with ground meat. Curing takes
place in the refrigerator and the sausage is cooked after curing.
Tips and Recipes
The featured recipes were developed by meat curing experts at
Windsor and made easy for everyone to enjoy. As you begin, please
keep in mind that home meat curing is not an exact science. If
you should experience difficulty in the preparation of an individual
recipe, refer to the following meat curing tips to help ease the
process. Remember patience is the key to perfection!
1. Dry Curing - After
applying the cure, place meat in a plastic food storage bag and
tie end with a twist tie. For large cuts of meat and poultry,
use large-size food storage bags which are available in most grocery
stores. Do not use garbage bags.
2. Brine Curing - To prepare
the brine, use non-corrosive bowls, such as plastic, glass or
stainless steel. Crocks work well, too, but will take up more
space in the refrigerator. Prepare enough brine so that meat is
fully submerged. Use a bowl or plate as a weight to keep meat
fully immersed in the brine.
3. Meat cuts differ in thickness and amount of
bone and fat which affect cure penetration rate. You may have
to lengthen curing time if using a thicker cut than specified
in a recipe.
4. Feel free to experiment with spices when curing
to suit your family's taste. However, do not exceed the curing
levels indicated in the recipes.
5. To eliminate guesswork, label and date meats
before curing. We recommend labeling day and time the meat is
to be removed from the cure.
6. If meat is too salty, soak or boil in water
to remove excess salt. Next time, remember to rinse cured meat
under running tap water to remove excess salt or reduce curing
7. Cure meat in the refrigerator 36°F to 40°F
(1°C - 4°C). At colder temperatures, meat will not cure properly.
Warmer temperatures encourage growth of spoilage microorganisms.
8. After curing, meat and poultry are still raw
and must be cooked before being eaten. For your convenience, most
recipes include suggested cooking instructions. Should you decide
to give a home-cured delicacy as a gift, let the recipient know
if you have cooked it.
9. Cured meat turns a pink or reddish color when
cooked. If meat is fully cured, it will be pink throughout the
cut. For poultry, use a meat thermometer to determine doneness,
as meat will appear light pink when fully cooked.