Sausages drying too quickly/too much

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Sausages drying too quickly/too much

Postby badmajon » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:10 am

Hello everyone, I just finished my second batch of dry sausages, Ruhlman's pepperoni recipe. My problem is that the sausages have dried out too fast and too much. I am on day 10, using standard hog casing (about 1" wide?) and the one I just weighed has already lost over 50% of its weight. It went in weighing 400g and is now 190g!

AFAIK, I want 30% water loss after 14-16 days, not 50% after 10 days.

Basically I have made beef jerky, not pepperoni as anyone would recognize it. I tasted a piece and it tastes just okay (not amazing). No case hardening or spoilage. What should I do? Raise the ambient humidity or is there another reason for this happening?
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Re: Sausages drying too quickly/too much

Postby johngaltsmotor » Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:49 pm

I don't recall what his recipe stated as far as casing size. The smaller the casing the faster it will lose moisture, so if he called for something like a beef bung that could explain the more rapid loss.
What %RH and Temperature is your curing environment?

Typically if you lose more moisture the flavor will intensify and improve (unless it becomes TOO salty). The reason you usually stop is because the amount of finished product to enjoy drops.
What would you describe is wrong with the flavor?
If you've already lost 50% I'd vacuum pack them to prevent further loss. You could leave a few out to see if they get better, but raising the humidity will not put moisture back into them, only slow the rate at which they dry further. For the next batch though, yes, raising the humidity will slow the drying time.
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Re: Sausages drying too quickly/too much

Postby badmajon » Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:06 pm

The only problem really is that it tastes like beef jerky. It's very dry. So next time crank up the humdity? My curing chamber is set to 80% humidity at 12c. Also, the beef used is extremely lean, could that also contribute to a drier finished product?
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Re: Sausages drying too quickly/too much

Postby johngaltsmotor » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:39 pm

If your meat didn't have enough fat that would also make for a drier end product and higher loss. Muscle (meat) loses moisture much faster than fat. And "fat is flavor" so that could be why it seems bland also. What cut of meat did you use? (trying to get an idea of how much fat it might have had)
While learning it might be a bit more work, but I found it helpful to separate my meat and fat to make sure my lean:fat ratio was close to the recipe so I didn't end up dry or greasy.

80% RH isn't super low, you could go a bit higher, but I would start by looking at the fat content.
Do you have a fan in there too? Air moving would increase the drying rate. If you have a fan try disabling it next time.
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Re: Sausages drying too quickly/too much

Postby Swing Swang » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:20 pm

You might also want to check your hygrometer - I have two very cheap ones that sometimes have readings that are 12% apart
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Re: Sausages drying too quickly/too much

Postby badmajon » Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:27 am

I used top rump, very lean. I don't really know what Ruhlman is going for with this recipe because in hindsight it seems like there just isn't enough fat. Also yeah, I need to verify the humidity controller is accurate.

Thanks for the help!
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Re: Sausages drying too quickly/too much

Postby BriCan » Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:11 am

johngaltsmotor wrote:I
80% RH isn't super low, you could go a bit higher


Higher would be a mistake as too much moisture within the chamber will cause problems 75% to 80% humidity is the optimum -- the best way to stop drying too quick is to lower the temperature to anywhere between 2C to 5C
But what do I know
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Re: Sausages drying too quickly/too much

Postby BriCan » Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:17 am

badmajon wrote:I used top rump, very lean. I don't really know what Ruhlman is going for with this recipe because in hindsight it seems like there just isn't enough fat. Also yeah, I need to verify the humidity controller is accurate.

Thanks for the help!


I believe the recipe (page 185) calls for shoulder meat with heavy fat and sinew removed -- Top rump is too lean -- if it was me I would also leave out the nonfat dry milk powder
But what do I know
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Re: Sausages drying too quickly/too much

Postby Cavaleiros » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:08 pm

I've experienced the same issue with Ruhlman's chorizo recipe. After 2 weeks I've lost nearly 50% weight at 14º and 60% RH. I suspect my dollar-store humidity meter could be partially to blame though I also suspect that the mini-USB fan that I installed might also be over-circulating the air and over-drying the meat. Trying some variations next time but does anyone know if it's safe to eat in spite of the short curing time?
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Re: Sausages drying too quickly/too much

Postby NCPaul » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:23 pm

At that temperature it would have been better to start the humidity at about 80 % then slowly drop it down to 60 %. Fans usually do more harm than good unless you are in a large area. It is probably safe to eat if you followed all of recipe and instructions; may be a bit tough to chew. :D Welcome to the forum.
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Re: Sausages drying too quickly/too much

Postby Cavaleiros » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:05 pm

Great advice. Thanks!
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