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Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 13:37
by Chuckwagon
Because this is a project with various discussions, I'm going to ease up on "splitting topics" quite a bit. Unless one topic really disrupts the continuity of the discussion, I won't "split" it. However, please remember to post any material unrelated to Project B2 in the other forums on WD just as you normally would. Thanks folks, you are the best! I'm looking forward to our discussions and questions.

What Is Meat?
Amino Acids And Proteins

Have you ever wondered what meat is made of? To begin with, it`s about 75% water. Another 20% is made of biological molecules called proteins. And just what is a protein? Without being overly complicated in a sausage forum, let`s just say that when organic compounds made from "amines" and "carboxylic acid" are put together, "chains" of something called "amino acids" are formed and their sequence dictates how proteins are shaped into a three-dimensional structure. This "nucleotide sequence" of their genes results in "folding" and determines its activity. And what activity! These little guys called proteins, have a herculean task to perform. They catalyze metabolic reactions, replicate DNA, respond to stimuli, and transport molecules from one location to another.

Let`s go back to amino acids for just a moment. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen and there are only about 500 known "classifications" or groups called alpha, beta, gamma, or delta. Amino acid "chains" in the form of proteins, comprise the second largest component (after water) of human muscles, cells and other tissues. These are the basic molecules of living tissue; the building blocks of life - whether it`s in the deer you shoot, the cow you carve into steaks, or the hog you grind into sausage. Indeed, in the proteins of all mammals, amino acids perform critical roles in life processes such as neurotransmitter transport and biosynthesis.

Okay, that only adds up to about 95% you may say. Well, we still must account for fat, glycogen (glucose sugar) and vitamins and minerals. Varying greatly from animal to animal, the fat content is somewhere around 3%. The other components listed account for only about 1% each.
Now, we said meat is about 3/4 water. Does this pertain to fat also? No, fat contains only about ten to fifteen percent water. This explains why a mature cow, having more fat, has proportionally less water.

Change In Protein Structure At Morbidity

When I was young and crazy (instead of old and foolish), I took careful aim at a rack of antlers wearing a deer, and released the arrow. What a trophy! I could hardly wait to sink my teeth into a fresh deer steak. By the time I had field dressed the animal, cleaned up a little, and packed the deer out of the deep canyon I was in, several hours had gone by and I was hungry. I had dried food in my fanny pack but I wanted some real venison for dinner! My ol` Daddy had warned me many times about eating a freshly killed animal in the stages of post mortem rigor, but I was on my own this year and I wanted meat for an evening meal! I had heard all the jokes about rigor mortis and frankly, I just didn`t give the matter much thought. So, having packed that animal halfway out of Timber Canyon, I built a campfire and re-sharpened my 6" Randall. After a few coals had burned down to glowing embers, I laid a steak on them and sprinkled it with a little salt. Oh my goodness, that steak smelled good! It was marvelous. I must have had a smile stuck to my face all the way out of the canyon... right up until about the time I arrived at the ranch, quickening my step for the "comfort convenience"! Now, I`m not going to bother you with the "details" other than to mention I spent the best part of the next three days "reminiscing" whilst on the porcelain privy! I had learned one of life`s lessons the hard way. Man was not meant to consume flesh while it is yet in the state of rigor mortis.

In humans, following death, rigor mortis commences after about three hours, reaches maximum stiffness during the subsequent 12 hours, and gradually dissipates until approximately 48 to 60 hours after death. On the other hand, in the species Cervidae (deer), chemical changes occur as the heart stops, the flow of blood ceases, oxygen is no longer carried to the muscles, and the meat begins to stiffen as rigor mortis sets in. Its duration differs in various animals but in deer, the onset of rigor may require considerably more time - up to 24 hours - and its duration may be up to two weeks. During this "aging" period of time, the carcass is usually hung at a low temperature and a nice protective coating of flaky, white, penicillium nalgiovense mold (one of many genera of ascomyetous fungi), is most welcome. Deer hunters should note that the temperature of the meat before rigor mortis sets in should not drop below about 50° F., or the meat will become tough when later cooked. However, upon the onset of rigor and during the aging process, the carcass should be cooled and kept within the range of 30° - 40° F. It is important to note that during this "aging" period of rigor mortis, the meat should not be processed and consumed. Leave the stuff alone and go play golf until the meat surpasses the rigor mortis stage.

It is interesting to note that in her splendid wisdom, Mother Nature has allowed us a "quick processing" time period immediately following an animal`s death. If the preparation is done without delay following slaughter, the meat may be processed without complications. Indeed, in large commercial plants, slaughtering and processing take place within the same building or facility in very short time. Now you know why meat that we purchase in a supermarket has been "aged" by a commercial packing house.


Americans eat a tremendous amount of beef annually. In fact, if we lined up all the cattle Americans consume in merely one year, the line would encircle the earth 125 times! Yet, the fact remains; the bovine is one of the most inefficient animals on our planet, considering the expense of the amount of grain it requires to simply produce a pound of beef. So, why do we continue to support such an uneconomical menu item? The answer is simple... flavor! In the history of our wild-west, I suppose rustled or stolen beef always tasted better than the domestic stuff! However, if you intend to take up the life of a cattle-rustlin` outlaw , "swingin` a wide loop"; if you just can't help becoming the west`s next rustler, you'd better learn how to "speak the lingo" and develop a little knowledge regarding cattle and the basics of beef.

A cow is a female of the genus "Bos" from the Bovine family Bovidae, and there is a dynamic herd of about one and one third billion worldwide! A young cow, more than one year of age, is called a heifer until she gives birth to a calf in about nine months becoming a"fresh" cow with a ten-month milk supply, later becoming a "dry" cow. A bull is the reproductive male and a steer is a neutered male.

During the late 1700's, cross-breeders in England developed "polled" (born without horns) cows, and in the American west, the traditional Texas Longhorn was slowly replaced by English Hereford and Aberdeen Angus breeds. Ranchers found the Hereford to be a sturdy animal, able to survive extremely cold western winters. The once-popular Texas Longhorn not only grew more slowly than the English breeds, it was a leaner animal as well. Accordingly, by the 1920`s, the Longhorn had all but vanished from the range, as the marbled meat of the Angus became the preferred cut for the grill. However, at maturity, the Angus, like the Longhorn, was found to be slightly smaller than other breeds and ranchers began to crossbreed other cattle with it to produce larger offspring. Today, the meat of the Angus is very much in demand, but in the intermountain west, the Hereford, with it's red body and white face, chest, flanks, and lower legs, is the cattleman's favorite, being able to survive extreme weather and having more tolerance than other breeds.

Why did rustlers prefer cattle? The animal is easier to manage than hogs and sheep, making it the rustler's choice. The bovine is simply a tediously dull animal, lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind, and used to provide meat. Your horse Thunderbolt, will respond to its name - your cow Bossy, will not. That's alright buckaroos... quite often I don't even respond to my own name!

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 16:47
by el Ducko
Fascinating! This stuff is really informative, and not only that, it presents the information at an easy to understand level.

Could we convince you and our buddies at BookMagic LLC to gather this material together and publish it? I, for one, would buy a couple of copies. I see two volumes, one on biology/biochemistry/similar pertaining to meats, and one on collected tales of the old west. (Oops! That's a couple of copies, right there. ...better up my order.)


Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 17:57
by sawhorseray
Really interesting read CW, thanks. It's always important to us to get a freshly killed animal gutted and skinned as quickly as possible to get the meat cooled down, especially on a hot day. Seems there's a little more sense of urgency to get a wild hog processed than with a deer, that pork can so south in a hurry. A long time back on a 105° afternoon we drove a gutted and skinned wild hog down to the San Benito river and tossed it into a hole for a hour just to get it cooled down, then let it hang on a gambrel overnight before going into the cooler next morning. I always bring two coolers when hunting, a 50qt igloo with a half dozen frozen OJ jugs of water and a 165qt igloo cooler for the dead animal. Once a buck or hog is killed and processed, allowed to hang overnight, it gets placed in the 165 cooler with a frozen jug in the chest cavity and the other jugs surrounding it. Kept game like that for five days a few times before getting back to civilization, works like a charm. RAY

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 21:18
by Chuckwagon
Part 1. FRESH SAUSAGE - Learning The Basics
"Fresh sausage" recipes 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!

Recipe #1 - 2.2 lbs. (1 kg.) Onion Sausage (loose sausage) by Chuckwagon -
We`ll learn about the basics of meat science and how to select it. We`ll talk about proteins and exudates, phosphates, and the pH and glycolysis of meat. Grinding techniques will be discussed and understanding cohesion forces (binding). Will it hold water? Storing and freezing meat.

How did your Onion Sausage turn out? :mrgreen: How about a few photos? Does anyone have a brand spankin' new grinder? We'd like to hear about it. Does anyone have a great recipe to share with us after adding your onion sausage to pasta, or rice, or potatoes? Anything else? :razz:

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!

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 21:40
by el Ducko
He's right.
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.
If you don't believe me, see my recent post on the "Outlaw`s Onion Sausage" thread. What you get might taste good (if you're lucky), but it won't be as great as the recommended version. (That csabii recipe is a prime example!)

You can branch out later, if you dare. For Project B2, though, don't ya dare!

Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 00:35
by Chuckwagon
QUIZ - Project B2 "Check Up" #1

T F 1. You don't need a magical recipes to make a good sausage as much as you need to know how to make good sausage.
T F 2. While various recipes usually get the spotlight, the technical know-how behind preparing sausages is far more important.
T F 3. The proper amount of salt in meat for "fresh sausage" is between 1.5 and 2%.
T F 4. The term "fresh sausage" means that the meat was warm up until about 20 minutes ago.
T F 5. Meat containing 4 or 5 percent salt is usually too salty to be palatable but fresh sausage may contain 9 or 10 per cent salt if you add sugar.
T F 6. Commercial sausagemakers often add starch to absorb water.
T F 7. Belly fat is the type of fat most often preferred in sausages.
T F 8. The best sausage made of odds and ends of different cuts.
T F 9. Smoking meat cures it.
T F 10. Citric acid cures meat.
T F 11. Citric acid is put in dry-cured meat sometimes to kill too much bacteria.
T F 12. The legal limit of fat in fresh pork sausage in the USA is 50%.
T F 13. The legal limit of fat in beef sausage in the USA is 30%.
T F 14. If you add multiple ingredients at once in a recipe, the most professional way to list them is from the smallest to the largest measure.
T F 15. Always list the ingredients in the exact order they will be used in the recipe.
T F 16. Meat is 3/4 water.
T F 17. Fat is only about 10 to 15 per cent water.
T F 18. Commercial meat packers may process meat if it is done immediately following slaughter within the same facility.
T F 19. The Texas Longhorn is one of the most inefficient beef cattle to produce and at one point, they almost became extinct.
T. F 20. Cattle are easier to manage than pigs or sheep.

1.T 2.T 3.T 4.F (fresh means not cured) 5.F (Sugar does not counterbalance salt) 6.T 7.F (Back fat is preferred) 8.F (Use better cuts) 9.F 10.F 11.F simulate the fermented taste of lactic acid bacteria. 12.T 13.T 14.F 15.T 16.T 17.T 18.T 19.T 20.T

Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 03:52
by grasshopper
My onion sausage turned out great. The onion was to was me mild and the flavor was great. Saved half of it to go into pasta sauce. CW on # 17 I thought fat was 10 to 15% water. Going to stuff kabanosy (cactus jack) in the morning and stuff. I am all out and it is my favorite.

Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 07:10
by redzed
Chuckwagon wrote:T F 1. The words "Wedliny Domowe" mean homemade sausage making in the Polish language.
Hey Trail Boss, I know this might be picky, but wędliny domowe does not translate entirely to homemade sausage. Wędliny is an overarching term that does not have an English language equivalent. It includes all prepared or processed meats such as all sausages, (cured, smoked or fresh) offal products such as head cheese, and whole muscle meats, (smoked or dry cured hams, loins, briskets etc.) and all the cold cuts you would find in a deli. The French word, charcuterie is the best match for wędliny and now has worked its way into the English language, therefore, wędliny domowe is best traslated to homemade charcuterie.

Homemade sausage translated into Polish is kiełbasa domowa or kiełbasa swojska.

Hate to give you guys a lesson in linguistics, but I checked off F on this one and want my grade changed! Yeah, I know that most of my teachers way back then did not like me very much. :shock: :grin:

Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 07:11
by sambal badjak
I have a pork roast defrosting at the moment. I should be able to cut it either today or tomorrow. I'll post pictures along the way!

As for substitutions: I normally follow a recipe the first time and after that I adjust according to my taste buds (normally that means more chili, more pepper and more garlic). I then tend to give it a different name as it is no longer the "real" thing.
Unfortunately around here: I sometimes need to make substitutions the first time around due to availability of ingredients. Here it is just a matter of either I substitute and make or I don't make at all!
Luckily 15 years in Africa makes you pretty good at substituting :mrgreen:

Then for the good news:
I have a stuffer and 2 grinder plates on order!
For now it is still going to be stuffing with the grinder though!

Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 08:54
by ursula
I feel for you sambal. Hard to follow recipes when you can't get the ingredients. But you strike me as being really adaptable and not easily discouraged. Good luck with it all.
Meanwhile I have been sidelined from Project B. My mincer has to be returned; the inside machining is downright dangerous, with bits of metal breaking off inside the housing and a crack in it too. Bit of a setback, but what can you do?
I am going to have to get some local butcher's sausages till then. Shudder!

Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 23:39
by grasshopper
Someday your the windshield and someday your the bug. Go figure! Kabanosy is still going to work. 5 lb.

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 02:41
by Chuckwagon
Grasshopper wrote:
CW on # 17 I thought fat was 10 to 15% water. Going to stuff kabanosy (cactus jack) in the morning and stuff. I am all out and it is my favorite.
Mike ol' friend, you are absolutely right. I've made the correction. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. My goodness, kabanosy eh....? I've created a kabanosy monster just like me! :mrgreen:

Chris, thanks for your input on the first question about "Wedliny Domowe".

Best Wishes,

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 03:35
by Chuckwagon
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%

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 04:47
by Chuckwagon
Yeeee Hawww smoke wranglers! :roll: I hope you`re doing your reading as well as making some pretty good sausage. It`s time to move on a little and read a bit more. Soon we`ll learn about curing meat and begin making "cured, cooked, smoked sausages" ... like your favorite grilling brats, but for right now, let`s make just a bit more "fresh" type sausage. Below is a project for only a couple of pounds of sage breakfast sausage. It`s sort of an optional project but well worth it if your budget can allow for it.

Please start on the following reading objectives. Stan has written some marvelous material here for us. Please feel free to write in and discuss any topic or question that arises.
grinding - ... nding-meat
mixing - ... ixing-meat

Right now, I`d sure like to hear from everyone in Project B2. How about checking in and letting us know how the reading is going as well as giving us a few words about making the sausages. Photos would be terrific. Oh, and yes... if anyone wants to discuss any quiz questions, please let us hear about it.
We`ll be discussing cures and casings pretty soon. Don`t be afraid to ask questions that come up during the reading.

Here`s an optional sausage that you may care to put together while waiting on supplies or continuing your reading. Lots of folks like to make a "fresh" breakfast sausage with sage. Stuffed into 22 m.m. casings, it is a popular sausage everywhere in the States as well as many other countries. Here is a top notch recipe by Stan Marianski. Served up with a couple of eggs and a little toast, this sausage just can`t be beat. My pal Grasshopper in Pine City Mn., has something to say about sage :wink: What about it Mike? :lol:

Recipe #2 - Breakfast Sausage by Stan Marianski http://www.wedlinydomowe....cipes/breakfast

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. Also, I`ve had great luck with stuffing strand collagen casings (22 mm (7/8") with this breakfast sausage recipe. If you use them, lay them out on smokescreens as they will not hold twisted links. Simply cut the sausages to length with a pair of scissors after they have been stuffed.

Best Wishes,

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. (Less expensive collagen may be used.)
- 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)

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 04:56
by Chuckwagon
The Three Basic Grades Of Beef

The Meat Inspection Division of the United States Department of Agriculture grades beef quality by estimating the age of the animal, the amount of fat marbling (determined by looking at the rib eye at the 12th rib), and by the texture, color, and appearance of the rib eye. U.S.D.A. "quality grading" is optional and according to the National Cattleman's Beef Association only about 2% of all the beef carcasses produced in this country, submitted for grading, are quality-graded as "Prime".

-Prime beef cuts are generally the most tender, flavorful, and delicious steaks and roasts and contain less meat due to a higher fat content (marbling). This grade is the most expensive beef and usually only found in meat markets - as opposed to supermarkets. Unless you butcher your own, the best cuts of beef will come from meat markets supplying restaurants and are always Prime or Choice cuts of meat.

-Choice beef is juicy and tender, producing excellent steaks and roasts. About 44% of the beef submitted for quality grading is "Choice" grade, (the next grade down from Prime), and is usually available to and selected by, shoppers in retail markets. There is nothing wrong with cuts of this grade and they will save careful shoppers money.

-Select beef is generally the most popular grade of beef containing the "average cuts" needing tenderizing occasionally. They are mostly used for grilling or in slow-cooking recipes. Usually marinated, these cuts are found in the supermarket and save the consumer even more money than by purchasing choice grade.

When beef is purchased in vacuum packages, it appears dark reddish-purple. When the package is opened, exposure to oxygen causes the meat to turn bright red, and after a few days, the surface will change to brown. Other grades of beef, sometimes found in supermarkets, are referred to as:


These are usually tough cuts and require a little talent to "render tender", but that's not to say they can't be made into very tasty meals. There is no clearly cut definition of these categories and some care should be exercised when making selections. Many people don`t realize that the very best cuts of beef are not available in supermarkets, as they are sold only to restaurants and retailers. Fine restaurants often utilize a process called "aging", a term used to describe the holding of various meats at a temperature of 34 to 36 degrees F. (1 to 2 degrees C.) for a specified period of time while tough connective tissues break down through the action of enzymes, increasing tenderness. Often, mold will develop upon a carcass (a sure sign of aging), and will simply be washed away with vinegar or cut away before the tenderized meat lying beneath, is cut, cooked, and served. And what about cuts from older steers? Quite often they end up in discount stores.

Pigs And Hogs

One billion hogs live throughout the world and about half are in China, the world's leading producer having forty different breeds. Of these, the United States has only eight commonly raised breeds including the American Landrace, Berkshire, Chester White, Duroc, Hampshire, Poland China, Spotted, and Yorkshire - all developed in this country with the exceptions of the Berkshire and Yorkshire, imported from England during the 1800's.

Piglets weigh only about 2-1/2 pounds at birth but double their weight in a week. Fully-grown males (boars) weigh more than five hundred pounds, and sows (females) more than four hundred and fifty. A young female that has not yet had piglets, is called a "gilt", and a young, castrated male is known as a "barrow". Giving birth to piglets is called "farrowing". The time period from conception to birth is 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days, and most sows deliver 2 litters per year, each having seven to twelve piglets.

Today, hogs grow faster on less feed, produce more lean meat and less fat than those raised in the past, and actually consume about twenty percent of the corn grown in the United States. Hog producers, listening to consumers' preferences and concerns, have dramatically changed pork since the 1980s. America's fitness trend and a more health-concerned generation have simply demanded it. Of prime importance, improved breeding and feeding practices have all but eradicated trichinella spiralis in pork! As producers continued to upgrade the quality of pork, they have also consistently reduced the animal's fat content by nearly forty - five per cent. The most popular selection of pork, the tenderloin, is now a whopping 42% lower in fat. Pork chops today, are a colossal sixty percent leaner than those just thirty years ago. Today's lean pork means it plays a vital part in a healthy diet as it contains many nutrients including six essential vitamins, four important minerals, protein, and energy. Our old perception of pork is changing as consumers are beginning to realize it is a most desirable lean meat.

Although the elimination of trichinae in pork is one of the most significant improvements in the industry, not everyone is happy with the reduced fat content of the animal. Since pork fat is the secret of its flavor, traditional sausage makers are disgruntled with modern lean pork as there is simply less fat available. Most sausage makers these days must scramble to find "fat back" - the creamy, flavorful addition necessary in amounts of about 1/4 the total volume of any good sausage. Many experienced fermented-sausage crafters claim the days of authentic salami flavor are now gone, while any ol` timer will tell you how the savor and essence of the meat itself has been reduced. Pork is not "aged" as is beef, and it must be cut and wrapped within 24 hours of slaughter for best results.

Unlike beef, having three primary cuts along it's back, the hog has but one - the loin. The fore-end of the loin is called the "shoulder cut" or "shoulder chops", while the center cut has "rib chops". The south end of the loin on a northbound pig contains the tenderloin and the "sirloin chops". Shoulder cuts have a lot of fat and connective tissue and are good for roasting or braising but not especially pan-frying. Center cuts have two types of connective muscle while loin chops have one.

Self Checkup :cool:
1. Before Project "B", did you realize that considering the expense of the amount of grain it requires to simply produce a pound of beef, the bovine is one of the most inefficient animals on our planet?
2. Why is "prime beef" not found in supermarkets and grocery stores?
3. What is a neutered bull called?
4. A young cow, more than one year of age, is called a heifer. What is a "fresh" cow? How long will she continue to give milk? What is she called when she ceases to produce milk ?
5. Why was the Texas Longhorn phased out? What breed of steer does most of our beef come from today? Why?
6. The quality of beef is determined by what? Is "choice" beef available in supermarkets?
7. What happens during "aging"?
8. Why is "select" beef usually slow cooked or grilled? Is this a good choice of meat for sausage?
9. When beef is purchased in vacuum packages, it appears dark reddish-purple. When the package is opened, exposure to oxygen causes the meat to turn what color? What color will it be after a few days?
10. Since the 1980`s, the fat content in pork has been reduce about how much? Why are sausage makers generally not at all happy about this reduction?
11. Beef has three primary cuts along it's back. The hog has but one. What is it called? What is pork shoulder also known as?

Answers: (1.) ? (2.) It is kept for restaurants (3.) Steer (4.) One that has given birth - has an eleven month milk supply after which she becomes a "dry" cow (5.) Not economically produced (too lean) - Hereford and Angus (6.) Marbeling - yes (7.) Connective tissues break down through the action of enzymes, increasing tenderness (8.) Needs tenderizing or marinating - yes (9.) bright red - brown (10.) nearly 45% - less fat means less flavor (11.) the loin - shoulder is called Boston Butt