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Consider the Pig: Adventures in Sausage-Making (long + pics)

Consider the Pig: Adventures in Sausage-Making (long + pics)
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  • Post #61 - May 21st, 2020, 12:49 pm
    Post #61 - May 21st, 2020, 12:49 pm Post #61 - May 21st, 2020, 12:49 pm
    Found a pile of back fat.
    Carnivore in Oak Park to the rescue. I wanted to go to Peoria Packing for the first time, after they told me they generally have it on hand every morning. I also mentioned to wife 1.0 that there was a chance Carnivore would have some, and while she wanted to check out Peoria too, she wanted to go to back to Carnivore much more. (Even after I told her that we both know if I walk in there, my frugality somehow always comes to a screaching halt.)

    It's about to get real. 15 ish lbs of pork loin thawing in the fridge for Saturday's main event.

    encased:
    Small batch of Brats
    Tandoori (Indian flavored)
    Jerk

    Breakfast patties.

    If we get the hang of it, then we'll adjust flavors next time for pork, but also try chicken. The guys at Carnivore said that chicken thighs should work just fine.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #62 - May 21st, 2020, 1:15 pm
    Post #62 - May 21st, 2020, 1:15 pm Post #62 - May 21st, 2020, 1:15 pm
    seebee wrote:The guys at Carnivore said that chicken thighs should work just fine.

    Yes, absolutely. I've made gyros-style sausage using chicken thighs (one of the diners was not a lamb-lover) and they turned out great. I didn't even need to add additional fat. I used boneless, skinless thighs. The ones I made with lamb (and pork) were still better, though. :P

    Also, remember that moisture will impede a favorable bind. Not saying you shouldn't add any but the more moisture you add to the mixture, the less likely it is that you'll end up with a successful bind. So, as you consider flavorings, etc., using high-quality dry ingredients might actually be a better choice than fresh. But in the end, that completely depends on your objectives. Obviously, not all sausages are bound similarly.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #63 - May 21st, 2020, 2:33 pm
    Post #63 - May 21st, 2020, 2:33 pm Post #63 - May 21st, 2020, 2:33 pm
    If you are familiar with Walkerswood paste in the little jar, that was my plan for the Jerk. It's wet, but not watery. I think a heaping teaspoon will still cling to the spoon, or at least, fall off in a clump, not a stream. Consistency of say...Jeez, I don't know. But, a little of it goes a long way. I don't need to have the meat floating in the stuff. I have some super lame dry jerk rub from Penzey's I can supplement with (since I'm not gonna use it for anything else, anyway.) I'm excited to try this tho. Fingers crossed. The Indian flavor will be all dry spice, same as the bratwurst.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #64 - May 21st, 2020, 2:49 pm
    Post #64 - May 21st, 2020, 2:49 pm Post #64 - May 21st, 2020, 2:49 pm
    seebee wrote:If you are familiar with Walkerswood paste in the little jar, that was my plan for the Jerk. It's wet, but not watery. I think a heaping teaspoon will still cling to the spoon, or at least, fall off in a clump, not a stream. Consistency of say...Jeez, I don't know. But, a little of it goes a long way. I don't need to have the meat floating in the stuff. I have some super lame dry jerk rub from Penzey's I can supplement with (since I'm not gonna use it for anything else, anyway.) I'm excited to try this tho. Fingers crossed. The Indian flavor will be all dry spice, same as the bratwurst.

    Yeah, you should be fine with the Walkerswood. In fact, you might even consider mixing it into about 1/2 cup of very cold water (or mixing it warm, so it goes into solution and then chilling it) and adding the chilled mixture in at the very end of your binding process. You'll get better distribution that way and it won't be enough water to disrupt anything. Iirc, many of the Ruhlman/Polcyn sausage recipes call for up to a cup of ice-cold liquid added at the end of the binding stage.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #65 - May 21st, 2020, 2:57 pm
    Post #65 - May 21st, 2020, 2:57 pm Post #65 - May 21st, 2020, 2:57 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    seebee wrote:The guys at Carnivore said that chicken thighs should work just fine.



    Also, remember that moisture will impede a favorable bind.

    =R=


    Ronnie,

    I think ( but am not exactly positive ) that liquids introduced after the grind and before or during the mix will significantly bind everything up and make it very difficult to stuff. I have always believed that after you introduce liquids you need to stuff quickly or you will run into issues stuffing because the mixture becomes to stiff.
  • Post #66 - May 21st, 2020, 3:30 pm
    Post #66 - May 21st, 2020, 3:30 pm Post #66 - May 21st, 2020, 3:30 pm
    lougord99 wrote:I think ( but am not exactly positive ) that liquids introduced after the grind and before or during the mix will significantly bind everything up and make it very difficult to stuff. I have always believed that after you introduce liquids you need to stuff quickly or you will run into issues stuffing because the mixture becomes to stiff.

    Lou,

    I'm pretty sure you're thinking of salt, not moisture, that will cause troublesome stiffness. I just thumbed through Ruhlman/Polcyn to confirm that many of their recipes, which I have made successfully over the years, do call for adding liquid at the end of the bind (e.g. wine, vinegar, water, etc.). Thinking about Mexican chorizo, for example, which contains quite a bit of liquid, one of its main characteristics is that it isn't a bound sausage. Even when encased, it crumbles when handled. So, I think that if anything, liquid seems to make bound sausage mixtures looser.

    Either way, though, I agree that once the binding is done, it's time to stuff. Nothing good can come from delaying it at that point.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #67 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:53 am
    Post #67 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:53 am Post #67 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:53 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I'm pretty sure you're thinking of salt, not moisture, that will cause troublesome stiffness.

    =R=

    I looked at the intro part of Ruhlman/Polcyn where they talk about adding liquids. They don't say anything about the liquids making the mixture stiff, which is where I thought I picked this up. So, you must be correct about this.

    They do mention to be sure that any liquids you add are ice cold.
  • Post #68 - May 22nd, 2020, 9:02 am
    Post #68 - May 22nd, 2020, 9:02 am Post #68 - May 22nd, 2020, 9:02 am
    Ok, so revised method:

    Tonight:
    Soak the casings
    Slice up the loins into strips, and portion out for the batches. Same with the fat.

    Tomorrow am:
    Grind one batch, then season it. Then use the paddle to mix for a minute. Place batch back in the fridge. Repeat for each subsequent batch.

    When all batches are done, clean everything up, and get the casing threaded onto the stuffer. Pan fry a bit of each batch, adjust any seasoning (if needed,) mix lightly, and stuff each batch from the fridge, one by one.

    Get rid of air pockets, twist, then vacuum seal and freeze.

    I'll have helpers, so the time from the paddle mix to fridge to stuffing shouldn't be too long, but the question is:

    What's an estimate of "too long" of a wait between binding and stuffing?

    Would it be better to just grind all of the meats and fat at once, then portion it out, put it back in the fridge, and make each batch start to finish separately? If so, could I grind it ALL tonight, then season and bind and stuff tomorrow?
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #69 - May 22nd, 2020, 9:46 am
    Post #69 - May 22nd, 2020, 9:46 am Post #69 - May 22nd, 2020, 9:46 am
    I don't see any problem with grinding it all tonight and mixing and stuffing tomorrow.

    When you stuff, you need a needle nearby. You use your hand to help form the sausage into the casing and force the air back into the area of the tube that you casing are on. Periodically, you need to poke a hole in the casing to let the air out. I have a specialized tool to do that, but a straight pin is perfectly fine. Do not be afraid to poke holes in the casing with the pin to let the air our. It won't hurt the casing.
  • Post #70 - May 22nd, 2020, 3:30 pm
    Post #70 - May 22nd, 2020, 3:30 pm Post #70 - May 22nd, 2020, 3:30 pm
    As I was grinding my beef tonight for hamburgers, I realized that it was never said to put your KA grinding assembly in the freezer for a while before you start.
  • Post #71 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:14 pm
    Post #71 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:14 pm Post #71 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:14 pm
    15 ish lbs of meat ground along with nearly 5lbs of back fat. Pretty simple. I used the "coarse" grinder on the KA. Only gripe was that the KA spurted meat/juice out of the meat thing where the grindings came out once in a while. Pretty regularly, actually. Every 20 sec or so, a piece of meat or a drop of juice would just go flying over the bowl like a shooting star of pork. Pretty easy so far.

    Tomorrow am:
    Portion,
    season,
    Taste test
    Stuff.

    I'm gonna get all of the spices measured out tonight, hopefully.
    Also - strange urge to watch Fargo tonight.
    :shock:
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #72 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:17 pm
    Post #72 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:17 pm Post #72 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:17 pm
    lougord99 wrote:As I was grinding my beef tonight for hamburgers, I realized that it was never said to put your KA grinding assembly in the freezer for a while before you start.

    Yes. My grinding assembly (though not KA) resides in the freezer.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #73 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:18 pm
    Post #73 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:18 pm Post #73 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:18 pm
    If juice was squirting out, then you need to get the meat more frozen. I keep it in the freezer until the outside of the meat is hard - about 30 minutes. Not sure how you do that with 20 Lbs. of meat and fat. Wow, that's a lot of meat. You will need 40 feet of casing for that much meat. I've never done more than 5 lbs at a time.
  • Post #74 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:26 pm
    Post #74 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:26 pm Post #74 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:26 pm
    lougord99 wrote:If juice was squirting out, then you need to get the meat more frozen. I keep it in the freezer until the outside of the meat is hard - about 30 minutes. Not sure how you do that with 20 Lbs. of meat and fat. Wow, that's a lot of meat. You will need 40 feet of casing for that much meat. I've never done more than 5 lbs at a time.

    It might also mean that the under-powered, mostly plastic KA grinder isn't keeping up. Or it could mean that sinew is getting caught on the blade and restricting its ability to cut. I've never had that happen and I've never once frozen any of my sausage fodder.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #75 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:33 pm
    Post #75 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:33 pm Post #75 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:33 pm
    I figured it was the not so frozen parts causing the squirtings. It was about 30% frozen, so it really wasn't too bad.

    I'm going to make a decent amount of breakfast snausage patties, too, so it's not all gonna be stuffed.

    I'm not 100% sure how many feet of casings I have, but from searching the seller's reviews, I think I have plenty. Looks like 6 pre-tubed cylinders in the package. My assumption is that I'll need three, but possibly less. Gonna do a lil more research on that before I start them soaking.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #76 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:38 pm
    Post #76 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:38 pm Post #76 - May 22nd, 2020, 4:38 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:It might also mean that the under-powered, mostly plastic KA grinder isn't keeping up. Or it could mean that sinew is getting caught on the blade and restricting its ability to cut. I've never had that happen and I've never once frozen any of my sausage fodder.

    =R=


    I did notice one string caught in the grinder/key assembly at cleanup time. I only ran the thing at about 40-50%, and there were no real snags, it went pretty smoothly.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #77 - May 22nd, 2020, 7:52 pm
    Post #77 - May 22nd, 2020, 7:52 pm Post #77 - May 22nd, 2020, 7:52 pm
    Did some more math - trying to measure out spices.

    Ok, so my math says pork loin is about 7% fat.
    I've ground 15 lbs of it, and added pretty much exactly 30% of 15lbs of back fat to the 15 pounds. It is very roughly mixed in.

    Anyone think I should probably remove some of the fat? I can get it out with ease - there's still big pockets of clumps of straight fat. It's nowhere close to fully mixed in.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #78 - May 22nd, 2020, 9:08 pm
    Post #78 - May 22nd, 2020, 9:08 pm Post #78 - May 22nd, 2020, 9:08 pm
    seebee wrote:Did some more math - trying to measure out spices.

    Ok, so my math says pork loin is about 7% fat.
    I've ground 15 lbs of it, and added pretty much exactly 30% of 15lbs of back fat to the 15 pounds. It is very roughly mixed in.

    Anyone think I should probably remove some of the fat? I can get it out with ease - there's still big pockets of clumps of straight fat. It's nowhere close to fully mixed in.

    I'd mix it in, and mix it very well. The one time I used a leaner cut and added additional outside fat, the results weren't great . . . but that was pork tenderloin and I think I under-mixed it. In any case, I'd bet the loin is fattier than what you're estimating. Based on nothing more than my personal sausage hunchery, I'd add about 3 pounds of additional fat to 15 pounds of pork loin, or maybe just a touch more.

    But you can also mix in some of the ground fat, cook a bit off as a patty in a skillet and see if you like the texture (just be sure to not overcook this or you won't get an accurate read). If not, you can add in some more ground fat and mix it up a bit more. You can do this before you add any seasoning, to avoid unwanted stiffness. After all, you'd just be testing for texture, so the seasoning won't matter at that stage.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #79 - May 23rd, 2020, 7:59 am
    Post #79 - May 23rd, 2020, 7:59 am Post #79 - May 23rd, 2020, 7:59 am
    Thanks again!
    I removed about 1.5 lbs of fat. Test was done, jr said it was damn good, even tho we just salt and peppered it before panfrying. Found some fennel seed, so, as of right now, we are all mixed but not seasoned. I have portioned off 4 3 lb bowls to make 3 lbs each of
    Jerk
    Tandoori
    Brats
    Italian.
    and one 3.5 lb bowl for breakfast patties.

    Jr and I are looking for breakfast patty recipes right now. We'll bang those out, use them for breakfast, and then start banging out the others. Good project. Jr's doing all the math, and actually having fun with it. We'll see how long that lasts. :roll:
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #80 - May 23rd, 2020, 8:24 am
    Post #80 - May 23rd, 2020, 8:24 am Post #80 - May 23rd, 2020, 8:24 am
    seebee wrote:Jr's doing all the math, and actually having fun with it. We'll see how long that lasts. :roll:

    Sausage math is the best kind of math! :D

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #81 - May 23rd, 2020, 12:44 pm
    Post #81 - May 23rd, 2020, 12:44 pm Post #81 - May 23rd, 2020, 12:44 pm
    Two batches done.
    Italians were first. Great flavor, a tiny bit grainy, but not badly grainy at all. Learning curve was needed for the stuffer. The casings went over the tube easy - peasy, BUT they were not 100% straight. It was if whoever pre-tubed the first one I used tied a knot as a joke. It started off pretty smooth, then about halfway through the first batch, something went haywire. I cut the casing to get it off of the nozzle, and I pulled about 4 feet of casing clean off of the nozzle, but the nozzle still had a bunch threaded. the last sausage that came off the nozzle has a few casing lines twisted around it, and half of it looks like it's in three layers of casing. No idea. Anyway, brats were second, and we made two perfect rings. I ran out of casings from the first threading, so I grabbed the mystery portion I pulled off during the Italians, and re-threaded it after spraying some olive oil on the nozzle. Totally got the hang of it now. The wildcards of Jerk and Tandoori are next. Few things I learned:

    Keep a steady stream of sausage coming through the chute.

    Casings are way sturdier than I thought.

    Also learned to keep a needle close while stuffing in case of big, fat air pockets. They can shoot air up the threaded casings on the nozzle, and might make you jump because of the unexpected POOF noise when it happens. Having an interesting day over here.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #82 - May 25th, 2020, 4:51 pm
    Post #82 - May 25th, 2020, 4:51 pm Post #82 - May 25th, 2020, 4:51 pm
    Ronnie,

    This thread is great. It is making me reassess all my techniques ( no, liquids do not cause the mix to bind up ).

    I was reading and would like to know how you do it. I have always stuffed and twisted as I go. One problem with this method is that it is much more difficult to get consistently sized sausages. It would be so much easier to just stuff, stuff, stuff. And when done twist to create the sausages. I was reading a method that suggested to do just that. So, my question to you is when do you twist in the stuffing process.

    We come up with these ideas of how to do it and sometimes we are just wrong, but need a thread like this to make us reassess.
  • Post #83 - May 25th, 2020, 6:56 pm
    Post #83 - May 25th, 2020, 6:56 pm Post #83 - May 25th, 2020, 6:56 pm
    lougord99 wrote:Ronnie,

    This thread is great. It is making me reassess all my techniques ( no, liquids do not cause the mix to bind up ).

    I was reading and would like to know how you do it. I have always stuffed and twisted as I go. One problem with this method is that it is much more difficult to get consistently sized sausages. It would be so much easier to just stuff, stuff, stuff. And when done twist to create the sausages. I was reading a method that suggested to do just that. So, my question to you is when do you twist in the stuffing process.

    We come up with these ideas of how to do it and sometimes we are just wrong, but need a thread like this to make us reassess.

    Yeah, I think it's important to make the items we enjoy on a regular basis, or risk forgetting the nuances and tricks we've learned along the way. It's too easy to fall out of practice. Generally speaking, I'm locked into making sausage at least twice a year and that's been enough to keep me somewhat practiced. But I wish I had the time to do it twice a month because if I did, my skills might actually improve. And like a lot of fun cooking projects, when it comes to sausage-making, the clean-up can be the prohibitive factor.

    As for making links, I have always filled the entire length of casing and then "twirled off" all the links after that. I grab a section of filled casing with one hand at each end of it, pinch it gently at each end so that the casing touches itself, with no sausage in between. Then I twirl/flick it around rapidly to create the link. By keeping each link slightly longer than my hand is wide, I find that I can generally create equally-sized links, though the last one is almost always going to vary a little bit.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

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