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Thread: Some thoughts on sausage making...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mucho Bocho's Avatar
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    Some thoughts on sausage making...

    Sausage making has always been a fun topic so I wanted to share my experience making professional fresh and cured sausages hoping to assist others that want to play with this form of food. I'm by no means THE expert and am hoping others will be inspired to share their thoughts too.

    I'm going to keep this discussion to making Fresh style sausage. That is sausage that does not require the use of nitrate to make safe to eat.

    I make sausages that is free of sinus, silver skin, glands, low quality watery fat. This discussion is largely focused on pork sausage, but I've made fish sausage using the same techniques.

    Meat Selection:
    For Pork, the Boston Butt ( Upper hog shoulder) is king and an excellent choice because it has a range of white and dark meat. Try to purchase the highest quality you can find, definitely not "self basted" meat.

    Fat:
    Unsalted fresh hog fat back is best. (Cowl/kidney fat is pretty awesome too but hard to get). If you can't get back fat, go for fresh hog belly.

    Grinder:
    The single biggest secret to great sausage is keeping the fat and meat COLD and SEPARATE (unless making an emulsion, another topic) while grinding/mixing/stuffing. Critical that the temperature of your product does not exceed 38-40 degrees F. The longer it takes you to grind the sausage, the harder it is to keep it cold. I have over a grand in a professional set up: Grinder/meat tumbler/vertical stuffer). This setup only gets used in batches over 50LBS. So maybe once a year.

    For batches of less than 50 pounds I use a manual #12 hand crank grinder pictured below. Rant: A hand grind will give you much more control over grinding your product. Little electric grinders and kitchen aid attachments create a lot of friction/heat, worse the housing is plastic insulating that heat. If your machine is turning without sausage continually flowing from the head, your creating unnecessary heat. Its easy and fun to turn the crank on a manual.

    Advise, get a #22 manual stainless steel hand crank grinder on eBay for $99. Will be the single biggest improvement you could make. Good idea to flatten your blade and die before grinding too.

    My process:
    Separate the Boston Butt and remove anything that is not muscle. Sometimes the Butt will have some hard fat on the outside of the muscle group--save that. Cut meat up in about 3/4" pieces. Fat: Remove the skin from the back or belly and cut fat into 1/2" cubes. KEEP MEAT AND FAT SEPERATE.

    Mix your salt/sugars... with 1/2 cup of purified water per pound of meat (add herbs and spices to meat AFTER grinding.) Your meat mixture should look like soupy dog food. You want some liquid in there, will facilitate grinding and make your product juicier. Put in refrigerator for a day to cure and turn occasionally. Do not mix meat and fat at this stage.

    A few hours before your ready to grind:
    Put your grinder/auger/blade/die, meat and fat into the freezer. Grind the meat when it becomes almost hard, kinda 1/2 frozen. Move as quickly as possible, grind quickly and get your ground product back in the freezer ASAP. Your looking for long worms of meat. Do the same for the fat. A good way to clear the grinder is to run some bread through it at the end of grinding.

    Leave the product in freezer, clean up the mess made from grinding. Don't let meat/fat freeze.

    Add herbs and spices to a cup of water and mix into meat (don't over mix), then add fat to meat/seasoning mixture. Don't over mix but distribute somewhat evenly. Its ok if the mixture is wet and loose.

    Put back in refrigerator. Clean the mixing mess.

    These days I don't stuff in hog casings. I mostly use my sausage as an ingredient so find that portioning them in 1 LB bags and freezing for later use works best for me.

    These are the recipes I use:
    http://lpoli.50webs.com/Sausage%20recipes.htm

    Some of you have seen these pics, some may have not. But for illustration purposes:

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    One thing you can give and still keep...is your word.

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    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
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    Awesome post! I've recently gotten into making sausage, and this is great.

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    Senior Member
    WildBoar's Avatar
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    Inspiring post; this is definitely something I want to try.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mucho Bocho View Post
    For batches of less than 50 pounds I use a manual #12 hand crank grinder pictured below...
    ...Advise, get a #22 manual stainless steel hand crank grinder on eBay for $99.
    What's the difference between a #22 and the #12 that you use? Is the #12 bigger?
    __________
    David (WildBoar's Kitchen)

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    Zwiefel's Avatar
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    Dennis, You should think about getting into this a bit more enthusiastically/seriously.


    Remember: You're a unique individual...just like everybody else.

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    Senior Member Mucho Bocho's Avatar
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    Dave #22 is larger I use a manual 12 but my electric is a 22. Then22'is Twice as fast as the 12 allowing the grinder to stay colder longer.
    One thing you can give and still keep...is your word.

  6. #6
    I'm in love with this thread. I hate my KA attachment, it puts grey flecks in my grind and never stays cold. Ends up as a Nasty mess.

    I didn't know you added that much water to sausage. Do you still add that amount if you're not stuffing it in casings?

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    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Beautiful thread, Dennis, thanks! One of these things I always wanted to do, but never made a priority. I was thinking using casings, but for me as a single that seemed too much work, unless I would just give most of it away. As alternative, I was thinking about canning sausage in mason jars - would you have any experience in that also?

    Stefan

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    I'm feeling inspired! I have the kitchen aid and my aunts hand crank from the 50's somewhere.

    My uncle was a Doctor in WV in the 40's and on, since no one had any money he would deliver a baby in your home for 6- 12 dollars depending on what you could afford. The farmers were so happy with his rates when they butchered the hogs they would give him some. They bought the grinder because as my aunt would say they had more pig than they could eat and sausage was a good way to get rid of some of the cuts. She also said my uncle was not a very good businessman

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    you should host a carolina meet and do a tasting of those!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mucho Bocho's Avatar
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    I'd love to host a charcuterie gathering in NC Panda. Seems nearly impossible to gather folks, even in the same state.

    Thanks Stefan, I'm over stuffing in casings. To be honest, I just don't cook whole links like that anymore. What I do these days if I want a link of sausage is to put a few ounces of ground sausage on shrink wrap and roll it into a log and float it in a 170 degree water bath for ten minutes or so. Then ice. Then unwrap and cook them in a warm cast iron pan. They brown up quite nicely. They come out looking more akin to a brown-n-serve breakfast sausage but I'm ok with that.

    Erilyn, I do use that much water or more. As you grind the meat the protein fibers will hold onto the liquid giving your sausage more moisture, spring and savory juiciness.
    One thing you can give and still keep...is your word.

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