Problems with my sausage and snack sticks.

  • I have been making this stuff for quite a few years and never had a problem. My last two batches have turned out o.k. at first but if I open a package the meat will start turning a gray color after awhile. Even in the refrigerator.

    At first I thought it was because I couldn’t get sur-gel and used an alternative. I have tried two different binders with same results. I have been using Waltons seasonings and instruction. I can’t figure out what is causing the change in color.

    Any help would be appreciated.


  • Power User PK100 Regular Contributors Team Grey

    sawdoff did you add the sure cure(pink salt)?

  • Yes, one per 25lbs.

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    You meat isn’t cured thoroughly either from a lack of time or conditions that are not ideal. Solution is either allow more curing time, better conditions, or use sodium erythrobate in addition to the cure #1.

  • I will try that with my next batch. Thank you.

  • Team Orange

    Do you add the cure as a powder or mix it with some water? Adding it as a slurry will help distribution with the meat.

  • I mix the cure with water. I gave it 12 hrs maybe I need to give it 24 hrs.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Yeah, what mrobisr says is the most likely culprit. The sodium nitrite in Sure Cure breaks down into nitric oxide which is basically what gives it the curing power. If the cure doesn’t break down do to lack of time, or lack of an accelerator it will not work in the meat. The other issues could be that they didn’t bloom long enough. Once they come out of the smoker make sure they get to sit out at room temp for at least an hour to help color develop.

  • Power User PK100 Regular Contributors Team Grey

    Jonathon I’m gonna add that right after smoker needs a ice cold ice bath. Then sit in open air at room temp for Atleast an hour, and hopefully it’s not 100* like it has been lately. I’m over the heat already

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    twilliams Me too, this heat in Kansas is insane, we finally got some relief last night with some rain but it was right back to being hot and humid this AM

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    Keeping the meat too cold can also inhibit the cure if no cure accelerate isn’t used.

  • What is a cure accelerator? I never had to use one in the past I don’t know what changed. I’m willing to try it though. Thanks.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    sawdoff We have a Meatgistics University Article that covers this in more detail but basically Encapsulated Citric Acid or Sodium Erythorbate or Smoked Meat Stabilizer act as cure accelerators, they breakdown the Nitrite in Sure Cure, which is what actually cures the product.

    This allows you to go right from stuffing to the smoker instead of having to hold it for 12 hours after stuffing.

  • Power User Cast Iron Canning Green Mountain Grill

    Jonathon said in Problems with my sausage and snack sticks.: This allows you to go right from stuffing to the smoker instead of having to hold it for 12 hours after stuffing.

    And what if you don’t smoke straight away and end up holding it stuffed overnight? What are the bad things that happen?

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User

    Denny O Here’s what I know from reading on accelerators, and using them in most everything I make that is not fresh sausage. I’m sure others like Jonathon will have more details and info.

    On the sodium erythorbate it’s just like leaving your cure for an extra day in fridge. The ECA might be an issue as the coating is delicate and letting it sit around risks more of the citric acid contacting meat, which ruins texture and bind (whole reason you encapsulated the citric acid to start with). But the sodium erythorbate is ok. The smoked meat stabilizer product Jonathon mentioned, contains Ascorbic Acid and Sodium Citrate per it’s description, which act as cure accelerators. I myself just use vitamin c, ascorbic acid, at the rate of 1 gram i.e. 1000mg tablet per 1 kg of meat, per Marianski’s book… mostly because it works good, and I know I’m gonna eat vitamin c anyways and be happy for it 😉 also sodium erythorbate since it was in stock at Walton’s and I got a bag of it 😉

    But really, you probably know while you’re mixing your block whether you will cook immediately or let it sit overnight in fridge… probably best to not add accelerators unless you plan on stuff and smoke right then. I just never want to leave in fridge overnight, or my wife doesn’t want me too heh. And in Phx, stuff dries fast and I can go right to smoker fast.

    However, one reason you might want to add erythorbate (not the acids) and let sit, is that in addition to accelerating the cure by releasing the nitric oxide gas fast, it ALSO fixes the color and can give improved coloring. So for Canadian bacon, as I wanted a good strong pink color, I added some erythorbate for that then let it sit for a week curing. I probably wouldn’t do this for a sausage where I needed to ensure a good bind though.
    Edit, it bears repeating, don’t add a cure accelerator to a brine with cure#1 or 2, it will offgas nitric oxide fast and greate poisonous gas you shouldn’t breath! Add to meat block separate from your cure1.

  • Thanks. I didn’t use eca this time because I couldn’t find any. Thats why I let it sit in the fridg. for 12 hrs. I will give the sodium erythorbate at try. Is that the actual name or is it called something else? Guess I’ll have to start hording ingredients so I have them next time. Thank again.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User

    sawdoff Walton’s sells sodium erythorbate in a nice size bag, maybe 1 lb? That one they actually just call by it’s chemical name, not a brand name. You only use a tsp or so, so lasts a long time. I like that one the best now I have it, and if you ever see an accelerator listed in ingredients it will be this one 99% of time. Here it is for you:

    And that ascorbic acid and sodium citrate Smoked meat stabilizer sounds like a good mix… I haven’t read anywhere about sodium citrate, but the sodium salts of erythorbic and ascorbic acid are both used as accelerators so I expect it’s effect to be similar to citric acid. But if you’re in a bind then Vitamin C, which is ascorbic acid, works great and you can grab everywhere. 1000mg tablet per 1kg or 2.2 lbs meat.

    How fast stuff cures with just salt and cure#1 (salt plus 6.25% sodium nitrite) depends on meat size. Whole muscle 4" diameter like a loin takes maybe 12 days, finely ground stuff with cure well mixed in water 1 day. One inch chunks I’d leave longer than a day. But for just me, I would go longer than 12 hours for anything, to be sure, especially with a larger grind or if I used less than 2.5gram per kg of meat.

    P.s. sorry for going onnnn… I’m sitting in a parking lot for 2 hours waiting for my kid to be done an appointment, needed to keep occupied! 😉

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Dave in AZ Yup, one of the cool things I learned in our Cured Sausage short course was that the enzymes and any bacteria in your meat can start eating the encapsulation. So, the coating is designed to not melt until it reaches a certain temp, this is to prevent the proteins from being denatured too early in the process. However, if the meat has enough enzymes or bacteria in it, they will eat that coating and release the acid. What normally happens is you end up with a dry and crumbly texture to your snack stick or whatever it is.

    Now, I have twice tested this and left Encapsulated Citric Acid in a product overnight and not been able to see any issue, however they showed us at Iowa State where they did it and there was severe color issues in the meat before smoking and then the product did not burn as nice and red after.

    The thickness of the meat only matters if we are talking about a dry rub or wet brine. When we inject or are talking about sausage those rules don’t apply as we have introduced the cure (and accelerator if we used one) all throughout

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User

    Jonathon that sure seems like a great course you took, lot of useful info! I hope you’ll be able to take some more like that, as you are an incredible communicator on your videos. Your knowledge and expertise reaches so many folks, in an easy approachable manner, the more you learn the better for all of us! 😉 thx!

  • Yearling Military Veterans

    Dave in AZ I have to second that!!! This platform has so much to learn from. I fumbled so many times in the past, but now are producing quality products. Sharing information on all sorts of topics, if you can’t learn something here, you must have a Doctorate in food or life. I absolutely enjoy this and it will always continue to educate and entertain. Thanks for everything that Waltons does.

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