Why Is Salt The #1 Ingredient In Meat Seasoning?
Meat Hacks: Why Is Salt The #1 Ingredient In Meat Seasoning?
Learn why salt is used in meat seasonings, plus what benefits it provides to meat products with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.
Why is salt the #1 ingredient in seasoning for meat products?
First and foremost, salt is used for flavor in meat products, but it is also used as a preservative, and it has some other benefits and uses as well. For flavor, salt is used to enhance flavor and improve the basic meat taste. Salt can reduce the bitterness of certain flavors and enhance the sweetness in other flavors. Salt is typically known as Sodium Choloride, and the sodium in salt is what gives flavor, while the Chloride is what provides most of the other functionality in salt.
Salt 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 microbials, 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 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.
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 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.
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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.
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?
@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!
i use denuded round. higher cost, less waste, cleaner eating
@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.