White "stuff" on jerky after it has been chamber sealed for more than a month.

  • Regular Contributors

    I have been making restructured jerky for a couple years now and if I store my chamber sealed jerky for more than a month I get a white substance on the jerky. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do it always seems to appear over time. I am using waltons jerky seasonings as per the instructions and using a commercial dehydrator going to the correct internal temps. I can chamber seal it with or without a nitrogen flush and still get the same result. This happens at room temp, refrigerator or freezer. I do have some idea of what is happening but I would like to hear from others as to what they think. See attached pictures.0_1546979974590_IMG_20190108_121329.jpg

  • @vjbutler My first thought is you still have a little fat that is not being trimmed off the meat before seasoning and dehydrating. I’m guessing that is actually a mold that is forming causing the “white stuff”.

  • Is it fuzzy? flaky? greasy?
    Can’t tell from the pictures

  • Regular Contributors

    @glen It looks more like white powder or micro crystals. It is not fuzzy or greasy. I have another picture that I will post later but I wanted to get a little feedback first just to see if anyone else has seen this.

  • Regular Contributors

    @sstory This is alpaca meat so there is no fat and we typically use only use prime cuts for jerky. We also trim all the silver skin off before doing a double grind. Also this white stuff forms at -10 degrees so probably not mold.

  • Regular Contributors

    I really needed to figure this out to be sure this product was safe so my first step was to put it under the microscope. Not a great picture compared to what I actually saw but you can make out the crystalline structure what I am guessing to be salt. Now the question is why…

  • Walton's Employee

    @vjbutler I’m 95% sure it is salt pushing out from the meat, it happens from time to time but what concerns me is that you said it is happening every time, that shouldn’t be happening. Can you go over your process a little more? Do you use any additives other than the cure and the meat? How long do you marinate it, since you have a nitrogen flush capable machine are you using a vacuum tumbler? If you are then this can happen when you over tumble some jerky meat. Give me as much as you can for your process and I will look it over and ask our Application Specialist to take a look at it as well.

    Thanks, I like interesting ones and this seems like it could be!

  • Too much salt can cause it to re crystallize

  • Regular Contributors

    @jonathon No to the vacuum tumbler as it is restructured jerky. 25lbs of lean alpaca meat is double ground down to 3mm and mixed with 1-2 quarts of water, seasoning and cure packet in 44 lb mixer for about 3-5 minutes. Extruding it on paper strips and dehydrating it in my weston commercial dehydrators until it reach 155-160. I cool it in my meat walk in cooler (34 degrees 85% humidity) for a day then move it to the packing room (45-50 degrees, 30-40% humidity) for about 4-6 hours and then chamber seal it with a VP545 with and without nitrogen. It doesn’t seem to matter how moist or dry I make the jerky the same thing happens. I have also tried adding carrot fiber to the mix, same result.

  • Regular Contributors

    @glen I am not adding any additional salt and I am using 25lbs of lean meat. I am concerned about using less seasoning and producing a safe product. Thoughts? Suggestions?

  • vj, afternoon… At -10…, could it be ice ??? does it melt… I’m thinking, with that much water added, the dissolved salt is coming to the surface and crystalizing…
    Cut back on the water…

  • Regular Contributors

    @daveomak It doesn’t melt. I will try less water next time.

  • Vjbutler, are you using well water or chlorinated city water? It could be something precipitating out over time.

  • Regular Contributors

    @rusty-paul I am using well water. I did some research and this is something I want to eliminate as a possibility. My next batch will be the exact same process using distilled water. I’m not sure this is the answer as we don’t really have a lot of lime scale or white build up with our well water but certainly worth a try.

  • I’ve had the same thing happen the last time I made jerky. I trimmed all the fat and silver skin off and did whole muscle. It started about a week after to a bag I had in the fridge. It happened to both opened and unopened bags.

  • @vjbutler i use city Water and make restructured jerky and mine always gets the exact same thing after it gets old i just salt crystallizing on the surface or mold because it says wasn’t shelf stable.

  • I will toss my 2 cents in here. 1st off yes you can use less seasoning and have a safe product just make sure you always use the proper amount of cure. Never skimp on the cure.
    2nd off i think maybe a couple things here to help. Never use city or well water in your meat unless they go through a very nice filtering system. I would always suggest using distilled water in everything you do. And i do think this is what is causing your issue is contamination from water. What you can do is get a plate or small bowl and put a bunch of water in it, put that in the dehydrator until its all evaporated then look at whats left on your plate and you may be quite surprised to see whats there.
    With that, its ok to have super duper lean meat with no fat and silver skin/sinew. But i would highly recommend possibly adding a small amount of beef fat to your jerky to make a better product. It will help hold seasoning, add flavor, and make it so its not too dry.
    But i would highly recommend you doing the water dehydrator test to see your contaminants in your water.

  • Regular Contributors

    @lamurscrappy I am going to try the distilled water mix today and I will do the dehydrator test this week. I won’t know if water is the issue for a few weeks but I am certainly hoping that it is. For this particular product I don’t have option of adding fat. I do that when I making batches for myself but these clients want 100% lean product. They know the fat adds some nice flavor but they are quite content with the flavor of the lean meat and moisture content when I use carrot fiber. Thank you again for your input.

  • @vjbutler no problem let us know

  • Walton's Employee

    @vjbutler I was reading something about jerky today and it was saying that after jerky is done cooking and is put into a cooler overnight before packaging that you cannot take it out of the cooler and into a room temperature room to package it.

    The exact words were “Always package product at the same temperature as the packaging room. In other words, don’t bring jerky out of a 38° cooler into a 60° room to package. This causes sweating and salting out. If this occurs, your product will look moldy.”

    I’m not 100% sure how we avoid this as home processors as most of us don’t have walk-in coolers that we can roll a vacuum machine into to do our packaging. From how I read that I would say home processors should be letting it come up to room temperature before vacuum packing. @lamurscrappy Do you guys have a process for this?

  • @jonathon thats good information. So when your done cooking jerky either dehydrator, smoker or oven you should pull all the meat and put it into a food safe/usda container. For home use a large ziploc bag will do. Let it sit in that container for about 6 hours covered slightly but allowing excess moisture to escape and come back. But do this at room temperature, do not immediently package, eat, or put in a cooler right after its been cooked. It needs time to finish itself and even out. Moisture is going to return to the meat and the jerky will heat up a bit and help even all the meat out so its roughly cooked and dried to the same level. After that 6 hour mark is when a good time is to package the meat. Preferably a vacuum sealer or a tight package with a scavenger. Only after the meat is packaged should you put it in a cooler. Never put freshely made jerky directly into a cooler/refridgerator it needs that time to rest at room temperature.

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