Morton Tender Quick

For meats, poultry and fish, Morton Tender Quick is a mixture of curing salts and other ingredients. Many types of cured meat products can be made with with Tender Quick.

Tender Quick is available at most larger grocery stores, or can be purchased online. According to the package label, it's a blend of "salt, sugar, and meat curing ingredients. The complete listing of ingredients includes:



  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • 0.5% Sodium Nitrite (preservative)
  • 0.5% Sodium Nitrate (preservative)
  • Propylene Glycol


Curing Small Cuts of Meat in the Kitchen

It can be used to cure pork chops, pork ribs,chicken and other small cuts of meat by using 1 tablespoon of Tender Quick per pound of meat. Rub the cure mix into the meat or chicken thoroughly. Place it in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerate for 4-8 hours. Rinse the meat well in cold, running water just before cooking...which would mean smoking or barbecuing for our intents and purposes.




Brining With Tender Quick®

To make a brine, dissolve 1 cup of Tender Quick in 4 cups of water. Place the meat or poultry in the brine and refrigerate it for 24 hours.




How I Use Tender Quick

Making Poultry Brine Safer - I add 1 tablespoon of Tender Quick to each gallon of brine. It inhibits bacterial activity, which is especially important when smoking. Poultry, with all its nooks and crannies, can be in the danger zone (between 40-140°F) for an extended period. The Tender Quick prevents bacterial growth during that time.

Curing Homemade Sausages - 2 teaspoons of Tender Quick are added to each pound of seasoned ground meat. The sausage is refrigerated for three days, and mixed twice each day. It's then stuffed in casings and smoked, or processed according to the recipe.

Making Canadian Bacon - Trim a whole pork loin of all membranes and sinews. Use 1 tablespoon of Tender Quick and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar per pound of meat. Rub in the Tender Quick, and pack the sugar around the loin. Place it all in a large freezer bag and refrigerate for 6 days. Gently redistribute the sugar and Tender Quick twice a day to ensure even curing. Remove the loin, rinse well, and smoke gradually up to 155°F. Allow it to rest 20 minutes before refrigerating. It's completely cooked and ready to eat.

Making a Hammy Turkey - Make a turkey brine of 2 gallons water, 2 cups Tender Quick, and 2 cups brown sugar. Brine the turkey for 3 full days, then rinse the turkey for 2 days, letting it sit in a buckets of fresh, cold water. Replace that water every 12 hours during the 2 day rinse. Dry the turkey off, then smoke it until the thigh reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Morton Tender Quick is also used for curing large cuts, like hams and pork picnics. It's necessary to inject brine into the meat, especially getting it around the joints. This injection process is called "pumping pickle".


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