Confused… help!? I froze hotdogs and the texture was ruined

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slavikborisov

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Aug 24, 2021
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Pennsylvania
I just did a batch of hotdogs vac sealed and froze I pulled a pack out and one they turned a darker red color and looked like there were air bubbles. No flavor difference but texture was like straight rubber out of 8 hot dogs two were good the rest sucked!

Any ideas on what happend? They were cooked in water on celluloid casing I had 4g/kg amesphos and 10% water with prolly an 80/20 meat to fat ratio.
 
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slavikborisov slavikborisov
I've found that freezing can totally ruin the texture on some sausages, especially if they have a good bit of water.

When the water freezes, ice crystals form and it jacks up the nice protein/fat/water bind. Then when they melt, the water just kind of runs out.

This doesn't happen on my snacksticks which are somewhat dry and massive extraction. Nor on texas beef bbq sausage, hot links. But on 100% pork kielbasa or smoked polish sausage, 34mm, they go from awesome to watery squirters if frozen. Uncooked Brats, Italian, and breakfast are all fine.

I haven't figured out exactly which ones it will happen to yet, just empirical evidence, but I've determined not to make large quantities of smoked polish and freeze.

I'm sorry to hear this. You can grind and make a nice baloney sandwich spread with mayo etc maybe.
 
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I dunno, Dave, I vac seal and freeze smoked sausages, including kielbasa all the time without any issues at all.
 
Maybe over working the batter? That can make them tough.
Yeah maybe I mixed for too long it was just weird caz once they came out of the casing after ice bath they were great but after I froze them… at least the one pack I pulled out the texture was terrible…. Now the first batch I did was all done in the smoker and I didn’t have any issues with those and the recipe a water content was the same… so idk maybe I should smoked first then water finish its just real disappointing
 
slavikborisov slavikborisov
I've found that freezing can totally ruin the texture on some sausages, especially if they have a good bit of water.

When the water freezes, ice crystals form and it jacks up the nice protein/fat/water bind. Then when they melt, the water just kind of runs out.

This doesn't happen on my snacksticks which are somewhat dry and massive extraction. Nor on texas beef bbq sausage, hot links. But on 100% pork kielbasa or smoked polish sausage, 34mm, they go from awesome to watery squirters if frozen. Uncooked Brats, Italian, and breakfast are all fine.

I haven't figured out exactly which ones it will happen to yet, just empirical evidence, but I've determined not to make large quantities of smoked polish and freeze.

I'm sorry to hear this. You can grind and make a nice baloney sandwich spread with mayo etc maybe.
Yeah hotdogs were the only thing so far that I’ve experienced like this became my all
Pork kelbasi last year in hog casing I froze and that had 10% water in it but that was all
Cooked in the smoker I had no texture issues. Im not sure what happened
 
I wonder if this is something that can be prevented with the right binders and additives? Or if it's more an issue of grind/emulsion quality or protein extraction or other process issue. I can't say that I've ever had this problem with either commercial sausages or ones made by one of the local butchers, so it must be preventable somehow
 
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I wonder if this is something that can be prevented with the right binders and additives? Or if it's more an issue of grind/emulsion quality or protein extraction or other process issue. I can't say that I've ever had this problem with either commercial sausages or ones made by one of the local butchers, so it must be preventable somehow
Yeah that’s what I don’t understand my recipe didn’t change from
The first batch to the second just the casing and cooking method… the only reason I changed was I figured the casing would be easier to pull off (which they were) and cooking in water would be much quicker (which is was 3 hours vs like 40 min) and the casing diameter went up (26mm hotdog casings from LEM, which were a pain in the ass to peel after cooking in the smoker vs this batch of 28mm cellulose fine Walton’s) they were great until they hit the freezer below are picture before freezer…. After they has air bubbles on the outer layer when defrosted and texture was like rubber and that light dull brown color also was like a darker red once they were frozen.
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Maybe over working the batter? That can make them tough.
I found another forum that said the same thing “ If your emulsified hot dogs and sausages are tough or rubbery in texture, you may be over-extracting the actomyosin myofibrillar proteins. In other words, you may be mixing the sausage a little too much, especially with the addition of salt or water. This elasticity may also be perceived as toughness or stiffness in texture. Most often an "insufficient amount of water" is bound to receive the blame for this elasticity or toughness when it is not.

Maybe I over mixed thinking back…. I did a couple minutes on the mixer then since I had 75lb I hand mix between two meat lugs so I might of pushed it over the edge by intermixing the two lugs because I was trying to ensure the seasoning was throughly mixed for the entire batch…. Note to self only make seasoning enough per lug and mixer capacity (40lb)… don’t hand mix after machine mixing and hopefully that solves it
 
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another post i just read was leaving out binder. i use NFDM and Amesphos in my hotdogs.... but im not sure why that would be an issue anyone have an idea?
 
I dunno, Dave, I vac seal and freeze smoked sausages, including kielbasa all the time without any issues at all.
That is good to hear, Doug. This is an interesting thread, and it will be extremely useful for large batch size if I can figure out when/why those few frozen batches got rubbery and watery. It was just a few here and there as I said, and not enough trend for me to ID a mistake. As you say, it's not an issue with most commercial too.
kuroki kuroki
I didn't look into it much because Marianski said in his book that freezing would negatively impact texture.
EDIT===HEY! I was going to look up the Marianski quote, but upon rereading the Freezing section, I think he already addresses this problem! Speed of freezing and freezer temp! Here is his quote on this:

Freezing To understand the concept of freezing it is necessary to remember the fact that the meat consists of up to 75% of water. When water is placed in a freezer it freezes but also increases in volume. Fig. 7.2 Bottle of water is placed in a freezer. Water becomes ice and expands by about 10%. Fig. 7.3 Expanding ice puts pressure on the bottle and ruptures the glass. The ice remains in one solid block but the glass shatters into pieces although it still clings to the ice. The same applies to meat – it contains water everywhere, inside the muscle cells, in sarcoplasm, in connective tissues of membranes and in smaller amounts in fats. The water inside of the meat, like the water inside of a bottle, will become ice and because of its increased volume will expand and do damage to the meat protein, resulting in a loss of elasticity and its ability to hold water. How much damage is created depends directly on the temperature and speed of freezing. When freezing is slow, water molecules that get frozen first are the ones that reside between individual muscle fibers. Water inside cells contains more salt, it is under higher pressure and lower temperature. As a result water molecules leave muscle cells and diffuse towards connective tissues. Crystals grow large, mainly outside the cells and damage the structure of the meat, membranes included. Fig. 7.4 Slow freezing creates large ice crystals. When freezing at very low temperatures water has no time to leave cells and move into areas with lower pressure. Freezing is almost instantaneous, the formed ice crystals are very small and there is no damage to the internal meat structure. The crystals are formed inside and outside the cells, water in myofibrils is the last to freeze. Fig. 7.5 Fast freezing creates small ice crystals. It shall be noted that the curing process progresses somewhat faster in meat that was previously frozen due to the disrupted cell structure that was created by ice crystals. Meat freezes at 28° F (-2° C) but to freeze all water present inside of the meat cells we have to create temperatures of -8°-22° F (-22°-30° C), which is well beyond the range of a home refrigerator. The temperature of a home freezer is set to 0° F (-18° C) which fits into the slow freezing process described earlier. A butcher’s freezer -25° F (-32° C) is more effective, but to really fast freeze the meat an industrial unit is needed. They freeze meat by blasting fast moving cold air over the product that drops the temperature to -40° F (-40° C). Freezing prevents the spoilage of sausage, however, keeping it in a freezer for longer than 6 weeks will lower it’s flavor, though it will still be nutricious and safe to eat. Fish contains more water than other meats and its cells are more susceptible to damage by ice crystals.
 
I couldn't get it to stop boldface, so new post. In retrospect, the watery texture where water came out of bind and left sausage, all happened when I stacked a bunch of vacsealed up and they were probably above room temp. I expect it made them freeze slow and raised freezer temp, thus causing the large damaging ice crystals Marianski talks about.

In future, I will chill all down in fridge first, then lay separate in freezer, unstacked, so they freeze quickly. In my mind, for my own issue, this is now solved.
 
That is good to hear, Doug. This is an interesting thread, and it will be extremely useful for large batch size if I can figure out when/why those few frozen batches got rubbery and watery. It was just a few here and there as I said, and not enough trend for me to ID a mistake. As you say, it's not an issue with most commercial too.
kuroki kuroki
I didn't look into it much because Marianski said in his book that freezing would negatively impact texture.
EDIT===HEY! I was going to look up the Marianski quote, but upon rereading the Freezing section, I think he already addresses this problem! Speed of freezing and freezer temp! Here is his quote on this:

Freezing To understand the concept of freezing it is necessary to remember the fact that the meat consists of up to 75% of water. When water is placed in a freezer it freezes but also increases in volume. Fig. 7.2 Bottle of water is placed in a freezer. Water becomes ice and expands by about 10%. Fig. 7.3 Expanding ice puts pressure on the bottle and ruptures the glass. The ice remains in one solid block but the glass shatters into pieces although it still clings to the ice. The same applies to meat – it contains water everywhere, inside the muscle cells, in sarcoplasm, in connective tissues of membranes and in smaller amounts in fats. The water inside of the meat, like the water inside of a bottle, will become ice and because of its increased volume will expand and do damage to the meat protein, resulting in a loss of elasticity and its ability to hold water. How much damage is created depends directly on the temperature and speed of freezing. When freezing is slow, water molecules that get frozen first are the ones that reside between individual muscle fibers. Water inside cells contains more salt, it is under higher pressure and lower temperature. As a result water molecules leave muscle cells and diffuse towards connective tissues. Crystals grow large, mainly outside the cells and damage the structure of the meat, membranes included. Fig. 7.4 Slow freezing creates large ice crystals. When freezing at very low temperatures water has no time to leave cells and move into areas with lower pressure. Freezing is almost instantaneous, the formed ice crystals are very small and there is no damage to the internal meat structure. The crystals are formed inside and outside the cells, water in myofibrils is the last to freeze. Fig. 7.5 Fast freezing creates small ice crystals. It shall be noted that the curing process progresses somewhat faster in meat that was previously frozen due to the disrupted cell structure that was created by ice crystals. Meat freezes at 28° F (-2° C) but to freeze all water present inside of the meat cells we have to create temperatures of -8°-22° F (-22°-30° C), which is well beyond the range of a home refrigerator. The temperature of a home freezer is set to 0° F (-18° C) which fits into the slow freezing process described earlier. A butcher’s freezer -25° F (-32° C) is more effective, but to really fast freeze the meat an industrial unit is needed. They freeze meat by blasting fast moving cold air over the product that drops the temperature to -40° F (-40° C). Freezing prevents the spoilage of sausage, however, keeping it in a freezer for longer than 6 weeks will lower it’s flavor, though it will still be nutricious and safe to eat. Fish contains more water than other meats and its cells are more susceptible to damage by ice crystals.
That’s a really good read!! Yeah so basically I’m screwed unless I get liquid nitrogen and get it to -40f ASAP lol
 
I couldn't get it to stop boldface, so new post. In retrospect, the watery texture where water came out of bind and left sausage, all happened when I stacked a bunch of vacsealed up and they were probably above room temp. I expect it made them freeze slow and raised freezer temp, thus causing the large damaging ice crystals Marianski talks about.

In future, I will chill all down in fridge first, then lay separate in freezer, unstacked, so they freeze quickly. In my mind, for my own issue, this is now solved.
I did stack all in a chest freezer on top
Of each other so I’ll have to keep that in mind as well
 
In future, I will chill all down in fridge first, then lay separate in freezer, unstacked, so they freeze quickly. I
That's how I do it. Vac seal sausages out of the fridge, and single stack in the freezer. I expect a huge batch "may" raise freezer temps enough to cause issues but I'm generally freezing less than 5lb of sausage at a time (gotta keep some out of that 5lb batch to eat).
 
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