Finally, acids and bases affect pH balances in meats. In some products, such as pepperoni, lowering the pH is desirable. Lactic acid bacteria are added to pepperoni to lower the pH, which helps speed up drying and creates a desirable flavor. Other times, a lower pH can be harmful to the product for it can denature the proteins, causing poor yields and an undesirable texture. It is generally okay to add acids as a surface treatment, like a lemon pepper pork loin rub, but if you’re using it internally, some considerations must be made. Ingredients that buffer pHs such as sodium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, or the salts of organic acids can be used. It can be a tough balancing act, especially since the pH is a desired flavor component.
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