Amesphos - Phosphates in the Brine?


Steve_A (Tatoosh)

TVWBB Super Fan
I picked up some Amesphos with the idea of making my own hotdogs in the not too distant future. I'm just waiting for some casings to arrive from Australia. I was making a brine to do a homemade version of Chick-Fil-A chicken breast sandwiches. And I'd read about the Amesphos being good for helping the meat retain moisture. A different forum had a guy make cook meat using three different brines: 1-salt, 2-water only, 3-salt with phosphate. His results were interesting and the brine containing phosphate produced a clear winner in terms of water retention and moistness after cooking. The results for my first Chick-Fil-A breasts was very tasty and they were very moist, even after deep frying.

So I plan to continue adding small amounts of the phosphate to my brine, particularly for my Chick-Fil-A copycat sandwich, but also for my "Ham" chops that I brine for 48 hours using the Tender Quick replacement formula. These were very good when I reduced the finish temperature to 140F from 150F the recipe specified. But if the phosphate will help it retain more moisture, that would be a good thing. They were not bad at all, but they could stand improvement.

Do any of you use phosphate in your brine? If not, is there a particular reason to avoid it? I am using Amesphos because that is what one or two of the hotdog recipes I have specified. I know there are other similar products on the market. So any info based on whatever phosphate product you are using would be appreciated.
It's not my recipe actually, it is Kenji-Alt's over at the Serious Eats website. Recipe Here I have made it once with somewhat mixed, but promising results. The problem was the breading burning by the time I got the chicken breasts cooked through. The breast was just as promised, not stringy and still moist. The flavor was very good and we started to split the breasts in half (horizontally - lay flat like a piece of sliced bread and then thin slice it again) or butterflied the breast so it laid out very thin. This let us get the breast cooked all the way through without having the breading get too dark.

I have a second set of breasts in the brine right now (with Amesphos) that I will try a somewhat different approach. I will cook the breasts "sous vide" (vac packed and in a precisely controlled hot water bath), then cool down and coat with breading. I will deep fry so the breading finishes and the breast rewarms, but I don't have to worry about it cooking all the way through because it is already done.

And down the road, I'd like to try these as Kettle Fried Chicken breasts. But whatever I do, I want to keep that nice flavor the spice mix adds and the moistness the "over" brine gives.
The idea pf phosphate in cooked sausage and brined muscles is rather simple and I try to explain it like this :
Cooked/Cured Meats and Sausages : the addition of salt and phosphates raises the pH and therefore increases the water-holding capacity therefore increasing moisture retention.
Fermented Meats/Dry Sausage: The addition of salt and fermentation(lowers the pH) therefore reduces water-holding capacity and facilitates drying.
Where did you get the phospate? I've been looking for this for a long time, to make a more moist brined and smoked ham for lunch meat.
I purchased Amesphos at the Ingredient Store --> Here The US Postal Service has a $16 4 pound package for international delivery. I do not know if the Ingredient Store is set up to use that for delivery, but it is likely to be a less expensive way to have it delivered to Norway than many other carriers. My Amesphos was sent to the Philippines by a different (bulk) method but I have used the USPS international service for buying vanilla beans in bulk a number of times with good success.
Last edited:
Butcher Packer sells Amesphos.

From what I've read, phosphates aren't absorbed well and it helps to inject them.

From what I understand, muscle tissue looses most of it's phosphate molecules (ATP) during rigor mortis, and injecting them back in can have a kind of restorative ability.

Phosphates do increase pH, which makes me wonder why people will use them in combination with vinegar (which lowers pH) as in the Pickled Pig's pork mojo inject. Phosphates are the likely key ingredient in very successful competition injections like FAB and Butcher's

Too much phosphate can give a metallic or soapy flavor. And I heard that phosphates are used as a horse laxative.
FWIW, The Ames Company issued a cease and desist request for Butcher & Packer to remove the trademarked name Amesphos from their website site some time ago because what B & P was/is selling isn't Amesphos, but a different phosphate blend.

Lactates and diacetates will be more noticeable.... In .the commercial world the USDA regulates the finished ppm's in a product as excessive phosphate is not recommended
The seller talks about that and I've seen some recipes that give the levels so that you stay under the PPM recommendation. I need to add those guides to my "smoke log" for easy reference. Thanks for reminding me!