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!
I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.
Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.
Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??
Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.
@Kinger Thanks for the information. Your process, other than going to 178, is on in my mind. The only thing I do differently is an ice bath for 20 minutes. Showering for 10 minutes, if you are running a cycle and a fan in your smoker can work, but I still think an ice bath would bring it down faster and more. Last time I did thick summer sausage it was down to 110 in 20 minutes, I also tried showering it at 2 minutes on 2 minutes off for 20 minutes and it was only down to 136 (ish) but i did not have a fan running on them.
One more thing you might want to try, if you are stalled towards the end you can finish them up by putting them in a vacuum bag (I have done then hot, right from the smoker, some condensation in the bag but it still gets a good vac) and get some water going at around 165, it should get up to temp in under an hour depending on the thickness.