Addatives Encapsulated Citric Acid

  • Austin I read in your catalog not to regrind meat with encapsulated citric acid could you explain why you should not regrind? We coarse gring into our mixer then add seasonings regrind fine and stuff into cassings from the grinder.
    Also could you explain why do not hold overnight what happens if a emergency came up and you could not smoke right away and you had to hold over night in the fridge?
    Thanks your videos are great.

  • Admin

    Encapsulated citric acid is a citric acid coated with hydrogenated cotton seed oil which melts during thermal processing, releasing the citric acid at the correct time during smoking or cooking. If you re-grind with encapsulated citric acid in the meat product, you risk breaking the encapsulate and not having it release normally and at the correct time. If you had an emergency and had to hold overnight, you probably just make due with what you have. The meat product won’t go bad, but you risk the encapsulate not doing what is supposed to do in this case as well. You will still end up with a sausage that is completely edible in both scenarios, but it may not be in the ideal form and end result you were expecting.

    Hope that helps! Let me know if I can help clarify anything further!

  • @Austin thanks for the quick reply.
    Your explanation was very informative.
    If I put a kidney plate in my grinder and a stuffing tube would that damage the encapsulated citric acid?

  • Admin

    @Papa-Gale That would probably be fine. I’d typically use a Star Stuffing Adapter in that scenario with a grinder, but you could run the grinder without a knife in it and the kidney plate. The plate should hold the auger in place and with the larger holes on the kidney plate, it should minimize any over-working, smearing of meat, or breaking of capsules. Might consider it still slightly less ideal than using a star stuffing adapter or slightly less than using a sausage stuffer, but I’d be confident enough in that process that it would be successful and shouldn’t be a big deal.

    Let me know if I can help with anything else!

  • @Austin does the cotton seed coating melt at 152? I ran a batch with the recommended rate and it was extremely sour vs tangy as I expected. If I didn’t hit my target temp would that have been the issue. I’ve been hesitant ever since or use half the amt. thx Jeff

  • Admin

    @Jnar4 It melts at about 135 F. (Recommended to be above that temp for 1 hour). If you had a problem using it before, you can definitely use less. We recommend 4oz per 25lb of meat, but you’d be fine to use less if you think you want some tanginess but it’s too strong at the normal level. If you wanted, you can remove it from your process entirely. If you don’t use encapsulated citric acid, you just lose the tangy flavor and some of the the shelf stability benefits of having a lower pH, and you may want to then add a different cure accelerator (Smoked Meat Stabilizer) if you cook immediately after stuffing.

    Let me know if I can help with anything more.

  • I made 20 lbs of Summer Sausage with and 20 lbs without ECA. Both batches were my normal recipe. The batches with ECA were definitely tangy…maybe to much.

    I was looking for an alternative to Fermento as the recipe calls. What I have used in the past is Powdered Buttermilk. I have to hold it in the fridge for a couple of days to get the tang I want. ECA is great if don’t want to wait to smoke the meats. I usually need to mix and stuff one day…then smoke another, starting first thing in the morning. That way the batch is finished before I want to go to bed. Has anyone else used powdered buttermilk?

  • Admin

    If the ECA was too tangy, you can just use less, if you are happy with the results of your sausage else wise.
    The amount we typically recommend (4 oz per 25 lb meat) is at a level to try and lower the pH enough to get as close to reaching more of a shelf stable product as we can. But, it doesn’t have to be used at that high of a usage level.

    I can’t recommend to use buttermilk, because I’ve never used it. The concept kind of makes sense though. You are adding something with a lower pH than the meat, to get the meat pH just a bit lower and add some tangy flavor. The biggest problem I see though with using something like buttermilk and immediately lowering the pH is this… A lower pH will reduce water holding capacity, and can make a sausage dry and crumbly after cooking. This is one reason why encapsulated citric acid is coated, and that coating doesn’t melt until 135 F +. If you add buttermilk and lower that pH immediately, I am not sure that the results will be quite the same, and you could end up with a dryer or crumbly sausage. I’ve never used buttermilk though, so I can’t say for sure, but that’s my thoughts anyways.

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    I’ve done a lot both ways. I would highly recommend a stuffer and I have the Weston grinder with the auger stuffing attachment. It’s slow, but if you’re doing 5# or 10# batches, it’s not that bad. I’ve had small 5# stuffer, old school cast iron Enterprise, 11# vertical and now a 35# hydraulic. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t trade the hydraulic but the 11# vertical I got on amazon had a lot of versatility. I think your bigger decision should be what type of stuffer should I buy. I would recommend the taller, smaller diameter instead of the large shorter one. The smaller diameter allow for a higher pressure for doing sticks with cure in them. The large short ones would be great for doing pork sausage or larger diameter casings, not 19-22mm sticks with cure. It would be fine as long as you’re doing fresh like breakfast or something like that. If you go the stuffer route I’d get it from Waltons and get the Weston-they stock parts, other no name from amazon is a one shot deal, once ours broke couldn’t find parts. Plus they have so many tube sizes now and Walton’s does a great job helping with casing and stuffing horn sizes, they carry them all.

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    I purchased a stuffer off Amazon for under $100 and would never go back to using the grinder. With the grinder, it was always a two man job and took forever. The stuffer is much faster and have no problems doing it all by myself. Plus with a hand crank stuffer, no electricity usage and wear and tear on your grinder.

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    Thank You Sir:

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