Nitrite Salt use in Sausage making

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Nitrite Salt use in Sausage making

Postby Rich S » Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:35 pm

Hi all and thanks in advance for your advice!

I basically joined this forum a few months ago as a home sausage maker and have found some great and useful tips. I hope you can help me on this one.

I've had quite a difficult beginners journey, but probably the same as many, getting used to the right amounts, getting a handle on times and temperatures, but am getting nearer to something am pretty happy with, although I read here and there that nitrite is used to prevent discolouring and help as preservative, so I thought I would look into giving this a go.

I currently live in Germany and getting the correct, or similar products to those used in the UK is a bit challenging or confusing at best. I'm very aware that you need to be careful with nitrite/nitrate concentrations, so although I reckon I'm OK, I am happier to double check with you guys here for your views.

What I have bought is described as "Nitritpökelsalz 0.4-0.5%" (Nitrite Pickling Salt), 200g packet, and contents show 98.68g Salt. The packet also states "Mix well before use, observe the maximum amount for sodium nitrite during processing and in the end product".

Based on my understanding, I believe that I can use this in the place of normal salt in the recipe as it already has a reduced 0.4% nitrite concentration. My only concern is that because I only usually make small batches, say a couple of kilos at a time, I am not adding more than say 17-18g of salt/kg so therefore quite a small overall portion of the overall packet weight. Obviously the product should be well mixed but there is no real guarantee of how much nitrite might be in my 1/10th portion of this overall pack. Or maybe this stuff is designed for pickling and therefore is washed off after use and therefore should not be added to a meat mix that where it remains until consumed whole.

So my question to you all is am I right in my assumption that I can use this, and I can use as regular salt, or should I mix down with regular salt to further reduce the nitrite level (ie amount used in sausages vs bacon), or should I not risk it based on the fact that although highly unlikely, I can't guarantee the nitrite concentration if I do not use the whole packet at one time. Or if in fact I'm totally wrong or mistaken or on the wrong track, which has happened before :-)

I've tried looking this up but as the info is a bit confusing and I don't want to get it wrong, thought, better to check.

Thanks again for your thoughts and feedback.
Rich S
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Re: Nitrite Salt use in Sausage making

Postby NCPaul » Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:57 am

Welcome to the forum. :D The nitrite pickling salt can be used in sausages you want cure in; that is, ones you intend to smoke or dry quickly. At 17 g per kilo your nitrite level is at 68 ppm which is sufficient.
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Re: Nitrite Salt use in Sausage making

Postby Rich S » Sat Feb 27, 2021 12:31 pm

Hi Paul, thanks very much for your kind response.

Based on your answer, I suspect I may have made a mistake then.

I'm not planning to make 'cured' sausages (currently) but breakfast style sausages; cumberland, lincolnshire and the like. At the moment, I am not so comfortable to keep the sausages and sausagemeat for more than a few days, seeing as it is in effect just ground pork with a few spices. I was told that using nitrite would not only increase shelf life but help against the 'greying' discolouration.

Should I be using a different product or am I completely on the wrong track? Assuming one does use nitrite in frying sausages, I thought this stuff might be a safer bet as it was already premixed with the salt so would reduce my likelihood of using too much.
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Re: Nitrite Salt use in Sausage making

Postby NCPaul » Sun Feb 28, 2021 12:09 pm

There is no harm in using the nitrite salt at the levels you are using. That product is designed to make it nearly impossible for someone to use too much as doing so would make the sausage unbearably salty. If you are after breakfast sausages with longer shelf life, there are in my mind three good options, use nitrite salt, cook them (adds a few days), or freeze them (under vacuum is best). I mostly freeze breakfast sausages in single servings and have them on Monday morning.
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Re: Nitrite Salt use in Sausage making

Postby wheels » Sun Feb 28, 2021 3:50 pm

We don't use nitrite in fresh sausage in the UK - as NCPaul says, you could, but it would change the character of the sausage. To keep them longer follow NCPaul's advice re freezing or add a preservative such as Sodium metabisulfite.

Even better, work out a method and setup to be able to make small amounts as required.
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Re: Nitrite Salt use in Sausage making

Postby Rich S » Thu Mar 04, 2021 2:13 pm

Thank you both NCPaul and wheels.

FYI for context, I'm a Brit currently living in Germany and therefore resigned to trying to make my own sausages here (British banger style).

I usually work in batches of around 2-3kg, predominantly because my equipment (kenwood chef, hand stuffer and small ice box), space and skills don't lend themselves to processing larger amounts whilst maintaining the low temperatures which I discovered to be so very critical. I've only recently been able to tune into what I would describe as an acceptable breakfast sausage, in spite of attempts to follow many online recipes.

As a home cook working in smaller amounts, I can't benefit from economies of scale, so to try and keep costs in the realm of reasonable, I tend to keep my eyes open for quite regular special offers on appropriate pork cuts (shoulder or belly) and react accordingly. It therefore often takes me two or three days (1: buy, 2:process, 3:Bloom) To complete a batch from purchase to 'freezable' and as I am working with fresh ground pork, I thought some preservative would give me a bit of extra time on the back end.

I totally agree that prompt processing and freezing is the best option, but as this isn't always an option, again, I was of the understanding that nitrite was commonly used so I thought to give it a go. If I was mistaken I've only wasted 3 euros so it's no drama.

May I just ask wheels, do you as a sausage maker not usually worry about preservatives? Am I perhaps being overly cautious? I am not an expert so kinda grew up on the assumption that fresh pork needs to be used in two to four days, so by the time I'm done making sausages, I'm already close to end of shelf life, even if I then freeze. Although I've had no issues yet, I just want to be on the safe side and therefore value opinions of those with more experience and knowledge.

Again my sincere thanks for your comments to date and apologies for my ignorance or misunderstanding.
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Re: Nitrite Salt use in Sausage making

Postby wheels » Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:59 pm

I'm only a home sausagemaker like you. I buy meat from the abattoir's shop so I know the meat is fresh. I have used vac-paced shoulders from the supermarket in the past though. I use the sausage or freeze it as soon as it has bloomed.

Hope this helps

Phil
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Re: Nitrite Salt use in Sausage making

Postby NCPaul » Thu Mar 04, 2021 9:54 pm

If you buy fresh meat you can also break it down to small portions and freeze it. Thaw in fridge, make sausage, bloom, and then freeze the sausages. I do this to make small batches (typically 1 Kg). This might give you better flexibility with time and/or freezer space.
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Re: Nitrite Salt use in Sausage making

Postby Rich S » Fri Mar 05, 2021 10:07 pm

Yes I try to process as soon as possible and freeze surplus but as I was worried about texture and was generally told this wasn’t a good idea I didn’t want to freeze thaw freeze. Still I’ve not had issues yet and I do like the idea of breaking down the meat to grind size chunks and freezing if I can’t process immediately.

Thanks again both for your advice, I hope you don’t mind me coming back on occasion with the potential daft question ;-)
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Re: Nitrite Salt use in Sausage making

Postby NCPaul » Sat Mar 06, 2021 11:31 am

That's what we're here for. :D
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