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I've been testing brines (something I didn't know about until I read it here :). So I brined (sugar, salt, and some herbs) a handful of pork loins (chops without bones, more or less) and then put it on a pan at medium heat.

Thing is, after it was done, the pork had a bit of a sour taste which I could not attribute to any seasoning I put in it. The meat was relatively fresh (bought on Saturday and kept in the fridge).

This has happened to me before, so I guess the brining's unrelated. Also, it doesn't always happen; sometimes the loins have that bit of a sour taste, and sometimes they don't.

The taste is similar to having added a bit of lemon shavings to the concoction.

So, what's the possible cause? Meat quality? Something related to the way of cooking them?

The only thing that I can think of being possibly related is that I filled the pan with meat, with no spaces between pieces of loin (I didn't want to cook half first and half second).

Ideas?

  • Did you by any chance fail to cool the brine completely before introducing it to the pork? Definitely want the brining process to happen in a cold environment. – Preston Jan 11 '18 at 19:38
8

The only thing that comes to mind is meat quality...especially since this has happened when you weren't brining. Even though you used it quickly after getting it, what was the age when you purchased it? Did it feel sticky or have any sort of sour smell when you opened it?

Crowding the meat in the pan would just cause it to steam and not brown, it wouldn't cause it to take on a sour taste.

  • 1
    Nope, they weren't neither sticky nor sour smelling. I do not know how old they were at buy time though (here we don't have very strict rules on that kind of thing). Great to know I wasn't doing anything particularly wrong, except maybe buying at the wrong place :-) – Vinko Vrsalovic Jul 26 '10 at 21:11
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I had to research this myself as we have had a few hogs we butchered that were sour tasting. The information I got was that it needed to be bled very well and then pay attention to the fat on the piece of meat. If it is yellow or brown, it will most likely be sour meat.

2

There is a gland on the pig that must be handled carefully or it will produce sourness, funky smell too. Nothing you do can fix it. It must be managed ahead of time. Talk to a butcher or a hog expert.

See instructions for the head here. Two or three glands and nodes that must be excised. Nothing about the soup, just the preparation. http://buttonsoup.ca/pork-cutting-head/

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Other than a bad butchering job (failing to bleed), the only thing that I could think of would be the cleaning supplies you use for your pans. Do you ever put your pans through the dishwasher? Many dishwashing detergents have citrus in them, and many leave a film on pans.

I've had entire pots of soup ruined because a ladle that I left in the soup had been put through the dishwasher.

1

I would say it is likely to be lactic acid fermentation. In the case where it was in brine, you have created the perfect environment for lactobacillus to flourish - the salt kills off many other bacteria, and the sugar provides a helpful boost. This is similar to the fermentation process that occur in Italian and French salamis, and various south-east asian soured pork dishes (e.g. Thai naem and sai grok isaan).

However, as you can't be sure this is the reason, and the environment was not a controlled environment specifically for the purposes of fermentation, I would definitely not risk eating your pork raw, if at all.

  • This is my gut instinct as well. If that's what happened the only thing I could think to address the problem in the future would to be very strict with temperature control. Cold will retard the growth of little neighbors like these. I haven't seen it happen that quickly, and not with meat---but I don't see why it couldn't. – Preston Jan 11 '18 at 19:37

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