Online Workshop: Project B (August 2012)

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Online Workshop: Project B (August 2012)

Post by Chuckwagon » Thu Aug 16, 2012 09:33

Project "B" ...(For Beginners)

Project B is organized for those who wish to learn the very basics of sausagemaking. It is also for more experienced members who wish to participate to help others over some of the obstacles. There will be a ton of questions and we encourage those with experience to share their knowledge while remembering it is a beginner`s project. Let it be said upfront, "There are no `silly` questions here... just silly answers". The outline has been planned and written for absolute beginners with possible confidence problems and a suggested reading and study agenda is included. Once the registration has taken place, the forum topic will be closed to all persons not registered. This is to prevent those choosing NOT to participate from posting remarks or criticizing beginners` responses or sausage photos. The format includes reading and studying the very basic issues of the craft, while making "fresh" type sausages and then "cured & prep-cooked"- type sausages for grilling. Finishing up, we`ll touch on Semi-dry curing and even make a fermented spreadable sausage. As the chat opens, please pose questions that would help benefit others also. This is YOUR forum. All I ask is that we remember it is for beginners and not geared for more advanced sausages and techniques. (They will be studied in a later forum). Please remember courtesy, fellowship, and the rules of the WD forum.

I. OUTLINE: Project Plan:

In order to gain knowledge and experience in several areas, let's make the following:

(A.) "Fresh" type sausages:
(1.) 2.2 lbs. (1 kg. ) Breakfast Sausage (Page 212 in "Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages" by Stan Marianski)
(2.) 2.2 lbs. (1 kg.) Italian Sausage (Page 219 in "Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages" by Stan Marianski) ... an-sausage
2.2 lbs. (1 kg.) Kiełbasa Biała Surowa (Polish "White") (Page 228 in "Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages" by Stan Marianski) ... sage-white

(B.) "Cured & Cooked" type sausages:
(1.) 4.4 lbs. (2 kg.) Kabanosy (Polish snack-stick) (See this link: ). It is also on page 235 in "Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages" by Stan Marianski.
To introduce associates to collagen casings, Kabanosy has been chosen because it is simple to stuff collagen casings then simply snip them into foot lengths with a pair of scissors. There is no clipping or tying involved and the casing is edible. The original recipe calls for sheep casing, but I think Stan will forgive us this one time in order to learn about collagen casings.
(2.) 2.3 lbs. (1 kg.) Hungarian Csabaii by Snagman (See this link:

(C.) "Semi-Dry Cured" Sausage
(1.) 5 lbs. (2.27 kg.) Chorizo by El Ducko (See this link:
(2.) 5 lbs. (2.27 kg.) Smokey Beef Stick
(If you`ve strolled past the stores in a mall just before the holidays, perhaps you`ve stopped at the place that sells smoked sausages. You know the one... it`s got a "hardwood" in its name and they offer several types of gift baskets for the holidays. Lots of folks like their "smoked beef stick". This is a pretty good clone and it`s a great gift idea for your friends or relatives during the holidays when you put it inside a mahogany casing then inside a dark brown plastic diamond-pattern presentation netting. Tie a fancy Christmas bow around the hog ring and you`ve got a great-looking and great-tasting gift that anyone would like to have. They are best made about 2 weeks before Christmas and kept refrigerated.)

(D.) "Cold-Smoked Fermented Spreadable Sausage" See this link: ... nschweiger
(1.) 2.2 lbs. (1 kg.) Mettwurst Braunschweiger (Page 394 in "Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages" by Stan Marianski)
*Note that these sausages have been chosen to give participants experience with a variety of casings, ingredients, and techniques. The Mettwurst is even made using a culture (T-SPX) although it will not be necessary to have a fermentation chamber or drying chamber.

II. GETTING STARTED: 1. Associates taking part in the project.

1. Ssorllih - Maryland
2. Big Guy - Ontario
3. Butterbean - Georgia
4. ajwillsnet - Victoria B.C. Canada
5. Hamncheese - Pennsylvania
6. Cabonaia - Morgan Hill, California
7. jcb - Connecticut
8. Two-mn-kids - Baine, Minnesota
9. IdaKraut - Sandpoint, Idaho
10. Redzed - Vancouver Island, Canada
11. Bubba - Brookwood, Alabama
12. DLFL - Forida
13. Dave Zac - Bristol, New York
14. El Ducko - Texas
15. SikaStag - Scotland
16. JBK - Versailles, Indiana
17. Gulyas - Wisconsin
18. Crusty - Australia
19. Fridgedoc - Poitiers, France
20. Jarhead - Missouri
21. Circlecross - Oklahoma
22. Workaholic - Illinois
23. Grasshopper - Pine City, Montana
24. Tooth - Illinois
25. Northfork - Northwest USA
26. Tbkmn - Michigan
27. Dudley - Pacific Northwest
28. Channan - Georgia
29. Mainely Smoka - Maine
30. Jja - Missouri

2. Set a date to close the forum topic to only those associates participating.
Registration closes 8/20/12 at midnight. The project will begin 8/21/12

Discussion: Ordering necessary supplies including:
- 22-26 mm sheep casings for the Breakfast Sausage
- 32-36 mm hog casings for Italian Sausage and Csabaii Sausage
- 19 mm collagen casing for Kabanosy
- 76 m.m. mahogany-colored casings for smokey beef stick.
- *Brown plastic presentation netting (if giving this sausage as a holiday gift.)
- *Casings are getting expensive. If you intend to make more sausage, you may wish to purchase an entire hank. Many supply companies offer "shorts" or "home paks" costing less. Natural casings do not spoil when preserved in saltwater solution and kept in a refrigerator.
- 1 package T-SPX Bactoferm culture (we will use 0.12 g. for the sausage) Freeze the remainder for future use. Note: You may wish to wait just a while before ordering this item in order to receive the freshest culture possible.
- Powdered dextrose
- Spices And Other Ingredients Needed For Project B

ancho chiles (6)
celery seed
corn syrup solids
liquid smoke
cumin, ground
Cure #1
fennel seed, cracked
F-LC culture
powdered dextrose
juniper extract* (see below)
mustard seed
non-fat powdered milk
Paprika, Hungarian (Hot)
Paprika, Hungarian (Sweet)
pepper (black)
soy protein concentrate
garlic powder
white pepper
sugar (granulated)
sugar (powdered [icing])
white vinegar
*Juniper extract is made by placing 20 g of crushed juniper berries into 120 ml (1/2 cup) vodka or cognac and leaving it in a closed jar for days. Filter the liquid from berries.


While we wait on supplies let's do a little reading. We'll discuss the material online. You may wish to supplement your reading by also reading,"Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages"... by Stan and Adam Marianski. For those of you wishing to know how well you understand the material, I`ll post a series of True of False questions for each topic below. The answers will be given at the bottom of the page as we progress and you`ll have to check your own score. We will not compare or discuss scores, but you should ask questions about the ones you miss. The questions are there only for you to evaluate your own understanding. If you miss a question, why not discuss the topic with the group online?

(1.) Let's begin by reading the following information about sausagemaking. It`s only a page long but contains some great information written by Stan Marianski. This page covers the basics of sausage making:
- (a.)
- (b.) online discussion & questions answered
- (c.) I'll also post some info to help you understand the basic process.

(2). While we wait on our supplies, please read and review the basic processes below described by Stan Marianski. Please don't get ahead of yourself or the rest of the group. Take only one topic at a time and discuss it with the group. These are not long at all and may be read in a few minutes. We`ll discuss each topic on line as we go.

Simply click on the following links:
meat selection - ... -selection
curing -
grinding - ... nding-meat
mixing -
stuffing -
drying -
smoking - ... oking-meat
cooking - ... oking-meat
cooling - ... oling-meat
storing - ... oring-meat
freezing - ... ezing-meat
thawing - ... awing-meat
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Thu Jan 15, 2015 02:43, edited 22 times 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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Post by Chuckwagon » Sun Aug 19, 2012 04:06

Okay sausage makers, let`s get started! The first thing you do on a cattle drive is yell "Yeee Hawww"... so let`s hear it! Well.... what are you waiting for? Nobody is going to laugh at you. Now let`s hear it ... Yeeeee Haaaawww! :wink:

Whooaaa! I nearly forgot something. Before we can make great sausage, we have to talk about what we`re doing and where we`re going. It would be nice to just jump in and start grinding sausauge... but it doesn`t work that way.

Nothing succeeds like a great plan... So, just let me say this: You can make better sausage than you can purchase in any store... but first you must THINK! And you must read a bit too. The knowledge behind this craft will determine your success or failure. A little knowledge NOW... will determine whether your sausages turn out to be superior or just mediocre. Knowledge is power. Sure, we must read to retain knowledge. There`s no getting around it. No one can hand you knowledge on a plate at any price. It`s going to take some effort, so don`t be afraid to go over the written material slowly if necessary - until it sinks in and stays put. :wink: Okay, here we go...

Basically, there are only four types of sausages:

Type (1.) Fresh Sausage -"Fresh" sausage (meaning not cured), must be refrigerated and eaten within three days, or frozen for use later. Ol` timers know there is no such thing as a "secret recipe". There is however, "simply great sausage" - made using only salt, pepper, and only one or two other "signature ingredients". Add all the seasonings you wish; stuff it inside casings or mold it into patties; but use it within three days or freeze it, as it is not cured and not smoked. Refrigerate it at 38°F (3°C). This is the famous "breakfast" type sausage containing pork and sage. Other favorites include fresh Italian and fresh kielbasa, the well-known Polish sausage.
Fresh sausage is never smoked as the process cuts off oxygen, raising the risk of obligate anaerobic and microaerophile bacterial development, including clostridium botulinum!

Type (2.) Cured, Cooked, And Smoked Sausage - This sausage is cured using sodium nitrite to destroy the toxin secretions produced by obligate anaerobic clostridium botulinum bacteria, as the oxygen is cut off when the meat is placed inside casings, and again as smoke replaces oxygen inside the smokehouse. Botulism, a potentially fatal illness causing flaccid paralysis, is the effect of food poisoning caused by clostridium botulinum. In 1925, the American Meat Institute introduced the use of sodium nitrite to America`s meat products. Since that time, there has not been a single case of food poisoning in this country due to botulism in commercially prepared cured meats. Sodium nitrite has also been found to prevent the growth of Listeria monocytogenes - the bacteria responsible for Listeriosis, a very virulent disease that can potentially result in the development of meningitis in newborns.

Following drying, cured-cooked-smoked sausages are prep-cooked (and smoked if desired) to destroy any possible trichinella spiralis and retain moisture. Finish cooking them on the grill or in a pan. These are the famous Bratwurst, Bockwurst, Knockwurst, and emulsified sausages known as hot dogs or "wieners". Also included in the emulsified category are bierwurst, Vienna sausage, and bologna. Cooked Italian mortadella, salami, Chinese "lop chong", Cajun boudin (blood) sausage, smoked Polish kielbasa, and German Berliner, are other popular favorites.

Type (3.) Semi-Dry Cured Sausage - These are tangy, fermented, cured, sausages served on a fancy plate at a party or simply sliced with a pocketknife while you`re in the saddle. They are cured with nitrite (Cure #1), cooked during preparation, dried (yielding about 75%), but not usually further cooked before serving them. (An exception is pepperoni on pizza). Favorites include varieties of summer sausage, landjaeger, kabanosy, and "slim jims".

Type (4.) Dry Cured Sausage - This is the only sausage that is not cooked during its preparation, and not usually cooked before serving or eating. Special precautions are taken with pork sausage in this category, as the destruction of possible trichinella spiralis becomes necessary. This is the only type sausage safe to eat without having been refrigerated and it is made with Cure #2 containing nitrate. Favorites include salamis from virtually every country, dry-cured Mexican chorizo, Italian sopressata, pepperoni, and other fermented sausages. A hygrometer, thermometer, fermentation chamber, and curing chamber, are necessary to produce dry cured sausages as well as a reasonable amount of sausage-making experience and a practical knowledge of the dry-curing procedure and a basic understanding of how bacteria affect the production of this type sausage. This type of sausage is discussed in "Project A". (see index)

Part 1. FRESH SAUSAGE - Learning The Basics
Here are the first recipes we'll make. These are simple "fresh" type sausage without cure being added. They must be refrigerated and consumed within three days, or frozen for use later. We'll pay attention to grinding and stuffing techniques and the basic rules of sausage making during the process of making "fresh" sausage. Important Note: Fresh sausage must NEVER be smoked!

For our "quick" reference when we`ve got to check back with the recipe in a hurry, I`ve posted them here:

Recipe #1 - Breakfast Sausage by Stan Marianski

pork butt... 1 kg. (2.2 lbs. )
salt..............18 gr. (1 Tblspn.)
pepper.......2.0 gr. (1 tspn.)
sage............2.0 gr. (2 tspn.)
nutmeg......0.5 gr. (1/4 tspn.)
ginger.........0.5 gr. (2/3 tspn.)
thyme ........1.0 gr. (1 tspn.)
cayenne.....0.5 gr. (1/4 tspn.)
cold water 100 gr. (3/8 cup)

Grind meat with 1/4" (5-6 mm) plate. Mix meat with all ingredients, including water. Stuff into 22-26 mm sheep casings. (If using hog casings, use 28-30 mm). Tie into 4" links. Cook before serving - recommended for frying or grilling. (See also Code Of Regulations §319.143.)
Note: If you like this recipe and wish to make 10 pounds, simply multiply all ingredients by 4.5 - remember there are three teaspoons in a tablespoon.


Recipe #2 - Italian Sausage (Sweet) by Stan Marianski ... an-sausage
Kiełbasa Biała Surowa (White) by Stan Marianski ... sage-white

Italian Sausage is a wonderful sausage for frying or grilling and can be found in every supermarket in the USA. The dominant flavor in fresh Italian sausage is fennel and by adding (or not) cayenne pepper we can create sweet, medium or hot variety. Fried on a hot plate with green bell peppers and onions, it is sold by street vendors everywhere in New York City. Don`t confuse it with cheap poached hot dogs on a bun, Italian sausage is bigger and served on a long subway type roll. It is leaner than other fresh sausages and the US regulations permit no more than 35% fat in the recipe. Fennel, sometimes added with anise, is the dominant spice in this sausage.

pork butt.........................1000 g..... .2.20 lbs
black pepper, coarse........2.0 g.......1 tsp.
salt........................................18 g......3 tsp.
sugar...................................2.0 g..... .1/2 tsp.
fennel seed, cracked........ 3.0 g......2 tsp.
coriander............................1.0 g.....1/2 tsp.
caraway...............................1.0 g......1/2 tsp.
cold water......................100 ml.......3/8 cup

Grind meat with 3/8" (10 mm) plate. Mix meat with all ingredients, including water. Stuff into 32 - 36 mm hog casings and tie into 5" (12 cm) links. Cook before serving. Recommended for frying or grilling.
For Medium Hot Italian Sausage add 2 g (1 tsp) cayenne pepper.
For Hot Italian Sausage add 4 g (2 tsp) cayenne pepper.
Italian spices such as basil, thyme and oregano are often added.
To read more on Italian sausages see the Code of Federal Regulations, § 319.145


White Sausage (Kiełbasa Biała Surowa) is a popular Polish fresh sausage, always to be found on Easter tables and very often added into soups ("żurek") with hard boiled eggs. Adding sausages into soups has been a long tradition, in Louisiana, sausages are added into everything. The recipe consists of the same ingredients and spices as in Polish Smoked Sausage the only difference is that the White Sausage is not smoked. An easy to make, excellent sausage, a real treat. As no nitrite is used the sausage turns grayish white after cooking. German equivalent - Weisswurst (white sausage) is made from veal and fresh pork bacon. It is flavored with parsley, onions, mace, ginger, cardamom, lemon zest and stuffed into 22 mm sheep casings.

pork butt.........................900 g.......1.98 lbs
beef..................................100 g.......0.22 lbs.
salt......................................18 g.......3 tspns.
black pepper, coarse.......2.0 g.......1 tspns.
marjoram..........................2.0 g.......1 tspn.
garlic...................................2.0 g......1/2 clove
cold water......................100 ml.......3/8 cup

Grind pork with 1/2" plate. Grind beef (preferably twice) with the smallest plate - 1/8" or 3/16". Add 45% of cold water (in relation to beef) what comes to 45 g (3 tablespoons) and mix with ground beef adding all ingredients. Add 6% of cold water (in relation to pork) to ground pork which comes to 54 g (1/4 cup). Now mix everything well together. Stuff the mixture hard into 32-36mm hog casings making one long rope sausage. Tie both ends with twine and prick any visible air pockets with a needle. Poach in water before serving. Poaching means placing a sausage in water and simmering at 164° F (73° C) until the sausage reaches an internal temperature of 154 - 158° F (68 - 70° C) which will take approximately 25 min. Staying within these temperatures produces a sausage that is juicy and has a great flavor.
Note: There is a 10 % gain weight of the sausage - 110 % in relation to the original weight of the meat.

Substitute Ingredients? Don`t Do It!

I was in Las Vegas, Nevada when Rytek Kutas opened his "Hickory Shoppe". Later, he wrote, "Probably one of the stupidest things we did was opening the shop while making only one kind of sausage."

Folks, the reason I have included a variety of sausages in Project B, with different techniques, grinds, preparations, and casings, is to offer you experience in making several different sausages. True, you won`t be selling it to the public, but how else will you be exposed to some other kinds of great sausages out there in the big world. It is also true that most sausage makers by, far, limit their efforts to making less than half a dozen of their favorite or most convenient sausages the rest of their lives. In many cases, it is limited to two or three.

My advice is not to make sausages by changing their recipes. If you SUBSTITUTE ingredients, then you`ll never know how the original was meant to be. When someone asks you, "Have you tried authentic teewurst?" what will you say? "Well, almost... I sort of substituted black pepper for chopped pimento and sugar for powdered dextrose. I didn`t have cardamom, so I used celery seeds and cinnamon. Gosh, I really hated that teewurst."

If you never try sheep casings for a slender, favorite, cooked-cured, sausage, then how will you know how tender they are with that special "snap" when you bite into them?

And another biggy is if you substitute bitter Mexican paprika for sweet Hungarian paprika. For shame! For a buck or two, you will have the experience of tasting an entire batch of great sausage with the rich, original, authentic flavor of sweet Hungarian.

My point is, you`ll never know the authentic stuff... the genuine article... if you substitute ingredients trying to save a few pennies. When I was young, a little old woman placed a piece of paper in my hand. It read:

"The Substitute Recipe"

I didn`t have potatoes; So I substituted rice.
I didn`t have paprika; So I used another spice.
I didn`t have tomato sauce; So I used tomato paste.
A whole can - not a half can; I don`t believe in waste.
A friend gave me the recipe; He said you couldn`t beat it.
There must be something wrong with him; I couldn`t even eat it!


I. Preliminary steps:

1. Be sure to keep a logbook! Record everything you do. Write down dates, times, measurements, etc. Write down your successes and your failures - and the reasons you believe caused either. Believe me, you`ll refer back to it several times during the project. Save your notes for the next batch. They will be invaluable. Please don`t ignore this step. It only takes a few seconds to write down the information you may really need later on.

2. Take stock of your utensils: Some items such as a grinder and a stuffer are necessary to make sausage. Is the grinder`s knife sharp? Make sure they are clean and in good working order. The time for lubricating the gears on your stuffer is NOT while you are making sausage. Other items may be ordinary kitchen utensils. Then there are the tools that make the process much easier but are not absolutely necessary. Let`s look at some basic equipment.

a. brine pump (will be needed later for turkeys and hams)
b. brining lugs (food-grade plastic meat tubs)
c. cutting board (cleaned and sterilized)
d. grinder (clean and in good working order?)
e. grinding plates and knives (was the grinder`s knife last sharpened in 1952?)
f. hang sticks (for drying) Do not use painted or treated wood dowels.
g. hog rings and casing clips
h. kitchen knives (sharp as a marble?)
i. mixer (inspect the working condition)
j. refrigerator (make room)
k. stuffer (clean and lubricate)
l. scales (nice to have for spices)
m. "skin" bucket (clean plastic bucket for casings)
n. smokehouse (ready?)
o. string (cotton, heavyweight)
p. thermometers ("Baby-dial" is cheap)

3. Consider Sanitation.

This is the part where most folks say, "Yeah, yeah... we already know about that", but perhaps you should give this topic just one more consideration before moving on. Why? Because your sausage or meat product may be responsible for injuring yourself or someone else if it`s not properly made. Each year in the United States alone, food borne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses and 325,000 hospitalizations. Of this number, more than 5,000 Americans painfully suffer the clearly evident indications and symptoms of preventable food contamination, breathe their last breath, and agonizingly die! Foodborne illness is caused by three contaminants:
a. microbiological organisms - bacteria, parasites, etc.
b. chemicals accidentally introduced into foods - pesticides, fungicides, fumigants, cleaning fluids, etc.
c. physical objects - metal shavings, glass fragments etc.
What can you do to keep from becoming a statistic? Learn all you can about food contamination and observe the rules. I`d even go so far as to suggest taking a "certification class" for food handlers. Foodservice sanitation classes are offered at technical schools everywhere. Sometimes "certification" can be accomplished in just a matter of hours and days. These classes are fun and a good way to meet other people. In any event, please maintain a high standard of personal hygiene while making sausage. Wear a hair net or cap and for goodness sakes, wash those hands every chance you get - with bacterial soap. Keep your equipment clean and sanitary. Always store food items in correct containers at proper temperatures. Cool down prep-cooked sausage quickly for storage and protect them from vermin and insects.

A. The Major Causes Of Food Poisoning

1. Pathogenic Bacteria. Sausage makers and food handlers , must be aware of the strains of (a.) food spoilage bacteria, (b.) pathogenic bacteria, and (c.) beneficial bacteria. Millions of microbes may be found on unwashed hands and dirty utensils and under the right conditions, multiply at an alarmingly incredible rate. Of the three microorganisms affecting food (bacteria, yeasts, and molds), pathogenic bacteria, existing virtually everywhere in our environment, remain the greatest cause of food poisoning. As sausage makers, we must constantly be aware of the primary factors necessary for bacterial growth. We must also know how to change any dangerous circumstances immediately. Bacteria need merely four elements for growth:

(1.) moisture- Did you ever imagine that meat is comprised of three-quarters water? If we freeze the water in meat, we give it temporary defense against bacteria by "binding" the moisture. Moisture is the primary reason meat spoils. Will dehydrating meat preserve it? We`ve been doing just that for thousands of years!

(2.) nutrient- Meat, (mammalian muscle) consists of roughly 75% water, 19 % protein, 2.5% fat, 1.2% carbohydrates, and 2.3% non-protein substances such as amino acids and minerals. Exposed to the atmosphere, meat becomes a virtual feast for bacteria.

(3.) warm temperature- Bacteria thrive at body-temperature! Called the "danger zone", the range from 40°F. (4°C.) to 140°F. (60°C.) is the optimum temperature periphery for bacteria to multiply. It is interesting to note that bacteria are restricted from growing at 130°F. (54°C.) but actually start to die at 140°F. (60°C.).

(4.) lack of oxygen- Aerobic bacteria need oxygen; anaerobic bacteria do not. Certain pathogenic bacteria in sausage being smoked certainly present a risk. Casings also cut off a certain volume of oxygen as does the "overnight curing" covered with plastic wrap inside a refrigerator. Remember the first rule of sausage making: Don`t smoke it if you can`t cure it! (meaning the use of actual cures of sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite).

Bacteria, have been named mostly in Latin or Greek, for their shape. Spherical bacteria are called cocci. Rod-shaped bacteria are known as bacilli. Curved bacilli (resembling a comma), are called vibrio. If they are spiral-shaped, the are called spirilla, and if the bacilli is tightly coiled, it is called spirochaetes. Many bacteria exist simply as single cells. If they are found in pairs, they are neisseria. The streptococcus form chains while the staphylococcus group together in clusters resembling grapes.

If a specific bacterium is facultative anaerobic, it is most active in oxygen but can survive without it. On the other hand, an obligate anaerobe cannot grow in the presence of oxygen. Bacteria do not grow in size - they multiply in number. And they do it very quickly! Without oxygen, the addition of sodium nitrates or sodium nitrites is necessary to prevent botulism. It also becomes crucial that meat be removed from the "danger zone" temperature range as quickly as possible during any preparation or cooking process. This includes grinding, mixing, and stuffing sausages, procedures often supported using ice, ice water, or refrigeration and freezing. As bacteria need moisture to multiply and meat is about three-quarters water, it becomes an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria, even when it is mostly dried. However, there is a point in which meat can lose so much "available" water, it will no longer sustain bacteria. This point differs within each particular type bacterium. We`ll talk more about this "water activity" later on, as well as another bacteria-destroying process known as potentiometric hydrogen ion concentration... :shock: or simply "pH acidity".

Our first line of defense against pathogenic and spoilage bacteria is the application of extreme temperatures applied to meat either being cooked or frozen. As sausage is prepared, it is essential to work with only small batches at a time outside the refrigerator. Very often, meat is partially frozen before it is put through a grinder and bacteria at this temperature remain mostly inactive. In the grinder, ice chips are sometimes added to keep the temperature down as the friction of grinding actually warms the meat. Outside of the refrigerator, most bacteria begin to wake up as the temperature rises above 40°F. (4.4°C.). At 50°F. (10°C.), it is safe to work with the meat only temporarily before it goes back into the refrigerator. Most bacteria thrive at the temperature of our bodies (98.6°F. / 36.6°C.). As temperatures rise much above the "danger zone" (40°F - 140°F), their growth becomes restricted until around 140°F. (60°C.), they begin to die. Yet, strains such as Clostridium botulinum, may survive heating up to 250°F. (121°C) by producing heat-resistant, isolating envelopes called spores - nature`s way of protecting the organism by sheltering the bacteria from other unsympathetic environmental conditions.

2. Clostridium Botulinum - The Killer

Clostridium Botulinum is a common obligate anaerobic bacterium microorganism found in soil and sea sediments. Although it can only reproduce in an oxygen-free environment, when it does reproduce, it produces the deadliest poison known to man - botulinum toxin. One millionth of a gram ingested means certain death - about 500,000 times more toxic than cyanide. Onset of symptoms can occur quickly and include nausea, stomach pain, double vision, and spreading paralysis, ultimately reaching the heart or respiratory organs. If treatment is given and the dose is low, half of those affected may survive, but recovery may take months or years. Although fatalities occur yearly, especially in countries where home canning is popular, the risk of acquiring botulism is very, very low. However, the lethal consequences of poisoning may make you wish to reconsider the proper addition of sodium nitrate/nitrite in your products to almost eliminate the risk. Worldwide, there are about 1000 cases of botulism each year.

The rod-shaped bacterium was first recognized and isolated in 1896 following the poisoning of several people who had consumed bad ham. It was later discovered that due to the enzyme superoxide dismutase, the bacterium might actually tolerate very small traces of oxygen. Botulinum spores are extremely persistent and will survive heating up to 250°F. (121°C), freezing, smoking, and drying. Insidiously, they lie in wait for the right conditions to occur and give no foul smell or taste, making it even more treacherous. In non-cooked fermented sausages, the microorganism must be destroyed using a combination of salt, a drop beyond 5.0 pH, and a minimum drop in Aw water activity to 0.97 or less. Placing fresh vegetables or un-sterilized (garden fresh) spices into sausage is not recommended as botulinum spores are not uncommon on leafy herbs, peppers, beans, chilies, and corn. Cut off from oxygen by being stuffed into casings and placed in a smoker, the smoking temperatures are ideal for bacteria growth. The risk using fresh garlic is less, but cases of botulism poisoning have been reported after people have eaten home-canned garlic cloves in oil - the ideal environment for anaerobic bacterial growth!

A Real Puzzle

In Sweden during the 1970's, a single case of food-borne bolulism completely baffled medical authorites for more than a week. A father had been out with his 7-year old son hunting roe deer and since they lacked a freezer, they made meatballs and preserved them in jars. Experienced as they were, they followed all safety rules with sterilization of the jars etc. After a couple of months, the son opened a jar to have a taste and ate ONE meatball. He fell sick with botulism and was admitted to the emergency room at a hospital. With quick diagnosis and treatment, the boy recovered following several weeks in a hospital, as authorities investigated every possible clue for answers. (In Sweden, the law requires an investigation regulated by their bureau for Infectious Disease Control). The contents of all the jars were examined by specialists, though only one jar in particular seemed to be the only one infected! Investigators were completely puzzled! What had caused the infection of merely one jar? Following further investigation, it eventually turned out that when the deer was shot, the bullet had slightly grazed against the trunk of a tree before killing the game. A few spores from the tree had obviously followed the bullet into the wound to eventually end up in the preserve. Boiling the jars killed LIVING bacteria, but not the spores that found ideal growth conditions during the subsequent storage.

Sharpening Your Grinder Blade:

Let`s learn how to sharpen the blade in your grinder. Many people believe that by placing an abrasive on a perfectly flat surface and moving the grinder knife on the flat surface... will sharpen the blade. I disagree. And here`s the reason why:
Woodworkers are aware that a plane blade is NEVER sharpened on it`s flat side. Think of the two "flat contact sides" of a pair of scissors. A cutler never touches them. He does however, grind the beveled edges to sharpen them. Your rotating grinder blade`s contact surface must remain perfectly flat within a few thousandths of an inch. I never attempt to sharpen the flat side (platen side) of the blade. The correct method is to file the beveled edge - not the flat. There is a good discussion at this link: ... ht=sharpen

Grinder-knife blades are made of very high-carbon steel called hypereutectoid steel. Chances are it will wear down your file before you can touch the edge. The solution is to use a high-grade Washita stone to sharpen it with. Take your time and move the knife`s edge perfectly in line to the Washita stone`s flat surface. Work in one direction only, removing metal away from the cutting edge. By the way, the latest techniques in sharpening technology have shown that using oil or water on the stone is not recommended. It "builds up a sandy slurry type of dam" and today`s cutlers tell you to just stop and clean the stone at intervals using a moist rag.
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Fri Aug 08, 2014 19:51, edited 4 times in total.
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Post by Gulyás » Tue Aug 21, 2012 13:38

Mr. Chuckwagon !

SUPER.......and because I'm very busy, only one joke today.

A lady was selling mushrooms on the market, somebody walked by, and said......"My lady, those are poisonous", "don't worry my son", replied the lady, "I didn't pick them for myself, I picked them for sale."

And I started to make my own sausage, because I don't like spiced sawdust. :lol:

So far so good, but not so far yet. I'll be back, when I'll get time.

Come to think of it, I don't like pink slime......(also......)

One more note. Grammar is not the reason my friends like me...... :lol:
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Post by Jarhead » Tue Aug 21, 2012 14:45

Yeeeee Haaaawww!
Is this the thread that we go to for class and postings of where to get supplies, etc?
Thanks again CW.
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Post by channan7 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 22:11

I'm finally in...can I still play? I want to join the Project B participants. Placed my order today for the needed supplies.
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Post by NorthFork » Tue Aug 21, 2012 22:36

YeeeeHaaawwwww and Whooooopeee, Here we go!!

Thanks Chuck Wagon-I know I need the help.
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Post by Chuckwagon » Wed Aug 22, 2012 00:48

Gunny wrote:
Is this the thread that we go to for class and postings of where to get supplies, etc?
Thanks again CW.
Yes it is sir! And you are mighty welcome. Project B is easy to find. Just go to the second forum on the index page called "For Beginners". We`re at the top of the page in the "sticky" topics.
Gosh cowboys, that ol' Yeee Hawww of Northfork's is going to be pretty hard to beat! And Channan, I am so glad you got your computer to finally sign on. Of course you are part of the project. And Gulyas, don't worry about your grammer, it's just fine. Anyone who had to eat bread-bread sandwiches can talk anyway they wish to! :wink:

Ordering Supplies:
Okay guys, does everyone have a source to order supplies?
Here is a link to a list of suppliers: Scroll halfway down the list of resources to find the supply houses. Everyone has their favorites for a variety of reasons. Some offer smaller portions of otherwise bulk items. Others offer a discount on shipping. Each has specialty items. If you've had a good experience with one or another, let`s hear about it now.

Here are some of the items we`ll be needing:
- 22-26 mm sheep casings for the Breakfast Sausage
- 32-36 mm hog casings for Italian Sausage and Csabaii Sausage
- 19 mm collagen casing for Kabanosy
- 76 m.m. mahogany-colored casings for smokey beef stick.
- *Brown plastic presentation netting (if giving this sausage as a holiday gift.)
- *Casings are getting expensive. If you intend to make more sausage, you may wish to purchase an entire hank. Many supply companies offer "shorts" or "home paks" costing less. Natural casings do not spoil when preserved in heavy saltwater solution and kept in a refrigerator.
- 1 package T-SPX Bactoferm culture (we will use 0.12 g. for the sausage) Freeze the remainder for future use. Note: You may wish to wait just a while before ordering this item in order to receive the freshest culture possible.
- Powdered dextrose (small package)
-Spices See them posted above. (check your supply against the recipes)

Best Wishes,
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Thu Aug 23, 2012 07:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by el Ducko » Wed Aug 22, 2012 04:24

For what it's worth, today I visited a local Gander Mountain and a not-too-far-away Bass Pro. Both carry a small amount of sausage making supplies. Both were out of everything on our list. :razz:

So, for most of us, save time and gasoline- - Go to town for meat (and extra beer, maybe), but go to the internet for mail order sausage making supplies. :mrgreen:
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Post by Gulyás » Wed Aug 22, 2012 04:35

I have lots of 2 and 1/2 inch (64 m.m.) mahogany fibrous casings, if it's O.K. I'll use them, instead of 76 m.m.
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Post by Chuckwagon » Wed Aug 22, 2012 05:22

Gulyas, they should work just fine. :wink:
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Post by redzed » Wed Aug 22, 2012 05:49

I'm off tomorrow morning on a camping trip up north island for about 8 days. Hope to snag a couple of salmon and collect a few fungi. Shrooming in the fall is another one of my passions.
No Internet where we are going so I will have to catch up with the project when I return. I have to make enough sausage for 25 people early September. Hopefully I can tie that in with the project.
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Post by Chuckwagon » Wed Aug 22, 2012 09:20

Sounds like fun Red. I'd like to be in your hip pocket on that trip. Catch up when you can and we'll have you making some first class sausage for your party. I was just notified I'm making seven hundred bucks worth of baby-back ribs and four gallons of sauce for a party in September also. We're going to be some busy dudes eh? Have a great time up north!

Best Wishes,
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Post by Chuckwagon » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:18

A Little More Reading... with a few points to ponder.
By Chuckwagon

Commercial sausage has always been made with one principal objective - profit! With higher profits being an invariable issue, large companies have learned every trick in the book! Large producers do not use genuine paprika because food coloring is cheaper. No dried spices are used, since extracts are cheaper. To add weight, they often add starch to absorb water. Unfortunately, commercial sausage makers often use citric acid in fermented sausages instead of allowing the slow development of lactic acid bacteria, because proper fermentation takes time, and time means money. Although there is nothing at all wrong with today`s collagen and artificial casings, commercial suppliers use them almost exclusively since natural casings are expensive and impractical to use in automated, consistent-volume processing.

Since small, home-sausage making kitchens are non-commercial, there is no need for hobbyists to save a few cents on cutbacks. Always use the best cuts of meat and choice fat. Generally, pork shoulder and fatback are the choices of the hobbyist or small processor - not odds and ends of different cuts. Better sausages than those found in the marketplace do not have to be unavoidably expensive and the effort does not need to drain your bank account.

If your finances are limited, be aware that an initial investment in a few specific hand-tools (grinder and stuffer) will save you money in the end. There`s certainly nothing wrong with using a 50-gallon barrel or an old refrigerator for your smoker. I`ve even seen a few made from old filing cabinets or even cardboard boxes. We're going to be smoking a "cured & cooked sausage" soon, so if you don't have a smokehouse, start thinking about a barrel or even a large cardboard box with hot plate for sawdust. You may also be able to locate used equipment perfectly capable of producing great sausage. And better yet, using perfected skills, you`ll save a mountain of cash making your family`s hams, bacons, sausages, salami, pepperoni, jerky, and any number of other meat products. On the other hand, you may choose to simply purchase a professional, insulated, smoker with all the latest gadgets and tricks. Meat curing and smoking guidelines are simple and very much worth the effort for placing just the right finishing touches on your own exquisite, custom-made creations. Soon, you`ll even develop your own special time-saving techniques as well.

All sausages contain relatively high amounts of salt and fat. There are no practical alternatives. If sausage is going to be palatable, it must contain at least 20% to 30% fat and about 1.5% or even 2% salt. Generally, about 2 grams of salt in 100 grams of meat is just about right. Sausages containing more than 3.5% salt are too salty to consume and it seems as though many commercial producers certainly push this limit. In dry cured sausage, the amount of salt is increased as it helps protect uncooked meat from pathogenic and spoilage bacteria and other microorganisms. Nonetheless, you simply do not have to purchase someone else`s recipes jam-packed with the stuff.

In the United States, fresh pork sausages may contain up to 50% fat (30% in beef sausages), and large companies seem to push this limit also. Cook up a batch of store-bought breakfast sausage and take a hard look at the grease left in the pan to see what I mean. Why consume 50% fat in a store-bought sausage, when you can make a healthier and better-tasting product yourself containing half that amount? Following USDA guidelines and employing proven strategies and knowledge, adjusting your own levels of salt, fat, and spiciness in a leaner and better quality sausage than you may purchase, just makes good sense. For their own protection, many people with heart problems or high blood pressure do just that, creating their own special recipes. Actually the procedure is totally safe, a lot of fun, and not as complicated as you may believe, providing you follow the rules precisely and understand why you are doing what you are doing. Destroying and preventing the bugs inside meat is not rocket science and practicing a few basic safety procedures does not require a college degree. Nevertheless, it does require a little common sense. Almost everyone eats sausage. Why not make your own? It`s healthy, economical, and lots of fun. Can you answer these questions without looking back? (The answers are below).

Self Checkup :cool:
1. Generally, in fresh sausage about how many grams of salt in 100 grams of meat is just about right?
2. To add ________, commercial sausagemakers often add starch to absorb water.
3. What type of fat is most often preferred in sausages?
4. Is the best sausage made of odds and ends of different cuts?
5. What is citric acid used for in commercial sausages?
6. What is the legal limit of fat in fresh type pork sausage in the United States?

Does anyone have any questions they would like to discuss with the group? Please remember to read Stan`s page on sausagemaking at this link:

Answers: 1. Two grams 2. Weight 3. Pork backfat 4. No. Use better cuts. 5. To simulate the fermented taste of lactic acid bacteria. 6. In fresh type pork sausage it is 50%

Last edited by Chuckwagon on Mon Oct 21, 2013 03:46, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by Gulyás » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:16

The legal limit is 50 % fat for fresh italian sausage in the United States.
The white you see in sausage is not all fat, just white, but let me tell you, not everything you see white color is fat. Sinews, tendons, are also white, did I mention it yet, that duck feathers are also white ? Ground meat sold in stores must be ground 2x. When the meat is mushy like that, who can tell if it's fat or duck feathers........(?)
We can do some improvements to the basic material we are using, but I also know that the final product can't be better than it's ingredients combined.

Generally speaking salt is around 2 % in fresh sausage therefore 2 grams of salt goes into 100 grams of meat.
Different cuts of meat makes the sausage taste very good, but it isn't practical to buy many different cuts, so shoulder butt will do just fine.
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Post by Gulyás » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:26

My opinion is, that the more fat, or spice like hot paprika takes more salt to balance taste.

My favorite is hungarian sausage cold out of the refrigerator, because taste better cold the next day. I bake my sausages in the oven.


Just a note I just discovered.

You can upload pictures when you click on your own massages for editing, but not from, as recommended in video.
Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.