Stupid Questions

K98 AL
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Stupid Questions

Post by K98 AL » Tue Oct 31, 2017 15:15

OK - hunting season has arrived, and I have already harvested enough pigs and deer to keep me busy. Last year's sausage was good, but I have a couple questions, if y'all can help I'd really appreciate it.

First off - when I re-heat my (fully cooked) sausages in a pan, I have to be very careful not to overheat, or fat will break, and you know what that looks like. When I heat up a "store bought" sausage, it seems like I could use a blowtorch on it without much negative effect. What's the difference?

Do y'all purchase "back fat" online? The local butcher here has fat available, but there's no distinction between back, shoulder, etc...it's just all thrown together. How much difference does that make in the "breaking temp" of the finished product?

Would running mince through 1/8" plate twice help at all with texture of sausage? (as opposed to once)

I am assuming my hand grinder generates less heat than an electric grinder - is that so?

I'm pretty happy with my sausages from the last season, but really want to avoid wasting meat. I killed those animals, and it's a mortal sin not to do the best I can with it, so I'd like to avoid any failed batches.

Thanks,
Al
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Post by harleykids » Wed Nov 01, 2017 17:23

Hard back fat is a different kind of fat than belly fat, shoulder fat, etc.
It is hard, Snow White, and doesn't smear easily if group very cold.
Most butchers don't sell it as they keep it for their own sausage making!

You might try a bit of binder/moisture absorber in a batch this year and see if it helps.
I prefer it.
You can get it from any sausage making place online.

Non Fat Milk Powder, carrot protein, sure gel, soy protein, etc.
Those would help bind the sausage and help it retain moisture.

Also reheating at a low heat would help you, as most sausages do better when cooked at a lower temp for a longer time (even on the grill)

Most store bought sausages use binders of some kind, as well as phosphates, etc.
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Post by K98 AL » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:45

I obtained a bunch of back fat (skin attached) from the local Mexican grocery. Cut the skin off and diced it - it is much harder than the fat I've used previously.

I guess I'll have to try binders, I was just trying to avoid adding anything extra.

Thanks for the advice!
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Post by harleykids » Thu Nov 02, 2017 14:22

Dont think of binders as "bad".
They are very helpful and can be advantageous when used properly.

They will help give your sausage the texture, bind, and moisture you are used to having in a store bought product.
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Post by redzed » Thu Nov 02, 2017 15:29

Al we went over the use of binders in your post about binders and how to make a sausage that will gel better and hold more water. Like Jason wrote, commercial producers do use binders and phosphates which work well in holding the water in sausage. But more often than not, the purpose is to use products like soya protein powder as a filler, since soy beans and water are a lot cheaper than meat. Not sure why you ask whether grinding through a 1/8" (3mm) plate would work better. That is a very fine grind and while it is used in some types of sausages or a portion in others, it may not be what you want. Exactly what type of sausage do you want to make?

Try adding 2% NFMP (make sure it is the non-instant type) or soy protein to your sausage and see how it works. At the same time make another batch in the following way: Prepare 20% of the meat from the meat the venison, lean with some connective tissue, or meat from the wild pork cut from the hocks and front shoulder with connective tissue. Grind through the 3m plate, or better yet, first with the 4.5mm plate and then again with the 3mm. gradually adding water mix this portion for a long time until you obtain a very sticky and almost fluffy batter. Add to the other ground meats and spices and mix well again. Also first cube and cure everything with salt and #1 for 48 hours in the fridge. This will help in extracting the myosins and result in better texture. Grind the lean cuts through the 10mm plate and fatty cuts with the 6mm.

Sausage that is smoked too long will also be drier, so don't over do it. The commercial sausage that you buy is is usually smoked for a short period and then finished with steam. It may also contain liquid smoke. If you want a more moist sausage finish by poaching rather than bringing it up to temp in the smoker.
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Post by K98 AL » Thu Nov 02, 2017 19:44

I used some NFMP earlier this year, with success, but also ran a batch without it, and couldn't tell a huge difference.

Cooking brats, or sliced sausages in gumbo or stew makes them fall apart. I noticed commercial products don't do this, even at high temps, just trying to make products better.

I'll give the NFMP another shot - thanks!
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Post by Bob K » Thu Nov 02, 2017 20:05

Al-
Just a thought but do you mix until it forms a real sticky mass? I maKe Italian sausage two ways, bulk- to be used as pizza topping etc., and 2nd type to be stuffed in casings. The bulk I only mix to incorporate the spices, the sausage link type gets mixed until a sticky mass. The bulk will break apart nicely when frying, the links stay together when fried sliced and cooked however. Same recipe no binders used.
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Post by K98 AL » Thu Nov 02, 2017 20:17

Yes, sir - until a ball of it sticks to my hand, upside down. Cold, cold, cold.
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Post by redzed » Thu Nov 02, 2017 20:27

And the milk powder was the non-instant variety?
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Post by Butterbean » Fri Nov 03, 2017 00:33

I make a fair amount of deer sausage and don't have the problems you are describing. Before you go to adding binders why not try adding more fat. I have found that what I thought was the right amount of fat for deer sausage versus what is really needed are two different things and if you were to look at a box of meat scraps meant to be ground for sausage you'd know what I mean. Just up your fat by 5% of what you think is the right amount and grind cold and mix well and see what happens. Made a huge difference for me. Just my two cents.
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Post by K98 AL » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:14

redzed wrote:And the milk powder was the non-instant variety?
yes
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Post by K98 AL » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:15

Butterbean wrote:I make a fair amount of deer sausage and don't have the problems you are describing. Before you go to adding binders why not try adding more fat. I have found that what I thought was the right amount of fat for deer sausage versus what is really needed are two different things and if you were to look at a box of meat scraps meant to be ground for sausage you'd know what I mean. Just up your fat by 5% of what you think is the right amount and grind cold and mix well and see what happens. Made a huge difference for me. Just my two cents.
I'll try that also. I think the KIND of fat I was using contributed to the problem as well.
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Post by K98 AL » Mon Nov 06, 2017 13:49

I made some smoked sausage with and w/o cheese. Diced 60% deer/40% wild pig, added 22% back fat. Added cure, spices, left in fridge for 48 hours. Ground through 1/4 plate, back to freezer, ground through 1/8 plate, back to freezer. Mixed/kneaded until very sticky. Smoked at 100-125 for about 4 hours for one batch, 4 for the second. When each batch was done, I poached until 152 IT. Came out great.

I really think the higher melting temp of backfat made the difference. I sliced off some and browned in the skillet - they browned up nicely, didn't crumble at all!

Now to find a better source of backfat. the Mexicans sell it, but it's in strips about 1" wide, 6-8" long, with skin attached. (they fry it up like that)
Lots of filet knife work to get a good quantity ready to use.
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Post by Bob K » Mon Nov 06, 2017 17:39

Well with the skin attached you know its backfat. I cut it into 3-4" strips as it makes it easier to "filet" off. Try to source a local processor.
Just curios as to why you grind all your sausage so fine, is it a preference?

Lots of filets here:
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Post by K98 AL » Mon Nov 06, 2017 17:54

Bob K wrote:Well with the skin attached you know its backfat. I cut it into 3-4" strips as it makes it easier to "filet" off. Try to source a local processor.
Just curios as to why you grind all your sausage so fine, is it a preference?

Lots of filets here:
Image
I think the first sausages I started having success with were ground to 1/8" - I'm gun shy of trying anything else, I think, LOL.
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