EDIT: I originally (incorrectly) asked this question re: capsaicin; but found that the actual compound of concern in black pepper is "piperine".

This question originates on a forum dedicated to the art of "Makin' Bacon", in which "Cure #2" a.k.a. "Prague Powder #2", is used. It contains 6.25% sodium nitrite, 4% sodium nitrate, and 89.75% table salt. It is typically combined with additional table salt and sugar, and applied as a dry cure to pork belly. The question is posed as: will the addition of Black Pepper (in "significant" quantity) affect the efficacy of the nitrite in accomplishing its intended "curing" effect? For example, by virtue of a (potential) reaction between the pepper and the nitrite (or nitrate), a) could the desired "cure" be compromised, or b) could there be undesirable byproducts of any such reaction. As it is impossible to discern whether meat has been "adequately" or "properly" cured by inspection, discerning any negative effects of adding pepper to the process is not easily done (discounting catastrophic cases, of which none (to my knowledge) are reported.

The structure formula of piperine, as shown by wikipedia:

enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Black pepper has zero capsaicin - it's not chilli. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron - My bad! I assumed all peppers' heat was caused by the same compound! So, it's apparently "piperine" that I'm wondering about then. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 15:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Dunno how English can call chilli a pepper and not a paprika, it's dumb, but whatever... You should edit the q. if you don't want it closed. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ Well, there are concerns about using nitrites in food. I think it's best to not use them at all, or at least not much. I doubt anyone analysed it vs piperine specifically and it would be missing the point, but it can nitrosate some stuff, perhaps piperine too, as it is an amide. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ Depending on local law, I assume food inspection is not only a visual check (as in by naked eye), but equally one related to biochemistry/microbiology. After all, preservation / inhibiting the growth of unwanted bacteria is the main goal of curing where NaCl already lifts much (not all) of the weight by dehydration. Because wikipedia's article points to Nitrosyl-heme, I speculate the nitrites' action there is more likely as the heme e.g., from blood (name) probably is in higher concentration than piperine. A nitration of piperine by the nitrites likely requires elevated temperatures, too. $\endgroup$
    – Buttonwood
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 23:38