Okay, I got my encapsulated citric acid (ECA) the other day and decided to make snack sticks. I have a really good recipe for sweet bologna Which I crafted myself over 25 years ago. Believe me I had to eat some bland tasting deer bologna until I got it right. My dad was tired of the local butcher requiring us to have a certain amount of meat in order to get our own meat back. So my quest to make bologna began. After trial , error and a lot of mistakes due to lack of information and well kept secrets I finally got it right.
My bologna tastes like Lebanon Bologna (LB) without the tang because it's not fermented. Growing up just outside of Lancaster,PA LB is a common lunch time favorite for us. So why didn't I go one step further? Two reasons, one I had no idea how to ferment meat and two, LB is quite common and wouldn't seem to be a special yearly treat. Most all deer bologna made around here by local butchers was of the sweet variety but not fermented. Some smoked heavy some lightly one thing is for sure no two shops tasted the same.
Once I moved out of my parents house and got cable television service, which was a waste of money in my dads eyes. Their came the internet and sites like this and books made available to purchase which were not in my local library or book store. I found out how to ferment meats and wow what a pain in the butt. regulating humidity, PH, moisture loss all while trying to maintaining a constant temperature! I now know why the LB factory has a outlet store where they sell LB seconds. The ones that are safe to eat but not quite to standards.
Then came along Fermento, That supposedly did away with all the hassle. It sounded too good to be true. I often wanted to try this and maybe I did when I made summer sausage from a kit and never realized it, or maybe I never really ate a good fermented summer sausage that I could tell the difference but one thing is for sure I know LB and this will be a great test for ECA and how well it mimics the fermented flavor. So I went to my local butcher shop and bought 10#s of ground beef. I know beef ? but If I make a mistake I rather loose $30 of beef than my precious Dear and I do mean Dear meat. (any hunter will under stand this gaffe) So here we go.
All my spices mixed together. no not really the only " official" spice is black pepper. The rest is salt, white sugar, brown sugar, honey and pink cure that's it! Oh and ECA for this batch.
all ready to mix, I use my wife's kitchen aid mixer this stuff gets sticky I mixed it by hand for years until I got my 20# mixer but I'm not making it dirty for 10# of meat
Mixed and ready to stuff collagen casings
All stuffed and ready to load, smoker is fired up.
Their they are, They were done in about 6 hours I put them in the fridge and cut them up today
And the money shot as you call it here.
My conclusion, The first sample right out of the smoker, really tangy, almost a lemony flavor I will never do this again was my thinking.
After a two day chill Wow these really taste like LB without a doubt. The tang from the ECA has mellowed out and I really can't tell this is not fermented. I am very pleased with the results although their will be diehard's which say it is not a substitute for fermenting, Maybe not but I can't tell and neither can anyone who has tasted it.
Edited by jerky nut - 12/23/13 at 11:44am