Sure Gel Questions
I just made 10 lbs jalepeno/cheddar summer sausage. 65% deer, 35% pork with high temp cheeze. I added 2.4 oz Sure Gel and 1-2/3 cups water. Followed Walton’s smoking schedule. Sausage turned out very juicy and tasty, but the texture was “spongy” when chewing. Also, the juiciness of the meat caused the cheese to be slightly “gooey”. Should I back off on the Sure Gel or water or both? Should I not use Sure Gel if I have cheese? Looking for advice.
rwilli2 I had the same problem until I added a small amount of dry potato flour to the meat mixture as it was being mixed before stuffing the fiberous cases. Also works great when making Swedish Potato Sausage which have both raw potatoes and onions in the mixture. I also cover my pepperoni sticks with snow to cool them off in the Great White North (Canada)
I also have a spongy chew on a batch I made recently???
First time using a binder from a local supplier @2.27 g per lb.
Snack sticks look good and maintained there shape after smoking and water bath, when I remove the collagen casing (its stuck on there good)the “chew” is much better.
Also first time using an electric smoker (masterbuilt 30) followed the smoke schedule until the last hour then used a bit higher temp to finish.
No cure accelerator was used, I stuffed the night before.
I’ll likely try it again with less binder for starters.
You certainly can reduce your water, and that’s where I would begin. “Spongy” sounds like your moisture content is too high, whereas too much cure would come across more “rubbery.” I only add 8 oz (1 cup) of water to my 10-pound meatblock for Summer sausage, but I add the very same amount of Sure Gel, though (68g or 2.4 oz).
Also, stretch out your cooking time. I used the Meatgistics smoke schedule the first time I made Summer sausage, and I didn’t get the semi-dried texture I was looking for. It was good sausage, but it wasn’t that firmer, concentrated, semi-dried texture. I stretched out the cook for the next time, and I was much happier with the result. I need to look at my notes, but my schedule was something like:
110 - 1 hour (no smoke)
120 - 1.5 hours (no smoke)
130 - 1 hour (add a full bowl of sawdust)
140 - 1 hour
150 - 1 hour
160 - 1 hour
175 - until the internal temperature was around 150F
Finished in 160F sous vide until temperature was 160F
Cool in an ice water bath for about 10-15 minutes, and then leave out for casings to dry (like in the Meatgistics post)
I kept the times from when the cooker actually got to the target temperature, rather than from when I set to that temperature, so it was a much longer cook–about 12 hours. It’s a long day, but it’s totally worth it. I have considered cutting back on water to shorten the cook, but I’m concerned about how that will impact mixing and stuffing.
TexLaw great recommendations, I was thinking about the water. I pulled the snack stik meat from a fresh sausage mix and added cure and binder to tryout the new electric smoker. I added more water when I mixed in the cure and binder and that would explain the excess. Thanks again.
Brianzipperdog123 Thanks for the info. What is the purpose of the potato flour? Does it counter act too much moisture?
TexLaw Thanks for the info! I am thinking my problem is too much moisture. I added 1-2/3 cup water and I kept my humidity very high in the smoker (Masterbuilt Electrict) by closing down the damper almost nearly completely to counter act the temperature “stall”. In my recipe I use Morton’s Tender Quick for cure at 1 Tblsp per LB as per directions on package. Do you know if that amount of Tender Quick could be adding to the “rubbery” or “spongy” texture? I think I will try your suggested smoke schedule and open up the damper a bit. Again, thanks for the info.
rwilli2 potato flour is the preferred flour for making meat sausages. Russian sausage has 2-3% of potato flour. Potato flour binds water well and agrees well in reduced-fat sausage improving their texture and mouthfeel. It works well in Swedish Potato Sausage which have both raw potatoes and onions. Also I’m fussy about adding the cure nitrites which should be 156 ppm. Using the metric system makes the calculation easy and weighing everything in grams and kilograms is a winner over the antiquated English System which they have abandoned
rwilli2 I haven’t used Tender Quick in a long time, as I prefer just adding “pink salt” (like Sure Cure) that I weigh out on my kitchen scale (something I highly recommend). I don’t recall Tender Quick having any bad or unexpected effect on texture, though. In any case, I wouldn’t use less than directed.
I’m also still betting that your moisture is too high. I just made another batch of Summer sausage since my last post just adding the same 1 cup of water I’ve used before, and that was plenty. I really do think I’ll cut it back by at least an ounce or two with future batches.
TexLaw I think I will try another batch cutting the water back, opening up the damper and using your smoking schedule. Question: when do you add the water pan in the schedule, 130 or 140? In the schedule I was using, I added the water pan at 140. Thanks for the help!
rwilli2 I add the water pan when I start the smoke.
TexLaw Thanks much! I’ll let you know how it turns out.
TexLaw well, I finaly got around to making another batch of summer sausage. This time I used your smoking schedule, reduced water to 0.6 oz/lb and Sure Gel at 0.24 oz/lb. Turned out MUCH better and flavor was great. Texture was still a little rubbery/spongy and moist, but quite a bit less than before. I am going to experiment with the water and Sure Gel amounts to see if I can zero in on that “perfect” semi-dry texture. Next batch I am thinking of reducing water and Sure Gel in half ( Water at 0.3 oz/lb and Sure Gel at 0.12 oz/lb) and keep the same smoking schedule. I’ll keep you posted.