Sam O. That’s a matter of some debate! I know a deer processor who includes his seasoning and his water in his meatblocks weight, so like 20 lb of meat plus 3 lb of water and 2 lb of seasoning for a whole 25 lb batch and people do rave about his sausage but I have always gone with 25lb of meat and fat and anything that adds on to that is just added on. I have tried factoring in the water and seasoning/additives two times and I liked it less both times.
Seasoning & Additives 103 - The Importance of Salt
Seasoning and Additives 103 - The Importance of Salt
Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!
Why Is Salt So Important?
What spices are used in a seasoning will differ from product to product and between flavor profile but the #1 ingredient in almost every seasoning will be Salt. Aside from being very useful as a flavoring agent, it is also used as a preservative, and it has some other benefits and uses as well. Salt is used to enhance flavor and improve the basic meaty taste. Salt can reduce the bitterness of certain flavors and enhance the sweetness in other flavors if you’ve ever heard of people salting watermelon or chocolate milk this is why they do it. If you’ve never done that I suggest you try it, it will give you a better understanding of this. Basically, the presence of salt activates or tricks a taste receptor in your mouth into being more sensitive to a sweet flavor.
Salt is typically known as Sodium Chloride, and the sodium in salt is what gives flavor, while the Chloride is what provides most of the other functionality in salt. It is also one of the oldest forms of preservation and still plays an important role in increasing shelf-life of meats and other food products. It can reduce and prevent the growth of microbes, which in turn increases the shelf-life of food products. Salt can also inhibit pathogens during the fermentation process in meat snacks, and it cooperates with nitrites in preservation, and when both salt and nitrite are used in the correct levels, they can increase the effectiveness of preservation by 3 to 5 times compared to just using one or the other. Salt also increases the water holding capacity of meat products, which allows for a greater yield in the final product, plus a moister texture and juicier final product.
Another benefit of salt is the binding and meat emulsifying functions it provides. Salt can help water, fat, and proteins bind together more efficiently and produce a better texture in processed meats. Finally, we get to appropriate usage levels for salt in meat products. Salt in seasoning added to meat products is typically added at a usage level of 1.6% to 2.2%. 1.6% is what might be suggested as the lowest limit of usage where the flavor is truly impacted in a meaningful way to really be able to taste the effect. From 2 up to 2.2% is the amount typically seen and used that most people will find most beneficial from a taste aspect. Some sausage formulations may be less than 2.2% and some meat products up to a 3% usage level though. It still does depend on the type of meat product being created.
Overall, salt is used in meat products for the flavor enhancement, preservation and shelf-life benefits, plus for the benefits in binding proteins and added water holding capacity.
Isn’t Salt A Mineral?
Technically yes, Salt is not a spice or seasoning, it is a mineral and because of this, it does not lose its flavor over time. However, for our purposes, we refer to it as a spice as that is what it is most commonly used for in our industry.
If salt is in your seasoning, do you still have to use sure cure or will the salt preserve it. If so how long will it preserve?
BJ Anderton Salt does have some preservation properties, but if you are making a product that is typically cured, I would still use sure cure. It helps fight, prevent, and retard growth of botulism spores and does a much better job in preserving the meat product. Many cured products don’t ever get hot enough to kill botulism, so Sure Cure plays an important role in preventing its growth. The toxins from botulism are one of the main causes of food poisoning every year, so sure cure can really help control that and make a safer product. Sure Cure can also help fight rancidity and preserve flavors as well. If you only used salt as a preservative, you would need to use a much larger quantity of salt than you would use in the average seasoning blend. Salt and nitrite in Sure Cure, used in conjunction, is the best way to preserve and cure meats.
Even I had to upvote that comment from Austin