Spice 101

~ OUR SEASONINGS ~

Hi-Country seasonings are made from commercial grade ingredients. There is a difference! Made from natural whole spices, these blends bring a flavor depth that cannot be achieved by spices that have been processed to remove vital flavor oils for the extract industry.

 

~ CURE PACKETS ~

We provide the amount of cure (sodium nitrite) necessary to achieve USDA food safe guidelines to control botulism. Since the key ingredients that provide functionality and flavor are in the seasoning blend, cure can be omitted by those who have an aversion to this type of preservative.

 

~ INSTRUCTION BOOKLETS ~

Each kit contains an illustrated instruction booklet. Steps are pictured to ensure the user keeps their process on the right track. Alternative methods of some processes are provided that will develop the consumers skills in making a variety of different products from their wild game. Each booklet includes a section on food safety which try to mirror USDA food safe processing guidelines. Our cook schedules are the most current accepted food safe schedules that can be practically applied at home. The Tips & Tricks section further explains why certain procedures are done or tricks that help assure a better product; explaining how to tell when jerky is done, water used in the cook process, smoker prepping, linking procedures, and more.

Lost your spice instruction booklet? Click here…


 ~ DOMESTIC MEAT OR WILD GAME ~

WildGameSiloGameAlthough our packaging expresses Wild Game more than domestic meat, don’t feel that it is intended for just wild game. Our seasonings can be applied to all kinds of meat, including beef, pork, poultry, waterfowl and game bird meats.

 


~ INFORMATION AND TOOLS ~

Hi-Country has an extensive online video section. Click here to view.

Here is a handy Conversion Chart with some basic kitchen conversions along with stuffing tubes and meat conversions.

If you are looking for batch conversions for making smaller batches of jerky or sausage or if you lost your instruction booklet, Click here.

Meat Blend Calculator…If you have access to the program Microsoft Excel, then you can download this spreadsheet which will help you calculate the amount of meat to use per batch and to determine how much fat trim to add to your game meat. Download Now


 ~ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ~

Q. What ingredients make up “spices” and “natural flavor”, “flavor”, or “flavorings”?

A. Spices and flavorings are used to add flavor to the product. Spices are any aromatic vegetable substances that are intended to function as contributing flavor to food, rather than as a nutritional substance. Spices may be whole or ground. Flavorings are substances that are extracted from a food, and contribute flavor, such as spice extracts.

“spices” may include one or more of the following: black pepper, red pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, jalapeño pepper, ginger, celery, bay leaves, coriander, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, anise, marjoram, fennel, oregano, basil, chili pepper, savory, sage, cumin, mustard.

“natural flavor”, “flavor”, or “flavorings” may include one or more of the following: spices (e.g., black pepper, basil, and ginger), spice extracts, essential oils, oleoresins, onion powder, garlic powder, celery powder, onion juice, and garlic juice.

Q. My spice seasoning was in a hard clump, is it still good? 

A. Yes, it is still good. Try breaking it up with a grater or food processor or microwave for 30 seconds at at time. If you are making sausage you can dissolve the seasoning in the water that the recipe calls for.

Q. How long will my meat spices last?

A. Unopened, the seasoning will stay fresh 3 to 5 years. Once opened, they will stay fresh 1 to 2 years. We recommend storing your opened spice in an airtight container and keep in a cool, dry place.

Q. My casings smell bad, are they still good?

A. Usually Yes. When your natural casings first arrive there may be some gas build up in the container, especially in hot weather. This can smell pretty strong. Hog Casings are naturally pungent in odor and is usually NOT a sign of spoilage. Usually all it needs is airing out. Leave the container open in the cooler for a while. Or, take casings out of the container and air them out. If it is really bad, rinse casings in fresh water, re-soak in brine and the smell will usually dissipate. For more information please refer to DeWied International’s website.

Q. What are the contents and function of the cure packets?

A. The cure packets contain sodium nitrite and salt. When mixed with meat it prevents most forms of spoilage for a limited amount of time. Sodium Nitrite is a color affixer used to obtain a uniform reddish-pink color in the meat. The cure packet must not be consumed by itself and should be kept out of the reach of children. Dispose of unused cure by rinsing contents down the drain.

Q. How much cure salt do I use?

A. How to use our curing salt…

For curing meat: 1/8 tsp. (1.2g) per pound of meat OR one packet (18g) per 15 pounds of meat *

For brine pickle: one packet (18g) per 1 gallon of water will cure 4 to 12 lbs. of fish or fowl *

* To be used in conjunction with users recipe that likely includes salt, sugar, and spices.

Q. Is it necessary to add water when making jerky?

A. No. Our spices for making jerky are a dry cure. Any added moisture will evaporate and lengthen the drying process.

Q. How do I know my jerky is thoroughly dried?

A. Trial and error perfects the art of jerky making. Tasting jerky while cooking can be misleading. After cooling it can taste raw, burnt or crumbly. Observing the cross section and how it reacts when folded are clues to doneness. When folded, whole muscle jerky should break slightly and not be spongy or rubbery. White muscle fiber should be observed. Thick and thin pieces will vary in doneness.

Q. What is the shelf life of casings?

A. Natural Hog Casings are shipped and stored unrefrigerated. Store in refrigerator when received and they will last up to 2 years (if package is airtight). Once opened, unused casings can be stored in a brine solution or granulated salt in original resealable pouch. Refrigerate unused casings. Do not freeze. Use within 3 to 4 weeks.

Collagen Casings can be stored up to 2 years if unopened. Rehydrate in refrigerator overnight to reconstitute. Once opened, unused casings can be stored up to a year, in resealable pouch and stored in a refrigerator.

Fibrous Casings can be stored 2 to 3 years or longer.

Q. How do I store my homemade meat products? 

A. Your homemade jerky may be stored in airtight containers or resealable bags and kept in a cool, dry place for one to two months. If jerky is uncured, then REFRIGERATION IS REQUIRED. For longer storage; wrap, identify, date, and freeze.

Your homemade sausage products can be refrigerated up to 4 days. For longer storage; wrap, identify, date, and freeze.

Q. I have allergies…are your products produced in a plant that handles wheat, egg, milk, and soy?

A. Our meat snacks are produced in a facility that is free from wheat, egg, milk, and soy products. Our Wild Game Seasonings, however, are produced in a plant that also handles egg, milk, soy, and wheat products.

Q. Are your products gluten free?

A. The majority of our wild game seasonings are gluten free. You can view the ingredients and nutritional information for each product by viewing the summary tab in our online store products. Here is the most current list of our products that are NOT gluten free: Wild Game Seasonings; Sweet Teriyaki Jerky Seasonings, Sweet Teriyaki-No Added MSG Jerky Seasonings, Sweet & Spicy Jerky Seasonings, Spicy Sweet Goose & Duck Jerky Seasonings, Original Recipe Fish Fry Mix, Spicy Blend Fish Fry Mix, Lemon Pepper Fish Fry Mix, Honey Teriyaki Meat Marinade, Prime Rib Meat Rub, Pork Rib Meat Rub.

Q. Do your products contain Monosodium Glutamate?

A. Hi-Country does use MSG in some products for a bolder taste. Product ingredients are clearly labeled with their nutritional statements, which can also be viewed online by clicking on the Summary tab. We also understand that some people don’t want MSG in their products for health/allergy reasons; which is why we offer a line of MSG free meat snacks and spices.


~ FOOD SAFETY INFORMATION ~

It would be devastating if you, your friends or family were to get seriously ill from consuming your homemade sausage or jerky. This section briefly lists some of the important guidelines for safe food handling. For a more thorough explanation visit the USDA website at www.foodsafety.gov. Another informative site is the USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service webpage on Jerky and Food Safety.

• Bacteria: Controlling the growth of undesirable bacteria (microorganisms) is of utmost concern in processing meat. Employing good sanitation practices, avoidance of cross contamination, avoiding sustained temperatures that promote bacterial growth (41º F. to 140º F.), and good packaging and storing techniques are required in the prevention of bacterial contamination.

• Game Meat: Inspect game meat and generously trim off fat, gristle, etc. that is likely to be on the meat and then clean/wash thoroughly. Chill trimmed meat as soon as possible to below 40º F.

• Utilization of Cure Salts: Inhibits the growth of botulism and other bacteria. Cure will not make spoiled meat safe to eat.

• Sanitation:

a. Wash hands prior to cutting and handling meat.

b. Clean all food contact surfaces (utensils, cutting boards, equip. etc) with hot soapy water prior to sanitizing.

c. Sanitizer Solution – Mix 1 Tbsp. of standard bleach with 1/2 gallon of water. Allow contact for over a minute prior to rinsing.

• Cross Contamination:

a. The hands (gloves included) are the most common source of cross contamination. Avoid handling objects other than sanitized utensils and meat while processing.

b. Avoid carcass and hide contact with clean trimmed meat.

c. Keep cooked meat away from cutting or processing operations.

d. Cut and process in clean cool area away from open exit doors, uncontrolled air movement, flies, etc.

• Temperatures:

a. Trimmed meat should be cold (less than 40º F.). Working with smaller quantities of meat, and frequent use of your refrigerator is a good habit to get into.

b. Both defrosting and marinating should be done in refrigerator.

c. During cook cycle, move through internal temperatures of 41º F. to 140º F. quickly. Temperatures above 141º F. rapidly kill hazardous microorganisms.

• Packaging and Storage:

a. Always identify and date packaged raw and finished meats.

b. Depriving bacteria of oxygen is done best by packaging with film wrap or vacuum sealing.

c. Freezing sausage stops many bacterial growths, but if bacteria is still present, growth will resume at temperatures of 41º F. to 140º F.

 

Product use disclaimer: Hi-Country provides many options and tips for home sausage and jerky making. Our spices, casings and accessories provide the essentials to give the do-it-yourself-person a great start. Due to the many variables in equipment, meat and personal skill, Hi-Country Snack Foods, Inc. cannot warranty product that is made from the ingredients and components supplied.