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  #20  
Old 01-08-2014, 12:25 AM
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I'm still a bit confused.... Been reading a lot tonight and it seems to be general consensus that smoking sausage hot or cold should be cured. Guess it is just a precautionary thing for hot smoking and maybe has something to do with the additional risks of ground meat. On the flip side it sounds like the solid muscle meats (butts, briskets, ribs) are generally safe from needing cure due to the "protection" offered by the quick cooking of the outside layer of the meat. The confusing part is that botulism thrives between 40-140 F ---- yet we are to cure hot smoked sausage that spends the least amount of time at that temperature but not butts or brisket which spend mush longer times at that temp. Bacon and hams are more logical-- cure required because of long, low temp cold smoking.
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  #21  
Old 01-08-2014, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ljw70 View Post
I'm still a bit confused.... Been reading a lot tonight and it seems to be general consensus that smoking sausage hot or cold should be cured. Guess it is just a precautionary thing for hot smoking and maybe has something to do with the additional risks of ground meat. On the flip side it sounds like the solid muscle meats (butts, briskets, ribs) are generally safe from needing cure due to the "protection" offered by the quick cooking of the outside layer of the meat. The confusing part is that botulism thrives between 40-140 F ---- yet we are to cure hot smoked sausage that spends the least amount of time at that temperature but not butts or brisket which spend mush longer times at that temp. Bacon and hams are more logical-- cure required because of long, low temp cold smoking.
yep you are definitely confused.

okay. solid muscle meat - as long as it's been kept at proper temperature - is extremely unlikely to have any serious internal contamination. The most important contamination area is the surface of the meat. And that gets hot enough to kill bacteria very quickly.

With Ground meat products all the surface bacteria are mixed thoroughly throughout the meat when you grind and mix. So the cure is required to kill and inhibit their growth.

It's not botulism that's the main baddy here. Botulism is caused by an anerobic bacteria that secretes the worlds most potent naturally occuring toxin (it also secretes hydrogen sulphide - so is extremely easy to detect). It's only really ever going to be an issue in totally sealed items like canned fish or canned meat that hasn't been heat treated properly. ie: oxygen kills botulinin bacteria as does heat. Botulism is the least of your worries.

Hot smoking fresh sausage is not actually a problem. As long as it's hot smoking (250+) and doesn't take much over an hour or two - bacteria are killed before they get the chance to form large colonies.

It does depend on the size of the sausage - ordinary grilling size sausage is fine to hotsmoke uncured. But the larger summer sausage type, should always be cured - regardles of hot or cold smoking. Just too much risk that the core will stay 'warm' for too long.

Cold smoking sausage is a different matter - all the meat will be in the danger area all the time. So cure it, no other sensible option.

Long term slow cooking of ground meat products, will always produce a significant risk bacteria wise. So adding cure to the mix is simply common sense. It might not be strictly necessary - but why take the potential risk with the health of your friends and family.

Another thing to bear in mind is that smoking itself cures the outer layer of the thing being smoked - the pink 'smoke ring' is actually a layer of cured meat produced by the action of nitric oxide in the smoke.

So hot smoked solid muscle meats are double protected without requiring curing.

A simple rule of thumb - any hot smoked sausage that's going to take more than 2 hours to reach 160 internal - needs to be cured. No if's or buts - cure it.
This leaves you plenty of scope for smoking smaller diameter sausage for a bbq - but makes sure larger sausages like summer sausage types are cured.

Now this might seem to indicate that things like fatties and meatloaf should always be cured. But smoked at 250+ a typical fatty or meatloaf will usually cook in under 2 hours anyway.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:41 AM
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Excellent - thanks!
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:48 AM
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[QUOTE=curious aardvark;472865]
It's not botulism that's the main baddy here.

QUOTE]

So what is the "baddy"?
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:50 PM
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[QUOTE=ljw70;472930]
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Originally Posted by curious aardvark View Post
It's not botulism that's the main baddy here.

QUOTE]

So what is the "baddy"?
E-coli, listeria, salmonella...etc... plenty of them out there.
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:34 PM
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[QUOTE=Richtee;472950]
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Originally Posted by ljw70 View Post

E-coli, listeria, salmonella...etc... plenty of them out there.
It is generally agreed upon that sodium nitrite is not considered effective for controlling gram-negative enteric pathogens such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli

http://www.meatscience.org/SodiumNitriteReview.aspx
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:42 PM
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[QUOTE=ljw70;472979]
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It is generally agreed upon that sodium nitrite is not considered effective for controlling gram-negative enteric pathogens such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli

http://www.meatscience.org/SodiumNitriteReview.aspx
Dint mean to infer that it was. But processing any meat correctly is..IE temps, time to temp and final temps. All part of the equation.

You asked. We provided.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:06 PM
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Got it, thanks for all the info. :-)
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  #28  
Old 01-09-2014, 08:25 AM
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[QUOTE=ljw70;472979]
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Originally Posted by Richtee View Post

It is generally agreed upon that sodium nitrite is not considered effective for controlling gram-negative enteric pathogens such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli

http://www.meatscience.org/SodiumNitriteReview.aspx
these are mainly bacteria passed to other people by personal contamination. Also common on badly washed salads, cheeses etc.

And yes nitrite will control them to a certain extent as it effects proteins as well as haemoglobin.

But like rich says - common sense, hygiene and temperature control are the best weapons against this kind of bacteria.

Let's put it this way: if you wash your hands properly before and after handling food - you are massively less likely to suffer food poisoning or cause it in someone else.

There is no one single magic bullet.

Cure helps - certainly, but then so does reducing the active water content (aw) of the product by drying, cooking also kills bacteria, salt content also reduces bacterial growth by reducing the AW.

AW is the water in a product available to bacteria - reduce it and you reduce bacterial growth.
Then you've got the acidity of the product.
NON-toxic Bacteria in salami produce lactic acid that not only chemically effects the proteins (almost 'cooking' it) but also lowers the ph of the sausage, preventing acid sensitive bacteria from growing.

There are a whole slew of factors and processes that are used to make charcuterie safe to eat. And they are techniques that have been used for thousands of years - admittedly our ancestors did not know why they worked - but they did know what to do to preserve their food.

Today we are learning more and more about charcuterie on a molecular level.

200 years ago you'd use unrefined salt to cure your meat and it would work. Today it still works, but we know WHY and we know how to emphasise the beneficial aspects of the process and reduce the non-effective ones.

The summary from the paper you linked to:
Quote:
Executive Summary
Curing with nitrite has been used, essentially, for thousands of years to produce safe and nutritious products and to effectively preserve meat. Since the controversies about the safety of nitrite that started in the mid-20th century, much has been learned about nitrite and heme chemistry and the overall metabolism of nitrogen oxides in humans.
Curing practices in the meat and poultry industries have been adjusted using the knowledge obtained about nitrosamine risks. The ongoing research focused on the metabolism of nitric oxide, nitrite, and nitrate appears to reaffirm the safety and benefits of current curing practices.
The challenge to meat scientists is two-fold.

First, is to continually broaden their understanding of curing in the context of human physiology and metabolism of nitrite and to keep current on the medical literature in this area.
The second is to effectively educate a broad community of public health scientists, nutritionists, and the general public about the fundamental role of nitrite in biology in order to address their unfounded fears and concerns about adverse health effects from consuming cured meat and poultry products.
In a nutshell: Cure works and doesn't kill you
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