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Ground Pork


woodburner
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I should have known better. :angry:

Stopped at the local chain market, trying to procure some freshly ground pork for stuffing into hog casings for sausage.

Asked the meat guy to see the tub of ground pork that was in the case, and it looked very lean, which is fine but not for sausage.

My guess, which I remarked to the meat guy, was "It looks about 90/10, meat to fat ratio.

Yeah he replied, we just take boneless pork chops and grind them. Nice... :hmmm:

I prefer a 70/30 ratio, or there abouts.

Comments?

woodburner

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Woodburner,

I've never made sausage but everything I've read about it suggests that your preference is right on the money. My understanding is that sausage needs to be about 30% solid fat or the density/texture of the finished product will not be right. I'm sure there are exceptions to this but...

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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70/30 Sounds good to me. When I make sausages, I aim for a quarter to a third fat. It depends on what else in the mix like duck, veal, venison, liver, etc. I wonder why he's using pork chops and not some other lean part of the pig. I have no problem with pork chops, but I would have figured there'd be some less requested part that would be more economical to use. I like butt, shoulder, or leg and working with no more than three pounds total, I will chop the meat in a food processor. The leaner the meat the better and I add in fat back. I prefer fresh to salted and freeze what I have and don't use right away.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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That's definitely the way to go. Even the beef chuck is usually too lean these days for any dish requiring ground meat. I grind fat back with my beef as well to make it approximately 70/30

Ruth Friedman

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From my experience, the pork butt or shoulder is just about perfect for sausage. It is about a 70-30 ratio and is loaded with flavor. Sausage without lots of fat will be dry and mealy. When I make duck sausage i throw in duck breats; fat and all. The first time I made it, I thought -gross way too much fat but they turned out perfect.

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I guess that the supermarket ground pork wasn't to be used for sausage then? Perhaps they were selling it separately or as a part of a meatloaf mix? Wow, that's news to me. I once asked my local supermarket which pork they use for their ground pork and the butcher told me that they use country style pork ribs.

Oh well, I assume you don't own your own meat grinder? I got my own meat grinder attachment free from Kitchenaid when I ordered my stand mixer so I can grind the pork to my own specifications.

Perhaps if there's a kind butcher near you they'll understand your needs and have some higher fat content ground pork available for you to make sausages. Or just find a pack of pork meat that you like and ask the supermarket butcher guy to grind it up and re-price it for you. They're usually more than happy to do that.

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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I have a Kichen Aid grinder and an old Cuisinart food processor. I prefer the food processor for grinding meat. It also does a good job of mixing in the seasonings. I used the kitchenaid for stuffing the casings however, although there is some instability when the cutting plates are removed.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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What part of the country do you live in?

At the Piggly Wiggly that used to be right up the block from where I live here in SC, you could get EVERY possible pig part imaginable! Too bad it closed down - the nearest "The Pig" (as we call Piggly Wiggly) is a couple of miles away next to a neighborhood full of elderly ladies and doctor-dads and tennis-playing-moms. Despite the fact that they have bad supermarket sushi and a pretty crappy organic section, I really miss the "Ghetto Pig" (as everyone used to call it) that was right around the corner from me - you'd see all kinds of packaged hog parts there.

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70/30 Sounds good to me. When I make sausages, I aim for a quarter to a third fat. It depends on what else in the mix like duck, veal, venison, liver, etc. I wonder why he's using pork chops and not some other lean part of the pig. I have no problem with pork chops, but I would have figured there'd be some less requested part that would be more economical to use. I like butt, shoulder, or leg and working with no more than three pounds total, I will chop the meat in a food processor. The leaner the meat the better and I add in fat back. I prefer fresh to salted and freeze what I have and don't use right away.

Pork fat rules.

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I do like a 90/10 ratio when I'm making pork dumplings.

For sausage, though, 70/30 all the way. I buy butt and grind my own. I use my Kitchen Aid which I prefer over the Cuisinart, which I feel chops rather than grinds (different strokes, eh?). My last batch of breakfast sausage came out a touch dry desipte using butt, so I'm buying fatback to grind along w/it next time if the butt looks a little lean.

If you don't have a grinder, you could probably buy a butt and ask the meat guy to grind it for you. Even the big chains around here will do that most of the time if you're buying the whole cut of meat (say, not asking them to grind a 3 lb butt down so that you can buy a pound or so).

Gourmet Anarchy

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If you don't have a grinder and if they will not grind it for you ---and you are near a Chinese market, ----then you are in luck. There are usually two grades of ground pork, one with more fat than the other. They also grind to order. (At least the ones in my area do)

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I have a Kichen Aid grinder and an old Cuisinart food processor. I prefer the food processor for grinding meat. It also does a good job of mixing in the seasonings. I used the kitchenaid for stuffing the casings however, although there is some instability when the cutting plates are removed.

Bux, do you use a special attachment or anything when you use your Cuisinart to grind meats? Do you freeze the meat slight to prevent liquification? I've been thinking about trying this but I'm unsure what the best method would be.

I don't have a Kitchen Aid so that's not an option.

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Bux, do you use a special attachment or anything when you use your Cuisinart to grind meats? Do you freeze the meat slight to prevent liquification? I've been thinking about trying this but I'm unsure what the best method would be.

In truth, the food processor doesn't grind meat. It chops the meat or minces it. Liquificiation? I don't think you can liquify meat in a processor. I suppose you can make a fine paste out of it, but I stop way before than. In fact I like the processor, because I have more control over how fine the meat is chopped.

I use the steel blade, the normal ordinary blade. I cut the meat in cubes beforehand so the I am more likely to achieve a unified chop quicker and I pulse the machine most of the time. Even when I'm not pulsing, I turn it on and off quickly and make sure it is all getting cut evenly. When I buy ground pork, for sausage or other uses such as meatballs, the butcher I use in Chinatown, tends to grind it rather coarsely. Sometimes I'll give it a few seconds in the Cuisinart to make the grind finer and to mix in seasonings, bread crumbs, eggs, etc.

There's some debate about whether it's better to use a grinder or my way. Some say the speed of the processor blades overheat the meat, while others believe the grinder squeezes the juice out of the meat. I doubt either really has much of a negative effect.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Back to the fat issue. If you have a local Asian market, get ground pork there. In my experience, far more fat (about 70/30) and a courser grind.

FAT IS GOOD.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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My guess, which I remarked to the meat guy, was "It looks about 90/10, meat to fat ratio.

Yeah he replied, we just take boneless pork chops and grind them. Nice...  :hmmm:

I prefer a 70/30 ratio, or there abouts.

Comments?

woodburner

It sounds like they where selling pork for mixing with fatty beef for meat balls or other dishes. I would gring my own if at all possible. You can buy a crank grinder set for under $50.00.

Edited by WHT (log)
Living hard will take its toll...
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What we really need to talk about when we are talking about pork and the wonderful pork fat is pigs. Unfortunately, the pork industry took it upon themselves about twenty years ago to "lean up" the typical domestic pig. They say it was driven by customer demand, but I feel it was driven by the fact that for the most part they can sell lean alot easier that they can sell fat. All that said and done the hog one typically eats today is so lean it is hard to eat. Smithfield has taken it one misguided step furhter and sells a product called Lean Generation! One can not make sausage that is properly laced with the all important fat if it aint there!

Leave it to the ever resourceful minds of ex-hippiest solve this problem. About twenty five years ago a guy named Bill Nima had the bright idea to raise animals the way god intended them to be raised, you know outside in the fresh air, eating things they might find naturally around them. Niman Ranch, twenty five years later produces an excellent product, includeing pork, lamb and beef. It is exspensive but worth it. The pork is excellent. The loin eye is marbled. the animal actually has back fat!! A sholder from Nian or any other "natural" producer is going to have the fat that you are looking for.

I am in the wholesale meat industry an sell NIman meats. The quailty is there. You can find it retail at any Wholefoods market, EarthFare market and other natural type retailers. If not you can buy it from them direct, but you will pay

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If the ground pork isn't fatty enough, consider adding 1/3 weight ground (and blanched if in the U.S. to remove as much salt as possible) salt pork, which is the unsmoked bacon. You can buy it in one chunk and grind it at home. If you use it, don't add salt to your sausage (or chinese dumplings, which is what I use it for.)

It does seem bizarrre that they're choosing to grind the chops when they could be selling them at (maybe) a higher price? Maybe he told you that because he thought that's what you wanted to hear??

Happy sausage making! Are you going to tell us about it?

- Lucy

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Woodburner;

Not sure where you are, but here in northern VA there is a Latino (Cuban, I think, but not sure) grocery a few miles from my house and they will supply whatever you want, in whatever form you want. When I'm making hot, spicy sausage, I go in and tell them I want 3 lbs of lean pork, which they cut to order, and 1 lb of fatback, which they buy in large cryovacs. Then I grind my own, sometimes in the KitchenAid, although like some others here, I now prefer the Cuisinart. I had trouble getting the right lean to fat ratio on successive batches, and finally came up with a more or less foolproof method. Trim the lean of any fat if necessary (it usually isn't in my case), grind and weigh the lean first, then grind the fatback separately. Weigh the lean, divide by 3 and add that much fat for a 25% fat sausage. Or weigh the lean, divide by 2 and add that much fat for a 33% sausage. Obviously, you can fiddle with the numbers however you like, but I've found that for sausage that will be smoked, the 33% ratio work out very well. After I have the ground meat, I mix it by hand, spread it out in a large layer, and season it. Then mix again by hand, and you're ready to stuff the casings.

Re Cuisinart vs KitchenAid for grinding, when I tried some pork shoulder, I found that the KitchenAid grinder tends to clog up if there is any significant amount of soft, connective tissue, whereas the Cuisinart cuts right through it.

THW

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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I have a KitchenAid food grinder attachment that I use to grind pork. I use either a whole pork shoulder (discard skin) or "country" style boneless ribs (depending on how much ground product I need). I use the coarse grind so the sinew does not jam up the grinder holes. I highly recommend this and started doing it after tiring of the rolling-eyed supermarket butchers who were disdainful at my request for Ground Pork, nothing but ground pork, not bulk sausage but plain ground pork.

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Country style ribs actually come from pork shoulder or "pork butt" -- butt refering to the butt end of the shoulder. Shoulders make excellent sausages since you want at least 1/3 fat in the sausage. I've gone by the rule of thumb that shoulders contain 20% beautiful pork fat and would add more fat to reach 1/3. It's especially important to add more fat if you're making venison or any wild game sausage.

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