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Bratwursts in Tulsa

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 14:28
by K98 AL
I've asked questions about fat-smearing, temps, etc..on here before, and I've improved my sausage making a bunch, thanks to y'all advice. This fat-melting problem has me frustrated to no end sometimes so -

I stopped by the sausage place in Tulsa yesterday - I bought three brats, just to compare. (this sausagemaker supplies every German restaurant in the SW, from Denver to Dallas - they are top-notch)

I asked the guy behind the counter if the brats needed cooking, he said no, they were steamed, fully cooked, just need to brown them. (they look perfect, of course)

Mine look great at first, but after poaching (never over 165), then cooling, I have white patches of fat form. Looks awful.

I've kept things so cold my hands hurt, ground through 1/4 plate, back in freezer, ground through 1/8. Mix is sticky, sticky before stuffing. I've done this with hog casings, and sheep casings to see if the sheep casings would do better since the cook time would be less. This is driving me nuts. Please help, or take away my grinder.

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 15:54
by Bob K
K98 AL wrote:Mine look great at first, but after poaching (never over 165), then cooling, I have white patches of fat form. Looks awful.
The only way you can have white patches of fat form is if the fat melted while poaching. As long as you are going to cook them again before serving try poaching to a lower temp like 140°f .

We freeze ours fresh, poach or steam in beer and onions for 20 minutes, then brown & serve

And they are on tonight's menu with kraut and Hot German potato salad :smile:

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 18:06
by K98 AL
That sounds tasty!

The only reason I'm stuck on this is - I've been taking deer meat to the same sausage place for years. They make brats, fully cooked, and I'd share them with the whole family. Since I've started making my own, I've tried to replicate the pre-cooked brats. I'm wondering if a longer soak in cooler water would help. Perhaps some egg white in the mix? Any idea on how this would affect long-term storage?

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 04:49
by redzed
Hi Al,

Did you get the recipe from the shop that was making your brats before, or are you trying to replicate it without that info? Can you post the recipe and process here so that we can look at it?

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 18:17
by K98 AL
No - I'm sure that recipe is guarded like Ft Knox. I'm not trying to copy their seasoning, as much as get the precooked texture to be right.

Here's what I did:

Deer - 1816 g
Dom Pork fat - 454
Salt - 41
BP - 7.7
Onion pwder - 6.6
cardamom - 2.1
celery seed - 2.0
mace - 1.8
ginger - 1.4
nutmeg - 1.4
cream - 250ml
Mixed spices with cubed, ice cold meat/fat
Ground w/1/4 plate - back in freezer, ground w/1/8 plate - back in freezer.
Added cream, mixed well. Peaked well, hands hurt from the cold.
Stuffed into sheep casings. Put in kettle of 120F water, raised temp to160-165.
IT hit 152, dropped in icewater bath. Once they got cold, you could see the pockets of liquefied fat that had hardened. Didn't look good, and didn't help texture a bit.

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 20:40
by redzed
Your recipe seems fine, good meat to fat ratio and spice amounts. I really can't see why you would have that fat pooling. The only thing that comes to mind is that your grinder knives and plates are dull, or loose during the grinding. And did you trim all the fat off the venison? But if I were making the sausage, I would bump up the amount of pork and use fatty pork trimmings rather than pork fat only. And I would grind half the lean meat only once with a 3/8 plate, add the salt, mix it really well to extract the myosins that are the glue that binds everything together, then add the rest of the finely ground meat and fat and spices and mix well again. Traditional German brats were emulsified, and that is best done with a bowl cutter, where the meat, fat and water were blended into a fine paste. American brats are usually ground through a coarser plate.

Using your recipe you can also try adding 2% soy protein powder or non fat milk powder (note that it has to be a fine powder, not granules and not the instant type) Skip the cream and add 100ml/water per kg of meat. The water works with the salt and soy or NFMP to achieve a better bind and texture and coat the fat. There is a high probability that your butcher used phosphates to achieve a better bind and perfect texture, and you might also want to try it, but only as a last resort. I never use it.

Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 13:07
by K98 AL
Thanks for the suggestions! I'll try some small batches and see what combination works.

Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 15:31
by Butterbean
If that doesn't work look closely at your plate and knife as Red suggested. When people have trouble with stuff like this I normally think the meat isn't cold enough but the plate and blade can cause problems with smearing fat even with cold meats. Sometimes plates will be concave and not true. You can check this by looking at the plate and examining how the blade is wearing on the plate. If there is a discolored area on the plate - usually in the center - this can let you know its not perfectly flat and needs truing.

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 14:50
by K98 AL
The plate(s) and knife look to be in great shape. Made a small batch - used some egg whites as binder - came out MUCH better, still had some very small spots of fat pooling. I poached some and they were done in 30 minutes, poached some more, they were done in 27. Next batch I'll check even sooner, I may be leaving them in the water too long. It's a bit puzzling after watching guys on youtube poach sausages for 30 minutes at 165 and they look perfect. (of course mine did too, until completely cooled)

On the other hand, I made some Merguez-styled hotlinks - venison with 24% pork fat in sheep casings, used 1.5% NFDM, smoked five hours, dropped in 160 degree water for ten minutes, IT of 152. Perfect. Best sausage I've ever made. :lol:

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 15:25
by Bob K
Not sure on what type of pork fat you are using but back fat grinds easier without smearing and seems to have a higher melting point than the softer fat.


Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 15:41
by K98 AL
Bob K wrote:Not sure on what type of pork fat you are using but back fat grinds easier without smearing and seems to have a higher melting point than the softer fat.

I'm kind of at the mercy of what the local butcher has (which is not much) - I wish I could be a little choosier.

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 19:05
by Butterbean
When you get the fat you can feel it and sort out the back fat.

Posted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:31
by BlueMonkey
Having not made these sausages I am not much help, however May be well off the mark, but is it possible to overmix the cream so it seperates?

If so I would expect this could make a difference to the final product as it would be like adding liquid fat to the sausage.

This would then result in what you are describing, however it would also affect the texture which you have made no comment on.