Couple of newbie questions...

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by teebob2000, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. teebob2000

    teebob2000 Meat Mopper

    Hi all - finally picked up my first grinder, the STX Turboforce 3000 1800W grinder, can't wait to use it!  Have a couple of questions...

    First, I know in general you shouldn't refreeze raw meat.  Does the same apply to processing it like making sausage?  I ask because I have a couple of pork butts in the freezer I'd like to thaw and use.  After I make the sausage with it, can I then refreeze it?  In particular I had in mind making bulk breakfast and Italian sausage but wouldn't eat it soon enough and would have to freeze it.  Should I instead start with a fresh butt which hadn't been frozen yet?

    And second where do I pick up pork fat?  Do butchers or deli departments at grocery stores stock it?

    Thanks in advance!!

  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Fresh Meat to Frozen Sausage is always the best. The concept is each time you Freeze and Thaw, make Sausage and Freeze. You run the risk of mishandling the meat and causing bacterial growth as Freezing and Refer temps don't kill bacteria it just slows its growth. Additionally the relatively Low Freezer temp of a home refer causes the formation of large Ice Crystals that slash the muscle fibers and causes moisture, Leach, to come out when you thaw. There is of course risk of Freezer Burn and so on.

    That being said, If Butts were to go on sale for under $.99/Lb...I would not hesitate to by a Hundred Pounds, Freeze, Thaw, make Sausage, Freeze it, and Thaw to cook. There is no major issue just keep the sausage meat and equipment Cold and Clean. Work in Small Batches unless you have a really good Grinder. Just pay a little more attention to Sanitation and always thaw in the Refer not on the Counter. I say GO FOR IT!...

    Most Grocery Stores buy mostly trimmed Box Meats and just portion them and wrap. They may have some trim in the back but maybe mixed meat and questionable quality...Falls on the floor tossing scrap to the bucket, etc. Search your area for a Butcher that Custom Cuts from Carcasses as in whole animals or halves. They will be happy to sell fat cheap or even give it to you if you purchase meat from them. As higher quality and Heritage breed meat becomes popular, you will see more old fashioned meat cutters popping up...JJ
  3. teebob2000

    teebob2000 Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the reply, Chef Jimmy!!

    I guess my main concern (secondary to safety, of course) is whether the pork butt freeze/thaw and then refreeze as sausage would turn it to mush.  I vacuum seal and triple foil wrap all the meat I freeze, so haven't really had a problem with dried out or freezer burned product when I've eventually thawed and smoked.

    I like the butcher shop at the Fresh Market by us, but I don't think they carve up too many whole carcasses there.  I'll have to ask around.

    Thanks again!
  4. teebob2000

    teebob2000 Meat Mopper

    OK I've checked a few possible sources and nobody sells pork fat.  A couple of them said they used to but didn't any more.  I assume it's because people would really only use it for home-making sausage??

    Any chance you can use regular commercially packaged lard from the grocery store instead?  Or will the lard's beefy-ness ruin pork sausage??
  5. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi teebob,

    I just wanted to let you know that all of the sausage I make starts with frozen pork, because I get my pork by the side from a local farmer. I thaw the pork, make the sausage, and then stick most of the sausage back into the freezer for consumption over the course of a few months. Although I do get some of the extra liquid coming out of the sausage when I thaw it (as Chef JJ talked about), the texture of the cooked sausage is good. It is not grainy or mushy in texture.

    In regards to the fat, if your pork butt is untrimmed, you probably don't need to add in any additional fat for making bulk breakfast and italian sausage.Untrimmed pork butt already has about the right amount of fat in it for sausage (about 30%); so as long as you keep all of your trimmings from the butt, your sausage will have about the right amount of fat in it.

    If your pork butt is really lean, rather than using rendered lard from the grocery store, I'd recommend mixing in a fattier cut of pork such as boneless spare ribs.  My understanding is that rendered lard (which is from pork fat, not beef fat, BTW) will melt at a lower temp than fat back, and seems like this would give questionable results in sausage. Commercial lard is usually processed in some fashion typically isn't pure rendered pork lard. 

    I'm sure if anything I've said isn't correct, Chef JJ or another person will be around soon to correct my misinformation.

  6. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nothing to add Clarissa, you are spot on...Pretty impressive young lady!...JJ
  8. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yay!  I always feel like I've just passed a test when you tell me I got it right, Chef!  [​IMG]
  9. reinhard

    reinhard Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Realy cant add much to what was said above except maby to help out in the pork fat department. First, i have been making sausage for 40 years now and have bought pork on sale, froze it, made sausage, and then re-froze it. Like the great advice you got from the Chef and the Lady, watch your sanitation process and you will be fine. When i first started out as a butcher, we cut  pork loins that were untrimmed and there was lots of fat left over, but it was tossed.  Never thought of putting it out on the counter for sale at the time.  Then as time went on we started putting out pork fat and could not put out enough depending where the store was located that i worked at [I worked at Cub Foods in Minnesota].  Well then as Chef said, more pork came in pre-trimmed and less pork fat was available, including pork butts that had less of a fat cap on them. So we basicly just cut them as is, so to speak. Also a lot of box stores sell beef, poultry, and pork "pre-packaged" so all one had to do is put it out for sale.  Sorry for the long explaination and now about the fat you may be able to get.

    Ask your butcher if you can get a case of fresh boneless picnic trim. It is 50/50 pork trim and usualy comes in a 60 pound box. you can divide it up and freeze it [i put it  in 5 pound pacs and take the amount i need at a time]. Like the others have said butts have a decent amount of fat for most sausage. However for breakfast sausage for example i use this in my mix with venison. Just depends what you make and your needs are. Reinhard
  10. teebob2000

    teebob2000 Meat Mopper

    Thanks for all the great info, everyone!!  You've given me a lot to chew on.  [​IMG]

    I think I'll be OK with the butts I have in the freezer, they've got a nice fatty layer on them.  I'll make sure to do some up with QView soon.

    Thanks again!!

  11. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No dont use lard, it will immediately fat-out.

    Just use pork butt. If you wanting to cut fat into the meat you should be at 20% fat to lean.

    As per frozen butts IMHO and years of sausage making you dont need to freeze to get a very good grind (unless your working in 100* room) Dont freeze your grinder parts as cold expands the metal, grinder auger to tight in throat is not good.
  12. I agree, "NO LARD"

    If I can't get fat, then I grab a 10# box of Covered Wagon Brand Bacon Ends and Pieces.

    This is a box of sliced I bought for pig candy and I paid about $13.00 for it. E&P are even cheaper.


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