Encapsulated Citric Acid question
I’ve recently used encapsulated citric acid in some snack sticks resulting in the “tangy” taste. Followed that up with a batch of summer sausage also with the citric acid. The texture of the meat was altered in the summer sausage to more closely resemble a hot dog than a summer sausage. Is this normal and do you have a recommendation on how to get the “tang” in a summer sausage without altering the texture.
@ksand The citric acid should not alter the texture of the meat in that way. If you add the encapsulated citric acid and then hold the product overnight before smoking it you can end up with a dry crumbly product especially around the edges of the summer sausage. What it sounds like happened was that the product was emulsified when grinding and mixing. Did you grind first with a 3/8 plate and second with a 1/8 plate? If you did was there anything odd about the grinding process? A very dull plate and knife while grinding might have played a part in this. When the meat was grinding do you remember if you could see particle definition in your meat? Can you give me any more information on your process?
Thanks for your feedback Jonathon! My process is that I used the same grinding method (single grind using a 3/16” plate) with no noticeable difference than other grindings. 80% beef/20% pork Also just had my knife sharpened by my local sausage supply vendor. Mixed by hand til meat mix became sticky then added the citric acid just prior to stuffing into summer sausage casings. Smoked starting at 120 gradually raising temp to 165. This is the same method used for the snack stick using the citric acid which provided a very nice result in both flavor and texture. Just seems strange that there is such a texture difference between the snack stick and summer sausage. Any more thoughts??
Different topic but would you give me your thoughts about the benefits to “double grinding”. I’ve always used a single grind with the results being satisfactory but I see double grinding mentioned on your website and on many recipes. Your thoughts?
@ksand Your process and cook cycle sounds good and since you hand mixed your batch and had a clean knife I cannot imagine it was over emulsification. I can say that there would be no scientific reason for the Citric Acid to have been the cause of it though. Hopefully it was a one-time thing, don’t let this get you off of the Encapsulated Citric Acid though, it really is a good thing to use. Just to be clear when you say more of a hotdog consistency you mean it was very uniform and no particle definition right?
The double grinding is going to give you a “better” consistency with a more even product, that is why we recommend grinding twice on products that are going to be smoked. It’s not 100% necessary but in general it will give you the consistency that most people associate with that product.
Thanks Jonathon, Not quite emulsified like a hot dog but the no particle definition is an accurate description. I prefer a coarser grind which is partly the reason for not double grinding. What is your recommendation for plates when double grinding? 3/8" then 1/8"? Thanks again for your quick replies and I will definitely try it again and see if the results are the same. Happy New Year!!
@ksand I’m always happy to help! As for what plates to use I do 3/16" then 1/8" on anything I am going to smoke. There is a few reasons for that, we think it gives a more even product it seems to make protein extraction a little quicker though that might be up for debate. When I am doing Brats I use a 3/8 twice since I want that a little coarser. Like you said though, it is up to what you want really! Happy new year to you and everyone else as well, 2018 is gonna be a lot of fun here!
Just an FYI, everybody that received snack sticks for Christmas last year loved them… I just ordered another batch of Willie’s Snack Stick spice blend to do it again this year!
Jonathon, I have to agree that 275 is too hot… If you have the time I’d shoot for 225, but if it needs to be “done”, then 250 would be the max I would do…
I have always filled the water pan for everything I smoke… 2 reasons, first it does tend to add moisture during the long cook thus keeping the bark from turning to shoe leather… and second because the water pan acts as a heat sink and helps maintain the temperature (in my vertical propane smoker) a bit more accurately… I’ve heard folks tout using apple juice in the water pan to impart a sweeter flavor, but I’ve never tried it…
On the other hand, my dad smoked for years, mostly in a converted fridge with an electric hotplate in the bottom… he never used a water pan and never had an issue with dry meat…
As for the type of wood to use, that’s just a trial and error, personal preference thing… I happen to like steaks cooked with oak… that may be too strong a flavor for your taste (my GF hates it)… Recently I have been using a lot of maple for NC bbq, chicken and even cheese… I like the maple for the meats, but next batch of cheese will go back to the hickory / cherry mix that I was using…
I followed the instructions on the video. It may have something to do with the sausage not getting as firm as it should. I used the cotto salami on duck breast with pork fat. It sure tastes good. But it’s a little soft.
I’ve done a lot both ways. I would highly recommend a stuffer and I have the Weston grinder with the auger stuffing attachment. It’s slow, but if you’re doing 5# or 10# batches, it’s not that bad. I’ve had small 5# stuffer, old school cast iron Enterprise, 11# vertical and now a 35# hydraulic. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t trade the hydraulic but the 11# vertical I got on amazon had a lot of versatility. I think your bigger decision should be what type of stuffer should I buy. I would recommend the taller, smaller diameter instead of the large shorter one. The smaller diameter allow for a higher pressure for doing sticks with cure in them. The large short ones would be great for doing pork sausage or larger diameter casings, not 19-22mm sticks with cure. It would be fine as long as you’re doing fresh like breakfast or something like that. If you go the stuffer route I’d get it from Waltons and get the Weston-they stock parts, other no name from amazon is a one shot deal, once ours broke couldn’t find parts. Plus they have so many tube sizes now and Walton’s does a great job helping with casing and stuffing horn sizes, they carry them all.
I purchased a stuffer off Amazon for under $100 and would never go back to using the grinder. With the grinder, it was always a two man job and took forever. The stuffer is much faster and have no problems doing it all by myself. Plus with a hand crank stuffer, no electricity usage and wear and tear on your grinder.
Thank You Sir: