Online Workshop: Project B (August 2012)

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Post by ssorllih » Wed Sep 12, 2012 04:23

Throughout this discussion I have been reading much about caraway seed in the sausage especially Italian sausage but no discussion of fennel seed which to my taste is the identifying taste of Italian sausage Just as garlic and marjoram make Polish sausage as we commonly know it. Have I been missing something?
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Post by Chuckwagon » Wed Sep 12, 2012 06:51

Jbk wrote:
In regards to the Kabanosy made with Collagen Casing - Do you wait to cut them to length prior to smoking or do you wait until after you smoke them?
Hey Big John, lots of folks smoke them in a continuous coil wrapped around a single smokestick. If you cut them to length, measure your smoke screens or racks and cut them to length with a pair of scissors several minutes after stuffing them when the mixture has become "set". Once this occurs, sausage won`t seep from the end of smaller casings. Then lay them on your screen and smoke away. I once saw Rytek Kutas using a dull knife to do this and I thought I`d keel over laughing. Great memories, long ago.

In Stan`s directions (#4) he says, "Total smoking and cooking time is about 70 - 90 min. This is a rather short time due to the small diameter of the meat sticks. The sausage is done and ready to eat."
However, in direction (#7) he writes, "Most people prefer them when they are about one week old."
This, of course, allows the sausage to continue drying as flavors concentrate. Fresh out of the smoker, I advise folks to allow it to "bloom" 2 days on the kitchen counter, where it develops and amazing, deep mahogany color.

Tooth, those are terrific notes, comments, and questions. You wrote:
I put all the specified water in this recipe and the Italian, and after mixing I felt like it was a little bit too wet. Is this accurate, I should do this by feel, or should I add the specified amount? I feel like the amount of water will actually vary with each batch.
When I was just starting out, I only had a "horn-type" stuffer and added way too much water to my sausage in order to be able to pull the lever down without jumpin` on the danged thing. But I then had wet sausage - and it was a mess. I`ll never forget another time (after collagen casings had been developed) in which I had too much water in a "snack stick". It took days to dry it out and I even had a fan going. I soon learned to do exactly what you described, "by feel". The "specified" amount is just a guide and usually too much in most recipes. The reason you should develop this skill now, is because when you start making fermented sausages, too much moisture in the mix will lead to unwanted molds developing as well as other problems. The idea is to add just enough moisture to lubricate it enough to work with. Great question Tooth.

Ross, Stan Marianski wrote, "Fennel, sometimes added with anise, is the dominant spice in this sausage." In fact, he has three times as much fennel as caraway. Fennel, with its licorice flavor, is certainly the "signature" spice in Italian sausage. However, the sweet, subtle flavor of caraway certainly dresses it up as well in my opinion. The Italians have probably used a wider variety of spices in their sausages than any other culture.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
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Post by el Ducko » Wed Sep 12, 2012 21:48

Kabanosy Batch- - so far, so good:
Ready to load a half-batch into the RamRod stuffer.
(See main stream for comments on half-batches.)
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The RamRod delivers! 3/8" homemade nozzle and LEM 19 mm smoked collagen.
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Unfortunately, due to a poor seal on the rear end of the RamRod and a low-viscosity (due to high water) mince, there was a fair amount of blow-by. I stuffed it using the nose of the RamRod, so... no loss. (Rubber gasket to follow.)
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"Stay tuned for details." [Now, how the heck am I gonna smoke this stuff, so far from home and my good smoker?]
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Post by el Ducko » Wed Sep 12, 2012 22:05

Kabanosy in 19 mm collagen... stuffed and resting. I'll smoke it tomorrow, somehow. (...so far from home and my good smoker. ...sigh.) Then, I might practice spelling kabanosy right the 1st try. ...or 2nd. ...or 3rd... :oops:

On my "Photos" post, I mentioned half-batches. I would advise not to make 'em unless (a) you have a good scale that measures to a tenth of a gram or preferably better and (b) you have some sort of low-volume stuffer rig, like my "Russ-N-Ross RamRod" built out of PVC and an oversize caulking gun mechanism. (You 5-pound stuffer guys are gonna hate this recipe!)

To go lower than the quantities specified by Chuckwagon, I measured out enough for his one-kilogram batch, then took a spatula and divided it in half by sight, kinda like the ol' time pharmacists did (and still do, if you wanna know the truth :roll: ), and scooped the half into the mixing bowl. That way, you have a shot at hitting close to the right weight on a small amount of material.

Next trick: you already know to dissolve the salt, cure, sugar, and whatever else is soluble in water, into the added water. Here's a trick: put all that stuff, plus the spices, into the mixing bowl first, then add the water, mix to dissolve whatever is going to dissolve, then add the meat into the same bowl and mix 'er up as always. Brave the cold, develop those proteins... and your arm muscles too.

The one shortcoming to the "RamRod" at the moment is that the rear seal isn't as good as it should be. I have a roll of rubber shelf liner around here somewhere, and will cut a gasket. That ought to do the trick.

No problems with the collagen. It really helps to have a stuffer tube small enough to fit the casing right. Good early lesson, CW. Thanks for the boost along the learning curve. :mrgreen:
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Post by Chuckwagon » Wed Sep 12, 2012 23:27

Self Check Up :cool:
Quiz On Curing, Drying, & Prep-cooking Sausage


1. T F Drying sausages is mainly affected by humidity, temperature, and air flow. The higher the humidity, the faster the drying. The higher the temperature the more air speed is required.
2. T F The diffusion rate is equal to the rate of evaporation divided by 2.
3. T F Sausage always dries from the inside out.
4. T F Leaving sausages for 12 hours at 2-6°C (35-42°F) or for 2-3 hours at temperatures below 30°C (86°F) will provide extra time to fully cure the meat.
5. T F Air-fan drying should be used for extended periods of time to harden the surface of sausages quickly.
6. T F Preheating a smoker must be done to eliminate the humidity before the smoking process can begin.
7. T F Casings must be dry to the touch before they will take on smoke.
8. T F If a sausage is dried to quickly, the surface may harden and a visible grayish ring can appear on the rim of sliced sausage. This is called "dry rim".
9. T F Synthetic casings can be ordered in mahogany color and to the untrained eye, they can easily pass as original "smoked sausage". Collagen casings, on the other hand, are not available "pre-smoked".
10. T F In the past sausages were smoked for different reasons, one being to discourage spoilage bacteria. Today, the manufacture of smoked sausages conforms to different criteria and smoke is added purely for the love of the flavor.
11. T F Meat of a healthy animal is clean and contains very few bacteria at the time of slaughter.
12. T F In a stressed animal, bacteria are able to travel from the animal`s gut right through the casing into the meat.
13. T F Cooking losses are greater when meat is boiled as opposed to baking in the oven.
14. T F Trichinella Spiralis is a bacteria that causes trichinosis.
15. T F "Certified pork" is pork that has been either irradiated or frozen according to FSIS rules to destroy trichinella spiralis.
16. T F Protein-lined casing actually shrink with the meat as it dries. It is used only with dry-cured sausage which is not cooked.
17. T F All hot smoked sausages should be cooked to 175 °F. (79 °C.) to destroy trichinae.
18. T F Although trichinella spiralis is destroyed at 137°F, our government recommends that the internal temperature of cooked fresh pork must reach at least 150 °F. (65.5 °C.)
19. T F Cold smoking is a drying process whose purpose is to remove moisture thus preserving a product. Although in some European countries, upper temperatures as high as 86°F (30°C) have been accepted, it is recommended that the upper temperature in cold smoking be kept below 71°F (21.6C) as practiced in Russia, Poland, and Germany. The lower temperature should not drop below 52°F (11.11C).
20. T F There are about 1000 cases of trichinosis each year in the United States and complications of the disease include encephalitis, heart arrhythmias, myocarditis, (inflammation), and complete heart failure. Pneumonia is also a common complication.
21. T F The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) inspection service is called the F.S.I.S. (Food Safety and Inspection Service). According to their rules, Group 1 "comprises meat products not exceeding 6" (inches) in thickness. They must also NOT be arranged on separate racks with the layers exceeding 6" in depth. They cannot be stored in crates or boxes exceeding 6" in depth, or stored as solidly frozen blocks exceeding 6" in thickness".
22. T F Collagen casings are an organic product.
23. T F Collagen casings are a synthetic product.
24. T F Collagen casings are made from restructured natural cowhide collagen.
25. T F In comminuted (ground) sausages, the maximum allowed limit of sodium nitrite is 156 parts per million according to the USDA.
26. T F The use of potassium nitrate (saltpeter) in all meat products was discontinued by the USDA in the mid 1970`s.
27. T F Griffith Laboratories made Prague Powder Cures and based their formula on 4 ounces of Cure #1 being able to cure 100 lbs. of sausage. This equates to 1 level teaspoon per 5 lbs. of meat. However, if you get confused, just toss in an extra tablespoon to make sure it also gets that nasty trichinella spiralis.
28. T F All microorganisms need water to live.
29. T F All microorganisms need oxygen to live.
30. T F Water activity is abbreviated Aw and measures how much water is "bound" or kept away from microbiological pathogenic bacteria.
31. T F Semi-dry cured sausages are usually cooked as well as being dried.
32. F F Never shoot the "Rocky Mountain Ratchetjaw Horsefly" because it just makes them mad.
33. T F A "spongy" texture could be the result of over-mixing the primary bind.
34. T F The primary bind is the sausage mixture after the development of the actomyocin - proteins comprised of actin and myosin.
35. T F All microbiological bacteria are harmful.
36. T F In our sausage-making, bacteria-safety applications, staphylococcus aureus is the most resistant to air drying.
37. T F Lactic acid is produced when lactobacilli or pediococci bacteria in meat is heated to a temperature of over 112°F then quickly chilled in icewater or showered in cold water.
38. T F The only type of sausage that may be safely stored outside your refrigerator is a fully dry-cured or "air dried" product. Even a "semi-dry" cured sausage may present problems if not eventually refrigerated for storage.
39. T F If a "cured-cooked-smoked" sausage reaches a temperature over 170° in your smoker, the fat will "break" and run all over the floor of your smokehouse. It usually makes and orange mess and leaves the sausage with the texture of sawdust. This phenomenon is called "isostatic rebound".
40. T F Sausage made with venison should never be mixed with pork, although using pork fat is acceptable up to 25%.

_________________________

1.F 2.F 3.T 4.T 5.F 6.T 7.T 8.T 9.F 10.T 11.T 12.T 13.F 14.F 15.T 16.T 17.F 18.T 19.T 20.F 21.T 22.T 23.F 24.T 25.T 26.F 27.F 28.T 29.F 30.T 31.T 32.? 33.T 34.T 35.F 36.T 37.F 38.T 39.F 40.F
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Post by Cabonaia » Thu Sep 13, 2012 00:09

El Pato, I see steel duck feet at the top of your third photo. Is this an apparition that appeared only when the photos were published? Are you being stalked????
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Post by ssorllih » Thu Sep 13, 2012 02:39

John very nice photo documentation for the entire effort. I salute you.
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Post by el Ducko » Thu Sep 13, 2012 03:03

Cabonaia wrote:El Pato, I see steel duck feet at the top of your third photo.
Couldn't keep my hands out of the picture. :mrgreen:
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Post by tooth » Thu Sep 13, 2012 03:57

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Pork & Venison

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Everything all cut up, spices for each recipe ready to go


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Grinding the breakfast sausage pork, venison, and fatback

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Breakfast on left, pork for Italian on right

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Pork for Kielbasa

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Pork & the little bit of venison for Kielbasa

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Enjoying the taster patties with a bloody mary. Tomatoes from the bloody mary came from my garden and I enjoyed both while I watched the Bears whoop on the Colts!

My wife took the pictures of the stuffing process, I can't remember if we took some while I was mixing. The photos are on her cell phone and she's already in bed so I'll need to upload those another time.
Last edited by tooth on Thu Sep 13, 2012 04:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by jbk101 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 04:06

Hello all,
Here are some Photos of my Kabanosy which has been Ground, Stuffed into both Collagen Casing and 22 sheep casing, smoked and baked and is now blooming. :grin:

I could not resist and had to taste it :mrgreen: and was surprised that it tastes as good as what I would get from my Polish Sausage Source in Detroit (They are now out of Business)
The best complement came from my son who stopped by and did not know that I made a batch, seen them on the counter grabbed one tasted it and said you found another place that makes Hunters Sausage as good as Kopytko's :smile:. I then proceeded to tell him no not really I made those myself :smile:

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Post by ssorllih » Thu Sep 13, 2012 04:40

I begin to think that I remain the last of the hand cranked grinder sausage makers. I love power tools but they just allow us to make mistakes more easily and quickly.
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Post by jbk101 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 06:51

Hello all,
Wanted to update everyone on my Project B - Kabanosy or as I grew up eating and calling it (Polish Hunters Sausage) I was looking forward to this part of Project B, since I grew up eating a quality Kabanosy from a small Polish Sausage Maker in the area I grew up (Hamtramck, Michigan)

The Original Owner came from Poland around the same time as my Parents did (end of WW II). My dad would only get his sausages from him (even though there were at least six other Polish sausage makers / meat markets in our 2.2 sq. mile town surrounded by Detroit. Sadly the original owner passed away and the kids took over the Business, But the the mainly Polish Community over the years has seen a massive change to a non Polish Community (even though its still trying to hang onto it Polish Roots and Identity)

The kids just felt that they could not maintain the business with only Holiday sales and the occasional loyal customer coming once in a while to get their sausage fix. With the Closing of my favorite sausage supplier :cry: It lead me on a journey to find the type of quality sausage I grew up eating, which ended up in me attempting to make my own Polish Kielbasa's. I spent several years looking for a replacement to Kopytko Sausage but never could find one that had that same taste etc. That's when I started to research making my own and found this Great Forum.

I have made several attempts at sausage making (some with mild success and other's not as good) since I made my first attempt at sausage making. It as been a learning and growing process and this project has taught me a lot so far. (and that's an Understatement)

I made a previous attempt at Kabanosy with a recipe I found online (it was slightly different then Stan' and Adam's recipe) which was not a total failure but still not the same. They were slightly leaner (not as much flavor) and the texture was not right. In retrospect I made a couple of errors (just a couple :lol:)
1.) Not having enough fat in the mix.
2.) Not having a vertical stuffer and using my grinder as a stuffer which regrinds the mixture as you are trying to stuff the casing. This one addition appears to have solved allot of my texture issues in my previous sausage making attempts. :grin:
3.) Not taking my time and the attention to details (and with my Quality background I should know better its all in the Details and in doing it right the first time)

This time I took my time did a better job right from the start. From not removing to much fat from the mix, making sure the meat was partially frozen for the grinding and not forcing it through the grinder as if I was trying to win a race (just letting the grinder do its job). Also taking my time when stuffing and smoking.

Since I had never worked with Collagen Casing I was real impressed with how easy it was to work with. I had no trouble getting it on the stuffing tube and it also came off the tube easier then working with a natural casing. I had 22mm sheep casing from my previous attempt at Kabanosy so I wanted to compare the differences between the natural casing and the collagen casings.

The differences I observed are as follows,
1.) Collagen casing are very easy to work with. (User friendly) No pre-flushing, soaking, Fighting knots etc. Just Load and Go.
2.) Collagen casing are easier to load onto the stuffer tube and payoff the tube during stuffing with less air pockets, and quicker so you can concentrate on the stuffing process.
3.) Natural casing (22mm Sheep Casing) You have to per flush and allow a soak time prior to using. which also leads to fighting to keep it knot free etc.
4.) I personally did not have any problem loading the natural casing onto the stuffer tubes but you have to work at it compared to collagen casings.
5.) I did notice a difference in speed between the two products. With the Collagen Casing I had a tendency to go to fast and need to slow down, while using the natural casing if you go to fast you end up with blow outs because the casing tends to drag on the stuffer tube and it was something you really had to pay attention to.
6.) Collagen casing can't be linked like you can with natural casing, but it can be tied. (with my first attempt I tied the end with string but found you can tie a pretty good knot with it)
7.) I observed no real difference between smoking of the two other than the sheep casing appeared to shrink more during the smoking process.
8.) Only a small difference in mouth feel when you eat it. The natural casing I would say has slightly less of a snap when you bite into it. Where as the collagen has a crisper snap (slightly noticeable to me and my wife) But definitely not a game changer.

I would like to thank Chuckwagon for his time, effort and patience for putting this great project together (and looking forward to learning more) from it. My wife did make a comment as to why you didn't include Hot dogs in the project. (She wants me to learn how to make them better than the last time I attempted them :lol: :sad: :wink:)

Today I came as close as I have to making a quality sausage that I remember eating my entire life and on step closer to calling myself a Sausage Maker. I still have allot to learn though. I am also one step closer to figuring out how Kopytko's made my favorite Kielbasa that they made which was called a Chunky Kielbasa (Been searching for awhile but not found a recipe yet for that type of Kielbasa)
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Post by Chuckwagon » Thu Sep 13, 2012 09:27

Hi John,
Great write up on the kabanosy. You really did a good job of evaluating each step. I`m glad you liked the collagen casing as well as the recipe. It was interesting reading about your experiences in Hamtramck, Michigan too.
Mirek Gebarowski told me some time ago that Polish kabanosy isn`t mixed to the degree most other sausages are. In other words, folks in Poland have never developed the proteins in kabanosy as they do in other sausages. And our buddy Siara told me long ago that it has just a bit higher fat content in it also. My house is never short of kabanosy and I make it by the 10 pound batch very often. I think I could almost do it in the dark by now.
I chuckled about your wife wishing you to make hot dogs again. To tell you the truth, there`s not a heck of a lot of difference between that and a good bologna recipe. With a food processor, you can really make a good emulsion - or, just do it like NorCalKid and grind it twice, the second time through the smallest plate.
John, I`d really like to thank you for the kind words. I very much appreciate them... more than you know pal! More than you know. In fact, I had another payday today when you wrote:
Today I came as close as I have to making a quality sausage that I remember eating my entire life and on step closer to calling myself a Sausage Maker. I still have allot to learn though.
My best wishes to you sir!
Chuckwagon
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Fri Sep 14, 2012 04:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Chuckwagon » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:01

Hi Gang,
See how many of these sausages you are able to identify, having read the previous material. See if you can go through this list and identify each as: (1.) fresh (2.) cured-cooked-smoked (3.) semi-dry cured, or (4.) fully dry-cured. Remember semi-dry cured sausage is usually cooked then dried, while fully dry-cured remains raw while dried. Don`t be afraid to discuss your views with other members.

Andouille, (Cajun ) pronounced ahn-dwee or ann-do-ee is a spicy, smoked Cajun sausage used in jambalaya and gumbo. It's not to be confused with the milder French Andouille sausage and it is not usually eaten by itself other than being served as appetizers.
Andouillette (pronounced ahn-dwee- yet) is a tripe (stomach lining) sausage and a smaller version of French Andouille sausage. This sausage is really quite different and takes some getting used to. However, some people have grown accustomed to its taste.
Bangers are mild British pork breakfast sausages.
Bauerwurst is a chunky German farmer's sausage that's often grilled and served on a bun or cooked with sauerkraut.
Blood Sausages are made of pig's blood mixed with fat and sometimes a filler like breadcrumbs or rice. Sold precooked, flavors vary from region to region, including Louisiana's boudin, Germany's blutwurst, and Spanish morcilla.
Bockwurst is a mild, very perishable, German sausage made with pork, milk, eggs, chives and parsley. It must be cooked before serving.
Boerewurst is a spicy South African farmer's sausage, made with beef, pork, and pork fat, seasoned with coriander. It must be cooked before serving.
Boudin Blanc (pronounced boo-dahn-blahn) is a white, milk sausage made of pork, chicken, or veal and rice. Boudin Rouge (Pronounced boo-dahn-roozh) is similar to boudin blanc, but includes pork blood.
Bratwurst is made with pork and sometimes veal, and seasoned with subtle spices. It usually needs to be cooked before eating.
Breakfast Sausage Patties are heavily seasoned with delicious sage and usually fried before serving.
Chaurice (pronounced shore-eese) is a spicy pork sausage used in jambalaya and other Creole and Cajun dishes. Available in links or patties, it's hard to find outside of Louisiana.
Chipolata (pronounced chippo-lah-tuh) are as small as Vienna sausages, but much spicier.
Chorizo is fresh pork mixed with lots of spices. Don't confuse Mexican chorizo (needs to be cooked), with dry-cured Spanish chorizo.
Chourico (pronounced shore-ee-so) is a heavily seasoned Portuguese pork sausage.
Cotechino (pronounced koh-teh-kee-no) is a mild and fatty Italian pork sausage. Pierce the links before cooking to allow some of the fat to drain out. This is a no-no in preparing other sausages.
Cumberland Sausage is British pork sausage and usually made as a long coil, and sold by the length rather than the link. It's baked in the oven with cabbage and potatoes.
Frankfurters are hot dogs. Everybody knows all about America's favorite most popular "wieners". Note that in late 1998 several people died after being exposed to Listeria, a deadly bacterium traced to some improperly prepared hot dogs and deli meats. Make your own or know your butcher!
Fuet is a Spanish favorite of paprika-reddened, garlicky, pork - and heavy on the garlic!
Goetta is Ohio's answer to Pennsylvania scrapple. It's a mixture of fried oatmeal and sausage.
Haggis is a large Scottish sausage made by stuffing a sheep's stomach with the animal's heart, lungs, and liver, and then adding oatmeal, onion, fat, and seasonings. It's steam-cooked before serving.
Italian Sausage is a pork sausage flavored with garlic and fennel seed. Available in sweet, mild, or hot varieties in bulk or links, it is probably second only to the popularity of Polish Kielbasa.
Kabanosy is a thin, dried, Polish snack stick with the great flavor of caraway.
Kielbasa is smoked Polish sausage made with pork and beef, flavored with garlic and marjoram.
Kishke (pronounced kish-kah) is a Jewish specialty consisting of beef intestines stuffed with matzo meal, onion, and suet.
Knockwurst is smoked beef sausage seasoned with lots of garlic. Cooked before eating, knockwurst is often served like hot dogs smothered in sauerkraut.
Kolbasz is Hungarian sausage similar to Polish kielbasa with paprika added to it.
Landjager is German "hunter" sausage of smoked beef, needs no refrigeration, and is handy to take on hunting trips.
Lop Chong is a Chinese dried pork sausage. It looks and feels like pepperoni but is much sweeter.
Linguica (pronounced lin-gwee-sah) is a fairly spicy Portuguese smoked garlic sausage, cooked before serving.
Longanisa is much like kielbasa.
Loukanika (pronounced loo-kah-nih-kah) is Greek sausage made with lamb, pork, and orange rind, cooked before serving.
Medisterpoelse Sausage is a Danish pork sausage, cooked before serving.
Merguez Sausage is North African lamb sausage seasoned with garlic and hot spices, often used in couscous dishes.
Mettwurst is soft and ready to eat like liverwurst. It's usually spread on crackers and bread.
Morcilla is the Spanish salty version of blood sausage, usually made with onion or rice as filler.
Pepperoni is a spicy sausage made with beef, pork, fennel, and caraway. It's hard, chewy, and edible right from the casing.
Pickled Pork is added to Louisiana bean dishes. It's simple to make from scratch.
Pinkelwurst is a German sausage made with beef, pork, onions, oat groats, and bacon. It's often served with potatoes.
Potato Korv is a Swedish pork sausage.
Scrapple is a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty of sausage and cornmeal often slowly fried and served with eggs and grits.
Sujuk is a spicy Lebanese beef sausage similar to salami.
Tocino is Spanish for bacon. In the Philippines, it refers to cured pork marinated in a sweet red sauce.
Toulouse Sausage (pronounced too-looz) is French sausage usually made with pork, smoked bacon, wine, and garlic. It's a great sausage for casseroles.
Vienna Sausages are mild cocktail wieners.
Weisswurst are lightly colored, mildly seasoned, German veal sausages eaten with potato salad.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
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Post by Chuckwagon » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:24

How Salt Is Measured In Brine

If the salt in the sea could be removed and spread evenly over the Earth's land surface, it would form a layer more than 500 feet thick. Seawater averages 3.5% salt. When a cubic foot of seawater evaporates, it yields about 2.2 pounds of salt. In contrast, the fresh water in Lake Michigan contains only one one-hundredth (0.01) of a pound of salt in a cubic foot. That`s merely one sixth of an ounce. This means that seawater is 220 times saltier than the fresh lake water in Lake Michigan.

The salinity of saltwater is measured in parts per thousand and the symbol 0/00 (parts per thousand), is used. For instance, the salinity of the Dead Sea (the world`s most salty endorheic body of water) is 30.4% or 304 0/00 meaning there are 304 pounds of salt in 1,000 pounds of its water. The level remains practically constant, unlike the Great Salt Lake in Utah where the water has a variable salt content between 8 and 27% or 270 0/00 in its heaviest concentration. There is so much buoyancy in the lake that I`ve heard it said the water would float a bag of horseshoes!

Using A Salinometer

The only way to produce unvarying and consistent hams or other brined products, is to use a salinometer to detect the exact amount of salt in a brine. There is no "universal" or common brine, but there are general, suggested strengths. A floating glass salinometer tube has a stem marked by degrees from 1 to 100. One degree indicates only 0.264% salt and merely 0.022 pounds of salt per gallon. At the far end of the scale, 100 degrees indicates 26.395% salt and 2.986 pounds of salt per gallon. To strengthen the brine, simply add salt. To weaken it, add more water. There is an old conventional and generally accepted rule that recommends using enough brine water to equal fifty percent of the meat`s weight. In other words, for a 12 pound ham, six pounds of brine water will suffice. This means the container must be a bit "snug" and perhaps even shaped like the product. Some recommended strengths are:

21° (salinometer) degrees 8 hours Poultry
50-65° (salinometer) degrees 1.5 days per lb. Bacon
65° (salinometer) degrees 5 days Canadian Bacon (Loins)
50° (salinometer) degrees 7 days Ribs
70° (salinometer) degrees 1 day per lb. Hams & shoulders
80° (salinometer) degrees 2 hours Fish

A gallon of fresh water weighs 8.33 U.S. pounds. The maximum amount of salt it can hold (under normal circumstances at 60°F. (15°C.) is 26.4% (called the "saturation point"). Thus, one gallon of saturated brine contains 2.64 lbs. of salt and weighs 10.03 pounds.

If you unearth a great recipe and wish to know the strength of the brine, find the percent of salt by weight in the solution by weighing the salt and adding the weight of the water. Multiply the sum by 100%. Locate the percentage on a "Salinometer Brine Tables Chart (on the internet or accompanying your salinometer purchase) in the center column - the percent of salt by weight. The corresponding left side column gives us the number of Salinometer DEGREES, and the right side column, the number of pounds of salt per gallon of water.

Must we include salt in our sausage recipes? Yes, anywhere from 2% to 3% for pleasant taste, although doctors would rather see you cut it down to 1.5%. The upper limit of acceptability is about 3.5% with 5% rendering meat unpalatable. At 2%, we are adding 2 grams of salt per 100 grams of meat. If we purchase ten times more meat (one kilogram) then we also need to add ten times more salt - 20 grams. We should remember when brining meat that as the moisture evaporates, the salt remains behind. Brining strengthens the meat flavor but makes meats taste saltier. For this reason, salt should be carefully measured in preparation of a brine. Phil Young, a moderator at Sausagemaking.org writes: "Another useful formula for brine is when you have calculated the percentage of salt and wish to know the salinometer degrees. Divide the brine percent % by 0.26395." Here`s an example:

Water 1000gm
Salt 268gm
Brine % = 268/(1000 + 268) = 21.136%
Salinometer degrees = 21.136/0.26395 = 80°
This is also often referred to as a 80% brine (or any other % brine), particularly in "smoking" brine recipes.

Yup Pards! Its just like meetin` a bear on a narrow trail. There is just no getting around it! If you want consistent results with your meat products, you`ll find the use of a salinometer is essential.

I've noticed some of you have talked about tongue recipes. Growing up on a cattle ranch, there was always an opportunity to show off by eating "Rocky Mountain Oysters" (you figure it out), and beef tongue. Tongue is great if it is prepared correctly. Here's our way of doin' it:

"Waggin` Wagon Tongue"
Pan-Fried Smoked Beef Tongue

Lots of folks believe the only way to prepare beef tongue is to boil it for a week with an onion, then toss it out and eat the onion. Small wonder most youngsters won't eat it. If you bother to prepare tongue by smoke-cooking it, then serve it up "pan-fried", the stuff will have your wranglers coming back for seconds.

Be selective and use a fresh clean tongue from a younger steer. The thing will weigh two or three pounds and will be a bit slimy. Wash and clean it then wash it again. Scrub it with vegetable brush, cold water, and salt. Hey... you don't know what that critter has had in his mouth! :roll:

Make a brine of 2-1/2 gallons water, one pound of uniodized salt, and eight ounces of American strength Prague Powder #1. Yes, that's 32 level teaspoonsful! (It must be that strong, but remember most of it will go down the drain after it has worked its magic.) Inject enough brine into the tongue to equal 5% of its weight then place the meat into the solution and refrigerate it eight days. Not sure about your math? Simply weigh the tongue and move the decimal point left one space. That gives you ten percent. Now divide that figure by 2 to get 5%. Be sure the liquid covers the tongue before you refrigerate it. Following an eight-day brining period, remove the tongue, discarding the brine. Rinse it well then soak it in cold, fresh water for half an hour. Rinse the tongue again then hang it at room temperature to dry four hours while you play a few hands of poker or throw some horseshoes. Preheat the smokehouse to 140°F. (60°C.) while you dip a stockinet bag into vinegar and liquid smoke (to prevent the meat from sticking to the cloth) then place the tongue into the bag. Gather the stockinet and "roll" it over the tongue as a lady would do in putting nylons on her legs. Use cheesecloth in a pinch, gathering the top and tying it securely with two knots, a double loop, then three more knots with heavy cotton twine. Hang the tongue inside the smokehouse with the dampers wide open and allow it to dry completely for about an hour. Raise the temperature to 180°F. (82°C.) and add plenty of dampened hickory and alder sawdust to the pan. Smoke-cook the meat at this temperature until the internal meat temperature reaches 155°F. (68°C.) in about five hours in heavy smoke. Cool the tongue in icewater, reducing it to room temperature, and then dry and refrigerate it overnight. Carefully remove the stockinet bag. If it clings to the meat and pulls off chunks, simply soak the tongue in cold water for a couple of minutes. Serve properly in paper thin curls or use the ranch method, cutting 1/4" slices of the meat and rubbing each slice in celery seeds and ground black pepper with your hands. Dredge the slices in whipped egg, then flour, then egg again. Pan-fry them in a little melted butter inside a black skillet. Try this delicious delicacy with lots of hash browns for breakfast.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Thu Sep 13, 2012 19:23, edited 1 time in total.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
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