Online Workshop: Project B2 (October 2013)

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Online Workshop: Project B2 (October 2013)

Post by Chuckwagon » Mon Oct 07, 2013 06:19

Project B2 - A Basic Guide For A Group Learning The Elementary Techniques Of Sausage Making.

Project B2 has been organized for those people who wish to learn the very basics of sausage making. We will assume that beginners have no experience whatsoever. It is also a place for more experienced members who wish to participate to truly help others over some of their obstacles. It is not the place for more experienced members to show off, take pride in, or boast about their own knowledge or experience. Entries made by more experienced members should be geared directly to helping a beginner learn. The moderator will be a little more critical in this area and may even delete certain "helpful" information if necessary. Experienced members are encouraged to help beginners by providing support and encouragement. Knowledge should be shared humbly and prudently ONLY with the advancement of the beginner in mind. 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".

Members should really arm themselves with the book, "Home Production Of Quality Meats Anhd Sausages", by Stan And Adam Marianski. I cannot emphasize enough how reading and understanding this book will support you daily in your hobby and businesses. If you don't have a copy, you can get one online at

The outline for Project B2 has been planned and written for absolute beginners with possible confidence problems. A suggested reading and study agenda is included and there are even quizzes for those choosing to correct their own answers, thereby learning even more by discussing their mistakes if desired. This is certainly optional but recommended to enhance learning. 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 perhaps even make a fermented spreadable sausage. As the chat opens, please pose questions that would help benefit others also.

Once the registration has taken place, the forum topic will be closed to all persons not registered. Why? This is to prevent those choosing NOT to participate, from later posting remarks or criticizing beginners` responses or sausage photos. As registered members, this is YOUR forum. Again, all I ask is that we remember it is for beginners and not geared for more advanced sausages and techniques. (Advanced techniques will be studied in a later forum). Please remember courtesy, fellowship, and the rules of the WD forum. Now, let`s have fun learning!

Best Wishes,

OUTLINE: Proposed Plan for Project B2:
In order to gain knowledge and experience in several areas, I suggest making the following sausages while we study the learning material:
(A.) "Fresh" type sausages:

(1.) 2.2 lbs. (1 kg.) Onion Sausage (loose sausage) by Chuckwagon -
We`ll learn about the basics of meat science and selection. Proteins and exudates. Phosphates. The pH and glycolysis of meat. Grinding techniques. Understanding cohesion forces (binding). Will it hold water? Storing and freezing meat.
(2.) 5 lbs. (2.25 kg.) "Hip Shot" Hamburger Sausage (Soy Protein Concentrate)
We`ll talk about meat color and flavor as we mix two different meats together. We`ll learn about "binding" and the reasons we use soy protein concentrate. No more shrinking, dry, hamburgers!
(3.) 2.2 lbs. (1 kg. ) German Bratwurst (Brats in casings) (Page 211 in "Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages" by Stan Marianski) ... /bratwurst
We`ll learn how to stuff sausage into casings and make proper links as we discuss various casings. We`ll talk about the basics of emulsification and have an opportunity to make an "emulsified" hot dog frankfurter in the next section.
(4.) 2.2 lbs (1 kg.) Italian (Sweet) Sausage In casings (Page 219 in "Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages" by Stan Marianski)

(B.) "Cured & Cooked" type sausages:
Emulsified sausage
Why do we smoke sausage?
Brown & Serve

(1.) 4.4 lbs. (2 kg.) Kabanosy (Polish snack-stick) (See this link: http://www.wedlinydomowe....ecipes/kabanosy ). 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. Kabanosy has been called the "finest meatstick in the world".
(2.) 2.3 lbs. (1 kg.) Hungarian Csabaii by Snagman (See this link:
This Hungarian sausage is out of this world! Made with garlic and sweet Hungarian paprika, making this sausage will give us more practice in casing sausages to avoid "smearing" and to make more uniform links.

(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: http://www.wedlinydomowe....-braunschweiger
(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.

(E.) Other (As suggested or needed)

It was suggested that we set the closing date for registration as Wednesday, October 9th at 11:59 P.M. At this time we closed the Project B2 forum to all others who may comment or criticize. The continued dialogue will be reserved to members of this project (B2) only. The dialogue began at 12:01 on Thursday, October 10th, 2013.

Associates taking part in the project.

1. ssorllih
2. El DuckO
3. Sambal Badjak
4. AJWillsnet
5. Grasshopper
6. Tasplas
7. Redzed
8. Crusty44
9. Hamn'Cheese
10. DDWaterdog
11. SAR
12. M.D.Flan
13. Shuswap
14. MRMatuszek
15. Sawhorseray
16. Ursula
17. Markjass
18. two_MN_kids
19. Cabonaia
20. Pignout
21. TruckTramp
22. Doug
23. Ottothecow
24. mweipert
25. TSmodie

Welcome aboard folks! Welcome to Project B2 - a learning forum. Soon, we'll get around to ordering supplies. While we wait on them, let's take advantage of the time by doing a little reading. Please read the recommended material before we discuss it online. It is highly recommended that you supplement your reading by locating a copy of ,"Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages"... by Stan and Adam Marianski. (Online at "".

Reading And Check Ups
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?
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Thu Jan 15, 2015 02:41, edited 18 times in total.
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Post by Chuckwagon » Thu Oct 10, 2013 08:11

Yeeeee Haaaawww!

The first thing one must do on a cattle drive is yell "Yeee Hawww"... at the top of his or her voice! So let`s hear it folks! Well.... what are you waiting for? Nobody is going to laugh at you. This is serious! Now let`s hear it ... Yeeeee Haaaawww!

Whooaaa! I nearly forgot something. Before we turn the crank to make great sausage, we have to talk about what we`re doing and why we`re doing it! It would be nice to just jump in and start grinding sausage... 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. Of course, 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 on your part. Anything worth retaining always does! So don`t be afraid to go over the written material slowly if necessary - until it sinks in and stays put. Okay, here we go... Yeeee Hawww!

Whenever there's something you should read (usually within a day or two) It will show up in bold Red with an underline. Sometimes there are two or even three things to read, so watch for the numbers in red too.

Reading :

Let's begin by reading the following information about sausagemaking over a period of the next few days. The first part of this assignment is only a page long but contains some great information written by Stan Marianski. (1.) The following page covers the basics of sausage making and may be found at this link: (a.) .
(2.) Next, I`ll post some info to help you understand the basic procedures. I call it "32 Sausagemaking Tips To Save You Grief". Next, I`d like to post some material dealing with the basic structure of meat. It`s not overly complicated but it is a little scientific. Knowledge is power - we should know a little bit about what we are grinding don`t you think? You`d be surprised how often you`ll recall the very basics of meat science while you prepare the products you make. Oh, quit worrying... there nothing complicated about it! Besides you`ve got me here to guide you through it, don`t you?

Following this reading, we`ll have an online discussion & questions will be answered. The registered ol` timers are encouraged to join in the discussion to help others understand the basics. Any projects (making sausages etc.) to be done, will be listed in bold blue print. Don't be afraid to start a discussion any time you have a question.

After you decide which of the sausages you`d like to make, we should list all the ingredients you`ll need. While we wait on supplies from a supplier, let`s read and review the basic processes below described by Stan Marianski. Read and study one topic at a time over the course of only a few days each. I`ll post a "check up" following the reading of two or three topics below. Correct it yourself. Following each quiz, let`s discuss some of your mistakes on line. This should benefit the other members as well as yourself. 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. They are not long at all and may be read in a few minutes. With each, I`ll post additional supportive material to go along with each topic.

Simply click on the following links:

meat selection - http://www.meatsandsausag.../meat-selection
curing -
grinding - ... nding-meat
mixing - ... ixing-meat
stuffing -
drying -
smoking - ... oking-meat
cooking - ... oking-meat
cooling - ... oling-meat
storing - ... oring-meat
freezing - ... ezing-meat
thawing - ... awing-meat

Please continue by reading the following:

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 sodium 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)


Now, please read and ponder my "32 Sausage Making Tips To Save You Grief". :wink:

Chuckwagon's "32 Sausage Making Tips To Save You Grief"

1. Always use good meat to make good sausage. Many people mistakenly belief sausage is made up of leftovers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rytek Kutas used to say, "If you toss junky meat into the hopper, you`ll have junky sausage to contend with". Good Boston Butt (pork shoulder) is the first choice for sausage making. Incidentally, have you ever wondered why pork shoulder is called "Boston butt"? Meat cutters in the eighteenth century seaport Boston, Massachusetts, packed cuts of pork shoulder into wooden casks called "butts" to be placed aboard ships... which brings up the question, "Do folks in Boston know their shoulders from their butts?

2. The meat MUST be kept as cold as possible throughout the entire mincing, mixing, and stuffing process. Place the grinder blade and plate into the freezer 20 minutes ahead of time. If the plate and knife heat up, it can affect the mixture in all sorts of ways. Don't be afraid to add a little softened crushed ice chips now and then. Never try to grind hard-frozen ice cubes with your grinder.

3. Work with small batches of meat at a time and never miss an opportunity to refrigerate the meat at any time during the process.

4. Always cut the meat into chunks about an inch in size before they go into the grinder. This prevents sinew from wrapping around the auger, binding it down. When this happens, the meat is usually pushed through the die and is torn rather than being cleanly incised.

5. Freeze fat before putting it into the grinder to prevent "smearing". Meat should be nearly frozen to prevent "mushing".

6. Freezing ruptures meat cells as ice crystals expand. When the meat is thawed, it exudes a mixture of proteins, minerals, blood, water, collagen, and other meat juices we view as simply blood. This liquid "exudates" should be saved and added to the sausage. Quick freezing produces less rupturing of meat cells.

7. Avoid using beef fat in sausage as well as the fat of wild game. Beef fat is yellow and the taste is inferior to that of pork fat. Also, avoid the fat of sheep or goats unless specified in a particular ethnic sausage. People, by far, prefer the flavor of pork fat.

8. The most important reason for not stuffing casings as the meat leaves the grinder, is that minced meat needs to develop myocin and actin proteins that helps form a sticky "meat paste". This is done either by hand-mixing or by using a mixer, but must be done in order to have proper texture in sausage. An investment in a vertical, geared, stuffer will keep you sane and made short work of stuffing casings.

9. Often, the texture of sausage may be improved by freezing the fat then cutting it into larger dice by hand, rather than passing it through a grinder. The frozen fat is then folded gently by hand, into the primary bind.

10. Sausage must contain salt for a variety of reasons. Never reduce the amount of salt in a sausage recipe without professional advice. How much salt is needed in sausage? About 2% in fresh type sausage or 2 grams per 100 grams of meat. However, the 2% used in fresh sausage, is simply not high enough for safety in a "fermented" or "dry-cured" sausage requiring up to 3%. Dry-cured, "traditionally made" sausages (made without starter cultures, require even more... anywhere from 3 to 3.5%. Four to five per cent salt is unpalatable.

11. Always follow recipe directions precisely and never, ever... substitute ingredients - especially cultures and cures! Doing so may injure your own health or that of others. Observe time-tested, established rules in method, procedure, and technique. You simply cannot make your own rules in sausagemaking and expect them to work - it is just not an option. The inexorable rules in place in the sausagemaking world today, are the summation of knowledge throughout centuries of world history. Most people who substitute ingredients, alter the technique, or alter recipes, are reckless individuals who needlessly endanger themselves or others, ultimately producing a disaster for an end product. Invariably, nearly all these people will blame the recipe.

12. Good sausage contains 20 to 25% fat. Fat lubricates the meat and gives it proper "chew" and flavor. It also serves as a binder and although the content may be lowered, without it, a sausage`s texture becomes almost unpalatable.

13. Make sure the grinder blade is not on backwards. It must be pressed up against the plate with just a little pressure. You should be able to adjust the pressure as you detect just the slightest bit of resistance on the machine.

14. Never attempt to sharpen the flat side (plate side) of the blade. The contact surfaces must remain flat within a few thousandths of an inch. (Think of the two "flat contact sides" of a scissors. A cutler never touches them. He does, however, grind the beveled edges to sharpen them.

15. Following grinding, add the cure mixed in a little water for even distribution. Mix the spices and cure into the meat and continue mixing until the myosin develops a sticky meat paste.

16. Always use sterilized (prepared) spices in sausage. Non-sterile fresh spices and herbs from your garden may contain various bacteria from the soil and can spoil a batch of sausage within hours.

17. The purchase of an electronic scale is a solid investment you`ll never regret. Use it for precisely measuring salt, cures, and ingredients of all types.

18. To get the last bit of sausage out of the grinder, put a slice of bread down the hopper and continue grinding until the meat has cleared the plate.

19. If you use wine in sausage, be sure it is not a fruity sweet wine, and then limit the amount used. More is not better; too much wine makes the texture crumbly because it denatures the proteins, including the importatnt binders actin and myocin. Please use only "dry" wine. The best way to add it is using an atomizing "spritzer" to spray it slowly into the mixture while it is very cold during the mixing step.

20. Always preheat the empty smokehouse, add the sausage, then raise the temperature gradually - only a few degrees at a time at twenty or thirty minute intervals over several hours. I have yet to meet a sausage maker who didn`t ruin his first batch by cooking it too quickly. If the fat "breaks" (melts) and grease runs out onto the bottom of the smoker, you may as well toss the batch and start again. Cooked too quickly or too much, it is impossible to salvage.

21. Trichinella Spiralis is destroyed at 138°F. (59°C.). Prep-cooked sausages such as "brown n` serve" are often cooked to the temperature of 148°F. (64°C.) for later heating to a final serving temperature of around 155°F. (68°C.). Sausages smoke-cooked to this temperature are protected against most spoilage and pathogenic bacteria including salmonella, listeria monocytogenes, and toxoplasma - responsible for 1,500 deaths annually. However, it is critical that internal meat temperatures above 168° F. (76° C.) in "smoked-cooked sausages" be avoided as fat starts breaking (melting) at this point and will melt in pockets inside the sausage, eventually running out of the sausage. If this occurs, the sausage's texture will invariably replicate sawdust! You may as well throw it out and start again from scratch. And don't feed it to your dog! He deserves better. During prep-cooking, always heat and smoke sausages "low n` slow.

22. Always use non-iodized salt in sausage making. Iodized salt leaves a metallic taste behind.

23. After grinding, add the cure - mixed into a little water, or cold stock for even more flavor - for even distribution throughout the meat.

24. Having ground meat for sausage, we must remember the simple task of developing a "sticky meat paste" that sausage makers refer to as the "primary bind". Cold meat (just above the freezing point) must be mixed and kneaded well enough to develop the proteins myosin and actin. As this occurs, the mass will become sticky and develop soft peaks when pulled apart. The proper development of myosin and actin is critical for good texture in the finished product, although the meat should never be overly-mixed, as this may result in the sausage becoming "rubbery" in texture.

25. It is a good idea to develop the primary bind before vinegar, tomato, or any highly acidic foods are added. In chorizo, blend in vinegar, but do not over-develop the mixture. Too much vinegar in the recipe will denature proteins and create other problems.

26. If you are making a "semi-dry cured" sausage that requires prep-cooking to an internal temperature of 150°; F. (66°;C.), be aware that cooking in an oven with slightly lower heat, will cause a sausage to dry out more as it cooks longer.

27. If you have used vacuum sealing bags, you`ve probably experienced smashing sausages that have lost their shape. A simple solution is to place them into a deep freezer an hour, preserving their shape, before placing them into vacuum sealed plastic bags for longer storage. The quicker the meat is frozen, the smaller the ice crystals will be which will rupture meat cells affecting the texture of the sausage.

28. If your emulsified hot dogs and sausages are tough or rubbery in texture, you may be over-extracting the actomyosin myofibrillar proteins. In other words, you may be mixing the sausage a little too much, especially with the addition of salt or water. This elasticity may also be perceived as toughness or stiffness in texture. Most often an "insufficient amount of water" is bound to receive the blame for this elasticity or toughness when it is not. Simply try less agitation and less water.

29. Grind fresh black pepper just before it goes into the sausage. Use a coarse "butcher`s grind" for fresher aroma and better flavor. Store-bought, pre-ground pepper has lost its taste. Leave it on the shelf and grind your own peppercorns for great tasting sausage.

30. Collagen casings cannot be linked by twisting them. They must be tied off using string, or you may simply cut them to length using scissors, whenever using smaller diameter casings like those for breakfast sausages.

31. Avoid air pockets in sausages by firmly packing the meat into the stuffer using your fist. Make certain the pressure relief valve is working properly. Trapped air pockets in casings are pierced deeply with a needle in several places immediately following stuffing.

32. Moisten hardwood sawdust at least 30 minutes before smoking time. The smoke produced by moistened wood is not as acrid. Do not soak it to the point where it is dripping wet. I like to soak sawdust or chips then freeze them in a packet of foil. Turn the hot plate to high until smoldering begins, and then turn the heat down until it only produces constant but very little smoke. Smoke penetrates meat much faster at higher temperatures. A case in point may be a sausage perfectly smoked at only 120° F (50° C) for 4 hours. The same sausage may acquire a bitter, over-smoked flavor if smoked at 250° F. (120° C) for the same length of time. Always be sure sausages are dry to the touch before attempting to smoke them. Smoke will not penetrate wet casings.

Best Wishes,
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Sat May 31, 2014 13:46, edited 4 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 markjass » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:06

ye ha. I am looking foerward to going to work tomorrow - eh. left my glasses there and can hardly read your words of wisdom. When I get them it will be a double yeha.
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Post by Chuckwagon » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:22

Okay smoke addicts! Does anyone know where the phrase "Yeee Haww" came from? Take a guess before reading further! :mrgreen: Cattle are "dumb" animals and can`t recognize their own names. Horses are more intelligent and can even remember a few words besides responding to their own handles. When early teamsters recognized this, they came up with a few shortcuts. If a wagon-team driver (called a "teamster"), wanted his team to turn to the right, he said, "Gee". A turn to the left was preceded by the word, "Haw".
Now, I`ve always wondered what a driver would do if he happened to yell "gee" and "haw" at the same time when he came to a creek with his team and wagon. Would the horse on the right turn to the starboard and proceed up the creek, while the horse on the left turned to the port side and swam down the creek? Would they have torn the wagon in half? Would the teamster have jumped into the water to swim to shore? Inquiring minds want to know.... Yeeeee Hawww!
Oh yes.... time has turned "gee" into "yee". Goodness, that's not so strange!... Just look what time has done to El DuckO :roll:

Best Wishes,
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 el Ducko » Thu Oct 10, 2013 16:35

We were one of the last farms on Bayou Bartholomew (southeast Arkansas) that still used mules, back in the mid '60's. Part of the place was inaccessible until then, due to dense woods and swampy areas, and we couldn't get tractors in there until about 1961. (I practiced for my drivers license on a Caterpillar D-9. Beloved Spouse says I still drive that way.)

Yup, that's how you steered 'em- - "gee" and "haw."

...and that's how I learned to deal with stubborn critters like mules, people with an MBA, and certain forum moderators who shall remain nameless. (...but in some cases, feed 'em an onion and they'll believe 'bout anything you tell 'em.)
Experience - the ability to instantly recognize a mistake when you make it again.
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Post by Chuckwagon » Fri Oct 11, 2013 14:08

I. Making "Fresh" Type Sausage - 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. These are salts and sausage makers use them in a pink-colored "curing salt". 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... 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:

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.

Okay folks, let's talks about grinders for a bit. What kind of grinder do you have and what kind of condition is it in? Ask any questions you can think of. Let's ask ol' Tim Smodie what kind of grinder he uses. Duk and Ross... will you give us a few thoughts. Any other ol' timers want to give us a few words here. Then let's hear from the beginners. Don't be shy! Post questions or comments. It's your turn to spout off!

Best Wishes,
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Post by grasshopper » Fri Oct 11, 2013 16:08

I know it takes a lot of time on your part, CW. Sure glad you are there. Going through this again for me is tuning up again. The article of the Swedish boy is very informative as you never know. The note book is my down fall. I would save your read but didn't take notes. I will this time. I sold my spare snowplow yesterday and going to buy a extra refrigerator/ freezer. Will have room now. Bacteria is the most important the rest is flavor and taste. The first go around ground sage vrs rubbed sage and too much vinegar in EL ducko chorizo.
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Post by sawhorseray » Fri Oct 11, 2013 17:03

"Okay folks, let's talks about grinders for a bit. What kind of grinder do you have and what kind of condition is it in?"
Cabelas 1hp SS commercial-grade with on/off foot pedal. Six years old, perfect condition. RAY

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Post by el Ducko » Fri Oct 11, 2013 17:18

Advice about grinders? Hmmm... Let me see... (rummages in closet for old ones, causing small avalanche.)

A few years back, some friends of ours who like to cook casually mentioned that they had a high-end kitchen mixer which had a grinder attachment. "You can make sausage," the guy mentioned, and his wife grimaced.

"You actually MAKE sausage?" I asked, intrigued. "That sounds great!"

"What a mess," his wife said before he could reply.

...which naturally appealed to me. "Tell me more."

"It`s so much effort for so little sausage that he`s only done it once or twice," wife said, under influence of truth serum. (...or was it red wine?)

"...sure was good, though," he said. "You can't buy most of the Old World sausages anymore, especially not around here."

We drifted on to the next conversational item, but I was intrigued. We don`t cook nearly as well as they do, and Beloved Spouse tries not to cook so often either. For the price of a small car, we could get the mixer and a dazzling array of attachments.

...or we could make do with my late Mother-in-law`s hand grinder. That`s what I tried. This thing was one that she inherited from her mother, who brought it with her when they moved west. It was used to grind rocks into caliche for the cement kiln used to manufacture the concrete and mortar for their house`s foundation, apparently, because it wouldn`t grind meat worth a you-know-what. Sharpening was impossible: the blades were formed into a rotating cone shape, and the plate was cast along with the body.

So I kept my eyes open, bought a close-out hand crank model at Cabela`s, and spent more money getting the replacement part than I would have if I had bought from regular stock. (Duck`s Law: Do it the hard way. That way, you`ll spend more, but just think what you`ll learn!)

A hand-cranked model works great. First, you find a kitchen counter to clamp it to. Ours are granite and shatter easily, so that was out. A short section of two-by-eight wooden board, weighted down with anything handy and heavy, worked better. Grinding somewhere else beside the kitchen was inconvenient, but better. So, now I could get fairly good grinding results.

I developed a routine- - stuff the meat with one hand, push it down the throat with a "meat stomper" with the other (NEVER stick your fingers down the throat of a meat grinder. It will grind them. Duh!) Then, with another hand, catch the ground meat in a bowl while another hand is used to steady the whole apparatus.

Perhaps you have a pet octopus that you can train. (Hey! Suction cups! Of course!) As for me, I found that multitasking, while possible, isn`t fun. So I started looking for electric grinders. Here`s a thread about a guy upgrading from a mixer attachment which you might find useful: ... inder+hand I dug around some more and found a thread by some pretty handy guys with bigger grinders driven by belts and pulleys. If you have an urge (or are a descendent of Rube Goldberg), you`ll enjoy reading ... inder+hand but personally, I enjoy having my fingers still intact and try to avoid things with belts and pulleys and open drive units.

There`s a good thread on our forum, ... inder+hand which will show you kinda-sorta the electric grinder that I bought. Mine is a bottom-of-the-line #12 Kitchener electric (sold by Northern Hydraulic). It's low volume but then, I'm a quiet kind of guy. :lol: I plan to add a foot switch, next time I get loose with a wad of bills in my pocket. It`s either a bell or a whistle, though. You can do fine without it.

Although you might grind a large quantity of meat, some days (say, if someone drops a couple of sides of moose or beef on your doorstep), I rarely grind more than two or three kilograms of meat at a time. ...freeze 'em in 1-kilo bags, so I can make small runs of various recipes of sausage. That way, I can try new recipes on short notice, without overflowing the freezer. (...which is my current reason for slowing down.) Note that I speak of kilograms. The US style of measurements (so-called "English" units, although the British used Imperial units and switched to metric long ago) is awkward at best. Convert to metric. You`ll be glad you did. ...and try to use weights, rather than volumes. Not everyone`s tablespoon of cilantro or garlic has the same weight of cilantro or garlic in it. You`d be amazed!

Some of us like bigger machines, though. Have a look at ... inder+hand where there is discussion about larger ones. If you`re just starting out, though, and don`t have plans for taking over the universe with huge quantities of your high-quality (of course!) sausage, I would advise starting with one of the smaller electric grinders (or maybe the next-larger model) from a national brand retailer. Mail order or internet or local, these days, you`ll most likely get a quality piece of equipment. Then, if and when you`re ready to move to something bigger (although I doubt that I ever will), you`ll know enough to make a good decision.

Root around on Wedliny Domowe for other advice. There`s a pile of it there, and with the exception of some of my "Tall Tales," it`s all useful. Even that is... Uh... Whatzat, Chuckwagon? Oh. Okay. Time to fly north for the winter. ...or is that south? I think we`ll go east, this time. "Nobody goes there anymore. It`s too crowded."
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Post by Shuswap » Fri Oct 11, 2013 17:50

Being a complete novice and heeeding my wife's warning about overspending, I bought a little used Moulineaux (French made) grinder. In grinder sizing it is a #5 and comes with only 2 plates. As I'll be dong batches up to 5 lbs, I am hoping it will do the job without burning out the motor - be patient lad.
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Post by TSMODIE » Fri Oct 11, 2013 18:00

I used a Kitchen aid grinder for 2 years, it is very good at small bathes, for grinding only. But the meat must be small chunks and almost frozen, it is the most economical grinder for the beginner, now this is assuming you have a kitchen aid mixer, I put over 3000 lbs of meat through in 2 years, it heald up, and I still use it for mixing. I finally decided to get a good grinder, I went with the 99 dollar Kitchner grinder, that everybody had good luck with, i had it 2 days and returned it, the plate on the front would not stay on, meat would come out between the threads and push the plates and knive off, frustrating, I then when up north to teach my best friend the finer art of sausage making, i took my whole setup with me, including the smoker, but he said he had a grinder, so dont bother bringing one. I got there and he had a brand new LEM 3/4 hp grinder in the box, he had bought it 4 years ago on sale at Cabelas, but had never used it. I was so impressed with this grinder, that when I got home, started looking for one. i dunally found one for 380 dollars with free shipping, and this new one had the big bite option with a larger throat and a special auger, I was just about to buy it, and was discussing it with my best friend, and he said wait a week before buying one, Iquestion him about it, and he said dont ask, I thought maybe he was going to give me his old waring gtinder, which I was not interested in, but as a gift, you have to accept it, well the next weekend we were driving up north, to picj him and his wife up to fly to vegas. when I drove up, he ask me to come into the garage, and right there on the floor was a brand new LEM 3/4 hp big bite, and he said it was mine, I ask why, and he said it was introducing him to the very expensive hobby, and ruining most of his evenings. WOW, what a friend he is, This has been the most fantastic grinder i have ever used, I just recieved 2 huge elks from friends, and this thing will grind through them without any hesitation, I absolutely reccomend this grinder, I have used the Cabellas new 1 hp, and dont get me wrong, it is a great grinder, but the LEM will absolutely keep up with it, for about 200 dollaes less, Tim
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Post by Chuckwagon » Sat Oct 12, 2013 01:20

I have used the Cabellas new 1 hp, and dont get me wrong, it is a great grinder, but the LEM will absolutely keep up with it, for about 200 dollaes less, Tim
MMmmm... most interesting, Tim. Thanks pard. :wink:
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Post by Cabonaia » Sat Oct 12, 2013 07:49

I started out using the grinder attachment on a kitchen aid. It did not make my wife happy, as my boys and I have each burned out the motor of that machine through various abuses, so I waited for a sale and bought the Cabelas 3/4 hp grinder. Pricey, yes. It is made by Tre Spade. It looks like Ray's, but smaller. I like it a whole lot. It is heavy and substantial, and is consigned to an outbuilding, so I do get some exercise schlepping it in and out of the house. It would be cheaper just to lug a $3 bag of cement. But, I do love it. It grinds pretty much as fast as I can feed it, so I can't see why I would want a bigger one - except that I could cut the meat in bigger chunks.

I found the same foot switch Cabelas sells for half the price...somewhere online. It makes a big difference to have a foot switch!

It seems that everyone who buys a Cabelas/Tre Spade, LEM, or Tor-rey are crazy about them. Apparently you can't go wrong with these brands.

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Post by Chuckwagon » Sat Oct 12, 2013 13:47

Hey, hey, Cabonaia, you ol' salty dog! I think we ought to brag a little about your Lebanon Bologna that you ground and stuffed back on Halloween last year. You`ve come a long way! See it at this link: ... &start=180

And as long as we`re picking on you, let`s have another look at the kabanosy you made last year. It looked delicious: ... &start=240

Jeff, now compare your Lebanon Bologna with your earlier attempt at chorizo. A world of difference pal! You were thoughtful enough to write down your discoveries for your fellow members. See this link: ... &start=360

My hat`s off to you Jeff. Keep up the good work.

Best Wishes,
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Post by Chuckwagon » Sat Oct 12, 2013 15:28

Hi folks! Hope everyone is doing well. Has everyone been reading? Please remember the colors of print in Project B2. If you missed it above, here they are again:

READING: (Red bold type) Whenever there's something you should read (usually within a day or two) It will show up in bold Red with an underline. Sometimes there are two or even three things to read, so watch for the numbers in red too.

DISCUSSION: (Dark-Red bold type) Whenever there's something we need to discuss, it will show up in bold Dark-Red with an underline. Sometimes there are two or even three things to read, so watch for the numbers in bold dark-red too.

PROJECT: (Blue bold type) Whenever there's to begin (sausage making etc.), it will show up in bold Dark-Blue print with an underline.


Okay, let`s catch up and organize just a little. Here are the things you should have done by now as well as a project for today or tomorrow.

I hope everyone has read Stan`s sausage-making page at this link: and my 32 Tips Save You Grief, as well as the material I posted about food poisoning and bacteria. Also, please be sure to read Stan`s material about meat selection at this link - http://www.meatsandsausag.../meat-selection
We`re still discussing "grinders and choices". Don`t be afraid to ask questions that have come up during the reading.
Let`s begin making some fresh-type, "loose meat" sausage to become better acquainted with your grinder and a sharpened plate-knife if necessary. Here`s a quick link:

How about taking a few photos of the grinding and even the finished, plated product? Share your ideas. If anyone has a top-notch cooking recipe for this type sausage, why not share it too?

Best Wishes,
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D