Hey....my butt's wet?

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by hog warden, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    Sometimes things are so obvious you really don't notice them. Take pork butts for example. I've lost tract of how many I've chopped up for sausage since the first of the year, but it's been a lot and they have come from 5 different stores, depending on who has them on sale for 99 cents per pound.

    The last batch I ground was a double cryopack from Sam's Club. IBP brand on the package. My first thought was these are not too whoopie. Why so soft and squishy? My mind racing back to my old Animal Husbandry and Meat Science classes, my first thought was PSE. Huh?


    Not the case at all. Today it all came into focus when I uncorked a Hormel butt that I'd picked up from Hyvee (it too cryopaced). The label say's "up to 12% water solution added" to make it moist and tender. Water added? To a butt???? Yup. So I look a little closer and the butts in the case at the Kroger are the same thing. Water added.

    The net effect for a sausage maker (aside from having to buy the water at 99 cents per pound) is to make the meat soft. Make that squishy soft. Great if you are going to smoke the entire butt (moisture makes that smoke ring), but not so great if you are grinding for sausage.

    I played hell getting those IBP butts from Sam's to freeze and firm up to grind and cubing them up before the grind was harder than it needed to be also. They never looked or felt right, although it was not noticeable in taste after the fact. In the back of my mind, I suspected they were old and spoiled.

    By comparison, two other local food stores sell their butts wrapped in plastic and setting on styrofoam flats. They have a nice bright pink color and are firm to start with. They cut up and grind up fine.

    For sausage, I'm going to avoid the water added butts.
  2. jamesb

    jamesb Smoking Fanatic

    Yeah, I hate paying for water... Just another way of the packers to increase their profit margins...

    When maknig sausage, I usually opt for the twin pack of de-boned butts from Costco. For regular cooknig, I get the bone-in variety from Sam's. The product these stores sell here are not pumped... At least as of last week...
  3. flatbroke

    flatbroke Smoking Fanatic

    That's awful. I only use wild hogs for sausage.
  4. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    I did a full slab of ribs on Sat. Came from a Kroger affiliate (Kroger brand on the label). Same thing. Up to 12% "solution" added "to make them moist and tender".

    I'd be curious what the actual strategery is. Does the slightly salty solution avoid spoilage (air is removed and the solution sloshes around inside the cryopack)? Does it really improve the product (that moist and tender thing)? Is it just to add weight? All of the above?
  5. tsulcoski

    tsulcoski Smoke Blower

    Enhaced pork or moist and tender pork is enhanced with a salt water solution and usually some type of citrus juice ( lemon Juice). The lemon juice keeps the bones from turning black.the salt water solution is a type of brine, not to be mistaken for a curing agent. The solution will indeed keep this pork very tender during cooking, but it will also add a sodium content to anything you use it for. I prefer to use product that is not enhanced for anything I am going to smoke because the curing agents I use already have enough salt in them. You may need to reduce the salt or curing agent if you are going to use an enhanced product.

    I do like to use the enhaced pork for items I grill or bake in the oven because you can't really over cook them because the solution keeps them moist.
  6. uncle_lar

    uncle_lar Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I quit buying butts packaged for commercial sale, like the ones at hyvee or kroger
    your really notgetting a deal at all. I buy mine from my butcher. I pay a few cents more , usually 1.19, but get pork butts! no water added, usually buy by the case, same butts he uses to make his pork steak, country ribs , trimmed roasts etc. money ahead in the long run.

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