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Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 17:36
by Cabonaia
Wow Tom you nailed it! Congratulations. And I learned something from you - the ring of briquettes. I also smoke in a vertical smoker, but have never tried that. I surely will now.

Happy Easter!

Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 18:39
by sawhorseray
Beautiful job on that batch of smoked sausage Tom! It's kind of fun to wow the crowds taste buds with something that not everyone can pull off, isn't it? RAY

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 02:54
by Chuckwagon
Yeeeee Hawwww Tom!
Yes, yes, yes! Very nice pal. Now, do it again! :wink:

Best Wishes,

Pork meat?

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:49
by Blackriver
There are no "silly" questions on this forum. Ask your fellow members for tips and suggestions in making your own favorite sausage recipes. Ask them about their techniques and secrets too! There are folks on this site with incredible sausage-making savvy and they will share it... BUT you will have to ASK.

I noticed my local butcher has boneless country style pork ribs on sale. I read they come from the shoulder area of the pig. Will these work as well as pork shoulder for sausage or are they generally too lean?

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 13:14
by ssorllih
Around this neck of the woods they call them country style ribs . Any way they are just pieces of butts sliced up on the bandsaw. Ask the butcher to save you some fat trimming.

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 15:18
by Chuckwagon
I really like 'em for sausage. But like Ross said, you might have to add a bit of fat. :smile:

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 16:42
by Gulyás
Country style pork ribs are cut from different areas/places, some of them are very lean, but adding pork fat makes it very good for sausages.
I think the sausages taste best, when they are made from many different cuts.
Like adding back fat is better than having fat in the shoulder butts. (Or call it Boston cuts/roast?)

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:52
by Blackriver
Thanks a lot! I will be using boneless country style ribs, and add a little fat if they are too lean

I Have A Question

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 03:25
by archieg
There are no "silly" questions on this forum. Ask your fellow members for tips and suggestions in making your own favorite sausage recipes. Ask them about their techniques and secrets too! There are folks on this site with incredible sausage-making savvy and they will share it... BUT you will have to ASK.

I am not new to sausage making. Over the last 5 years I have made thousands of sausages, but I have run into a problem which baffles me. Last week I made a batch of Bratwurst. I have made the same recipe dozens of times. Pretty standard - 50% pork shoulder, 20% fatback, 30% lean veal, salt, pepper, mace, coriander, caraway,etc. Nothing exotic. Meat was near frozen & fatback completely frozen when I ground, All equipment kept in freezer. Tray for ground meat kept on ice. Identical procedure to what I have done before. Meat looked good when ground (ground twice through large & medium plate), no smearing. Links looked good when made. BUT, when I poached them, the casings completely disintegrated, and the meat crumbled. Next day I made a second batch with different casings (1st casings were from Butcher & Packer, 2nd were from -- the same exact thing happened. I poach by putting the links in room temperature water and raising the temp to 165 degrees. Cook to 155 internal temp, chill then grill. Ten minutes in the water & the casings were in shreds. I am at a loss. The meat was new & stored correctly. The casings were new. Does anyone have any idea what the problem is?

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 04:19
by Tasso
I'm a rank newbie sausage maker, having only made one batch so far, just a few weeks ago. But since you had the same problem with casings from two different suppliers, it suggests the problem is likely not with the casings, unless it arises from how you stored them prior to use. It could also be a problem with how you prepared the casings, how you loaded them on the horn, or with some additive to your sausage recipe.

How old were the casings? (EDIT: Strike that. You said they were new.)

How did you store them prior to use?

How did you prepare them for use? Please supply detail, such as soak time, water temperature, additives in the water?

How do you load them on the stuffing horn?

Are there any additives in your sausage recipe other than normal spices, cures, meat, fat, and water? For example, anything acidic, vegetables?

I may not be able to identify the problem, but I figure anyone with the knowledge to do so will likely want to know the answers to some or all of the above questions.

Welcome to the forum!

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 05:10
by archieg
These are fresh bratwurst, uncured (i.e., no nitrites, just salt) & unsmoked.

Nothing is in them other than the meat, fatback, dry spices & a small amount of crushed ice.

The meat mixture is ground in a stand alone grinder (parts frozen), then mixed for 60 seconds in a stand-alone stand mixer with a paddle (parts frozen), and then placed into a LEM 15 lb vertical suffer (parts frozen). The meat is always very cold. The meat came out of the grinder in very firm "ropes," no mushiness.

The casings are stored, refrigerated, packed in kosher salt. They are soaked for 30 minutes in cold water, rinsed inside and out. No additives (vinegar or lemon juice) in the water.

The casings are attached to the stuffing tube using the "water bubble" method to help slide them on. The meat is immediately made into links, dried with a fan for 10 minutes, and then placed, on a metal rack, in the refrigerator. The links are cured at 40 degrees F overnight and then poached.

On the second batch which came out spoiled, I did not cure them overnight, but poached them immediately after stuffing. The casings still disintegrated.

As I said, I have made this same exact recipe of Bratwurst many times before, using the same exact procedures. That is why I am baffled.

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 05:48
by Tasso
That does seem perplexing. As I thought might be the case, I lack the knowledge and experience to help you. Most people here know far more than I do, so I don't think you'll have to wait too long for help.

If you have any left that you haven't poached yet, it might be instructive to try pan frying one and grilling one, just to see how the casing behaves when the sausage hasn't been poached.

One last thought... Are you poaching the sausages in plain water with no additives?

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 06:22
by archieg
The sausages are poached in plain tap water.

I do not have any of the sausage links left (they all got tossed), so I can not try frying one without poaching it first. At the time I ground the meat I did make a "patty" and fried that. It was fine.

Thanks for your replies. Hopefully, someone else will jump in.

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 07:20
by Chuckwagon
Archieg wrote:
BUT, when I poached them, the casings completely disintegrated, and the meat crumbled.
It sounds to me like the casings have been frozen at some point. Ice crystals, whether they form quickly or not, can still rupture the cells of the casing, rendering them useless, especially if the casing is re-frozen at some point.
It is most important not to try to use any type of lubricant on the stuffing horn. Forget butter, oil, lard, etc. It will really cause problems later on.
There is only one reason I can think of that would cause the meat to crumble at this point and that is surpassing the I.T. of 170°F. whether in water or not. As this temperature is reached, the fat "breaks" and there`s no way to repair it. Why not try adding the proper amount of sodium nitrite to the recipe and "prep" cook them to 148°F. When you`re ready to eat them, finish cooking them on the grill.

Best Wishes,

Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 07:56
by archieg
Thanks for the reply Chuckwagon.

1) The casings were not frozen by me, but it is always possible they might have been before I got them, or possibly by someone else (they are stored at a different house from where I live.) I must say though that the Butcher & Packer casings looked very fresh and nice, no discoloration or anything.

2) I only use cold water to lube the stuffing tube, never anything else.

3) The sausages did not exceed 150-155 degrees IT. They were very well chilled throughout the production and then poached in 165 degree water (with a thermometer in it) to an internal temp of 150, checked every few minutes with an instant read thermometer. Of course, they never actually got to 150 degrees, because the casings all disintegrated.

4) One thing I failed to mention in the earlier posts was that, on the second batch of sausages, I took some of the loose ground meat, rolled it into a sausage "shape," wrapped it in Saran Wrap and poached it. It came out fine. I then stuffed the meat in the casings, and when I poached the links, the casings disintegrated!

4) I don't understand why I would want to use nitrites. I am not opposed to them at all, but I only use them when cold-smoking or aging wursts or salamis. These are fresh bratwurst and do not require nitrites.

5) One thing though, when speaking of nitrites, in trying to figure out what the problem is, it occurred to me that possibly there might be some type of bacteriological infection in the casings, or on some of the machinery. I try to be very clean, but one can never be 100 percent certain. I do not know enough about the effect of harmful micro-organisms to know if this could be the problem or not.

That's all I can think of. Thanks again.