Sugar Needed for Cure Process?


  • I have kids with very extreme food intolerances that requires us to exclude many ingredients. We were planning on using the following snack stick recipe, but we need to remove the sugar.

    If we are using celery juice powder cure, is there a need to include the sugar for a reason other than taste? We wanted to make sure it wasn’t needed for the cure process.

    Thank you for your help!

    Ingredients:
    • 5lb ground beef
    • 1cup ice water
    • Celery Juice Powder Cure – Package instructions for 5lbs of meat
    • 4tsp salt
    • 1TBS brown sugar (Need to remove or replace)
    • 1tsp ground mustard
    • 2tsp whole mustard seed
    • 1tsp coarse ground black pepper
    • 2tsp white ground pepper
    • 1TBS Paprika

    mix all spices and cure into 1 cup of ice cold water mix into ground beef until mixed through

    stuff into casing, hang at room temp until casings are dry, approx. 1 to 2 hrs,

    place into smoker preheated to around 130 degrees for one hour to dry casings, then add smoke for 1hr or until desired color, then raise heat to 150 for one hr then raise heat to 180 until an internal temp of 152 to 160 degrees,

    Place into ice cold water until they drop below 90.

  • Regular Contributors Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Power User Meat Hack Winner

    From Texas A&M:
    Curing — the addition of salt, sugar and nitrite or nitrate for the purposes of preservation, flavor and color.
    Functions:

    Salt:
    Flavor
    Antimicrobial
    Enhances cure transport through meat

    Sugar:
    Flavor
    Counteracts harshness of salt
    Energy for bacteria that change NO3 —> NO2

    Nitrite or nitrate:
    Flavor
    Prevents warmed-over flavor
    Retards rancidity
    Cured-pink color
    Anti-botulinal effect

    You are making a quick cure product, the “energy for bacteria” is not needed IMO
    The sugar would be important in longer term products that are dried without heat over a period of time
    By the way the Celery Powder Cure provides the nitrate requirement
    That recipe seems a little light on the salt again, IMO


  • Thank you!

  • Team Blue

    @Andrew-Bogott You should have no problem excluding the sugar. You will need to add either encapsulated citric acid OR sodium erythorbate if you plan on smoking same day.
    The Basic needs for sugar other than flavor would be if you are using a lactic acid starter culture to drop the PH and Accelerated the cure. The Cultures need the sugar to feed on and work. However with the other 2 products mentioned you can accomplish this as well with out the sugar.
    You could leave out the ECA or Sodium erythorbate but you will need to hold the Sticks for at least 12 hours to allow the cure to work.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Cabelas90 and glen thank you, this is an excellent example of meatgistics community being good people! @Andrew-Bogott We have done this before just from another angle, we were trying to help someone make low sodium jerky and nuts for a child of theirs, it did not go that well for the jerky https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/2091/dietary-restriction-low-sodium-jerky-nuts?_=1605026947370 Now, I think you have a much better chance at removing sugar from jerky than salt. Something like Cajun has sugar far down in the ingredients and is still delicious. Habanero Lime has none but it does have dextrose and cor syrup solids so I am imaging that those would be just as bad?

    If fructose is ok (probably not) check out Teriyaki

    @glens response touched on this but the main issue I can see you having is the bitterness from that much salt. Sugar will counteract that so I’m not sure how it will be without it. Is there any sweetener that can be used?


  • Thank you everyone. Unfortunately, we are very limited on ingredients. Sugar, garlic, onion, corn products, etc. are all out. Sugar is a recent add unfortunately. At least she has meat!

    Any thoughts on a high quality hickory salt. Would that help cut the bitterness? We are currently finishing in the oven.
    Stevia might be a sweating option, but that is a touchy product for processing.

    The last recipe we tried before we found out sugar was a no go was this:
    http://www.rothsugarbush.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/9-23-maple-deer-snack-sticks.pdf

    Pretty good recipe, but it is more of a breakfast product then an every day eating product.

  • Regular Contributors Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Power User Meat Hack Winner

    My taste may be different but I don’t find salt bitter.
    Your recipe is at the lower end of salt content, I would not worry about it they will still be good.

  • Team Blue

    glen I would second this. We make several no sugar products in our plant and i would say this should be fine.
    Andrew B. I would run with the current salt content. If its good 5lbs will be gone quick and if its not well its only 5lbs and the next batch can be tweaked!

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