Sorry for the rant but I get frustrated when someone asks me to to try his or her new nitrate-free “fill in the blank” because he or she thinks it’s healthier.
#2 will allow for a longer cure vs #1, which would not necessarily be needed for corned beef or bacon.
When humans figured out the role naturally appearing nitrates and nitrites play in preserving meat, we did what humans do with our science and technology and synthesized it so we could accurately measure it and make observations. Think of it as an insurance policy for the time and effort we put into homemade charcuterie.
Without being a scientist, I think salt alone would generally be sufficient for whole muscles (as is seemingly apparent from the absence of pink salt in Ruhlman’s recipes), but absolutely critical for products containing ground meat. I highly recommend everyone endeavoring into the world of charcuterie read the Marianski brother’s bible.
I’m sorry I can’t endorse buying 2 tablespoons of #2 for $4, but go buy a pound somewhere for $10 and use it with confidence at .25%.