What went wrong with this batch?

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SCBBQ

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Sorry that I don't have a full set of facts on this issue to present... Lots and lots of distractions over the past 8 months have slowed down my newest hobby of sausage making. To that end, I had produced a few 50 pound batches almost a year ago that I put up in a modified cabinet that seemed to check out fine.

Over the time, I would occasionally check the temp and humidity level and it had no issues. Just yesterday I finally pulled out two batches that had been in there for plenty of time. No black or green mold , only a nice white coating of the mold 600 still visible. I cut the thicker beef bung 4" casings off and discarded them.

The sausage's (all of them) feel spongy and not firm like my previous batches. They also feel like they have a higher moisture content especially on the outside. Like I said, these have been in the cabinet for almost a year at this point. I hate that I didn't weigh them yesterday and already have removed the tags. I'm not sure that data would mean anything anyways after such a long curing time.

Has this happened to anyone else? Any thoughts? I think some of these were Calabrian pepper and I used canned sauce for the pepper addition so perhaps too wet of a mix perhaps? I don't remember it being that way but just guessing. They don't look that appetizing.


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indaswamp

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The sausage's (all of them) feel spongy and not firm like my previous batches. They also feel like they have a higher moisture content especially on the outside. Like I said, these have been in the cabinet for almost a year at this point. I hate that I didn't weigh them yesterday and already have removed the tags. I'm not sure that data would mean anything anyways after such a long curing time.

Has this happened to anyone else? Any thoughts? I think some of these were Calabrian pepper and I used canned sauce for the pepper addition so perhaps too wet of a mix perhaps? I don't remember it being that way but just guessing. They don't look that appetizing.
Still wet on the outside, and not the inside.......hmmmm.....airflow should be fine then.

Ah...Calabrese WITH pepper sauce. That might be your issue right there. What recipe did you use? How much sauce did you use? What brand? becasue some Calabrian pepper sauces have acid in them for canning and those are not the ones you want to use. You need one preserved with only salt where the can has been pressure canned and pasteurized....no acid. Only a few are made like this. The Craft Butcher's Pantry use to carry them both hot and sweet...but I don't know if they are having supply chain issues.

Please post a cross section cut picture and the recipe you used.
 

SCBBQ

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I know it's a cardinal sin but I can't find the recipe I used - I hired a full time chef for the house and he reorganized my pantry and documents etc are all who knows where. First world problems I guess but coming back into the game a year later makes it hard to figure out. That's why I started the thread with an apology about not having all the info.

this is the can I used.


And last, while this might be part of the reason, ALL of this batch are spongy and moist - not just the Calabrian ones.

Just wondering if there's a way to dry them out at this point? The walk in cooler that they are now in seems to be pretty humid for some reason. Maybe my two steak ager cabinets without adding water is the way to go.
 

indaswamp

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Well, without the weights, you really don't know how dry they are. And without the recipe, not much help there. If all the salami are soft, that points to issues. Was this batch all made at the same time? All ground the same? There are a number of possible flaws that could have caused this. 1.Tainted meat from the start, or meat with too low pH, which points to issues with how it was handled/slaughtered. 2. Fat smear during processing making the salami which allowed melted fat to envelope the meat particles and trap in moisture.....but you would get casing separation usually if this was the case...more pics. would help with this. 3. Bad fat from the get go making the salami...as in this was how the pig was fed...which accelerated the breakdown of the fat through lipolysis into fatty acids. 4. Too high humidity during drying which stopped moisture loss....

That's all I got right now. Need pics. of cross section....
 
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indaswamp

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Just wondering if there's a way to dry them out at this point? The walk in cooler that they are now in seems to be pretty humid for some reason. Maybe my two steak ager cabinets without adding water is the way to go.
You can try re-wrapping with collagen sheet tightly and rehang to dry further. Or if space is an issue, you can try vacsealing in umai bags and transfer to a regular refrigerator. But a steak aging cabinet should have settings for salami....55*F; 75-80%RH.....but I would lower to 70-75 since the pieces are already in advanced stage of drying....this will pull moisture out better since the Aw of the salami is lower than new pieces.
 

SCBBQ

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Thanks guys - really appreciate the help!

I'll report back on Monday and take a picture of a cross section on a couple.
 

indaswamp

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One other thought...
What type of fat did you use in making the salami? And did you take care to remove all the intermuscular fat? That is bad fat for salami making as it will smear extremely easily and breaks down too fast. Belly fat in small percentages is ok and actually desirable in some Nothern Italain salami like Peidmonte...BUT...it must be cut very carefully or it will cause problems.

Also-if you overworked the mince, by hand, that will cause the issues you are having....fat out from too warm temps and fat integrity degraded.
 

SCBBQ

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Thanks again - very much - The biggest problem is it's been year ago and I just don't remember much of what I used. Conversely, it appears to be only these large diameter ones, (which is all that was left in the fridge), so I'm questioning perhaps the beef bung casings perhaps. I (think) I turned them inside out before stuffing, per something I read, but again, can't remember for sure. Maybe that wasn't the right thing to do and that's the issue. I don't have similar issues with any smaller chubs and those are hog casings.. I've been using good iberico from white pasture mostly, so I don't think it was the meat. I cubed up iberico fat, and admittedly put too much In, as it doesn't shrink like the protein does. Lesson learned there. At this point, I'm trying to tie them back up in twine to hang them tomorrow or Monday in the steak ager. I'll cut some then and share pics of the cross section.
 

indaswamp

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I cubed up iberico fat, and admittedly put too much In,
Well that can contribute to softness significantly...fat only has about 15% water so when you add a lot, there is less water in the salami to lose. Lean typically has around 75% water.

100grams of a mince 72/28 lean to fat has 55.5grams of water in it.

With the higher fat content, if close to 50/50, the salami may not lose any more water...as it only has 45 grams of water/100grams of mince in it. So if you are arounf 35%, then there is only 10grams water /100g salami left in it......
 

indaswamp

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The spreadable salamis use 70-80% fat to keep them soft and only need to lose 15% weight to be shelf stable. And 20% is about the max you will pull out.

30/70 ratio lean to fat has 33.5grams/100 water. You are not going to lose 35% no matter how long you age it.
 

SCBBQ

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alright hope everyone is having a good Monday.

I'm rolling these sausages in one layer of cheese cloth, tying each end to hang, and placing in the curing cabinet again, a different set of cabinets I originally had that are the steak ager ones with humidification. For this time, I'm planning to not add water for humidification. I need to take out moisture for sure on these chubs. The outside appears to have cured nice, but as it gets towards the outer ring, it's kind of spongy and wet feeling. I'm hoping there's still a rescue for all of this batch or two.
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indaswamp

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That is definitely from too high humidity....100% no doubt.

Did you have a way to control the humidity? Did you have a way to measure the humidity? The light color ring on the outside is what is called 'grey ring'. The mold and bacteria were too active and accelerated the breakdown of proteins and fats. That part will have some serious off flavors....and probably had secondary fermentation from wild bacteria. I would question the safety of that salami because you have no idea when (or if) it lost 30% to be safe. Further drying will not improve it....the damage has already been done.

How much product did you have hanging? sometimes high humidity is from too much product in a small space or hanging to closely together which impedes moisture removal creating extremely high humidity close to the surface of the product.

Were it me....I'd chunk them and start over.
 

indaswamp

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The salami is gooey and spongey from accelerated breakdown of fats and proteins. I can tell just by looking at it.... and how it is smearing on the board and your fingers....might could eat it. But no way to know for sure without lab testing. But it more than likely won't be enjoyable...
 

indaswamp

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Take away form this to learn is that humidity control is extremely important. Whatever system you use to control humidity must be able to remove the moisture efficiently and effectively for the amount of salami you are drying. A full regular refrigerator with 25kilos of fresh salami will put out 300-350 grams of water in 24 hour period. You better have a serious dehumidification system to handle it....

For this reason, I do not recommend making huge batches all at once. much better to add product over time, 5kg at a time, so as not to overload the dehumidification system.
 

SCBBQ

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well crud- Ok I'll take your advise and chunk it today. Thanks so much for the quick reply.
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I've got a humidifier and controller on it to turn it off but perhaps it wasn't working right. I've got a secondary humidification analog gauge for back up and it was checked often in the beginning, not so much after 6 months.

Here were the beginning chubs, found the date on the tags and looked back at pictures.
 

indaswamp

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If you are going to use natural large diameter casings, you need to truss them. either traditional hand wrapping or get the proper size compression netting. You need to bind them tightly. Many reasons for this...to apply pressure to squeeze moisture out as the fresh salamis ferment, to squeeze out trapped air pockets, to prevent gas pockets from forming voids within the salami, to prevent air gaps from forming on the hanging end just under the hanging loop, to prevent sagging which leads to non uniform shape and uneven drying, To prevent the salami from falling as the casing weakens from biological degradation. And to support the salami as a sturdy hanging point...the natural casing is only for surface protection on salami.
 
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indaswamp

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This is the reason for concern an why I recommend tossing them...

Protolysis and lipolysis create ammonia. This is natural and unavoidable. Over time, as the salami ages, this ammonia that is released into the salami raises the pH slightly. If after fermentation the pH drops to 5.1, then you can expect the pH to rise to 5.3-5.4 when it is finished drying.

The problem from too high humidity for too long leads to over active breakdown of fats and proteins which leads to too much ammonia created too soon. This raises the pH too soon before the water activity is low enough for a safety hurdle. You now have high moisture and a more favorable pH for bad bacteria to flourish. I have seen instances where the pH had risen in the 6ish range...not good.

If you have a pH meter, check the pH of that outer gooey area...I'd like to know what it is......and you will learn from it.
 

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