Deli Meat: 202 Additives For Homemade Deli Meats
Attend this Intermediate-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!
In Deli Meats 103 we went over some common additives that are used in commercially processed Deli Meats, most of them are harmless and are aimed at increasing the freshness of the meat, the shelf life, taste and appearance. However, most of these items are not things you are going to have in your home, or have easy access to. However, there are a few additives that are easily available and will give you a nice reformed deli meat that can be sliced almost as thin as a true deli.
It doesn’t matter if you are making homemade deli meats or buying it from the store, some sort of phosphates will almost certainly be present. The phosphates raise the pH of the meat and allow it to hold more water. Commercial processors do this because a) water is much cheaper than meat and b) consumers want cuts of meat that are juicier. We recommend you use Cold Phosphate as this will dissolve easier in cold water than some other types. An important note on phosphates is that if you are injecting it you need to mix this in first so it can suspend in the water. I’d recommend you add phosphates to any deli meat you are making but it is especially important when making low fat deli cuts.
Binders, especially in low fat cuts, are going to be very key here when making a reformed cut of deli meat. Without it you will have a hard time getting everything to stick together tight enough to let you slice it deli thin without it crumbling. Carrot Fiber isn’t a traditional binder but it holds 26 times it’s weight in water so it can help with a juiciness, if you are going to use carrot fiber, like I do in future videos, is to use it in conjunction with cold phosphate. Super Bind is going to give you carrot fiber and potato starch, so you get the best of the carrot fiber plus the potato starch forms a gel at the same temp as the meat really starts to expel water. The only problem with this is that in a homemade deli you are going to have some voids in your meat. Having no voids with a hand crank stuffer is extremely difficult and those voids will be filled with this gel. It can be very unappealing. Sure Gel or Soy protein blend can also be good choices.
Sodium Lactate is used by commercial processors to extend the shelf-life of meat products. It is sometimes used as a powder but is most often used in its liquid form. It increases the shelf life of meat products by regulating the pH of food and reduces the effects of bacteria spoilage. In its liquid form you would use it at a rate of 1.5% of your meat block, so for a 25 lb batch you would use .375 of a lb. As we sell it in gallons you can see that it would last you a long time.
Sodium Nitrite & Sure Cure
Another option for deli meat can be using sodium nitrite or sure cure. We’ve talked about it exhaustively in the past but using nitrite helps fight botulism spores. Its important to use when smoking meat as you are often creating the perfect environment for the growth of botulism and other bad microorganisms. It can also assist in increasing the shelf life of the meat and preserving the color and flavor.