Direct acidification of meat, some arcane info

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    I’m just splitting this off from another topic and posting here separately so I dont derail that topic more, and linking it here.

    mrobisr good to know your experience! How much chemical acidification meat can take at once, without degradation of texture, is of great interest to me. I think we chatted last week and I mentioned I’m testing direct acidification with ELA vs ferment. It is great to hear you can go overnight without texture degradation, very good news to me.

    You might be interested in this area too, so I’ll type out some info I’ve been looking at recently on this sort of direct acidification. Probably only you and processhead will care, but might help someone, and my results later will be useful. I’d like to replace fermentation for unaged products like pork roll and summer sausage, with lactic acid, for a correct and accurate fla or profile vs. Citric acid. And I’d like to be able to use simple Lactic acid, cheap and available everywhere, versus expensive hard to source encapsulated lactic acid. The key is how much direct acidification the meat can take at once without proteins breaking down and destroying texture to unacceptable levels (mushiness).

    We absolutely know that the palm oil encapsulation around the acid is fragile and degrades, breaking down in presence of moisture-- it is the only reason that ECA can act as a cure accelerator like other acids! If in fact some of the acid was not released into the meat immediately upon gentle mixing, there would be no cure acceleration. Sodium ascorbate and sodium erythorbate are the salts of Ascorbic acid and erythorbic acid, the acids are the accelerant. These are used at 0.4 to 0.5g/kg meat, and the acid ion is about 60% of the weight when ionically dissociated. So we know it just takes 0.25g of these acids… we can surmise that at least a similar amount of acid from the ECA is exposed. With 1% of this recipe above being ECA, and only 1/4000 needed to accelerate, that is 1/40th or 2.5% of the ECA encapsulation being broken. I think that is a reasonable approximation.

    There aren’t many papers on it, but I have found a few that indicate it is the SUDDEN MASSIVE pH change at once that causes the issue, and slow incremental pH drop over 12 or 24 hours similar to bacterial fermentation, allow the meat proteins to gradually change without suffering protein breakage. It started with me asking “Why is it OK on texture to acidify sausages with lactic acid bacteria, but not straight Lactic Acid to the same pH? Why is Encapsulation needed?”

    Here is one of the best papers I have found on it, I forget source as I just downloaded the pdf, but google might find with this title. I had to join/pay for an academic papers access to actually read most of the papers I found:

    American Journal of Food Technology 3(2): ISSN 1557-4571
    C 2008 Academic Journals Inc.
    Effect of Different Levels of Emulsion pH Adjusted with Lactic Acid and
    Glucono-Delta-Lactone on the Quality of Pork Sausages
    IR. Thomas, I A. S.R. Anjaneyulu, I S.K. Mendiratta and 2N. Rondaiah

    These guys showed that gradual acidification via multiple small chemical additions allowed texture to remain acceptable. However, the costs associated with such handling exceeded cost of innoculation with LAB and fermentation, so it was deemed unviable as a replacement.

    Another good paper is
    The Chemistry of Dry Sausages by J.C. Acton, published by American Meat Science Association. This was from Dept of Meat Science, Clemson U. About 14 dense pages of charts showing solubility of various meat proteins when subjected to acidification via large pH drops versus slow bacterial acidification to same pH. I didn’t follow it all, but the thrust was the proteins break down due to large pH differential, not absolute pH. Apparently the meat bonds can withstand each small pH drop, and the protein changes gradually with small drops but remains intact. So good texture remains.

    I just got the SPDS sheets for several encapsulated acid products from IMCB, the parent corp for Balchem Industries who make most of the encapsulated food products, still reading thru them, mostly safety and allergen info.

    Anyways, your ECA sitting overnight results give me hope that I might be able to just add Lactic Acid in small dosages, maybe just leave meat in mixer bowl and blend in 1/5th of total acid at a time over 5 hours or so? Any more and it’s faster/easier to just ferment overnight. But there might be a viable breakeven point that would let folks achieve good lactic flavor results without using cultures or expensive encapsulated lactic acid. I hope 🙂 Worthwhile goal of a few experiments I think.

    Next step following up on your experience report, I will make some SS with ELA/ECA blend I have, test pH, let it sit overnight, then test the pH. This should give me a baseline of a minimum amount of OK pH change, and also encapsulation breakdown over time.

  • Referenced by  Dave in AZ Dave in AZ 
  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    Dave in AZ Absolutely fantastic research and write up, thank you so much for you dedication to the craft.

  • Team Blue Masterbuilt Canning Kamado Joes Regular Contributors Power User Sous Vide Oklahoma

    Dave in AZ wow that is alot of great information. Thanks for all you share. All of your info has helped me branch out into things I probably would have never tried. Thanks again.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Thx much guys. I’ve been waiting weeks for some encapsulated lactic acid samples so I could do some side by side comparison, but it looks like the account manager never sent the sample maybe… might have to press on with just eca and an eca/ela mix, and F-LC culture. Appreciate your comments.

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