Prague powder

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ssorllih
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Prague powder

Post by ssorllih » Tue Sep 11, 2012 02:20

I am going to ask a question for which there may be no answer. Why is cure#1 called "prague powder" and not "berlin powder" or "warsaw powder"? I have endeavored to learn this answer but with no success.
Ross- tightwad home cook
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Tue Sep 11, 2012 02:43

I've often wondered about that myself and I do remember the Powder Tower in Prague when I was there many many years ago, before it was a trendy and expensive place to visit. I can only speculate that a Czech was involved when they were developing the 6.25% formula or the name just sounded cool. But it would certainly be interesting to find out.
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Post by Baconologist » Tue Sep 11, 2012 03:08

I have no idea how they came up with the name, but I do know for a fact that "Prague Powder" or "Griffith's Prague Powder" were trademarked brand names belonging to Griffith Labratories, Inc. makers of curing salts. Rytek Kutas is the guy who really promoted the stuff, but I've found references to Prague Powder clear back to the early 1950's.

This history sums it up:

http://www.griffithlaboratories.com/History
Last edited by Baconologist on Tue Sep 11, 2012 03:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Chuckwagon » Tue Sep 11, 2012 03:22

Ross,
In the early 1900s, Enoch Luther (E.L.) Griffith and his son, Carroll Luther (C.L.), opened a pharmaceutical business after C.L. graduated from the Northwestern University School of Pharmacology. Both men worked hard to establish Griffith Laboratories focusing on "bringing science to the food industry." During the 1920`s, the men worked on quick-curing meats using a new German meat-pumping process and something the Germans called Prague "salt". During the 30`s they developed the Prague Pickling Scale, a ham press, dry soluble seasonings, and specialized antioxidants. They also came up with an answer to a problem that had previously just plagued meat processors - how to intersperse sodium nitrate and nitrite into salt evenly with homogeneous and consistently unvarying uniformity. Before their invention (Prague Powder), the nitrates-nitrites would settle to the bottom of the barrels of salt during shipping etc. Uniformly mixing batches by local sausage makers was almost an impossibility. Then, C.L. Griffith had the idea that he could somehow "flash dry" or "freeze dry" the nitrates and nitrites onto salt crystals (German Prague Salts) on huge rollers. The product was enormously successful and his "Prague Powders" became a household word to small sausage-making concerns everywhere in the world. For the first time, it was possible to measure exactly the amount required. So, we see that the term Prague Powder was developed from German "Prague Salt".
The company has continued to thrive over the decades, even producing products globally. As far as I know, their headquarters are still in the town of Alsip, Illinois where I still do business with another very fine firm called Peterson Electro Musical Products (piano tuning stroboscopic equipment). What a great town! It`s a suburb of Chicago with a population of less than 20,000... although not many horse wranglers among them.
Griffith laboratories has made a remarkable contribution to our sausage-making craft over the years. Without their expertise, I would hate to think of how we would be managing nitrates and nitrites in smaller, hobbyist applications.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
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Post by ssorllih » Tue Sep 11, 2012 04:36

Thank you . You are a true scholar!
Ross- tightwad home cook
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