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fat too soft

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:48
by 1shertzer
I have had problems with fat melting away when I slice finished product. Fat peices are very soft when I slice salami and I have holes where fat was and fat is smeared away? I use a starter culture, 2.2% salt ratio, proper temp for the culture (during fermentation and cure) , 4.9 to 4.7 Ph, no signs of smearing, no signs of case hardening, I grind fat and meat separately, keep back fat frozen, grind fat in large die, pork butt cold and grind in small die, 1st I mix salt into meat, 2nd bactoferm, 3rd spices and wine and non fat milk powder, 4th pull fat from freezer and mix in with meat. I mix until farce becomes tacky to touch, stuff into extruder and stuff farce into 100mm collagen caseing. I hang in wine cellar until I loose 35% of pre cure weight. I work in a hotel kitchen so I am very luck to have a lot of resources for equipment and tools (but not the troubleshooting skills darn it!) Any help or advice would be absolutely magical and very much appreciated ! Thanx for your time.

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 14:12
by Butterbean
Two thougths. Are you using back fat? Another thought is to cut the amount of fat you are using because - I think - sometimes our estimation is too high and when the meat dries and shrinks the proportion of fat to meat gets out of whack and the drying process squeezed the fat and messes up its structure making it smeer and sometimes even pushes the fat out in the form of a greesy liquid that really makes for a poor product.

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 15:15
by ssorllih
BB, Those seem to me to be valid thoughts. We want the fat content to be around 20% to 25% of the finished product. But if we start with 10 pounds of lean and dry to a 35% weight loss we are down to 6.5 pounds of lean. 3 Pounds of fat at the start would be 30 % but it would be 50 % in the finished product.

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 15:53
by Butterbean
Thanks. I'm basing this on a similar problem I had a while back so I don't know if this is "correct" or not its just what I concluded. I should also add that my humidity and everything was "perfect" but I think I had a problem with case hardening as well. Not from the typical standpoint from it drying too fast where there is a clear ring but from the standpoint of the "squeezed" or "rendered" (by compression) liquid fat stopped up the pours in the casing. I discussed this with an Italian friend who suggested running a sewing pin wheel up and down the sausage before hanging to create larger holes. This is how his grandfather did it and his procedure in making some of the best soppressata I've ever tasted is so simple it would make you sick. If the pin wheel is run, this will not become a problem because the oils will drip from the casings instead of creating the pressure that cause the fat to smear. But more importantly it will also give you clear evidence that you didn't correctly account for the percentage of fat in the beginning.

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 18:42
by ssorllih
The other consideration is that fat in the slab is in cells. Only when we cut it does it feel greasy. The fat around the kidneys is a good example. While it is still encased in the membranes it is soft but not oily. Once it is cut through the cells the fat leaks out onto the surface. I think that too much cutting or crushing will make it worse. Rendering with heat melts the fat but the heat shrinks the membranes around the fat cells and extruds the fat hence you get cracklings.

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 01:56
by 1shertzer
THANX folks for all the great input!!!!!! I use 1# of back fat to 4# of cleaned pork butt pre-cure. I believe I know the symptoms of fat smearing and I don't think this is the problem. I have no way to know what the humidity is but I spray them down twice a day with distilled H2O. Before I spray I check for "beeds" of moister coming out and I run my finger along Salami to make sure it is moist. I am 2 blocks from the Ocean so I don't think this is the problem (or maybe it is?). I did a test today....I took frozen fat and ran through the grinder on large die....then I removed the blade and ran through with piston and large die alone.....let them sit for a bit to warm up. Well the blade-less grind firm and lumpy to the touch and blade-on grinder soft and mushy almost a puree!!!!! Any thoughts? and THANX again for your input!! Holy sewing pin wheel Batman..I need to get one of arm falls off every time I do a batch with a 4 prong sausage pricker!

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 05:06
by Butterbean
You got me there. I would have expected the opposite.

Where does your meat come from? Out of a cryovac bag by chance?

Given what your grinder is doing to the fat I think a logical approach would be to hand cut the fat and also cut back this amount by maybe 30% and see if this doesn't help.

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 07:10
by Chuckwagon
Hi Shertz, you wrote:
I have no way to know what the humidity is but I spray them down twice a day with distilled H2O. Before I spray I check for "beeds" of moister coming out and I run my finger along Salami to make sure it is moist.
To have control of the product, you MUST keep tabs on the humidity and temperature. A hygrometer is available for only 14.99 from the Sausagemaker™. Shertz, my man... you just don`t have an excuse for not having one! :wink: Do yourself a favor and build a good fermentation chamber and quit relying on guesswork. Will you tell us which culture of Bactoferm are you using? T-SPX? Or maybe F-RM-52? It sounds like the problem could very possibly be an excessive fermentation temperature. Also let us know the exact temperature of the fermentation chamber you are using.

There is a lot of information regarding air-dried or "dry-cured" sausages and meats on our site. All posted info for air-dried meats is listed in Forum #4: "Microbiology Of Meats And Products". Be sure to read "Project A" for lots of answers to your questions.

Best Wishes,

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:06
by 1shertzer
Of all the ridiculous things in the world! I had no idea hygrometer's were that cheap! I just assumed they would cost an arm and a leg.....I never even looked! Hygrometer is in the mail as I type this! Just in time for the next batch! The pork does come in a cryo bag's from Newport Meat's but the back fat is semi frozen loose in box. I will cut back on the fat % and I am going to go with 70mm casing instead of 100mm on the next batch. I do about 150lb's at a time so hand cutting is too time consuming...I did that 2 years ago and it took one cook about 4 hours. I do have temperature control, I work in a cold kitchen (54 F). Right after I stuff them I hang them in about 62 F. to 70 F. environment, I check the PH every 12 hours (up to 36 hours) when it hits 5.0 to 5.3 I transfer to wine cellar. It takes about 6 weeks in there to hit 4.9 to 4.7 PH and loose the weight. The temp in there averages 54 F. to 61 F, I can adjust these temp's as needed. I do use F-RM-52 bactoferm, 20g. per 5lbs that is bloomed in distilled H2O. I keep this in the freezer at all times until I start processing. After I grind fat it goes back into freezer until I mix with farce. I still want to try the blade-less grind....or is this a bad idea? THANX THANX THANX!!! you folks have been so helpful!

Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:31
by Chuckwagon
Okay 1shertzer, now we`re getting to the nitty gritty. The problem isn`t all that critical. You simply need a slower culture for the product you are making. To see a list of Bactoferm cultures available, along with their suggested fermentation temperatures, see this link: Please note the suggested fermentation temperatures as the sausage`s success or failure, depends upon it... along with the proper relative humidity of course.

Here`s what`s happening: The F-RM-52 you are using is a freeze-dried culture for fermented sausages where a relatively medium to fast acidification is desired reaching 5.0 in only about 4 days. The fermentation temperature for F-RM-52 is 70°;- 90°;F. (22°;- 32°;C). This culture is recommended for the production of traditional North European types of fermented, dry sausages with a sour flavor. It is cured quicker and generally uses mold rather than being smoked. A twenty-five-gram packet of Bactoferm™ F-RM-52 will treat 220 pounds (100 kilo) of meat. Cultures must be stored in a freezer and have a shelf life of only 14 days un-refrigerated. Kept frozen, a shelf life of 6 months may be expected.

Now, on the other hand, Bactoferm™ T-SPX is a slower, freeze-dried culture suited for all fermented sausages where a relatively mild acidification is desired in a month to six weeks. The fermentation temperature for T-SPX must be kept below 75°;F. (24°;C.) The T-SPX culture is particularly recommended for the production of Southern European type of sausages, low in acidity with an aromatic flavor. The culture is suitable for molded as well as smoked fermented sausages. Each 25-gram packet of Bactoferm™ T-SPX will treat 440 pounds (200 kilo) of meat. Cultures must be stored in a freezer and have a shelf life of only 14 days un-refrigerated. Freeze any remaining culture. Kept frozen, a shelf life of 6 months may be expected.

I am sure that with the switch to T-SPX, your problems will be history. Good luck Shurtz man! Stay in touch and eat all your brocolli! :wink:

Best Wishes,

Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 17:04
by 1shertzer
T-SPX is in the mail.....THANX again for ALL your help!!!! I will post when this batch is done!

Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:10
by 1shertzer
Well....back to the drawing board. My fermenting temp.'s have remained the same. The curing temp./humidity is at 61 F with 63% to 72%. I cut back the fat content and I used SPX according to manufactures quantity (about 1g. per Lb). I hit all the correct PH marks at the correct times. I had the correct amount of weight loss. The flavor was much more mellow, more aromatic rather than tangy. Fat still smears on slicer (I sharpened the blade), holes form where the fat was present after it gets sliced, the fat is white in color, no signs of case hardening and no signs of smearing. Would the dry non-fat milk quantity affect fat or wine quantity? I am going to do a very small batch with the new recipe (SPX & fat ratio) and cut the fat by hand. Could my grinder be the culprit? Perhaps the blade is dull or the die is worn (can these be machine turned like a disc brake) or the piston feed rate is too fast or should I use a buffalo chopper? Again folks THANX for all your help and any input would be GREAT!

Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 17:11
by Cabonaia
Is a buffalo chopper a bowl cutter? If so, I would definitely try that.

Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 23:26
by 1shertzer
Yes it is a bowl cutter....maybe when I do a large batch I will pull it out and give it a go!

Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 22:57
by TaliskerJones
I know this is an old thread but I found it via Google (and I must say - what a great thing I did - this forum is such an awesome resource!) Back in December I made my first attempt at salami, following Polcyn's Salumi book to the letter. I had recently purchased/butchered a 5 year old Mangalitsa sow (368 lbs dressed) and used one entire shoulder for salami (the other shoulder I used to make a Christmas zampone but that's another story). Anyway, like I was saying, I did everything by the book and with brand-new equipment - LEM grinder and LEM sausage stuffer. I made 5 batches at one time: standard, picante, diablo, fennel and Hungarian. I understand now that I undermixed some of the earlier batches and the fat didn't get mixed uniformly. Still it was all really tasty.

But to the point, I have the same issue as the OP. The fat in my salami often melts or smears when slicing. This is especially evident when I set my Hobart slicer under 5. At 7 or more, it's not so bad. I have a theory which I'd like to bounce off you guys. Could it be that the high monounsaturated fat levels in the Mangalitsa's back fat makes it softer and thus more likely to smear when sliced thinly? I noticed that when I rendered the leaf lard that it stayed liquid at room temp which is an indication that it's got a large percentage of unsaturated fat. I'd try partially freezing my salami but I'm afraid I might screw up my slicer. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance and looking forward to learning much more on this forum!