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Recent Posts

  • Seasoning and Additives Seasoning and Additives 105 - Common Additives

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Liquid Smoke Liquid Smoke What Are Additives?

    Additives refer to any ingredients added to your product that serve a function other than taste. The reasons for adding this can be moisture retention and yield enhancement, cure acceleration, color enhancement, meat binding just to name a few. Familiarity with these products can help you make a better product and might ease some of your concerns when reading ingredient labels on store-bought packages.

    Moisture Retaining Additives

    Additives with moisture retaining properties include Cold Phosphate, Corn Syrup Solids, Dairy Blend and Sodium Tripoly Phosphate. These products are designed to allow the meat to more effectively bond the water so that it stays in the product during the cooking process. This will give you a finished product with more moisture and is especially important in products with a lower fat content. These products also act as yield enhancers as the more water that is bound up in the product the more volume and weight it will have. For the beginner who wants to use one of these products, I would recommend Cold Phosphate, just be sure to check the ingredients on the seasoning you are using first to ensure that it does not already contain phosphates, as adding too much phosphate can give your product a soapy flavor.

    Cure Accelerator

    Cure accelerators interact with the cure in a way that speeds up its conversion from Nitrite to nitric oxide gas and allows you to go directly from stuffing to the smokehouse. When these are used you do not need to hold your product overnight to allow the cure time to work. Cure Excellerator from Excalibur and Sodium Erythorbate are cure accelerators that have minimal if any, the effect on taste. Encapsulated Citric Acid acts as both a cure accelerator and a pH reducer, it is what gives meat snacks that nice tang. Smoked Meat Stabilizer should be used mostly with wild game and should not be used in a cover pickle, as it will gas out rapidly and create a dangerous cloud of gas, it should not be used in products that you are adding water to assist in mixing. just mix it in when making sausage or snack sticks and it will kill bacteria faster than it can reproduce. For the beginner, I would recommend encapsulated citric acid.

    Liquid Smokes

    Liquid Smokes are popular color enhancers that are sprayed on during the smoking process to give meat the nice smoked appearance. Two common types of this are C-10 and Supreme Smoke and are often used with Hams, Bacons or any other smoked whole muscle meat. Pn-9 Liquid smoke is another type that has a neutral pH but really should only be used in a smokehouse that can atomize it for spraying. Cures also have a coloring factor but we will get into that in later videos.

    Meat Binders

    Meat Binders like Soy Protein Blend and Sure Gel contain some protein which will make protein extraction more efficient as more of it will be available. The Soy Protein blend has a grain or cereal like appearance and will look like oats if you soak it in water but it will dissolve into your product so it will not leave any noticeably different consistency. Both of these have allergens in them though so you need to be somewhat careful with that. Carrot Fiber is a binder that is able to hold 26 times its weight in water, is allergen free, inexpensive and imparts very little if any, taste into your cooked product. Any of these products are going to improve the texture of your finished product.

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  • Seasoning and Additives Seasoning and Additives 104 - Sure Cure

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Sure Cure A Quick History

    Man has been curing meat for thousands of years. After slaughtering animals leftover meat would be packed in salt for longterm storage and the combination of salt and nitrites present in the salt-cured the meat. As scientific ability advanced it was noted that nitrites and nitrates were useful in setting a nice pinkish color into cured meats and saltpeter became a common ingredient in meat processing. Today we use a more refined version, Sodium Nitrite that is safer to work with.

    What Is Sure Cure

    If you have used other brands than Excalibur in the past you have probably used a cure called either Prague Powder #1, Instacure or Modern Cure. All of these are basically the same thing, sure cure is just Excalibur’s name for it. It is in this little orange bag that is sent along with any meat snack that is designed to be cured and none of these products would be safe to eat if we hadn’t used it. Sure Cure will appear pink because food coloring has been added to it to prevent any mix-ups with other seasoning or cures. The main ingredient in Sure Cure is salt, not the curing agent which is Nitrites. Large volumes of salt are added during production to make measuring the correct amount of nitrites easier.

    Why Use Sure Cure

    There are a few reasons you want to add Sure Cure to a smoked meat product. The main reason is that it retards the growth of Botulism spores in your meat. Botulism is a potentially fatal toxin and is one of the main causes of food poisoning in the US. The environment you create when you smoke a restructured meat product like a snack stick or summer sausage is perfect for the growth of botulism spores. It is moist and hot but not hot enough to kill the Spores which can withstand temperatures of above 200 degrees. No one wants to cook their meat to that temperature, you would most likely end up with a dried out and burned product.

    Other Benefits

    Sure cure is also effective in preserving the smoke and spice flavor in a cured product and it fights off rancidity and a warmed over flavor. Have you ever made a London broil, put the leftovers in the fridge and then reheated it? You notice a significant difference in the taste right? That is the warmed-over flavor we are referring to.

    Availability

    Excalibur packages the sure cure into the cases with any seasoning that is designed to be smoked. For 25 lb batches they include the 1 oz package and for 100 lb packages, they include a 4 oz package. You can also purchase sure cure in 5 lb bags or 50 lb boxes.

    Future Articles

    In future, more advanced classes we will go over some of the stigmas that surround Nitrites and Nitrates.

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Jerky Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Summer Sausage Seasoning Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Cures

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  • Seasoning and Additives Seasoning and Additives 103 - The Importance of Salt

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Salt Why Is Salt So Important?

    What spices are used in a seasoning will differ from product to product and between flavor profile but the #1 ingredient in almost every seasoning will be Salt. Aside from being very useful as a flavoring agent, it is also used as a preservative, and it has some other benefits and uses as well. Salt is used to enhance flavor and improve the basic meaty taste. Salt can reduce the bitterness of certain flavors and enhance the sweetness in other flavors if you’ve ever heard of people salting watermelon or chocolate milk this is why they do it. If you’ve never done that I suggest you try it, it will give you a better understanding of this. Basically, the presence of salt activates or tricks a taste receptor in your mouth into being more sensitive to a sweet flavor.

    Salt is typically known as Sodium Chloride, and the sodium in salt is what gives flavor, while the Chloride is what provides most of the other functionality in salt. It is also one of the oldest forms of preservation and still plays an important role in increasing shelf-life of meats and other food products. It can reduce and prevent the growth of microbes, which in turn increases the shelf-life of food products. Salt can also inhibit pathogens during the fermentation process in meat snacks, and it cooperates with nitrites in preservation, and when both salt and nitrite are used in the correct levels, they can increase the effectiveness of preservation by 3 to 5 times compared to just using one or the other. Salt also increases the water holding capacity of meat products, which allows for a greater yield in the final product, plus a moister texture and juicier final product.

    Other Benefits

    Another benefit of salt is the binding and meat emulsifying functions it provides. Salt can help water, fat, and proteins bind together more efficiently and produce a better texture in processed meats. Finally, we get to appropriate usage levels for salt in meat products. Salt in seasoning added to meat products is typically added at a usage level of 1.6% to 2.2%. 1.6% is what might be suggested as the lowest limit of usage where the flavor is truly impacted in a meaningful way to really be able to taste the effect. From 2 up to 2.2% is the amount typically seen and used that most people will find most beneficial from a taste aspect. Some sausage formulations may be less than 2.2% and some meat products up to a 3% usage level though. It still does depend on the type of meat product being created.
    Overall, salt is used in meat products for the flavor enhancement, preservation and shelf-life benefits, plus for the benefits in binding proteins and added water holding capacity.

    Isn’t Salt A Mineral?

    Technically yes, Salt is not a spice or seasoning, it is a mineral and because of this, it does not lose its flavor over time. However, for our purposes, we refer to it as a spice as that is what it is most commonly used for in our industry.

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Jerky Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Summer Sausage Seasoning Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Cures

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  • Seasoning and Additives Seasoning & Additives 102 Shelf Life and Storage

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Mixing in seasoning What Is The Shelf Life of Seasonings

    Most Excalibur seasonings come with a 2 year best if used by date that will be printed right here on the bag. This does not mean that on that date any remaining seasoning must be thrown out, but it does mean that it has reached the end of its peak efficiency and should either be used shortly or discarded. This 2-year time frame assumes that the seasoning is still in its original package and has been properly stored during this time.

    Mixing in seasoning What Are Signs That Seasoning Has Expired

    Once the seasonings have aged they can start to harden and take on the form of the bag, become excessively dry and lose their freshness resulting in a finished product that lacks a full flavor profile. The seasoning will also fade in color, this is especially true if it has been exposed to direct sunlight. Now as hard as this seasoning has become that does not necessarily mean it can’t be used, we could fairly easily break this up and still use it but depending on how old it is, it might not give us the best product.

    Mixing in seasoning What’s the Best Way To Increase Shelf-Life

    The best way to store packaged, bulk or shaker seasonings is to put them in a cool and dry environment. A pantry or cabinet that maintains a steady temp between 60-70° and a low humidity level is ideal for long-term storage. The best way to keep that seasoning as fresh as you can is to first be careful when measuring out the amount you are going to us. Make sure you are measuring the seasoning in a low humidity temperature controlled environment, right in front of your stove while boiling a pot of water would NOT be a good choice, the dining room table in the out of direct sunlight with no direct heat sources is a better choice.

    How Should You Store Remaining Seasoning?

    If you have purchased a bag of seasoning that was designed to season 25 lb of meat but you only used half the bag and made a 12.5 lb batch you don’t have to throw out the rest of that seasoning. You can reseal the seasoning in the same bag it came in if you have a Vacuum Sealer or impulse sealer. This will not remove all of the oxygen in the bag, just reseal the bag. If you know it is going to be more than a few months until you use the remaining seasoning then Vacuum Sealing it in a vacuum bag is the ideal way to store it.

    Other Notes

    If you use a vacuum sealer to reseal your seasoning bags you need to check your vacuum chamber to make sure there is not spilled seasoning inside the machine. This applies for either Chambered or Non=Chambered vacuum machines. With a Chambered Machine you can run a damp cloth or cleaning wipe around the chamber and it will pick up any loose seasoning. With a Non-Chambered Vacuum Machine blowing it out with compressed air is a better idea as the wet wipes could cause build-up in some of the edges.

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  • Seasoning and Additives Seasoning & Additives 101 - Why We Recommend Excalibur Seasonings

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Why We Use Excalibur Pre-Packaged Seasonings

    Excalibur seasonings have many qualities that set them apart from other seasoning companies, one of the main benefits is their SQF level 3 certification. Having that certification means that Excalibur has put their ingredients, their processing, and their facility through rigorous testing and retesting to ensure that they are producing the safest and highest quality ingredients possible.

    Mixing in seasoning

    Every input and output is assigned a lot # that is printed on each label and it is put through tests to compare it to previous lot #s to make sure that it measures up to the previous batches in consistency, quality, and taste. This helps ensure that your favorite seasoning will taste just as great this time as last time and next time.

    Excalibur also has a Research and Development lab that works tirelessly to perfect the seasonings that they make and to try to make improvements to their production practices to ensure excellent seasoning taste and quality.

    Excalibur has also created packages of seasoning that are perfectly designed to season specific amounts of meat ranging from 5 lb to 100 lb. These prepackaged seasonings have the correct amount of salt, spices, and seasonings to give you the best consistency, appearance and most importantly taste possible!

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Jerky Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Summer Sausage Seasoning

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