Ground Spices vs. Whole Spices in sausage

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by jimalbert, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. jimalbert

    jimalbert Meat Mopper

    Just a quick question regarding your procedure with spices.  My wife and most of my family for that matter do not enjoy biting into a whole spice such as fennel, coriander, or anise.  Have you guys ever ground whole spices (maybe toast them quickly first) in a spice grinder and then use them for your sausage mix?  On that same note, if someone does this, do the measurements for the spices hold out the same?  For Example:  In my italian sausage recipe for 10 lbs I use 3T Fennel, 2 T Anise, 2t coriander - My assumption is that if i measured the spices whole and then ground them it would be the same amount of spice and the recipe's would hold out.  Thoughts????


  2. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    That will work get a small coffee grinder, makes live easier.
  3. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sure, don't see why not. I do like seeing whole peppercorns in SS though but I can see their point....Willie
  4. As long as you measure before you grind it will be the same.

    Happy smoken.

  5. butcherfamily

    butcherfamily Fire Starter

    I am surprised this topic didn't get more responses. I could write a paper on this.

    But in short, there are some sausages that should be made with whole spices, some with ground and some with both (even of the same spice).

    For example, kielbasa, whole mustard seed should be used. In traditional kielbasa, the reason is for the texture and occasional flavor as you bite and crush it with your teeth.

    In our recipes, fennel is always whole (unless specified), anise whole and coriander always ground.

    The sausage will not be the same at all if you use a ground spice and a whole spice. Especially with one such as fennel.  Try the same recipe once (if there is a significant amount in the recipe) and see for yourself.  It is a totally different product.

    Also, one thing I almost never see on this board, where are you purchasing your spices from?  I am a firm believer in quality spices. NEVER buy grocery store spices. I personally use Penzey spices.
  6. +1 to everything butcherFamily says. Plus a couple of additional points:

    1. No matter how you use them, always buy spices whole, then grind them yourself as needed. Whole spices will keep two days longer than forever (that characteristic is what made the whole spice trade possible). Ground spices lose their effectiveness quickly; with air, light, and heat their biggest enemies.

    2. In addition to a spice grinder, invest in a mortar & pestle. Sometimes you want cracked (i.e., coarsely ground) spices, which are hard to achieve in a powered device.

    3. Something taught me by an old-time sausage maker. Add your spices to the meat chunks before grinding. That will assure even distribution; something that isn't always achieved mixing the spices into already ground meat.
  7. butcherfamily

    butcherfamily Fire Starter

    These details are the difference between a home sausage makes (or a mass produced crap sausage like hillshire) and a traditional family recipe.  Anyone can mix some grocery store spices into some ground meat, stuff it and cook it (which is what you find in a lot of "high end" restaurants with house made sausage) and make something better than packaged sausage.  The quality of your spice, the way it is mixed, cracked or whole,  makes more difference than you would imagine.
  8. I measure my spice by weight and generally grind before adding but whole fennel in Italian sausage is always better and some whole pepper corns in some salami is proper.

    meat cubed for grinding and the seasoning added before grinding.

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