Pre mixing spice slurry with cure? Any negative effects?

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by worktogthr, May 16, 2016.

  1. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    So this weekend I am going to be making 50 (or possibly one hundred) pounds of sausage for a charity event next week.  This is a huge task with my limited equipment so I am trying to get a head start.  My schedule is as follows:

    Thursday:  Pick up 100 lbs of coarse ground butt from the butcher

    Friday night: Season and mix the meat

    Saturday:  Stuff and begin smoking the sausage

    Sunday: Finish smoking the sausage.

    So my question is:

    Can i premix my spices, cure, NFDM,  and water on wednesday night and leave them in the fridge?  My thinking is that if that is all done, I can just dump and mix on Friday night.  Will this negatively effect any of the ingredients?  The Cure?  

    Another related question is how long can sausage that is cured be left out to bloom after smoking.  I only ask because some of  it may be finishing late at night, and I want to get some sleep this weekend.  Is overnight too long?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Early mixing of all the ingredients can cause the meat mix to "stiffen" where it can be difficult to  push through the stuffer, IF you are using a small nozzle and stuffing into small casings...   Lube the stuffer well, the piston, O-ring, and meat canister....   I use Crisco...   lube the screw also...  Usually the stiffening comes from mixing, where the proteins are released and form a "meat glue".....

    Overnight blooming is not a problem...  Do not wrap the sausages...   leave them in the open air....  

    Be sure your sausages are at room temp before smoking...  you do not want them cold...   You can hang them in the smoker with no smoke at 100 ish for an hour or so, to dry if needed, with dampers wide open...  then start applying the smoke...

    If it becomes difficult to stuff during the process, check the O-ring and add more lube if needed...   The O-ring can cause a lot of friction...

    Anyway, that's how I do it....
  3. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Dave for the quick response. I know what you mean about the stiffening but I have had pretty good success with mixing the night before and stuffing he next day. Like you said, the tube is always lubed and I also make sure my casings have been soaking for a few days.

    My biggest concern was the mixing the water spices and cure ahead of time and storing them in the fridge a day or two before mixing into the meat. Would that dilute the flavor of the spices or hurt the effectiveness of the cure?
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nope....   the "time" allows for the spice flavors and cure to mingle and migrate to all parts of the meat....
  5. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks again Dave.  I will definitely mix up the spices, cure, water, and NFDM on Wednesday and stick them in the fridge to make the mixing quicker on thursday and friday.  
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That Dave is a wealth of knowledge. And is most near always right! Even though his bride might not always agree.

  7. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Why not just measure and store all your spices and cure ahead of time in individual ziploc sandwich bags or something (that way you won't miss anything), then measure your water and mix everything right before use. That way you won't have any concerns? 
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you are just talking about the flavouring herbs and seasonings then that shouldn't be a problem but if you are adding cure (Nitrite) then this would be best kept dry and added at the last moment.
  9. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I see what you are both saying. Pre measuring the spices would work but I use fresh garlic in my kielbasa which wouldn't last unrefrigerated. Maybe mix every thing ahead of time and stick it in the fridge but the cure?
  10. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    You must be real short on time or you're just overthinking this whole process.

    Even if you were to make your spice slurry from scratch right before use, how long is that going to take? 10-15 minutes?

    If you must go the premix route then I would do what Wade has suggested.
  11. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Soak the casings in warm water and hour before stuffing, you can add a little water in with the meat right before stuffing to "lube it". Since you are cooking it right away you shouldn't have to worry about bacteria. Mixing ahead gives time for the cure to take place and the spices to penetrate fully. Yes it gets sticky and tightens up but it will stuff ok.

  12. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You will be fine with this way, just don't add anymore water than needed. Thats called AW
  13. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks everyone for the advice. I have a lot to consider.   I will let you all know how it goes.  There will definitely be a post detailing this massive sausage production haha
  14. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Watching for the post. 100#. Wow!!
  15. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Water activity (Aw) is really more important in foods that are not going to be eaten straight away (e.g. salami or BBQ sauces), though Nepas is correct about only adding the minimum liquid that you need.

    When you refer to "the cure" in your original post are you referring to a cure#1/#2? You also didn't mention how you intend smoking them or for how long. Will you be hot smoking them in batches until they are cooked or cold smoking them in preparation for cooking later at the event. If these are fresh sausages that are going to be hot smoked and then kept chilled and eaten within a day or so, providing you use safe food handling practices during the process, you need to ask yourself whether you actually need to add the cure - unless it is there as part of the flavouring. The ultra-caution amongst may say that you should always add cure, but depending on how you intend to smoke them there is no point in adding cure simply for the sake of it.
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
  16. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks so much for the help Wade.  

    The two sausages in question are andouille and kielbasa, both of which will be smoked and usually contain cure for safety and flavor.  My usual process for smoked sausage is to include cure #1  (tsp. per 5 lbs.).  Mix cure and seasonings into the meat with about a cup of water until well combined and let sit in the fridge overnight.  Next day, I stuff, either hang to dry or dry in the smoker.  Then apply smoke for 3-4 hours at a temperature no greater than 165 (to avoid fat rendering out)  until desired color is reached.  At this point I usually cut the smoke and let finish in the smoker or employ a warm water bath until they reach 152.  Once they reach 152 they go immediately into ice water to cool.  Then they are hung to dry and bloom for a few hours and then in to the fridge or freezer  (These sausages will be cooked later (Kielbasa grilled, andouille added to other recipes, in this case a crawfish boil).   Cure is necessary in this method because the meat will be in the danger zone for quite some time.  

    Since 100 pounds of sausage is a bit overwhelming and time consuming my original question was whether or not mixing all the spices, the cure, and cold water ahead of time in small containers and sticking them in the fridge would do anything to damage the cure or the potency of the spices, etc?  This would make it possible for me to simply dump the pre-measured spice/cure mixes into the ground meat.  It would be something I was hoping I could do ahead of time to save time on the day I actually mix up the sausage.
  17. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like a good plan. I hope you will post up photos of the feast [​IMG]
  18. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    In your opinion is mixing the spices and cure together with water and sticking them in the fridge ahead of time going to do any harm to the cure or the potency of the seasonings?
  19. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When in solution Nitrite will start to break down due to bacterial action and it is better if this starts to occur when it is in contact with the more potentially harmful bacteria on the meat rather than any that are in the spices. Under normal conditions this is quite a slow process but I cannot find any quantitative references to indicate how fast this breakdown may be in a spice slurry or whether any enzymes released by the ground spices may also start to break the Nitrite down. To avoid any of these then it is better to keep the cure crystalline until you need it.

    Will it kill you if you do mix it with the spices in advance? No of course it won't. However as the Nitrite has been added for the purpose of bacterial safely it would  makes sense to ensure that it is most potent at the point it is most required.

    If the spice slurry is acidic then the Nitrite can also be converted to Nitrosamines -  the same group of chemical compounds that has led to the banning of Nitrates (cure#2) when making bacon.
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
    danmcg likes this.
  20. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Wade, I really appreciate this info. Thanks so much for taking the time to give me that info. That's why I love this forum. This food is being served to 1000 servicemen and veterans. Safety is of the utmost concern so I will not take any chances. I will definitely mix the slurry right before I add it to the meat. Thanks again!!!

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