Salt Questions

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nawlinsborn73

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Original poster
Aug 21, 2020
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When making a sausage that includes large amounts of ingredients other than meat, such as onions, should I take that into consideration when calculating the salt?

For instance, if I had 1000g of meat and 300g of onions, should I calculate salt using 1300g or just 1000g?
 
Just 1000 grams, I’m assuming you’re using curing salt, as in cure #1. You can add all the extra ingredients you want but the curing salt must be CORRECT for the amount of MEAT you are curing. This is the calculator most of us use. Just put in the grams of meat & use the default values.

Al
 
N nawlinsborn73
First, if the person giving the recipe is clear on salt amount, then of course use that. They've made it and know how it tastes. However, if you're changing recipe, adding your own stuff in large amounts then see below.

the salt provides taste as well as Aw reduction and protein extraction. So long as you don't reduce the salt, the last 2 happen. But for taste, once you chew once, your taste buds register saltiness based on the percent overall, NOT JUST THE MEAT. For the saltiness flavor, you should use the total block weight of the sausage. In your case, meat + onions + water.

Recipes are usually written with salt as a % of meat block, but that is for EASE OF CALCULATION, NOT CORRECTNESS. Because most sausage additions to the meat are small, it works out ok. However, if you want a 1.8% saltiness, pretty standard for sausages and what Marianski almost always uses, and you're adding a lot of filler ingredients, use total weight or you'll end up with a bland sausage.

In your example with 300g onions, and lets say you used 10% water, a 1.5% salt sausage would ACTUALLY end up being a 1.0% saltiness, only 2/3 intended flavor.

The ACTUAL SOURCE GUIDE for the correct way to calculate all amounts and percentages of sausage ingredients is the USDA FSIS PROCESSING INSPECTORS CALCULATION HANDBOOK. The guide makes it very clear in their verbiage and all calculation examples, that flavorings (salt), water amount, binders, phosphates, antioxidants, are all to be calculated using the PFW, Product Final Weight, and Batch Weight, which include every ingredient in the sausage, NOT just the meat.

Only nitrite/nitrates, cure accelerators (sodium erythorbate, sodium ascorbate etc), and SAPP (Sodium acid pyrophosphate) when used as a color accelerator, are to be calculated using MEAT BLOCK weight. All other items are calculated using total batch weight and Product Final Weight.

Hope that is helpful :) Download and reference the Handbook for all curing, additions, and calculations questions, it is a quick read and contains all valid answers.

SmokinAl SmokinAl I'm pretty sure he just meant salt, not cure1.
 
Last edited:
When making a sausage that includes large amounts of ingredients other than meat, such as onions, should I take that into consideration when calculating the salt?

For instance, if I had 1000g of meat and 300g of onions, should I calculate salt using 1300g or just 1000g?
I too will assume you are talking regular salt? If so then I always just salt for the meat. I don’t normally make sausages with large volume of vegetables like onion, but I have and only calculate salt for meat weight. When I add onions as a condiment to a meal I do not salt the onions first, to me the purpose of the onion is to bring its own flavor. Also, when I make sausage with added ingredients that are bulky like onion, I season my meat batter and mix for protein extraction then fold in the onion just to incorporate. Now potatoes are different but when I use them in sausage I par boil them in saltwater but vegetables I leave as is.

So I guess you need to try it both ways for yourself and see.
 
N nawlinsborn73
First, if the person giving the recipe is clear on salt amount, then of course use that. They've made it and know how it tastes. However, if you're changing recipe, adding your own stuff in large amounts then see below.

the salt provides taste as well as Aw reduction and protein extraction. So long as you don't reduce the salt, the last 2 happen. But for taste, once you chew once, your taste buds register saltiness based on the percent overall, NOT JUST THE MEAT. For the saltiness flavor, you should use the total block weight of the sausage. In your case, meat + onions + water.

Recipes are usually written with salt as a % of meat block, but that is for EASE OF CALCULATION, NOT CORRECTNESS. Because most sausage additions to the meat are small, it works out ok. However, if you want a 1.8% saltiness, pretty standard for sausages and what Marianski almost always uses, and you're adding a lot of filler ingredients, use total weight or you'll end up with a bland sausage.

In your example with 300g onions, and lets say you used 10% water, a 1.5% salt sausage would ACTUALLY end up being a 1.0% saltiness, only 2/3 intended flavor.

The ACTUAL SOURCE GUIDE for the correct way to calculate all amounts and percentages of sausage ingredients is the USDA FSIS PROCESSING INSPECTORS CALCULATION HANDBOOK. The guide makes it very clear in their verbiage and all calculation examples, that flavorings (salt), water amount, binders, phosphates, antioxidants, are all to be calculated using the PFW, Product Final Weight, and Batch Weight, which include every ingredient in the sausage, NOT just the meat.

Only nitrite/nitrates, cure accelerators (sodium erythorbate, sodium ascorbate etc), and SAPP (Sodium acid pyrophosphate) when used as a color accelerator, are to be calculated using MEAT BLOCK weight. All other items are calculated using total batch weight and Product Final Weight.

Hope that is helpful :) Download and reference the Handbook for all curing, additions, and calculations questions, it is a quick read and contains all valid answers.

SmokinAl SmokinAl I'm pretty sure he just meant salt, not cure1.
You are correct. I'm only asking about regular salt. There will be no curing salt in this recipe as it will be a fresh sausage.

Thanks for the detailed information.
 
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I, also only base my salt percentage on the weight of the meat.
Also, when I make sausage with added ingredients that are bulky like onion, I season my meat batter and mix for protein extraction then fold in the onion just to incorporate.
The recent chorizo craze comes to mind, which has a fair amount of vegetable matter, and we add that last, after we have good protein extraction.
 
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No expert here, but when I've made sausage that I had not already refined the recipe and knew exactly what measurements to use, I always fried up a pinch for a taste test then adjusted if needed. Small batch makes this easier and I would never do a huge batch without first proving a small batch.
 
I tend to gravitate towards the same recipes so if one is slightly too salty or slightly too little salt I adjust my recipe for next time. There's generally a range of salt I find acceptable. I use slightly more salt in a fresh sausage to compensate for the lack of the salt from the cure#1. I generally don't make sausages with that much internal garnish, but I would imagine it'd be necessary to bump up the salt, but I'd of course leave the cure alone and I'd still write the recipe as percentages of the meat/fat.
 
Yep, calculate salt just for the meat. Cure #1 however, you calculate for everything.....that's what chef jimmyj told me years ago....
Reverse that, according to USDA FSIS Processing Inspectors Calculation Handbook...

How folks express the recipe when they communicate is up to them, most folks express salt as a % of meatblock. But for cure1, it is supposed to be based only on meatblock per the gov. It reacts with the meat proteins, not other contents, so nitrites and accelerators they want to ensure only the correct amount for the meat is used, not more. This is why I send everyone to the actual regulatory source, too easy for internet info to get confused...

For brines, immersion cure, and pump injection, there are different calculations that include the water when weight pickup is calculated...
 
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