- Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:58 am
There are a lot of different opinions out there but to be absolutely safe most say you have to use cure which in this case would be sodium nitrite. It is sold under the names Instacure #1, Prague #1, etc. It is very concentrated and also very dangerous at high levels so you have to be careful with it. Another alternative is to use Morton's Tenderquick. It has the nitrites but also contains a lot of salt and sugar so it is diluted and you therefore have less danger of using too much. It is also readily available at most grocery stores. If you use it don't use any other salt with it because it is very salty.
I know it is possible to make a safe product with enough salt and removing the right amount of moisture but if you don't want to do all the research nitrites are the safest. Under no circumstances would I make it without nitrites in a smoker. Temps between 40*F and 140*F without oxygen are the ideal environment for botulism which is odorless, tasteless, and deadly. That sounds like a smoker environment to me.