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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  • W

    I believe the recommended curing time is 12 hours but can I go less than that? I was expecting my order to be here tonight and it won’t be here till tomorrow morning now.

    I was going to mix up my batch of jerky tonight but will have to do it tomorrow on my lunch break. Just wondering if tomorrow evening would be long enough to let the meat cure.



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  • M

    Your recipe calls for 1. Sure Cure, 2. Sure Gel Meat Binder, and 3. Smoked Meat Stabilizer. I have all but the Sure Gel Meat Binder. Can I get by without using this? Second question- Is Excalibur’s Cure Excellerator the same as Sure Cure?

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  • @andyman Great question, Carrot Fiber holds up to 26 times its weight in water, and while the 80 oz is still well inside that I have never done that before. I max out (even with Carrot Fiber) at 64 oz which is 2 qts. My only fear with doing 80 is that it might take a lot longer to cook as it will have more water content that will be trying to evaporate. Most of that water should be bound up in the carrot fiber though so it wouldn’t really be available to be cooked out. Hmmm, my recommendation, to be safe is to stick with 64 oz of water.

    Now, as to should you add more seasoning, some people will taste the difference if you did not add additional seasonings and some (most) will not. Your water and your seasoning is technically part of your meat block (anyone who is reading this who doesn’t consider this don’t worry!) so adjusting your meat block to include your water is sometimes done. If you do decide to add more spices or seasonings I would add aromatics and things like Rosemary and Basil, don’t add more salt as that is formulated specifically for the meat block.

    Hope this helps and if you do decide to go with 80 oz of water then I would be very interested in the results!

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  • D

    i use denuded round. higher cost, less waste, cleaner eating

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  • @twigg267 I did a meatgistics university article on this topic, you can view it Jerky 103 - Best Cuts For Jerky and read the article! Let me know if you have more questions beyond what is available there!

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  • A

    @jonathon I enjoyed this line of questions and comments, it made me think. Here is my related question: Assume I use 25 lbs. of meat to make summer sausage and add one package, 4 oz., of Carrot Fiber and 80 oz. of water. The ratio is 20 times the weight of water to the weight of CF. In other words, I am adding 5 lbs. 4 oz. of water/CF paste to my meat dough. Should I adjust the amount of salt and spices, I add to the dough? I am concerned that the flavor will be weaker if I don’t add spices for the new total, 30 lbs. curious as to what y’all thinking.

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