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:
- Medley Hills Farm Prague Powder Curing Salt #1
- Morton Tender Quick Home Meat Cure
- Wishful Seasoning Pink Curing Salt
- Gourmet Imports D.Q. Curing Salts
- The Sausage Maker Insta Cure Prague Powder #1
- TextureStar Prague Powder #1 Pink Curing Salt
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—a 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.
- Contains 1 lb. of Premium Curing Salt Prague...
- Packaged in resealable Bag.
- Use 1 oz per 25 lb of product or 1 level...
- The basic cure used for hams, turkeys, fish,...
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.
- Reasonable price point
- Blends well with other seasonings
- Extremely versatile
- Very lightly colored, so that beef will sometimes remain gray while curing
- ON YOUR TABLE FOR GENERATIONS - Morton has...
- TAILORED FOR YOU - a fast-cure mix so you can...
- JUST A PINCH OR FEW - That’s all it takes...
- MORE MEAT - Morton Tender Quick works...
- JUST A PINCH - That’s all it takes! Take...
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 brining process.
- Bargain value
- Easily found in supermarkets
- Good quality from a recognizable name brand
- Opaque packaging
Bagcan’t be resealed
- Very large size may take a while to get through
- CURE MEAT AT HOME: Do right by your favorite...
- CURE IT ALL: Perfect for poultry, ham, corned...
- HIGH-QUALITY CURING SALT: Regular salt is...
- ENJOY FLAVORFUL, TENDER MEAT: Dry curing meat...
- A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY: With our powerful...
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.
- Affordable price point
- Generous amount
- High quality product
- Container may be too large if you only make jerky occasionally
- Product Size: 1 bag, 1 lb
- Cheese, Foie Gras, Truffles, Wagyu Steaks,...
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).
- Prized by industry professionals
- Durable packaging
Relativelyhigh price point
- Inadequate instructions provided on the label
- Insta Cure #1 is a simple, easy to use curing...
- Curing meat helps to prevent common food...
- Contains 4 oz. of Insta Cure #1, enough to...
- Formerly known as Prague Powder No. 1;The...
- Insta Cure is a Trademark of The Sausage...
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.
What 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.
- Convenient size
- High quality
Extremelyhigh price point Bagcan’t be resealed
- Light color may cause some home cooks to confuse this with regular salt
- PERFECT FOR CURING – Pink curing salt is...
- PRESERVES NATURAL PINK COLOR – Pink curing...
- TYPES OF MEATS – With this curing salt, you...
- PROPER DOSING – Nitrites are toxic in high...
- GREAT VALUE – At 1oz of pink salt per 25lbs...
Each package weighs in at one kilogram (or 2.2 pounds), 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. TextureStar isn’t widely available for home cooks, but it’s a high-quality product that turns out professional-grade smoked and cured meats.
- Good price point
- Lovely color imparts a nice hue to pastrami and corned beef
- Re-sealable package
- Insufficient instructions on
- May be difficult to find
- Color is very similar to Himalayan pink salt
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!
Last update on 2022-06-23
"You might be a redneck if you think that beef jerky and moon pies are two of the major food groups."
-- Jeff Foxworthy