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Sausages--Cook-Off 17


Chris Amirault
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A couple of very successful new sausages (now that I replaced my Kitchenaid with one that doesn't want to spray gear bits into the meat):

Maple-Rosemary Breakfast Patties:

Saltworks Applewood Smoked Salt for the salt, fresh Rosemary, 1 part Maple Syrup 3 parts water for the bind liquid.

Cumin-Porter Links:

Hawaiian Salt for the salt, 1/2 cup toasted cumin seeds, and porter for the bind.

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  • 2 months later...

Making a batch of kielbasa this weekend -- it's the girls' favorite meat, bar none, and having a few pounds in the freezer enables us not to have to plan proteins for them at dinner.

I'll be eager to see if this happens again:

... There was one thing that I couldn't quite understand -- not a big problem but worth a question:

gallery_19804_437_814739.jpg

Do you see the crease in the middle sausage? I can't quite tell what it is. One thought is that it's a place where there was an air channel of some sort, but I'm not sure. Thoughts?

...

I wonder... could it be that something briefly stuck inside the stuffing horn, near or at the discharge end, and caused the extruded forcemeat to have a longitudinal groove? It'd be concealed by the casing until the cooking process, which I'd think. And the cooking would also account for it being slightly 'crumpled' - though I'm not so sure about the crumpled areas on either side of the 'crease'.

I'm still not sure, but I'll be on the lookout for whole black peppercorns.

Chris Amirault

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  • 1 month later...

I just finished a batch of the Hot-Smoked Andouille from Ruhlman's book, and over here Chris Amirault pointed out that I forgot one of my own tricks! I thought it might be a good idea to come up with some sort of sausage-making "checklist" that one could follow to make sure that nothing gets forgotten about. There are a lot of steps to these endeavors, and it would be pretty handy for me.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I agree that a checklist is handy. Here are a few things that come to mind:

  • Cut the meat into long strips, not chunks. that allows them to pull themselves through the grinder along the worm's spiral.
  • There's no such thing as too cold. Make sure that the meat is crunchy-cold before grinding and that the bowl is in ice when beating to get the bind.
  • Give yourself plenty of time for each step. Hurrying at any stage is a bad idea.

What else?

Chris Amirault

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Fleshing that out a bit, to start out I am thinking:

  1. Assemble all ingredients (should go without saying, but I must admit to failing to do this and getting bitten on occasion)
  2. Put grinder parts in freezer
  3. Thaw meat if necessary
  4. Slice into long thin strips to facilitate grinding
  5. Assemble spice mixture
  6. Distribute mixture over meat
  7. (Optional) Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to meld
  8. Lay meat out on tray and freeze until very cold, even crunchy, but not frozen solid
  9. Rinse casings and start soaking in tepid water
  10. Set up grinding station with bowl set in ice
  11. Feed meat strips through grinder into bowl
  12. Check temperature - should be under 30 degrees F. If it's not, spread on a sheet and put in the freezer until it is.
  13. Divide into portions your stand mixer can take. Leave unmixed in fridge/freezer while mixing.
  14. Set up mixing station with mixer bowl surrounded by ice
  15. Mix each batch on medium speed 60 seconds
  16. Check temperature - should be under 35 degrees F. If it's not, chill until it is under 30 before mixing more (if needed).
  17. Refrigerate entire batch while frying up small test article
  18. Check and adjust seasoning
  19. Set up stuffing station with a wet tray to receive the links
  20. Stuff casings
  21. Twist into links
  22. (If smoking) Hang to dry/develop a pellicle for a couple hours
  23. (If smoking) Set up smoking rig and get it going if it needs a pre-heat
  24. (If smoking) Insert meat thermometer in one of the sausages at the center of your rig
  25. (If hot-smoking) Smoke until sausages reach 150 F
  26. (If cold-smoking) Set up method for keeping smoker cool (ice in bowl, etc.)
  27. (If cold-smoking) Smoke for desired time
  28. (If dry-curing) ... Some steps here

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Might be worth breaking these down into chunks: mise prep; grinding; stuffing; smoking.

I'd add one more after 21: Poke each casing several times with a clean needle or sausage pricker.

ETA: I'd also bust out 15 to be a mixing list:

Mix each batch on low speed 30 seconds;

add any extremely cold liquids you're adding and mix to combine;

beat at medium 20-30 seconds until tacky.

Gotta put that liquid in the fridge.

This is going to get long fast.

Chris Amirault

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Depends. I'm usually using the fat cap from a pork shoulder or butt, which has its own meat striations, in which case I use strips. If I'm using dedicated fat with a coarse grind, I cut it into dice first.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Anyone out there doing the dry-curing thing want to take a stab at that last set of steps? I haven't done any yet (my guanciale is currently occupying my entire curing chamber) so I'd just be quoting from Ruhlman. Any tips/tricks for dry-curing that should be on the list?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Having only made one crack at peperone, I'm in a similar boat. Mr. Molinari...?

Meanwhile, here's an attempt at revising Chris H's list. Have at it:

Equipment Prep

  1. Assemble all equipment: grinder, stuffer, pricker, scale, smoker, etc.
  2. Check that all parts are clean
  3. Put grinding, mixing, and stuffing parts in freezer
  4. Clear freezer space for emergency chilling of ingredients
  5. Make sure you have lots of ice, clean towels, trays, spatulas, and bowls on hand
  6. Determine/confirm portion load for mixing

Mise en Place

  1. Assemble all ingredients: meat, fat, liquids, additional ingredients, casings, etc.
  2. Put any liquids you'll be adding to the bind in the fridge or freezer
  3. Weigh (and thaw, if necessary) meat, fat, and any other ingredients
  4. Slice meat into long thin strips to facilitate grinding
  5. Dice fat (if necessary)
  6. Combine spice mixture
  7. Distribute mixture over meat
  8. (Optional) Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to meld
  9. Lay meat out on tray and freeze until well below 30F: very cold, even crunchy, but not frozen solid
  10. Rinse casings inside and out and start soaking in tepid water

Grinding

  1. Assemble all ingredients
  2. Confirm ingredients are all under 30F prior to grinding
  3. Set up grinding station with bowl set in ice and proper grinder plate
  4. Feed meat strips, fat, and any other ingredients through grinder into bowl
  5. If regrinding: check meat temperature: if not under 30F, spread on a sheet and put in the freezer until it is; check grinder temperature: if not still cold, disassemble and chill in ice water bath until it is; reassemble; regrind
  6. Refrigerate meat

Mixing

  1. Check meat temperature is <30F (see above for procedure if not)
  2. Divide into the portions you've determined your stand mixer can take; leave unmixed in fridge/freezer while mixing
  3. Set up mixing station with mixer bowl surrounded by ice
  4. Mix each batch on low speed 30 seconds
  5. Check meat temperature is <30F (see above for procedure if not)
  6. Add extremely cold liquids and mix to combine (if necessary)
  7. beat at medium 20-30 seconds until tacky
  8. Refrigerate entire batch while frying up small test article
  9. Check and adjust seasoning (if necessary)

Stuffing

  1. Set up stuffing station with a wet tray to receive the links
  2. Thread casings onto sausage nozzle
  3. Stuff casings
  4. Twist/tie into links
  5. Poke each casing several times with a clean pricker

Smoking

  1. Hang to dry/develop a pellicle for a couple hours
  2. Set up smoking rig and get it going if it needs a pre-heat
  3. (If cold-smoking) Set up method for keeping smoker cool (ice in bowl, etc.)
  4. Insert meat thermometer in one of the sausages at the center of your rig
  5. Smoke until sausages reach desired smoke level or internal temperature (e.g., for pork, 150F)

Chris Amirault

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It's poorly worded. I meant something like, "Figure out what an appropriate amount of meat will be for your mixing stage, and err on the side of caution. Too much and you'll tax the motor, spill meat, and heat the mixture. For most KA mixers, that's probably in the 2-4 lb range, max."

Sounds clearer, but it's, um, verbose.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Anyone out there doing the dry-curing thing want to take a stab at that last set of steps? I haven't done any yet (my guanciale is currently occupying my entire curing chamber) so I'd just be quoting from Ruhlman. Any tips/tricks for dry-curing that should be on the list?

I've done some, so I'll give it a shot.

Dry-curing would modify some of the previous steps. You wouldn't refrigerate your starter culture solution as implied by Mise #2 (and not overnight, per Mise #8, and not add cold per Mixing #6), because you want the starter bacteria to stay alive and happy. The starter should be mixed with distilled water at room temp and let bloom for a few minutes, then thoroughly mixed in as a final step after all the other ingedients have been mixed.

Dry Curing

1. Ferment stuffed sausages in a warm room at 80-90% humidity for 12-48 hours per starter instructions.

2. Check sausage pH; it should be under 5.0 after fermentation.

3. Weigh and label one sausage.

4. Hang sausage for aging at 7-18C/45-65F; 60-80% humidity.

5. Check regularly for bad mold growth or case hardening. Wipe sausages with brine solution and decrease humidity for the former; increase humidity for the latter.

6. After 5 days for sheep casings, 10 days for hog casings, 1 month for beef middles and 90 days for beef bungs, start checking the weight of the labeled sausage. Sausage is ready when the weight has dropped by 30-35%, or when it feels firm all the way through.

For the temp and humidity ranges, I referenced Kutas, Poli, Bertolli and Polcyn... there's quite a spread between them.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Guys, these checklists look great - they're a real service to humanity! Thanks.

I haven't made any sausages myself yet but have followed the Charcuterie threads carefully as well as reading the Charcuterie book a couple of times. I almost have the courage now.

It surprises me a little that the meat has to be below freezing. How do you judge it so it is just below freezing but not completely solid?

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It surprises me a little that the meat has to be below freezing. How do you judge it so it is just below freezing but not completely solid?

It's not as complicated as it sounds :smile:. I pop it in the freezer and once it gets the point where it is a bit stiff, but not rock solid, it's ready to go. You don't have to be super-precise about it, the important thing is that it's very cold. When it's at the optimum temperature the meat strips have some bend to them, but not too much, and they tend to be "crunchy" at the outer layer (because the very outer layer is, in fact, frozen solid, but the interior is a little softer).

I think the long checklist is very handy, if a little intimidating. Sausage is something that any cook can make with a little equipment (I didn't own a grinder or stuffer before going into this, so some up-front investment was required. You could start with a small batch of Mexican Chorizo in your food processor if you want to get going without the expenditure). The important thing, as might be gathered from a glance through the checklist, is to keep everything COLD. If it starts to warm up, take a timeout, chill it down, and be patient.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I pop it in the freezer and once it gets the point where it is a bit stiff, but not rock solid, it's ready to go. You don't have to be super-precise about it, the important thing is that it's very cold. When it's at the optimum temperature the meat strips have some bend to them, but not too much, and they tend to be "crunchy" at the outer layer (because the very outer layer is, in fact, frozen solid, but the interior is a little softer).

It really is one of those feel things, like testing whether a steak is done by touch. Test it out the next time you have a pork chop around: cut off a strip and stick it on a plate in the freezer. Cop a feel every once in a while, and you'll sense that "crunchy but still bendy" stage.

The important thing, as might be gathered from a glance through the checklist, is to keep everything COLD. If it starts to warm up, take a timeout, chill it down, and be patient.

Chris hit the nail on the head. Once you've devoted the bucks, time, and energy to a sausage that breaks and turns to cottony dirt in your mouth, you become a bit of a cold freak.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chrises - thanks for the guidance I am looking forward to trying it all out when I get the equipment in place. In the meantime I will live vicariously!

When I was younger we used to get these amazing little red sausages, made to an Italian recipe, called (if I recall correctly) Toscanella or something similar. They were small reddish sausages with an intense hammy flavour and contained a mixture of cubes of pork and a more emulsified content. I think that the must have been cured or smoked in some way because they had a succulent sweet, hammy taste. Ever come across a similar recipe?

Edited by joesan (log)
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Hi Chris - well done - yes that does look like them!

Thanks for the help in tracking them down. I see on Len Poli's excellent site that he has a recipe that contains Cure #1 so that would indicate that there might be a hammy flavour. If it truly is the same recipe then I would recommend someone trying them for a nice change to the more typical Italian/American Sweet or Hot sausage. They had a truly excellent taste.

Now in the meantime I just need to see if I can order from that site you found. Thanks again.

Edited by joesan (log)
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Anyone out there doing the dry-curing thing want to take a stab at that last set of steps? I haven't done any yet (my guanciale is currently occupying my entire curing chamber) so I'd just be quoting from Ruhlman. Any tips/tricks for dry-curing that should be on the list?

I've done some, so I'll give it a shot.

Dry-curing would modify some of the previous steps. You wouldn't refrigerate your starter culture solution as implied by Mise #2 (and not overnight, per Mise #8, and not add cold per Mixing #6), because you want the starter bacteria to stay alive and happy. The starter should be mixed with distilled water at room temp and let bloom for a few minutes, then thoroughly mixed in as a final step after all the other ingedients have been mixed.

Dry Curing

1. Ferment stuffed sausages in a warm room at 80-90% humidity for 12-48 hours per starter instructions.

2. Check sausage pH; it should be under 5.0 after fermentation.

3. Weigh and label one sausage.

4. Hang sausage for aging at 7-18C/45-65F; 60-80% humidity.

5. Check regularly for bad mold growth or case hardening. Wipe sausages with brine solution and decrease humidity for the former; increase humidity for the latter.

6. After 5 days for sheep casings, 10 days for hog casings, 1 month for beef middles and 90 days for beef bungs, start checking the weight of the labeled sausage. Sausage is ready when the weight has dropped by 30-35%, or when it feels firm all the way through.

For the temp and humidity ranges, I referenced Kutas, Poli, Bertolli and Polcyn... there's quite a spread between them.

i can add a little to this.

1) I ferment at 72 deg. in a closed box..don't really measure humidity

During this stage spray with mold if you're using it. I used M-EK-4 from butcher packer, which i've bloomed for about an hour in distilled water. For fermentation i hang the sausages as if they were in a curing chamber, so all sides get equally warmed/sprayed with mold.

3) I weigh and label all of hte sausages. Position in the chamber and other things change the drying time, so i check each one individually

6) I weigh them after about 10-15 days for beef middles too...sometimes they dry pretty quickly.

Edited by jmolinari (log)
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I agree that a checklist is handy. Here are a few things that come to mind:

[*] Cut the meat into long strips, not chunks. that allows them to pull themselves through the grinder along the worm's spiral.

[*] There's no such thing as too cold. Make sure that the meat is crunchy-cold before grinding and that the bowl is in ice when beating to get the bind.

<snip>

I haven't made any sausauge yet, but I have been grinding some meat (lamb and beef) with the new grinding/stuffing attachment for my Viking mixer. The booklet that comes with the attachment recommends cutting meat into 1" strips instead of chunks. I've tried both ways and strips definitely work better. Much better feed and better grind.

Before working with the meat, I put in in the freezer and leave it there until it's almost at the point where it would break if bent. Quite cold.

Hope this helps.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Today was sausage day.

I defrosted a giant pork shoulder in the sink and assembled lots of flavorful ingredients:

gallery_42214_5579_144653.jpg

gallery_42214_5579_74907.jpg

I've ground plenty of meats before but this was the first time for stuffing collagen casings. I found a company (in Texas) online that sends free samples (from New Jersey):

gallery_42214_5579_120615.jpg

So the plan was to stuff some basic pork sausages and to get comfortable with the casings and the new Kitchen Aid stuffer attachment. The tips on process posted here were very helpful, thank you Chris A, Chris H and the rest of you sauSAGES. I was careful to keep things chilly and not to rush it. The hardest part for me was controlling the air as the tube filled up. I eventually got the hang of it after some big bubbles and ruptures. It's easier with an assistant.

I used dry sage, kosher salt, cracked black pepper and the pork as the base mixture. I took a couple pounds of this and added garlic and honey. Another couple pounds received chopped onion and another got chopped hot finger peppers. It was very useful to cook a small patty before stuffing:

gallery_42214_5579_86805.jpg

Mmmmmmmm:

gallery_42214_5579_153847.jpg

From left to right poached, steamed and pan fried:

gallery_42214_5579_108067.jpg

All three tasted fine, but fried was best with that golden crunchy exterior. Given the work involved I think I'll go for a bigger diameter next time -- more meat per metre. And if I'm going to cook the links with water they're going to need better colour -- I'm thinking paprika, turmeric or soy sauce. Maybe beets, they stain everything.

Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Today was part one for me too: hunter sausage from Aidell's book, plus restocking kielbasa and hot italian, the house standbys.

Peter, that sausage directly above on the left looks like it broke. Or did liquid get into the casing?

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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