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Thread: Question about Venison Corning

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    Member Anythingalaska's Avatar
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    Default Question about Venison Corning

    Hey everyone. The other day I put together a brine for corning some blacktail hindquarter. I added pickling spice and other sugar/spices. This recipe, and most recipes I've read, call for Tender-quick, which as most know is basically a salt and nitrate/nitrite mixture. I didn't have any Tender-quick, so I just substituted the same amount of salt for it. From what I've read, the Tender-quick shouldn't be a necessity for corning venison, as it is just a preservative and maintains the color of the venison? Or did I just ruin a portion of meat? Any advice, feedback? Thanks!

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    G'day Anythingalaska,

    Should be OK.

    Tender Quick as far as I understand will be a pre mix containing common salt and Cure No1.

    Cure No1 is also known as Prague powder No1 and contains common salt & Sodium Nitrite only, no Sodium Nitrate.

    The purpose of the Cure No1 is to guard against bad bacteria and give colour to the meat. ie maintains/ensures a top quality product.

    I too have used brine without Cure No1 and had no problems. Just make sure the venison is well pumped and left in the refrigerated brine long enough. The approx. 2lb to 4lb venison pieces I pickle I like to leave for 2 or 3 days before vacuum packing and freezing.

    To prepare a pickling brine at home a Salinometer (approx $28) is very handy, 40% is quite good and works well for me. Add the spices etc after getting the brine right would be my way of doing it. Adjust to suit your taste.

    No expert btw, just tinker at home over the last 30 years or so.

    (Cure No2 aka Prague Powder No2 is the cure that is made with common salt and both Sodium Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate, it is used in the dry curing process and doesn't involve heat to make the product.)

    Edit..Researched Tender Quick and see it has both Sodium Nitrite & Sodium Nitrate, that's unusual in a fresh meat brine in my experience but obviously common in the US with this product. Learn something every day

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    Member pacific-23's Avatar
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    I corned for years using salt alone. The tender quick just gives a more desirable color and texture. At the end of the day though the flavor is very similar and it will be fine.

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    Member wykee5's Avatar
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    As others have said, the Tender Quick has the nitrate/nitrite combination, which will guard against spoilage, and give the characteristic red color and cured appearance. When you skip this, you remove a safety barrier. That being said, you are still probably curing in the fridge, so your temp should be low combined with the salt and I would guess you will be alright. In the future, you can purchase Tender Quick at the grocery store. It is cheap and easy to use, and I have had no problems curing with it. As others have mentioned, cure #1 also works. If you are going to get into meat curing and such, a book or some internet research would probably be recommended. As you are finding out, there really is no reason to pay someone else to make a product that you can do yourself. Corned meats, pastrami, true salamis, pepperonis, and summer sausages are all something that can be done at home with a bit of research and a minimal amount of equipment. Good for you for taking the initiative to do it yourself.

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    I agree with everything posted above.

    I just finished an elk pastrami and it turned out fantastic. I did use tenderquick and the meat has a nice color and is very tender. I actually used half as much tenderquick as the recipe called for, but I did brine for 7 days.

    In the past I have made cornned elk and elk pastrami without the tenderquick(just pickling salt, pickleing spices, a few bay leaves and some garlic) and it turned out fine except that the color was dull gray and it was less tender.

    Personally, I fell that tenderquick is not required(safety wise) if you are brineing in the fridge and cooking within 5 days of the brineing.

    The results that you will get with home corning are simply amazing. I like to make pastrami for lunch meat, so that is where most of my corned meat goes. But if you cook up some of the corned meat traditional style with cabbage, potatoes and carrots and slather on a dose of mustard you will be as close as you can get to Heaven on earth. And your house will smell so go that you will be tempted to take a bite out of the wall.

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    Member Anythingalaska's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I slow cooked some this evening and it turned out great!

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    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    I prefer to use the tender quick..

    we like the nice red/pink color..

    plus the nitrates do harden the meat to give it that texture we all like.

    Have fun..

    if you get too much salt rinse in clean water.. or -- just add more tators when you are cooking,

    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrown1 View Post
    .........with cabbage, potatoes and carrots and slather on a dose of mustard you will be as close as you can get to Heaven on earth. And your house will smell so go that you will be tempted to take a bite out of the wall.
    My wife makes a white onion sauce with the exact above vegies JB1, then I like a squirt of tomato sauce on top of that.........hmmmm great tucker made from the Sambar deer venison.

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    I prefer to use it, a buddy of mine says it makes no difference. I do not come over when he says he is making his for dinner. It is gray, and drier, and the consistency is like a salty overcooked roast.

    But, hey that's just me.

    If you get your hands on a larger animal....black bear, caribou or better yet a moose. Carve off the brisket and save that for corning. The right spices and the right cut of meat and you have corned meat that is better than fatty old beef (although with moose you can leave the fat in if you wish).

    Also, if you give it a good rinse after it's done curing, you can pressure can it and then put it over hash to make corned deer hash.....it is to die for. Last a while in the freezer as well of course. Love this stuff.

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Never used the tenderquick in any of my corned brisket or cured meat. It may not come out as a marketable color, but the whole point (to me at least) of curing and processing your own meats is to NOT have the saltpeter in it.
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