• Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Meat Hacks: Meat Binder Comparison

    Learn about the differences between Carrot Fiber, Sure Gel, Soy Protein Blend with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.

    Meat Hacks

    What are the differences between Carrot Fiber, Sure Gel and Soy Protein Blend?

    You’ve heard us talk a lot about Carrot Fiber recently and with good reason. Carrot fiber is a low cost binder that does a great job with moisture retention and binding water with protein and fats, at a very low cost. It also has the added advantage of containing no allergens! It has no extra ingredients it is simply isolated Carrot Product.

    Sure Gel is another good binder and has been our most popular binder for a long time. It does a very nice job with moisture retention and can increase your final yield by about 3 % depending on how much water you mix in with it. One of the main advantages of Sure Gel is that it is the only binder that we have in stock that can be used in an injection for whole muscle meats. It does contain milk though so that might cause an issue for some people if you need an allergen free product.

    Soy Protein Blend has been our low cost option for years, it is simple to use and a lot of people have become accustomed to using it. This has rather large particles in it and some people have an issue with the initial appearance, however when you mix it into your meat you won’t be able to notice the larger particle size. It does help to let the soy protein blend sit in the water for Lastly, it does contain the allergen soy.

    Sure gel and Soy Protein Blend both also work by increasing the protein ratio in your meat block to increase the amount of protein available during mixing for protein extraction and meat binding.

    We have a visual aid today to help you understand how each one of these works in basic moisture retention. We have enough of each additive weighed out to process just five pounds of meat and we are going to add 6.5 ounces of water to each and see what happens with them.

    The soy protein blend looks a little like the oatmeal you would have for breakfast, almost soup like. Like I said before, most of that will be gone when your process your meat and you won’t see the particles in there.

    The sure gel does a little bit better of a job but still we can see some water in there after thoroughly mixing the water with the sure gel.

    Lastly, we have Carrot Fiber. The Carrot Fiber completely holds all the water and if you could feel it you would be able to tell it is still holding the moisture but there is no extra water visible that does not get soaked up.

    Now extrapolate that to your meat processing, we are adding water to give us a moister product but also increase our final yield. By adding a binder as well, it helps retain that moisture and give the product a more pleasing texture. Each of these is going to help you produce a juicer product but once again it seems like carrot fiber does the best job of retaining moisture. We always like to try to bring you guys the best additives but when we can find something that is low cost and works as well if not better than other more expensive products, well we love that! We’d recommend you give Carrot Fiber a try on your next batch sausage, summer sausage or snack sticks, we certainly think it is worth it!

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  • Jonathon
    I’ve made several batches of imitation bacon over the past few years. Mostly successfully. I’ve got the process of keeping meat and fat really cold down pretty well, and I end up with serious particle definition. That being said, the bacon this last time has great definition, but a lot of the fat melts away when cooking, leaving me with kind of a Swiss cheese look. Two factors may be at play here, one…I probably could have ground my fat one more time, I shorted the process by one grind, because I was lazy. Two, I didn’t own a mixer and I mixed it all by hand. ( I have a mixer now).
    So that being said, I have used sure gel in the past, and I was wondering if soy protein blend might work as well, or potentially better, in binding the fat to the meat.
    Thanks. The photo I saw my last batch.


  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    bcompton53 In my opinion Sure Gel is better than Soy Protein blend in binding the meat when making a cured product. We once tried to make imitation bacon that looked more like regular bacon by layering the meat and fat with clear lines of separation, miserable failure! No matter how you cook it, that fat is going to render and if it is not bound at all in proteins it is going to be cooked out and will reform as a greasy mess on the outside/bottom of the product.

    I do think your particle definition is great looking and looking at it I don’t think it is part of your problem. When fat is cooked, it will melt, but it should also resolidify inside the pocket of the meat. I think your swiss cheese looks is the same thing that happens when you don’t stuff summer sausage or any sausage fully enough. In short, I think those are voids, not places the fat melted out and ran. I could be wrong there but that is what it looks like to me.

    To fix that in the future you could try pushing the meat into the pan a little strong but I don’t think that will do much, I would recommend that you drop the pan a few times from the height of a few feet onto the table. That should pack it down in there a little better and clear some of those voids.

    Now, it also could be partly because you did not grind the fat small enough, we made some venison keilbasa here once and we ground the fat once and then cooked it. That fat totally melted BUT it only leaked where the fat was on the outside of the sausage. The fat that was totally encased in protein reformed and had a nice “pallet appeal” (thanks PapaSop) So, i’d try getting it packed down a little tighter in the pan!

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