Summer sausage and dextrose/citric acid

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Original poster
Mar 4, 2011
Hello, I am new to this site, and smoking in general, but have been monitoring for quite some time. I made my first batch of venison summer sausage, mixed it and stuffed it last night. My problem is that I totally forgot to add the dextrose and citric acid prior to stuffing it (I was too excited to try my new stuffer). Are these ingredients essential? I havent smoked the sausage yet (thats going to be tonights project) so do I need to un-stuff, re-mix, and re-stuff with the dextrose and citric acid, or should I be OK?


Yes, used cure #1, mixed everything I needed, and even had measured out the destrose and citric acid, just forgot to add. Just wondering if everything will be ok.
Is this a premixed kit that you picked up or are you making your own seasoning mixture? I have never made Summer Sausage but I have made tons of regular sausage and we have never used citric acid or destrose so I'm not sure what they are used for. If you have cure then I would think you would be fine to smoke but lets wait to have some of the experts chime in on this since I'm not sure what those ingredients main purpose is.
I made my own seasoning. I'm just not sure what the dextrose/citric acid does with the sausage, adds flavor maybe? Just looking for an opinion before I smoke to make sure that I dont end up with 15lbs of garbage.

Heres a pic of the stuffed sausage

No, I made my own seasoning. I just want to make sure that omitting the dextrose and citric acid will not ruin the sausage. I will post pics soon.
I may be speaking out of turn here, but I think you will be fine.  I believe the dextrose and/or citric acid will give the sausage a "tang", but they are not essential.
2 kinds of Citric Acids

ECA which is Encapsulated Citric Acid which is mor commonly used in sausage making. Its CA encapsulated in gelatin like pills are. The gelatin melts at around 130-140* releasing the CA which makes the tang. ECA should be mixed in by hand after grinding.

Regular powdered CA id not used right can dry the meat out turn it white and crumbly. Not good.


Is about 60-70% as sweet as regular sugar and helps in fermenting giving a tang. Many pre mixed kits contain dextrose.
He is right even though you have already made and ate your sausage. I have never used any sort of acid and have never had any flavor issues. I actually will make some summer sausage next week and I am currently doing my research to see what kind of citric acid to use. This site gave me the answer. I will only use encapsulated citric acid in a limited amount just to get a little tang.  I usually just use about 3/4 tbsp Morton Tender Quick per/lb and then add whatever seasonings I want to the sausage and it always turns out great but I love experimenting. Thanks Nepas for the tips. One thing that is still not clear for me is the purpose of dextrose, how much to use to or where to buy it.  
Personally, I'd proceed with the smoke and wouldnt bother with the hassle of remixing & restuffing.

If it were a more critical ingredient omitted (salt, cure, etc.), I'd be a bit more concerned. The dextrose may help balance out the flavors a bit (counter to the salt), regular CA (not ECA) is often used commercially to help speed the curing process and stabilize appearance (color).

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Some kits already contain dextrose, sodium erythorbate and other additives. I would read the package ingredients before adding.

Most Additives used in sausage & jerky making are not spices and do not do necessarily "Season The Meat". They usually perform a function such as retaining color or moisture. They can also protect meat from bacteria while smoking or drying. However, some additives such as cures do affect taste and color to a degree. Always follow the directions provided and do not add more than directed.

Additives are also used to improve food by:
Improving the keeping quality of a food by making it last longer on the shelf or in the fridge - Cures are used, for example, prevent the growth of bacteria. Binders are used to stop food from drying out

Improving to the taste and the appearance of foods by using enhancing flavors and colors.
Another benefit of food additives is that consumers can be offered a wider choice of foods. Many processed foods contain additives. Some common examples are bacon, margarine, ice cream and bread.

Some people believe that because food additives are chemicals they should be banned. However, everything in the world,
Including the food we eat and our bodies is made of chemicals. Air, water, glucose and salt are chemicals in the same
way that food additives are. Many food additives occur naturally, such as red color from beetroot (Beet red), and purple
color from grape skins (anthocyanins). These colors can be extracted and added to foods. Some food additives found in
nature can be manufactured, for example, ascorbic acid. Other additives are manufactured but not found in nature, such
as aspartame, which is used to replace sugar


Helps reduce nitrate to nitrite as meats are cured. Used to counteract salt in brines. Dextrose assists fermentation, which gives us the desired tang of flavor. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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