Masya Seems to just about do the same thing here in southeast Alabama at certain times of the year. I understand your frustration.
Seasoning and Additives How Long Do Seasonings Last? Seasoning Shelf Life and Storage Mixing in seasoning
Do Seasonings Expire?
Seasonings age rather than expire. When this happens, they start to harden and take on the form of the bag, become excessively dry, and lose their freshness. This results in a finished product that lacks a full-flavor profile. The seasoning will also fade in color, especially if exposed to direct sunlight. Now, as hard as seasoning becomes, that does not necessarily mean it can’t be used; in most cases, you could fairly easily break it up and still use it, but depending on how old it is, it might not give you the best product.Mixing in seasoning What is the Shelf Life of Seasonings?
Most of our seasonings from Excalibur come with a 2-year best if used by date that will be printed on the bag. This does not mean that on that date any remaining seasoning must be thrown out, but it does mean that it has reached the end of its peak efficiency and should either be used shortly or discarded. This 2-year time frame assumes that the seasoning is still in its original package and has been properly stored.Mixing in seasoning What’s the Best Way to Increase Shelf Life?
The best way to store packaged, bulk, or shaker seasonings is to put them in a cool and dry environment. A pantry or cabinet that maintains a steady temp between 60-70° and a low humidity level is ideal for long-term storage. The best way to keep that seasoning as fresh as possible and increase its shelf life is first to be careful when measuring out the amount you will use. Make sure you measure the seasoning in a low-humidity, temperature-controlled environment. Right in front of your stove while boiling a pot of water would NOT be a good choice; the dining room table out of direct sunlight with no direct heat sources is a better choice.How Should You Store Leftover Seasoning?
If you have a Vacuum Sealer or impulse sealer, you can reseal the seasoning in the same bag it came in. This will not remove all the oxygen in the bag; just reseal the bag. If you know it will be more than a few months until you use the remaining seasoning, then Vacuum Sealing it in a vacuum bag is the ideal way to store it and guarantee as much freshness as possible.Other Notes
If you use a vacuum sealer to reseal your seasoning bags, you need to check your vacuum chamber to ensure that there is no spilled seasoning inside the machine. This applies to either Chambered or Non-Chambered vacuum machines. With a Chambered Machine, you can run a damp cloth or cleaning wipe around the chamber, and it will pick up any loose seasoning. With a Non-Chambered Vacuum Machine, a better idea is to blow it out with compressed air as the wet wipes could cause build-up in some of the edges.Shop waltonsinc.com for Vacuum Sealers Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Jerky Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Summer Sausage Seasoning
Seasoning and Additives What are Additives? Common Additives
Liquid Smoke Liquid Smoke What are Additives?
Additives are any ingredients added to your product that serve a function other than taste. The reasons for adding them can be moisture retention and yield enhancement, cure acceleration, color enhancement, and meat binding, just to name a few. Familiarity with these products can help you make a better product and might ease some of your concerns when reading ingredient labels on store-bought packages.Moisture Retaining Additives
Additives with moisture-retaining properties include Cold Phosphate, Corn Syrup Solids, Dairy Blend, and Sodium Tripoly Phosphate. These products are designed to allow the meat to bond more effectively with the water so that it stays in the product during the cooking process. This will give you a finished product with more moisture and is especially important in products with lower fat content. These products also act as yield enhancers as the more water that is bound up in the product, the more volume and weight it will have. For the beginner who wants to use one of these products, I would recommend Cold Phosphate, just be sure to check the ingredients on the seasoning you are using first to ensure that it does not already contain phosphates, as adding too much phosphate can give your product a soapy flavor.Cure Accelerator
Cure accelerators interact with the cure in a way that speeds up its conversion from Nitrite to nitric oxide gas and allows you to go directly from stuffing to the smokehouse. When these are used you do not need to hold your product overnight to allow the cure time to work. Cure Accelerator from Excalibur and Sodium Erythorbate are cure accelerators that have minimal if any, effect on taste. Encapsulated Citric Acid acts as both a cure accelerator and a pH reducer; it is what gives meat snacks that nice tang. Smoked Meat Stabilizer should be used mostly with wild game and should not be used in a cover pickle, as it will gas out rapidly and create a dangerous cloud of gas; it should not be used in products that you are adding water to assist in mixing. Mix it in when making sausage or snack sticks, and it will kill bacteria faster than they can reproduce. For the beginner, I would recommend encapsulated citric acid.Liquid Smokes
Liquid Smokes are popular color enhancers that are sprayed on during the smoking process to give the meat a nice smoked appearance. Two common types of this are C-10 and Supreme Smoke, and they are often used with Hams, Bacons, or any other smoked whole muscle meat. Pn-9 Liquid smoke is another type that has a neutral pH but really should only be used in a smokehouse that can atomize it for spraying. Cures also have a coloring factor, but we will get into that in later videos.Meat Binders
Meat Binders like Soy Protein Blend and Sure Gel contain some protein which will make protein extraction more efficient as more of it will be available. The Soy Protein blend has a grain or cereal-like appearance and will look like oats if you soak it in water, but it will dissolve into your product so it will not leave any noticeably different consistency. Both of these have allergens though, so you need to be somewhat careful with that. Carrot Fiber is a binder that can hold 26 times its weight in water, is allergen-free, inexpensive, and imparts very little if any, taste into your cooked product. Any of these products will improve the texture of your finished product.Shop waltonsinc.com for Additives
Seasoning and Additives Why We Recommend Excalibur Seasoning
Why We Use Excalibur Seasoning
Excalibur seasonings have many qualities that set them apart from other seasoning companies. One of the main benefits is their SQF Level 3 certification. Having that certification means that Excalibur has put their ingredients, processing, and facility through rigorous testing and retesting to ensure that they are producing the safest and highest quality ingredients possible.Mixing in seasoning
Every input and output is assigned a lot number that is printed on each label, and it is put through tests to compare it to previous lot numbers to make sure that it measures up to the previous batches in consistency, quality, and taste. This helps ensure that your favorite seasoning will taste just as great this time as last time and next time.
Excalibur also has a Research and Development lab that works tirelessly to perfect the seasonings that they make and to try to make improvements to their production practices to ensure excellent seasoning taste and quality.
In addition, Excalibur has created packages of seasoning that are perfectly designed for season-specific amounts of meat ranging from 5 lb to 100 lb. These prepackaged seasonings have the correct amount of salt, spices, and seasonings to give you the best consistency, appearance, and most importantly taste possible!Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Jerky Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Summer Sausage Seasoning
Seasoning and Additives What Does Salt do to Meat? The Importance of Salt Salt
What Does Salt Do to Meat?
Salt is one of the oldest forms of preservation and still plays an essential role in increasing the shelf-life of meats and other food products. It can reduce and prevent the growth of microbes, thereby increasing 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; when both salt and nitrite are used at 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.WHY IS SALT SO IMPORTANT?
Aside from being a preservative, salt is also very useful as a flavoring agent, and it has some other benefits and uses. Salt is used to enhance flavor and improve the basic meaty taste. Salt can also reduce the bitterness of certain flavors and enhance the sweetness of 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.Other Benefits
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 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; it will depend on the type of meat product being created.Isn’t Salt A Mineral?
Overall, salt is used in meat products for flavor enhancement, preservation, and shelf-life benefits, plus for the benefits of binding proteins and added water holding capacity.
Technically, 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.Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Jerky Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Summer Sausage Seasoning Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Cures
Seasoning and Additives High-Temperature Cheese - What is it and Why Use it?
Safety Plate Safety Plate What is High-Temperature Cheese?
High-Temperature Cheese is cheese that is specially designed to hold its form throughout the cooking process of meat snacks and sausages such as Snack Sticks, Bratwurst, or Summer Sausage. It will hold its form up to 400°F, whereas most cheeses will start melting between 130°-180°F. It can be stored in a fridge under 40°F for up to 60 days, or it can be frozen and last up to a year and a half.Why Use High-Temperature Cheese?
Cheese is a great addition to meat snacks like Snack Sticks, Bratwurst, or Summer Sausage. The advantage of High-Temperature Cheese over other cheeses when cooking these meats and sausages is that it is processed differently, meaning it will hold its shape throughout the smoking and cooking process instead of melting. The cheese is also already cut small enough that it can be mixed with the meat and fit through nearly any stuffing tube.Recommended Amount
Walton’s recommends that you use 1 lb of the high temp cheese of your choice to 10 lb of meat. Some like it cheesier some not so cheesy, but 1 -10 lb is a good starting point.Choosing the Right High-Temperature Cheese
A couple of words on choosing the right cheese, if you are making something with a subtle or classic taste, you are probably better off choosing the Cheddar, Swiss, or Mozzarella. If you are making something with a stronger taste, then you might want to try the hot pepper or the ghost pepper. Now, an important note about the Ghost Pepper, this is not like the hot pepper cheese that just has a little pepper taste; this stuff has a lot of heat behind it! We carry Hi-Temp Cheddar, Hot Pepper, Swiss, Mozzarella, and Ghost Pepper Cheese and they all come in 1 or 5 lb bags.Shop waltonsinc.com for High Temp Cheese Shop waltonsinc.com for Additives
Seasoning and Additives Deer and Wild Game Rinse
Safety Plate Safety Plate Why Use Deer & Wild Game Rinse?
You might be way out in the field, or you might want to take your big old buck for someone else to see before you begin processing it. While this isn’t always going to cause issues, you give harmful bacteria more time to grow during this stage. In the field it can be difficult to control your environment; one thing you can do to slow the growth of bacteria and mold is to lower the pH of the carcass. Acidic environments make it harder for most bacteria to survive, or at least it slows their growth rate.How it Works
Aside from Citric Acid which is used to achieve a lower pH, it also has Sodium benzoate which is bacteriostatic and fungistatic, so it is a chemical agent that helps stop the growth of bacteria and fungus. It also has Sodium Bisulfite which actually can help prevent oxidation, so your meat will not brown as quickly.Inexpensive Cost
Deer & Wild Game Rinse is inexpensive, you mix 8 oz to a gallon of water, so you will have a gallon of spray for around $3.50. If you premix a batch of this in a squirt bottle, you can give yourself an extra level of protection by spraying the carcass everywhere, paying special attention to the area around the wound. For a 32 oz bottle like this, you need to mix in 2 oz of the Deer and Wild Game Rinse to get the correct concentration.Differences With & Without Rinse
I know people who think they can look at a piece of meat and tell whether it is spoiling or not. While there might occasionally be some visual cues, very often there aren’t any. I sprayed one of these pieces of meat with the deer and wild game rinse and the other I sprayed nothing on. Then I used a vacuum bag and sealed them but did not pull a vacuum on them.
At this point, these have been sitting out at room temperature for 2 weeks in a sealed bag. And as you can see they aren’t showing any extreme signs of having spoiled, no major discoloring or mold growth. One thing you can see on the meat we did not spray is some white slimy stuff growing on it. The meat we did spray with deer and wild game rinse does not look slimy and doesn’t appear to be growing any mold on it.Shop waltonsinc.com for Deer & Wild Game Rinse Shop waltonsinc.com for Additives
Seasoning and Additives What is Sure Cure? (Salt for Curing Meat)
What is Sure Cure?
Put simply, Sure Cure is a mix of salt and nitrites that is used to cure meat for products like snack sticks and summer sausage before they are smoked, ensuring that it is safe for consumption. People have been curing meat for thousands of years. Meat would be packed in salt, and the combination of salt and nitrites in the salt cured the meat. As scientific ability advanced, it was noted that nitrites and nitrates were useful in setting a nice pinkish color into cured meats, and saltpeter became a common ingredient in meat processing. Today we use a more refined version, Sodium Nitrite, that is safer to work with.Why Use Sure Cure?
If you have used brands other than Excalibur, you have probably used a cure called Prague Powder #1, Instacure, or Modern Cure. All of these are basically the same thing; sure cure is just Excalibur’s name for it. It is in this little orange bag that is sent along with any meat snack that is designed to be cured, and none of these products would be safe to eat if we hadn’t used it. Sure Cure will appear pink because food coloring has been added to prevent any mix-ups with other seasonings or cures. The main ingredient in Sure Cure is salt, not the curing agent which is Nitrites. Large volumes of salt are added during production to make measuring the correct amount of nitrites easier.
There are a few reasons you want to add Sure Cure to a smoked meat product. The main reason is that it retards the growth of Botulism spores in your meat. Botulism is a potentially fatal toxin and is one of the main causes of food poisoning in the US. The environment you create when you smoke a restructured meat product like a snack stick or summer sausage is perfect for the growth of botulism spores. It is moist and hot but not hot enough to kill the spores, which can withstand temperatures of above 200 degrees. No one wants to cook their meat to that temperature, as you would most likely end up with a dried-out and burned product.Other information
Sure cure is also effective in preserving the smoke and spice flavor in a cured product, and it fights off rancidity and a warmed-over flavor. Have you ever made a London broil, put the leftovers in the fridge, and then reheated it? You notice a significant difference in the taste right? That is the warmed-over flavor we are referring to.
Excalibur packages the sure cure into the cases with any seasoning that is designed to be smoked. For 25 lb batches, they include a 1 oz package, and for 100 lb packages, they include a 4 oz package. You can also purchase sure cure in 5 lb bags or 50 lb boxes.Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Jerky Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Summer Sausage Seasoning Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Cures