Ground Jerky, Salt, and Morton's Tender Quick


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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Ground Jerky, Salt, and Morton's Tender Quick

    I need to figure out if anyone knows for sure how to use Morton's Tender Quick in ground meat jerky. I've spent a couple days trying to find a definitive answer. I don't want to risk getting sick from bacteria, and I don't want to overdo it on salt and nitrites and nitrates.

    Morton's Tender Quick is salt, sugar, and nitrite and nitrate. It's a relatively weak, diluted cure. The company's web site is no help on how to use it to cure ground meat.

    In theory, in order to kill e-coli and other nasties, you use nitrite and nitrate and it works its way through the ground meat by osmosis or some other magic. The butcher shops use prague #1 or prague #2 which are nitrite/nitrates in higher concentrations than Mortons to make dry cured sausages.

    I've been making ground deer jerky for a year. I started using prepackaged spices that have the spice packet and the "cure" packet. I moved on to using recipes for jerky, most of which did not include a cure, only salt. I am sure lots of people make jerky without a cure other than salt, but I am worried about my butcher having some e-coli issues when he grinds my deer. Just seems inevitable.

    Some recipes called for a teaspoon of cure and two teaspoons of salt per pound. Using my typically foggy logic, I figured that if I used three teaspoons of Morton's TQ per pound I'd end up in about the same spot.... that's what I've been doing, I haven't gotten sick, but I am thinking that I might be over nitriting myself or under treating the meat....

    So, does anyone know how to properly use the Tender Quick for ground meat jerky recipes?

    Using a dehydrator or other heat source that quickly reaches 160 would make this discussion irrelevant, but my dehydrator gets to only 150 and it takes about 6 hours to get to that temperature.
    Last edited by Rford; August 29th, 2009 at 12:01 AM. Reason: adding

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Help Yourself....

    I received this email response from Morton's Salt Company. Most recipes I've seen call for one tablespoon of salt for each pound of ground meat. So basically, substitute Morton's Quick Cure for the salt in the recipe and call it good. That's easy enough.

    From: Antoinette M Floyd [] On Behalf Of SaltInfo
    Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 11:10 AM
    To:; Ford, Robert, LGL
    Subject: Re: Feedback from Consumer Affairs,Recipes

    Thank you for contacting Morton Salt.

    Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding Morton "Meat Curing" products. Generally, as a rule of thumb, with jerky making, for every pound of meat use 1 Tablespoon of "Tender Quick" mix. Our recipes do not combine salt and meat curing products, either one or the other should be used to prevent over-use.


    Consumer Affairs

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