Food Safety- Cured Snack Sticks

Sausage making and curing meats.

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MikeD
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Food Safety- Cured Snack Sticks

Postby MikeD » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:38 am

I've been playing with different recipes and techniques as I go in to deer season to make my own bucksticks. I think I have a spice blend I like and a method that's right for me in terms of a flavor profile, but the semi-dried texture I'm
accustomed to from my local processors has only been achieved almost a week after smoking. I left it uncovered in fridge, froze and left a portion out in the open after a few days in the fridge. Wife came in this morning and said the stuff on the counter tasted better than professional. Honestly, I wasnt planning to have anyone but me eat that stuff and am a little freaked out lol.

Here's my elementary question...can meat that's been cooked to 156* and cured as instructed (1 tsp cure #1 per 5lbs of meat) be left at room temperature for extended time to dry further? It's hard to unlearn decades of traditional food safety, particularly when feeding it to my family.
Last edited by MikeD on Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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OldUsedParts
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Re: Food Safety- Cured Snack Sticks

Postby OldUsedParts » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:20 am

Mike, I feel your pain because I too have had that very same thought and that came after using a dehydrator to do my Bambi Jerky. Altho, the sticks are dry dry dry, I still can't keep from sticking it in the Frig and then taking out as needed. :dont:
OUP

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Papa Tom
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Re: Food Safety- Cured Snack Sticks

Postby Papa Tom » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:58 am

Liability release: I am not a professional the following is for entertainment purposes only.

OK the process for bacterial growth depends on several things.
Temperature between 40° and 140°F
Moisture: ≥ 70%
Bacteria food
PH ≈ 7 (5-8)
Favorable environment
Let's take a look at summer sausage or salami. Salamis are made from a meat mixture containing sodium nitrate and a lactic acid fermentation starter and spices of course.
The salami is packed, smoked and hung to dry in a 70% humidity room temperature environment.
While it seems to ignore the temperature range it uses this range wisely since the lactic acid bacteria needs to grow as well as the bacteria that break down the sodium nitrate to sodium nitrite needed for the cure. The lactic acid formed lowers the Ph of the mix to a more favorable point to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria. It also gives that nice tang in the flavor profile of fermented sausage.
The sodium nitrite further breaks down to nitric oxide then to nitrous acid reacting with the mytoglobin in the meat to inhibit the growth of bad guys especially the botulism bad boy.
Of course the food for bacteria is always present they eat the same stuff we do.
The environment is disrupted for bacterial growth by smoking, salt, lower Ph, drying, curing.
Note the 70% humidity is high but necessary otherwise a lower humidity would cause quick drying of the out surfaces of the sausage sealing the moisture to the inside and eventual rotting of the center out. Since we are talking about meat sticks here this should not be a issue and a lower than 70% humidity would be desirable.

So as you can see in the salami example the right combination of factors eliminates the temperature worries and since you have actually cooked the sticks to 156°F to start I think you are safe.

More notes: sodium erythorbate can be used to accelerate the cure so you don't have a overnight wait for that to occur. Further note: You don't have sodium erythorbate in your cabinet? Then use it's cousin sodium ascorbate (vitamin C) but either way a little is all that is needed a 1/4 teaspoon in 5 lb mix should work keeping the accelerator away from the nitrite as much as possible (I mix the nitrite & spices thoroughly into the meat then mix the accelerator with liquid then adding and mixing it in quickly). When using an accelerator the meat will bind pretty quickly so do not wait to stuff or form.

One more note you can lower the Ph by adding lactic or citric acid to the mix this will be noticed in the flavor profile so be careful don't add too much.

Probably more entertainment here than you expected when you were looking for a yes or no but now you have been entertained.
tarde venientibus ossa....
MikeD
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Re: Food Safety- Cured Snack Sticks

Postby MikeD » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:36 pm

Papa Tom wrote:Liability release: I am not a professional the following is for entertainment purposes only.

OK the process for bacterial growth depends on several things.
Temperature between 40° and 140°F
Moisture: ≥ 70%
Bacteria food
PH ≈ 7 (5-8)
Favorable environment
Let's take a look at summer sausage or salami. Salamis are made from a meat mixture containing sodium nitrate and a lactic acid fermentation starter and spices of course.
The salami is packed, smoked and hung to dry in a 70% humidity room temperature environment.
While it seems to ignore the temperature range it uses this range wisely since the lactic acid bacteria needs to grow as well as the bacteria that break down the sodium nitrate to sodium nitrite needed for the cure. The lactic acid formed lowers the Ph of the mix to a more favorable point to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria. It also gives that nice tang in the flavor profile of fermented sausage.
The sodium nitrite further breaks down to nitric oxide then to nitrous acid reacting with the mytoglobin in the meat to inhibit the growth of bad guys especially the botulism bad boy.
Of course the food for bacteria is always present they eat the same stuff we do.
The environment is disrupted for bacterial growth by smoking, salt, lower Ph, drying, curing.
Note the 70% humidity is high but necessary otherwise a lower humidity would cause quick drying of the out surfaces of the sausage sealing the moisture to the inside and eventual rotting of the center out. Since we are talking about meat sticks here this should not be a issue and a lower than 70% humidity would be desirable.

So as you can see in the salami example the right combination of factors eliminates the temperature worries and since you have actually cooked the sticks to 156°F to start I think you are safe.

More notes: sodium erythorbate can be used to accelerate the cure so you don't have a overnight wait for that to occur. Further note: You don't have sodium erythorbate in your cabinet? Then use it's cousin sodium ascorbate (vitamin C) but either way a little is all that is needed a 1/4 teaspoon in 5 lb mix should work keeping the accelerator away from the nitrite as much as possible (I mix the nitrite & spices thoroughly into the meat then mix the accelerator with liquid then adding and mixing it in quickly). When using an accelerator the meat will bind pretty quickly so do not wait to stuff or form.

One more note you can lower the Ph by adding lactic or citric acid to the mix this will be noticed in the flavor profile so be careful don't add too much.

Probably more entertainment here than you expected when you were looking for a yes or no but now you have been entertained.


Jiminy Christmas, Papa Tom, I have a BS in biology with a chemistry minor and I had to read that a few times lol!

So I guess you're saying I don't need to get the wife's will started today?

Thanks
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Papa Tom
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Re: Food Safety- Cured Snack Sticks

Postby Papa Tom » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:45 pm

Wouldn't hurt......tell her it's for entertainment purposes.
tarde venientibus ossa....
MikeD
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Re: Food Safety- Cured Snack Sticks

Postby MikeD » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:12 pm

So like "Eat this. Now sign here." ??

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