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Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 15:35
by Cabonaia
Why thank you Mr. Wagon! You know, you have a good handle, because any cowboy learns fast enough to stay on the good side of the man who runs the chuckwagon! But considering all the encouragement you give, that is not too difficult.

Sadly, I can't admire my grand successes because when I click on the links they don't take me to my former posts. Dunno why. Here is what I get: "No topics or posts met your search criteria"

Refreezing Pork

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 04:08
by Shuswap
I have 5lbs of frozen ground pork butt to use in the B2 exercises. I don`t want to use it all in one batch. The USDA (see link) says that frozen pork thawed in the refrigerator does not need to be cooked before refreezing. That sounds perfect for what I want to do. My wife says no way but what do you think?

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 05:21
by markjass
I have a Kenwood major mixer etc. It works well with the meat, but I do have a problem with fat smearing.

I have bulk backfat in the freezer. I find that the grinder does not pick up the cubes of fat. So I cut them down to a cm cubes. I know that this is not the suggested way; I grind the fat with the meat. This way I get less smearing. I do freeze the whole of the grinder.

If I grind the back fat separately I often have to stop half way through and refreeze the grinder. This is far from ideal. The worst thing to do is to push the plunger to hard. I am not sure if the fat smearing issue is due to my grinder. The last thing is that the grinder has problems and slows up when grinding the fat. I have just had a thought. Should I run the grinder at a slower rate when I do the fat?

Shuswap. THe NZ guidelines are not quite the same as the USDA (project B2 this is not an issue). I do have niggling doubts about partially freezing meat, then grinding it, making fresh sausages, freezing these and then defrosting them before cooking them. This goes against gut instinct. I suppose that keeping the meat semi frozen over this peirod mitigates this. The other precaution I take is after buying the meat I place it in a cool bin when transporting it.When making all sausages I keep things as cold as possible.

This may be a bit ahead of ourselfs. At work the aids use to mix up spray bottles of 15 mls of bleach to 1L of water and change this every 24 hrs. Infection control put a stop to this as they said that this was not a safe practice and the bleach should be used asap.

In terms of ordering supplies, getting hold of the pork liver is the problem. This could be a problem for me. Previously I wrote about this. In three diferent butcher I have place orders for 500g of pork liver. With luck one of them may come up trumps. How lucky I would be if all three came up. I am limited to one type of sausage culture I have been unable to get anything else. I assume that it will do. All other things I have got or will be able to find a substitute for.


Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 09:35
by sambal badjak
I have a hand cranked grinder, size 32 and just one grinder plate.
I hope to order 2 more in the next couple of weeks, but this being africa it might be months :(
What sizes would be most useful?

The grinder could be operated by pulley and motor, but we use it by hand (I can always instruct my kitchen staff to help!).
So far I have been cutting the meat quite fine by knife, smaller than 1 cm pieces (both fat and meat), mix it with the spices and then run through the mincer straight into the stuffing. (I am now looking at buying a stuffer as well, thinking of the 5 lbs vertical grizzly).

As to the do and don't' s about sausage making:
I just might have to break some rules. One of them: do not use iodized salt.
Nothing else available here, so no choice.
With other ingredients it will at times be a similar story, but don't worry, I am not going to change any cures (although I will have to recalculate everything to the 8% sodium nitrite we have here)

Anyway, looking forward to the project, although the kitchen has no aircon and w are getting maximum temperatures of 42 oC here now

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 21:37
by Chuckwagon
Shuswap wrote:
I have 5lbs of frozen ground pork butt to use in the B2 exercises. I don`t want to use it all in one batch. The USDA (see link) says that frozen pork thawed in the refrigerator does not need to be cooked before refreezing. That sounds perfect for what I want to do. My wife says no way but what do you think?
Hey, hey, Shuswap. Some time ago I called the folks at FSIS (USDA) MID (Meat Inspection Division). Very nice folks and most helpful. They told me that many people ask this question when the power goes out and the meat in their freezers starts to thaw. The FSIS folks said as long as there is even a trace of frozen crystals in the meat, there is no problem whatsoever. Just re-freeze it. Meat that has completely thawed but refrigerated may also be re-frozen, however... each time the meat is frozen, ice crystals tear up the cells and cause the meat to be tough when cooked. If the meat has been thawed but refrigerated, you can re-freeze it within a couple of days. If thawed longer than that, even refrigerated, I would cook the meat then freeze it if necessary. Before refrigeration, folks would pack it in salt or "corn" it to extend its life.

Best Wishes,

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 17:51
Sambal. i see one problem with your method, going straight from the grinding into stuffing, by doing this, the meat does not get mixed enough to create the binding and stickyness necessary, are you saying that as you grind, you go straight into the casings???

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 18:06
by sawhorseray
sambal badjak wrote:Anyway, looking forward to the project, although the kitchen has no aircon and w are getting maximum temperatures of 42 oC here now
I see where that crunches out to 107.6° F, probably real humid too. There's not much one can do about the weather I guess, making sausage in that kind of heat could get dicey. RAY

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 20:55
by pignout
Keep ur eyes open on craigs list as well. I Picked up a dandy Butcherboy with a converter and 4 sets of blades for 500.00. It was used to grinde organ meat for pet food. I have seen Lem's and other there too at huge discount.

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 20:56
by el Ducko
TSMODIE wrote:Sambal. i see one problem with your method, going straight from the grinding into stuffing, by doing this, the meat does not get mixed enough to create the binding and stickyness necessary, are you saying that as you grind, you go straight into the casings???
Good point. Our Polish brethren like to cut up the meat, mix it with the spices, then let it diffuse ("pickle") before grinding and stuffing. We in the USA, on the other hand, seem to favor grinding the meat, then mixing, then letting it "pickle" (overnight?) before stuffing. Looks like Sambal's post advocates letting it "pickle" in the casing.

I suppose that, in a hot kitchen, cutting out some delay would be a good thing, but be sure to cut the meats fine and mix the spices in well, beforehand.

...but is there more temperature rise, this way??? Also, if there's not enough binding, the sausages may be crumbly and fall apart during cooking or eating.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 05:57
by sambal badjak
Thanks for the comments guys,
At the moment we have high temperatures and low humidity. That will change in a couple of weeks though. Then it will be high and humid!

A little more clarification, I only have one mincer plate, a 2 or 3 mm one, so quite fine and putting the meat through it twice makes it too fine for my liking!

I cut by knife in pieces smaller than 1x1 cm. Mix well with the spices, cure etc and let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Then I grind straight into the casings via the small grinder plate. Hang the sausages outside the fridge for ab hour or leave them for 12 hours in the fridge (covered with a te towel), before eating, packing or freezing. What I choose depends on the weather.
Not saying that this is the right way, but it is what I came up with based on marianski's book, this forum and my warped brain :razz:
I do quite like the cutting by knife first as it makes the mincng a lot easier and I don't really notice much smearing of fat when mincing.
I do when cutting, but my knives are sharp and can deal with it and the mincing happens when the meat mixture is cold.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 08:05
by Chuckwagon
Hi folks! As long as we're talking about using frozen and thawed meat, let's go back to an old post for comparison:
On August 27th last year, Cabonaia in Morgan Hill, California asked, "CW - why is it important to thaw the meat slowly?" Here was my answer to Cabonaia.
Hi Jeff,
Actually, the quicker the better - within reason. To speed things up, some folks unwisely use a microwave or another heat source. This will start the cooking process and change the texture and color of the meat. Frozen meat thaws on the outside first inviting bacterial growth on the exterior while the interior is yet frozen - precisely the reason it should be done inside a refrigerator.
Let`s take a hard look at what happens when we freeze meat. First of all, we must remember that meat is about 75% water and when water freezes, it expands about 10 per cent. When water in meat expands, it ruptures cells. This results in the loss of elasticity and the ability to hold water. The amount of damage is directly proportionate to the temperature and speed of freezing.
Whenever meat is being frozen slowly, it`s important to realize that water inside meat cells contain more salt. At lower temperature it is under higher pressure and the molecules of water are pushed by this pressure from muscle tissue into connective tissue. Outside the cells, ice crystals grow larger, damaging the meat`s composition.
Whenever meat is frozen at very low temperatures, water molecules in the cells simply have insufficient time to vacate the cells and move to areas having lower pressure. Ice crystals in this case, are very small and they do much less damage.
Did you know that the curing process actually begins sooner in meat that has been previously frozen? It`s because the cells` structures have been ruptured. Fish contain more water than red meat. As a result, ice crystallization does more damage.
When meat has been frozen and ice crystals have ruptured cells, an "exudate" of minerals, proteins, blood, water, collagen, and other substances leak out. This liquid should always be saved and added back to the sausage mixture as it was part of the meat cells to begin with. If thawing meat exhibits very little liquid exudates, then you`ll know that it was frozen quickly
Have you wondered why we must freeze meat below zero to destroy trichinella spiralis? Meat freezes at 28°F not 32°. To completely freeze the water in meat, temperatures must reach well below zero. Most home freezers are not capable of doing this.
Best Wishes,

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:02
by Chuckwagon
Okay wranglers! Let`s move on just a bit in our reading and discussion. Let`s choose one more "fresh-type" sausage to grind, while we concentrate on a few important techniques and finer points to remember.
1. Grinding - http://www.meatsandsausag...g/grinding-meat
2. Be sure to consider these words near the end of the page.
The fat is usually ground through a plate with very small holes and if it is not partially frozen a smeared paste will be produced. The locking ring on a grinder head should be tight and the knife must be sharp, otherwise the meat will smear. Otherwise we would have meat smearing and the sausage will look greasy even when lean meat was used. Ideally, meat should always be chilled between 32-35°F (0-2°C) for a clean cut. Since refrigerator temperatures are roughly 38-40°F (3-4° C), we should place the meat in a freezer for about 30 min just before grinding. In domestic conditions, we could choose to cut the meat either during the early hours of the morning, or during late evenings when temperatures are not higher than 70°F (21°C).
After we are done cutting the meat, we should separate it into different groups: lean, semi - fat, and fat. The lean meat should be separated from the fat. As a rule, lean meat is ground coarsely while fatty cuts are ground very finely. This way our sausage is lean-looking and the fat is less visible. It is much easier to grind cold meat taken directly out of the refrigerator. Then they should be placed back into the refrigerator. It is possible to purchase minced meat in a supermarket, just make sure it has been minced the day of the purchase. Such minced meat should be processed not later than the following day.
The question may arise, why do we grind different grades of meat through different plates? It will be much easier to use 3/8" plate for everything.
There are many reasons for it:
1. You could do just that if you had only high grade meats, let`s say pork class I (ham) and pork class II (butt). With such fine meats you would not get any pieces of bone, gristle or sinews that would stick between your teeth. On the other hand we are left with meat scraps of lower classes that we would not be able to eat if they were not finely ground.
2. The second reason is that we want to retain meat juices and water inside the meat and those poor meat grades with a lot of gristle and sinews are loaded with collagen that helps to do just that. The better grind we can obtain the stronger binding power meat develops and this is where a bowl cutter starts to shine. A grinder, manual or electrical, cuts meat and pushes meat through plate holes, cutting meat but also mechanically breaking it at the same time.
A bowl cutter cuts cleanly without doing mechanical damage to a piece of meat`s structure. It develops a lot of heat so ice or cold water are added to cool down the meat and rotating knives. That allows the meat to emulsify into a consistency of fine paste that is able to trap all this ice and water and hold it inside. All scraps of meat with fat, gristle and sinews have become a paste now, the product will be juicier and the manufacturer will make more money by charging a customer for this trapped ice and water. This is exactly how we make products such as hot dogs, frankfurters, bologna or liver sausages.
3. The third reason is that a lot of fat is being used to make sausages today and it will be visible with a naked eye when we slice the sausage. By grinding fat through a fine plate the fat will bind with meat and will not be noticeable. Now you understand that there is not any rigid, fixed rule in regard to grinder plates and that the plate selection depends greatly on the type of sausage that you decide to make.
For hundreds of years we chopped meat with knives and stuffed it with fingers through a horn. And the sausages were great. Queen Victoria of England had her own very strict rules about making her sausages:
The meat had to be chopped, not ground to prevent the natural juices from leaking out.
The casings had to be filled by hand, the mixture pressed down through a funnel with the thumbs.

Show Meat
Some products require meats which are not ground but diced or cut with a knife. The texture displays solid chunks of meat or fat inside, including even nuts or olives. For example Mortadella is often made with pistachio nuts, some sausages contain whole peppers. Sopressata contains large pieces of fat inside. There are liver sausages that contain cubes of fat or ham sausages with solid chunks of meat inside. This is done for a decorative purpose only and such a sausage does not contain more fat than others. Were this fat emulsified with the rest of meat we would not be able to see it, though it would still be inside.


Stan Marianski wrote:
"Manual grinders are wonderfully designed and very efficient machines which are very inexpensive. On the other hand, small home type electrical models cost more and work twice as fast at best. The only difference is that you don`t have to exercise your hand for 5 minutes. To get any significant output (50 - 100 lbs. per minute) you have to buy a big industrial model which is heavy and expensive. It is our personal opinion that it is wiser to invest extra money on a quality piston stuffer and grind meats manually.
The majority of recipes on the Internet ask for between two and five pounds of meat. This means that most people use less than one pork butt (around 6 lbs.) of meat. A #32 manual grinder will perform this task in 11/2 minute. A #10 grinder will do it in 2 minutes. An electrical model will be faster but what`s the hurry? If you plan making 50 pounds of sausage, yes, you hand will get tired and the electrical model is a logical choice."

Now, I`d like to hear some of your opinions, especially from Ross Hill (ssorllih), an experienced and very respected member of this site. His advice always makes sense.
I`d like to see someone open a discussion about using freshly-ground or cracked black peppercorns. How about it Sawhorseray? A few months back, you wrote a few words about using it. How about several different opinions about using FRESH spices, instead of that stuff you`ve had in your pantry in little red and white cans... since 1957!

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!

Make some "loose" sausage to practice grinding a little. Get to know your grinder and the pressure you must put of the plate so that the blades "cut" rather than "tear". Here's a great sausage for making biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

Recipe #1 - 2.2 lbs. (1 kg.) Onion Sausage (loose sausage) by Chuckwagon -
Later, we`ll talk about proteins and exudates, phosphates, and the pH and glycolysis of 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."

When Snagman (Gus K.) and Crusty (Jan) shared "Snags" famous recipe with this forum for Hungarian Csabaii, I wondered how any respectable sausage could claim any real flavor without the addition of black pepper. Nevertheless, I swore to follow Gus` instructions to the letter if I were to experience real Csabaii and enjoy its Hungarian flavor. Wow! I put real Hungarian sweet paprika into the recipe along with simmered garlic. What a flavor! This sausage (without black pepper) just knocked my socks off!

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!

Best Wishes,

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 14:14
by el Ducko
(sob!) I just threw out some ground cardamom that we bought in 1969. I was hoping to feature it on one of those antique collectors' shows, I guess. It has the odor of... well, not much.

CW is right. Use fresh spices.

The internet is a gold mine for herbs and spices, these days. For finding diamonds in the rough, though is there an Indian, Chinese, or Hispanic grocery store in your area? These are great places to buy spices very inexpensively, but watch 'em carefully- - many of these are small stores, and the proprietors frequently ignore the expiration date.

Sometimes reading the packaging is difficult. You might consider a book series titled variously "The Indian [Asian, Latin & Caribbean, etc.] Grocery Store Demystified", Renaissance Books. The three that I have are the Indian, Asian, and Latin & Caribbean versions by Linda Bladholm, copyrighted 2000, 1999, 2001. You can ask for whatever you want by my favorite translation method ("point and grin"), or read various names for the item. The books list for USD 16.95, but can be found in used bookstores for half that or less (depending on stains!).

The hunt for spices makes finding them part of the fun of making sausages. Enjoy.

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 18:41
by pignout
When grinding your own pepper (ive been using a coffee grinder for most of my spices) how do you know when enough is enough?

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 21:28
by ottothecow
I've got a vintage #10 hand grinder. Its not that much work to grind <5 lbs and the results have been satisfactory thus far. I also have a kitchenaid stand mixer but have not bothered to buy the grinder attachment since the reviews sound worse than my hand crank unit.

I've only got the 3/8" plate though. What other plates should I be ordering? Should I order a new knife to go with the new plate?