Cured Sausage Question

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by jimmyinsd, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. I have not ventured into cured sausages yet,  but its coming soon.  As I read up on your adventures I notice that many of you cube the meat, then season it,  rest if for a day or two and then grind.  Is it a problem to grind right away, or two add the seasoning and cure to already ground meat?

    we typically trim and grind all the meat we put in our freezers that is intended for sausage right away when its fresh so I am wondering if I will run into some sort of problems with this approach as I start making cured products.
  2. There reason why the meat is cubed first prior to grinding is a practical one. Any sinew, tendons, or gristle will be pushed through the grinder easier if cut in short lengths-which happens when the meat is cubed in ~1" chunks. You also get the opportunity to go through the meat and cut out large parts of tough tissues when you cube the meat. Also, when mixing the seasonings, it is easier to distribute the seasoning thoroughly in bigger chunks than in ground meat. The further grinding will mix the seasoning as well.

    The reasons for mixing the curing salt and regular salt into the cubed meat and letting it sit is that the salts begin to travel into the meat cubes. This starts the curing process, but more importantly, it starts to denature some of the meat proteins. Those denatured meat proteins are the natural 'glue' that binds the meat paste inside the sausage.

    You can mix the cure and salt with ice cold water to dissolve it completely, then mix it into already ground meat and let it sit. It will still work, but you may need to mix the meat paste more to both denature the proteins and evenly distribute the seasoning, cure, and salt. You can still make sausage with it, it is just easier to do with larger chunks. Just be mindful that to much mixing of ground meat runs the risk of smearing the fat, which will contribute to fat out when cooking/smoking the sausages. Always be sure to keep the meat ice cold as well....
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The above is accurate. There is also no reason you can't use ground meat from the start. Mix very well, until sticky, then mix some more. You can rest a few hours to overnight or go into casing. It all works as the cure gets into ground meat very quickly and lots of mixing gives the good bind for the finished texture...JJ
  4. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Great info so far.

    My sausage making process is dictated by the fact that I'm usually the only one doing it and the time it takes to do 40-80 pounds which I usually do once a year.  

    For me it is simpler to do everything in an assembly line fashion.
    1. Clean meat of unwanted tissue
    2. Cut meat and fat into strips for grinding (strips basically self feed where cubes u must feed more and more, its a time thing), I process wild game so I buy pork back fat to be added for my fat component, there is little fat on lean wild game
    3. Grind all meat/fat (sausage grind, and pure no fat added burger grind)
    4. Mix all sausage seasoning into meat  and store overnight in fridge for cure to do it's job
    5. Stuff 1 pound burger grind bags, Stuff sausage and link sausage
    6.  Cut links and vac seal
    I can do all the steps on my own except sausage stuffing so it is just simpler for me to mix seasoning after grinding because of space, timing, and a need to complete things in all at once without re-washing/cleaning all the equipment all the time each day.  

    Anyhow, you have some idea of how/why someone practically does something of these things and how your situation may compare or contrast.  I think you will do just fine :)
  5. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    it's fine to add/mix after grinding.. That's the way I do it ... let rest overnight.. mix again before stuffing ...
  6. thanks all,  I used to chunk up my venison and store it in ice cream pails but they are so bulky that I decided a couple years ago to just grind it all to a medium grind and then pack it in either 1, 2, or 5# packages in the freezer.  I do the same with pork butts when they are on sale.  I get a lot of grinding out of the way at one time,  and the flat packs of ground meat store and thaw a lot better then irregular shaped and inconsistent shaped bowls and buckets that I used to use.  so now when we want to make various types of sausage we can just pull out whatever meat we want to use and make it in smaller batches,  usually 10 to 25#s at a time.

    I have a buddy that has a butcher shop that is going to get me a case of boneless pork trim instead of the pork butt.  its supposed to be available in either 70/30 or 80/20 mixtures so I think I will be trying some of that soon instead of the bone in butts I have been buying and then having to bone out before grinding,  and the best part is its about 50 to 70 cents a pound cheaper and I wont be paying for the bone.

    I really need to get my butt going on my smoke house so I can get busy trying to do some of the smoked and cured products I see on here every day!
  7. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    It seems you are well on your way with the info.  

    Another potential option is to buy trimmed pork backfat if you are making sausage out of game meat like venison or feral hogs.  They have such little fat plus people don't really care for the taste of venison fat.

    Each year I bring back about 6 whitetail deer after my marathon hunting vacation and process them starting the day after I get back home.

    With the trimmed pork backfat I consistently make amazing 80/20 meat to fat ratios in my sausage.  No guess work, no inconsitency, just perfect repeatable results every time. I also don't have to buy extra pork or brisket or other meat to get proper "fat" content.  I simply have pure pork fat to work with so it is just simple math.

    80/20 ratio of meat to fat goes like this:  

    - 5 pounds of sausage = 4 pounds meat + 1 pound fat

    -10 pounds of sausage = 8 pounds of meat + 2 pounds fat

    -Combine 5 and 10 pound numbers to make any increment of 5 and/or 10 (25, 30, 40, 50, 100, etc.)

    This works perfectly with game meat.  Also since you grind 1, 2, or 5 pound bags of venison you can take any left over trimmed back fat and grind and use when you want.  The consistency of the sausage produced is amazing!

    That is just some food for thought, and it makes life easy to just have the stuff available int he freezer :)
  8. thanks for the reply,  I will have to try just using the fat sometime.  I have always gone about 60/40 pork butt to venison,  it leaves the fat content a little lacking,  but I sometimes have trim fat from other pork cooks to add in as well to up the fat ratio.

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