The Best Curing Salt for Beef Jerky

Best Curing Salt for Beef Jerky

If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best salt for curing is, then we recommend the Medley Hills Farm Prague Powder Curing Salt #1. However, if you’d like to learn more about why it’s important to choose the right product, we’ve got you covered there as well.

In this article, we’re going to review the following food dehydrator products that are great for beef jerky:

  1. Medley Hills Farm Prague Powder Curing Salt #1
  2. Morton Tender Quick Home Meat Cure
  3. Wishful Seasoning Pink Curing Salt
  4. Gourmet Imports D.Q. Curing Salts
  5. The Sausage Maker Insta Cure Prague Powder #1
  6. Boise Salt Co. Prague Powder #1

Benefits of Using Curing Salt

Unlike regular table salt, which is used primarily to add flavor to a variety of foods, curing salt has a more specific purpose: It’s meant to draw the toxins out of raw meat products, thereby making them safe to store at room temperature.

While fast-curing salts are used to season meats that will eventually be smoked or otherwise cooked—such as beef jerky—the second category of slow-curing salts is designed for sausages and cured hams that can be eaten without cooking (salami and prosciutto are two examples). It’s important to purchase the correct type, as the ratio of sodium nitrate to sodium nitrate is markedly different in each. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to remember which type you’re looking for: Fast-curing salts are labeled as premium Prague powder #1, while their slow-curing counterparts are recognized by the #2 on the label.

Using a curing salt on your beef jerky will help to impart that savory flavor that is so desirable in dehydrated or smoked meat products. If you opt for a pink curing salt, your meat snacks will also have an appealing reddish hue.

Curing Salt Review Guide

Now that you know why you should make curing salt a staple in your jerky-making arsenal, it’s time to choose a brand. This section is geared toward helping you select the product that suits your individual needs without breaking the bank. To make your decision easier, we’ve included a handy list of pros and cons for each model.

Medley Hills Farm Prague Powder Curing Salt 1 lb - #1 Pink
535 Reviews
Medley Hills Farm Prague Powder Curing Salt 1 lb - #1 Pink
  • Contains 1 lb. of Premium Curing Salt Prague Powder No.1 Pink Curing Salt. Also Known as pink salt , DQ curing salt , curing salt #1 prague powder no. 1 or Instacure no. 1
  • Packaged in resealable Bag.
  • Use 1 oz per 25 lb of product or 1 level teaspoon per 5 lb product
  • The basic cure used for hams, turkeys, fish, smoked sausage. 6.25% sodium nitrite.

This offering from Medley Hills farm is technically a pink curing salt, but the color is slight and doesn’t always make a noticeable difference in the appearance of the meat. This can be off-putting to those who equate a deep reddish color to properly preserved meat, but on the plus side, it does work well with other seasonings. Also, while it makes terrific corned beef and pastrami, it can also be used for ham and turkey or even fish.

The re-sealable Ziploc bag is easy to store and has a price point within expectations. If you can get past the light color, this product is well worth looking into.

Pros:

  • Reasonable price point
  • Blends well with other seasonings
  • Extremely versatile

Cons:

  • Very lightly colored, so that beef will sometimes remain gray while curing
Morton Curing Salt, Tender Quick Home Meat Cure, 2 Pound
3,161 Reviews
Morton Curing Salt, Tender Quick Home Meat Cure, 2 Pound
  • ON YOUR TABLE FOR GENERATIONS - Morton has been a household staple since 1848.
  • TAILORED FOR YOU - a fast-cure mix so you can cure meat, poultry or game right in your own kitchen
  • JUST A PINCH OR FEW -  That’s all it takes to give meats a tasty cured flavor and characteristic pink color
  • MORE MEAT - Morton Tender Quick works particularly well with small cuts of meat, such as pork chops, spareribs and poultry
  • JUST A PINCH - That’s all it takes! Take your meal to the next level with Morton.

Morton is a big name in the world of salt products, as anyone who’s ever outfitted a simple spice rack can attest. Their entry into the quick-curing game delivers on all the levels you would expect, nothing more and nothing less.

For a generous two-pound package, the price is certainly nothing to argue with. The only real issue lies with the packaging, which is completely opaque—meaning that consumers can’t see the salt’s color from the outside. However, those who are brave enough to make the purchase blindly will be pleased with the results, especially when making pastrami or Canadian bacon.

Finally, as Morton is such a ubiquitous presence, this salt is likely to be one of the easiest to find. Note that with this product (as with most fast-curing salts), refrigeration is still required during the bringing process.

Pros:

  • Bargain value
  • Easily found in supermarkets
  • Good quality from a recognizable name brand

Cons:

  • Opaque packaging
  • Bag can’t be resealed
  • Very large size may take a while to get through
Wishful Curing Salt #1 [2.5 lbs bag] Pink Curing Salt, Prague Powder 1, 6.25% Sodium Nitrite 'Insta Cure' for Game, Bacon, Sausage, Ham, Jerky Cure, Corned Beef, Quick, Bulk, Made in USA
3,508 Reviews
Wishful Curing Salt #1 [2.5 lbs bag] Pink Curing Salt, Prague Powder 1, 6.25% Sodium Nitrite "Insta Cure" for Game, Bacon, Sausage, Ham, Jerky Cure, Corned Beef, Quick, Bulk, Made in USA
  • CURE MEAT AT HOME: Do right by your favorite meats with this 2.5 lb salt pouch of our Wishful Seasoning Pink Curing Salt. Also known as Prague Powder #1, tinted cure, quick cure salt, saltpeter for curing meat, or curing salt #1, our pink salt helps you tenderize and impart flavors to meat and pickles as you preserve them, too.
  • CURE MEAT AT HOME: Do right by your favorite meats with this 2.5 lb salt pouch of our Wishful Seasoning Pink Curing Salt. Also known as Prague Powder #1, tinted cure, quick cure salt, saltpeter for curing meat, or curing salt #1, our pink salt helps you tenderize and impart flavors to meat and pickles as you preserve them, too.
  • CURE IT ALL: Perfect for poultry, ham, corned beef, sausage, fish, salami, bacon salt, jerky, and more, our pink curing salt for meat preserves your favorites with the addition of helpful nitrites, which prevent the bad stuff from growing while adding flavor to your food!
  • HIGH-QUALITY CURING SALT: Regular salt is made from pure sodium chloride, while our pink Prague Powder 1 curing salt is made with 6.25% sodium nitrite, perfect for curing different meats. When it comes to our curing salt tender quick deliciousness is our specialty.
  • ENJOY FLAVORFUL, TENDER MEAT: Dry curing meat salt doesn’t just extend the shelf life of your favorite meats — it also tenderizes it and provides a rich, enhanced flavor! Combine the seasoning salt with your choice of sugar and spices for a mouthwatering culinary creation you can enjoy again and again.

Folks who regularly turn out large batches of jerky and smoked sausage will be thrilled with this bargain offering, which provides 2.5 pounds of high-quality pink curing salt. At this weight, the ultra-concentrated formula should be enough to season up to one thousand pounds of meat. This may sound daunting to casual jerky fans who only make a few batches per year, but the good news is that the salt will last forever if stored properly.

The re-sealable bag is excellent at keeping out moisture, so proper storage should be easy enough. As for quality, Wishful Seasoning’s headquarters is located in Houston, Texas—smack-dab in cattle country, where they know a thing or two about beef jerky.

Pros:

  • Affordable price point
  • Generous amount
  • High-quality product

Cons:

  • Container may be too large if you only make jerky occasionally
D.Q. Curing Salts - Pink Salt - 1 bag, 1 lb
235 Reviews
D.Q. Curing Salts - Pink Salt - 1 bag, 1 lb
  • Product Size: 1 bag, 1 lb
  • Cheese, Foie Gras, Truffles, Wagyu Steaks, Baking Products, Spices, Oils, Balsamic Vinegars and more

Gourmet Imports is a company with a solid reputation in the food service industry, offering delicacies like foie gras and truffles in addition to their spices and baking products. Even professional chefs give high marks to this curing salt, which is especially effective when it comes to transforming a humble pork belly into mouthwatering bacon.

The packaging is durable enough, but the company must assume that everyone who’s purchasing the salt already knows what they’re doing because the labeling doesn’t offer much in the way of instruction. As a rule of thumb, be aware that one ounce of curing salt is enough to season 25 pounds of meat (for five pounds, use a single tablespoon).

Pros:

  • Prized by industry professionals
  • Durable packaging

Cons:

  • Relatively high price point
  • Inadequate instructions provided on the label
Insta Cure #1 (Prague Powder 1) - Curing Salt for Meat and Sausage - 4 oz. - The Sausage Maker
375 Reviews
Insta Cure #1 (Prague Powder 1) - Curing Salt for Meat and Sausage - 4 oz. - The Sausage Maker
  • Insta Cure #1 is a simple, easy to use curing agent for meats that require cooking, brining (wet curing), smoking, or canning. This includes jerky, ham, bacon, brisket, sausage, snack sticks, corned beef, pâtés, pastrami, luncheon meats, meat loaves, poultry, fish and more
  • Curing meat helps to prevent common food borne illnesses associated with trapped air in meat mixture. For use on low & slow smoked/cooked meats with a short curing window
  • Contains 4 oz. of Insta Cure #1, enough to process approximately 120 lbs. of meat
  • Formerly known as Prague Powder No. 1;The Sausage Maker recommends using 1 level teaspoon per 5 lbs. of ground meat. Recipes may call generic names such as “curing salt"
  • Insta Cure is a Trademark of The Sausage Maker Inc. Made in USA

Like the Medley Hills Farm offering, this option is extremely light in color—enough so that you might not recognize it as a curing salt at first glance. The package contains four ounces, which is enough to season a hundred pounds of meat. That’s a small amount by industry standards, but it may be sufficient if you don’t make jerky or other cured meats that often.

If you grew up on a farm or otherwise consumed a lot of homemade corned beef and pastrami as a child, this curing salt will make you feel right at home. The major downside is the price, which is expensive and contains just 4 ounces of salt. It’s difficult to justify spending this much on such a small amount when there are plenty of more cost-effective options out there.

With the smaller packaging and the lighter color, it’s easy to confuse this salt with other seasonings or to mistake it for table salt. Be sure everyone in the household understands that it’s to be used for curing purposes only. Fortunately, the package also includes clear, easy-to-read instructions.

Pros:

  • Convenient size
  • High quality

Cons:

  • Extremely high price point
  • Bag can’t be resealed
  • Light color may cause some home cooks to confuse this with regular salt
Boise Salt Co. Prague Powder #1 Premium Pink Curing Salt - 4 oz Resealable Pouch
2,342 Reviews
Boise Salt Co. Prague Powder #1 Premium Pink Curing Salt - 4 oz Resealable Pouch
  • Gives cured meats a distinctive salty taste.
  • 1oz is enough for 25lbs of meat
  • Characteristics: Light pink, fine-textured grain
  • Ingredients: Salt, Sodium Nitrite, FD&C Red #3.
  • Use per instruction and only in very small quantities Prague Power #1 is NOT appropriate for long-cured and dry-cured products.

Each package weighs in at 113 grams, this is one of the best values on our list. The rosy color makes this an excellent choice for pastrami, but it will also season your jerky like a pro. Beware of keeping it too close to the Himalayan pink salt on your spice shelf—the colors are similar enough to make you easily confuse the two.

The instructions on the conveniently re-sealable package are somewhat vague, but if you order through an online big-box retailer (such as Amazon), they’ll provide you with all the information you need. Boise Salt Co isn’t widely available for home cooks, but it’s a high-quality product that turns out professional-grade smoked and cured meats.

Pros:

  • Good price point
  • Lovely color imparts a nice hue to pastrami and corned beef
  • Re-sealable package

Cons:

  • Insufficient instructions on the package
  • It is harder to find

Conclusion

You may notice that high-quality curing salts have many things in common, which can make it difficult to narrow down your choices. However, when used properly, all of the products listed above will keep your homemade meat products from spoiling and will ultimately deliver the savory results that you crave.

While we personally feel that the Medley Hills Farm Prague Powder Curing Salt #1 delivers on more levels than the rest (unless you prefer your curing salt on the redder side of pink), it’s not necessary to rule out the others if your options are limited. As long as you read the instructions carefully, you’re well on your way to becoming a fast-curing expert. Bon appetit!

 

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