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 Making Sausage 
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Location: Renton, WA
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Well, with the world about to burn down around us, I decided that now was the right time to learn to make sausage. As if I didn't already have enough stress.... :facepalm2:

I bought a meat grinder around Christmas to, well, grind meat . . . so I figured that I might as well go the extra step and give sausage a whirl. I ended up as PS Seasoning, where I bought a few spice mixes and some natural pork casings:

Image

^ What you see on the left of that photo is the "Bacon Mac & Cheese Brat" mix, both spices and noodles. Holy hell.

Center front is "Butter Garlic Brat." Center back is a sample packet of "Notorious P.I.G." pulled pork rub, with "Hot Fresh Italian Sausage" to the right of that. On the right side of the photo are two packages of casings.

Each of those spice packets is enough for 25 pounds of meat. It was tempting to come home with three pork butts or whatever and get to work, but I fortunately managed to keep some sanity and start small. I ground up two pounds of chicken thighs, added the appropriate amount of the "Butter Garlic Brat" mix, mixed, ground it again and then refrigerated it for a while as I soaked a casing in warm water.

With the casing soaked, I went to slide it onto the sausage stuff nozzle. OMG, I had a hell of a time getting that done, even with some olive oil to help. At first I couldn't get it onto the nozzle at all, but it did get a little better after a while. I certainly wasn't able to just give a quick "hand job" and get it all on there like the folks on YouTube. I'm still not sure what my issue was . . . maybe I was grabbing it too tightly and I needed a lighter touch? I'm not sure.

Anyhow, I finally got that ready, and started stuffing. Here's where I really struggled, and it took me a looooong time to get those two pounds stuffed. The meat was really gluey, and I had a hell of a time getting it pushed through the grinder. I kept getting air pockets, which ended up in the casing, and I just kept fighting it. I'd use the pusher to push meat down, air would go into the casing, I'd pull up the pusher and it would suck the air out of the casing. Grrrrr.

In the end, I got most of it in there, and here's the final product:

Image

That plate is in the fridge now for an overnight drying-out.

I'm sure it will be good, but DAMN it was a lot of effort. I didn't add any water to the meat . . . my understanding is that water makes the meat more gluey, and this was already REALLY gluey.

Any thoughts or suggestions from those who have done this?

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Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:33 pm
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I made sausage 15 years ago with a couple friends. Did beer at the same time. We made different spice mix and one run of andouille sausage. We used a shit ton of pork shoulder. It was fun but only worth it for me to control what is going into the actual sausage. I found out that I cared less and enjoyed Johnsonville sausage just fine.

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Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:46 pm
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Tagged for when I'm not tired and drunk. Will gice suggestions then.
Just suprised you're not already an expert in sausage.


Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:42 pm
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Last night I cooked up a little of the "extra," like the stuff that was stuck in the grinder after I got done stuffing the sausage. (Hehe.) It tasted good.

This morning I cooked up a couple of links for breakfast. Here's one:

Image

Taste? Decent. Texture? Too fine for me, and my gf made the same comment. It feels a little too "processed."

Back to my stuffing issues from yesterday. Here are the grinding plates that I have:

Image

I've been using the medium plate, which has 1/4" holes. I should note that the grinder so far seems to have plenty of power; I put long strips of chicken or beef through it, and it grinds them without hesitation. My current hypothesis is that it struggled with the sausage stuffing because basically that chicken turned to mush (it was ground a total of three times, the third being as it was stuffed), and it couldn't push the mush through the holes.

Given that I want the final product to be coarser anyhow, I think I should try the coarse plate, and maybe try to eliminate a grind too. Maybe chicken is a wussy meat, and will turn to mush without too much effort?

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Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:55 am
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Damn Kyle is still drunk, I'm left to navigate this minefield all by myself . . . . :crybaby:

Well, I cooked up the rest of the chicken sausage from above in the air fryer, then chopped it up and made pasta in the Instant Pot. And now I'm cheating on those two threads and posting it here. :wink05: The sauce did thicken up after sitting for a bit. It was good. Not great. But good.

Image

And since I was at Safeway anyhow buying stuff for the pasta, and they had a pork butt just staring me in the face for $1.99/lb, I went ahead and picked it up. I brought it home, diced it up, froze 2/3 of it, and seasoned the other 1/3 (three pounds) with hot Italian sausage seasoning, then bagged that and stuck it in the freezer for a little over an hour.

Image

After that, I ground the seasoned chunks with the coarse die, and they looked really good. I added a little water to the ground meat, and then some garlic powder and smoked paprika because . . . well . . . must be better, right?

So then, it went back through the grinder, still with the coarse die, and got stuffed into the tube. So, two grinds total. At first it went really well, but after a bit I was having to REALLY push on the meat to get it through. I didn't have the air pocket issues that I did with the chicken yesterday, but I just had a hard time getting the meat through the grinder. I finally got it all done, though:

Image

When I disassembled the grinder, I found a shit-ton of . . . connective tissue, I guess? . . . clogging up the die and the blade. Mystery solved as to why I was working so hard. Not sure why that didn't happen the first time through? This also meant that the sausage went through nice and coarse at first, but the longer I went, the more it was getting all mashed up as the grinder tried to force it through the plugged die.

In the photo above, see how the different links have a different appearance? The one on the right side of the plate is the first one, and you can see that it has a dark and mottled color. Then, they get progressively less mottled, and become a more uniform lighter color, as you get closer to the end. I haven't eaten them yet, but I think the first one is what I'm looking for.

I suspect I have some technique that can be improved here, but I'm starting to see the appeal of a dedicated sausage stuffer, that would push the sausage out without grinding it . . . .

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Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:48 pm
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That looks good Steve, but i think i'm too lazy for all that work and cleanup. :bigsmile:
Nice job though. :thumbsup2:

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Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:02 pm
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Chicken sausage? Really?

Get out of here. Disgusting. Chicken and sausage do NOT go together.

Pork? On the right path.

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Last edited by Pablo on Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:35 pm
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LOL, Pablo...

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. Yesterday I had a hell of a time getting the casing onto the sausage stuffer tube. This morning I realized that all of the plastic tubes have a bit of a sharp edge on the end from the mold. I hit them all with sandpaper, and it was a lot easier to get the casing on tonight.

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Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:37 pm
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I used to make sausage at home. This website is a great resource, this page specifically has links (some are no longer valid) to user submitted recipes. The ones by user, Chuckwagon, have all been pretty darn good.

http://wedlinydomowe.pl/en/viewtopic.php?t=7767


Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:31 am
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prq9218 wrote:
I used to make sausage at home. This website is a great resource, this page specifically has links (some are no longer valid) to user submitted recipes. The ones by user, Chuckwagon, have all been pretty darn good.

http://wedlinydomowe.pl/en/viewtopic.php?t=7767


Wow ... lots of information there. Thank you!

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Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:07 am
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Location: Ferndale, WA
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With natural casings, I’ve never had a problem with using just water on the stuffer tube. Though I flush the casings with water, and float them in a pan of water to keep them from drying out while they’re waiting to be stuffed. Nice work!


Sat Mar 06, 2021 4:40 pm
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