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Old 02-03-2012, 09:50 AM   #1
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Homemade Sausage - Help

I tried my hand at homemade sausage the other day and they came out so-so. I used my Kitchenaid meat grinder and the medium plate which overworked the meat. I used pork shoulder and trimmed some of the fat off. I split the batch and made half breakfast sausage half chorizo. I let the spices sit overnight to work into the meat. I stuffed the casing with each and tried them out. Neither is great. Beyond being over-processed, neither one had a great flavor. Maybe not sweet enough or zesty enough. The chorizo is just too earthy and not spicy or oily enough.

I'd love to hear back from you guys for some tried-and-true recipes for sausage. Breakfast, chorizo, anything that could go on the grill, or otherwise worth all that effort.

Thanks!

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Old 02-03-2012, 10:04 AM   #2
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We found the meat to be over processed when we ran it through the smaller die, so we stopped with the larger die. You have the problem of all folks that make sausage at home, finding a recipe that tastes the way you like it. Just keep trying with small batches until you find what you really like. Test cook some before stuffing the casing and adjust the seasoning until you like it.

I like the recipes in "Louisiana Real and Rustic" as "bases", which we have tweaked to our liking.

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Old 02-03-2012, 10:32 AM   #3
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A couple of suggestions that might prove useful:

1. Keep everything cold all the time.
2. It's better to use the large die and grind twice than to use a smaller die.
3. Keep everything cold all the time.
4. After cutting the meat in chunks to fit the grinder, use your herbs and spices to season the chunks. This assures even distribution through the forcemeat.
5. Keep everything cold all the time.
6. Although it's extra work, try removing much of the fat and cutting it into a fine dice. Then mix it back into the forcemeat. This has a serious effect on the final texture.

Oh, yeah. Did I mention that everything should be kept cold, all the time?
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by inchrisin View Post
. The chorizo is just too earthy and not spicy or oily enough.



Thanks!
Add more fat and more spice.

I think most of us would be alarmed to see actually how much fat goes into some sausages. I have heard up to 30% in some sausages. So, for a 4 lb recipe that is one whole pound of pure fat. I don't think you would ever just eat a piece of meat that is one third fat. But in some sausages, you do. Same goes for salt.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:39 AM   #5
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Add more fat and more spice.

I think most of us would be alarmed to see actually how much fat goes into some sausages. I have heard up to 30% in some sausages. So, for a 4 lb recipe that is one whole pound of pure fat. I don't think you would ever just eat a piece of meat that is one third fat. But in some sausages, you do. Same goes for salt.
This is what I was thinking.

Commercially made sausage has a much higher percentage of fat than one might think to start with, and they use other things.

My first attempt at sausage I liked, though I found them a bit dry. I trimmed the fat from the pork. This past time I just used what I had (I didn't add fat, but I didn't remove it) and the sausage is nice and juicy when cooked, though it doesn't have that greasy thing that commercial can have.

I don't see any need to let the sausage sit overnight, and my sausage making advisor advised against it. The salt added to the sausage helps with binding, and when it sits overnight it is harder to push into the casing, and using the KA you need all the help you can get.

Get the meat very very cold (stick it in the freezer for a while).

Grind it (double grind if you feel the need)

Mix the spice and water in.

Stuff.

Let it sit in the fridge to meld.

Work it as quickly as possible, you want it to stay cold, and ice water is your friend. Don't be shy with it. Don't turn your casings into water balloons, but don't be stingy.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:37 PM   #6
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This is what I was thinking.


.
OOPS! I got my math wrong. I meant to say "more than one pound of pure fat" when referring to 30% fat content.
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:06 PM   #7
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So, any good recommendations for recipes?
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:08 PM   #8
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Depends on your desires, Inchrisin. Fresh or dry sausages? Smoked or not? Flavor or ethnic profiles? Spicy or mild? Etc. It would help if you gave us some direction.

Here's a nice vension sausage recipe. You can substitute beef and it will still work, but venison really is better.

3 lbs venison or leanish beef
2 lbs pork butt
1 1/2 tbls salt
1 tbls black pepper
1 tbls sugar
1 tls ground sage
4 garlic cloves, minced fine
1 cup water

Cut the meats into pieces that will fit the grinder tube.

Combine the spices and garlic. Sprinkle evenly over the meat pieces. Grind through a medium die. Combine with the water. Stuff into hog casings, twisting and tying them at about six-inch lengths.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HistoricFoodie View Post
Depends on your desires, Inchrisin. Fresh or dry sausages? Smoked or not? Flavor or ethnic profiles? Spicy or mild? Etc. It would help if you gave us some direction.

Here's a nice vension sausage recipe. You can substitute beef and it will still work, but venison really is better.

3 lbs venison or leanish beef
2 lbs pork butt
1 1/2 tbls salt
1 tbls black pepper
1 tbls sugar
1 tls ground sage
4 garlic cloves, minced fine
1 cup water

Cut the meats into pieces that will fit the grinder tube.

Combine the spices and garlic. Sprinkle evenly over the meat pieces. Grind through a medium die. Combine with the water. Stuff into hog casings, twisting and tying them at about six-inch lengths.
Well, yeah.
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:51 AM   #10
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So, any good recommendations for recipes?
The "Search" feature is your friend!

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Old 02-05-2012, 09:18 AM   #11
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I was quite happy with the recipes that came with my meat grinder. I posted them as links awhile back while I was making my first batch of sausage. I did the test patties for each different kind. I didn't adjust the seasonings (I had adjusted the amount of red pepper/hot pepper and garlic when adding the spices to the meat chunks). I used bone-in pork shoulder--it was a lot of work skinning the rind off the meat and de-boning it, but well worth it. I didn't trim any of the fat off (following Rock's suggestion since he had made sausage the week before using the same cut from the same supermarket chain, different cities). My challenge was that I didn't get my grinder put back together right the 2nd time (when I went to put the meat in the casings). It helps if you know what you like about different types of sausage--do you like more garlic? Do you like more oregano? (so being able to taste the different herbs and spices in your blend). Also, use the freshest herbs and spices you have. If your spices/herbs are stale and you are using dry, replace them. And, keep everything REALLY cold, including the meat grinder parts.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:14 PM   #12
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Do NOT trim the fat off the meat, that grease makes sausage...sausage. Use a coarse grind plate, and a lot more seasoning than you think is right. Let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days before cooking, so the meat and spices will marry.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:48 AM   #13
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If all else fails, google your Extension Office at your local University. They have help on all sorts of subjects. Also look at the list of seasoning on a package of sausages you like. They may not have all the list, but it could give you an idea of what you may be missing.
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:46 AM   #14
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If you're trying to cut down on fat in your diet, don't make sausages.

Alton Brown did a sausage show. He said Boston butt is the best cut for most sausage as it has the right lean to fat ratio. For breakfast sausage he actually added fat to the mix as breakfast sausage has a higher fat percentage than others.
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:03 AM   #15
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I'm usually not an Alton Brown fan, but would agree with him in this case---unless you can find the pork neck, which, IMO, makes better sausage.

Boston butt is available everywhere, though, and has a very good fat/lean ratio. It is not a good idea to trim any of the fat away.
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:14 PM   #16
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First of all I would ask how did you cook it, or did you smoke it. Second of all the bigger hole knife/die is an exelent advice. Third of all increase seasoning taste the row mixture and reseasoned if needs to be. Make sure to slightly over season with spicy stuff, becasue during cooking it will mellow some what. Did I say taste the raw mixture?
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:35 PM   #17
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Did I say taste the raw mixture?

I hope not, CharlieD. That's considered dangerous by virtually all food safety and charcuterie authorities.

Recommended procedure is to take a small sample of the mix, pan fry it, and taste that.

You're certainly right, however, that the mixture should be tasted before stuffing the cases.
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:39 PM   #18
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No it is not, not at all. Ah, food safety authorities would get their rear end sued if something happened. They have to say that.

Ok fine you want to fry a little piece, not a problem, just longer, especially when you have taste 3-4 times to get the seasoning right.
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:44 PM   #19
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When I was a kid I used to sneak and eat raw breakfast sausage from the fridge. I loved the stuff. I am surprised I never got sick...
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:57 PM   #20
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When I make pan fried humburgers I always taste the mix.
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