Encapsulated Citric Acid
What is Encapsulated Citric Acid?
Learn what encapsulated citric acid is and how to make better sausage with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the highlights here, and then post your comments or questions below.
What Is Encapsulated Citric Acid?
Encapsulated citric acid is simply an acidulant that is coated with a hydrogenated cotton seed oil, which will melt and dissolve once heat is applied during cooking. It is used to give sausage a tangy flavor, by lowering the pH of the meat. It is meant to be a replacement for starter cultures.
What Use Encapsulated Citric Acid Instead Of A Starter Culture
The quickest and easiest answer is simply for cook time. Starter cultures can take hours and hours to develop correctly during thermal processing, but Encapsulated Citric Acid performs the same basic steps in a fraction of the time.
Why Does Citric Acid Or Other Acidulants Need To Be Encapsulated?
When making sausage, it is vital to add an acidulant at the proper point during thermal processing. Adding it directly while mixing, or having the citric acid or other acidulant release at the wrong point can lead to a dry and crumbly sausage, caused by a break down of proteins and the “meat bind” in your product. Encapsulated Citric Acid will release only at 135° or higher to properly release at the correct time during smoking and cooking so it does not alter your sausage’s texture in a negative manner.
What Are Other Benefits Of Encapsulated Citric Acid?
One of the big benefits that we already covered is a decreased cook time, but we also get some other general benefits of having a lower pH in cured sausages. By lowering the pH of the meat product and increasing the acidity, we will change the flavor of the meat or sausage and give it that tangy flavor many people associate with meat snacks like summer sausage or snack sticks. A lower pH will also help us enhance a meat product’s shelf-life. By reaching a certain pH level, we can attempt to even create a shelf-stable product (shelf-stability can also partially be dependent upon a product’s water activity). Encapsulated Citric Acid is also going to help control bacteria growth, and prevent pathogens or other microorganisms from growing by creating an environment in the sausage that is unfavorable for growth. Lastly, it will also act as a cure accelerator, which decreases the required hold time of a sausage before or during thermal processing, and it speeds up the conversion of nitrites into nitric oxide which is what gives cured meats their pink tinted color and cured meat flavor.
How To Use Encapsulated Citric Acid?
- Do NOT regrind sausage after mixing in encapsulated citric acid
- Do NOT hold the product for an extended period of time or save partial batches for further processing later (encapsulate could break or dissolve overtime, releasing citric acid at the wrong time)
- IF you ignore rules 1 & 2, you can still successfully make and eat your sausage safely and it will be totally edible, but it just won’t have the same or correct end result
- Always wait until the last 60 seconds or so of your mixing cycle to add encapsulated citric acid so you don’t over mix or break the encapsulates, and you just need to mix long enough to evenly disperse
- During thermal processing, make sure you maintain an internal product temperature of 135° or higher for 1 hour. This will ensure the encapsulate has plenty of time to melt, dissolve, and thus release the citric acid.
- Use 4 oz per 25 lb of meat for achieving a product with a pH low enough to potentially be shelf-stable. You may use less than 4 oz though if you do not like as strong of a tangy flavor in your cured meats.
Watch WaltonsTV: Encapsulated Citric Acid Product Overview
How do you know how much sure cure to put on your mix if it’s less than 25 lb ?
@peculiarb You can have an issue with pickled jalapenos and getting the meat to properly bind to them.
You can blanch fruits and veggies before adding them to sausage and that will help. Some people add them straight in, but blanching will help the meat bind together with the jalapenos. Not a requirement though. If the jalapenos don’t bind perfectly into the meat, when you slice the summer sausage, the jalapenos may not fully stick to the meat and just fall off the slices. It won’t hurt the sausage, but it may not be 100% perfect. I would at least dry the jalapenos thoroughly, but blanching would provide the best results.
Has anyone ever used pickled jalapeños in their summer sausage? I have a buddy who gave me a jar of picked jalapeños to add to his summer sausage I am going to make for him. Is this a bad idea? I’ve always used dried jalapeños in the past. Please advise! Thanks.
I have only made about three batches of snack sticks so far but, I have found that adding an extra ounce of water ( per 5lb batch) over what is called for in the recipe, makes the meat “flow just a little easier when stuffing into casings.
So far, the texture of the finished product has been great and I have had no problem with casings breaking etc. from the excess moisture.
I recently had a 26 lb batch of summer sausage end up with brown spots here and there? Could this be from cure not evenly mixed ??? Or from encapsulated citric acid not fully mixed in??? I’m thinking eca wasn’t mixed in good enough because cure was put in initially with spices and binder and I mixed by hand till I got good protein extraction because it was very sticky ???
I am going to be making a 10 pound batch of pepper stick snack sticks how much water do I add for easier stuffing. or is the water that I mix the sure gel in enough for the batch is there a ratio for sure jell to water?