Healthier kielbasa with cheddar and bratwurst...

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by worktogthr, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    So as you may know, I am always messing around with sausage that's a bit leaner. For both the kielbasa and the brats I used the following meats:

    2.5 lbs pork loin
    1.25 lbs. 80/20 ground beef
    1.25 lbs. pork butt

    So if my math is right (which it's probably not haha), each 4oz. Serving will come in at about 12-14 grams of fat. I'd guess closer to 14 because I used the fattier ends of the loin.

    So first the kielbasa:
    Ground all three meats through the medium plates just once, seasoned up (salt, pepper,marjoram, fresh garlic, cure #1)and mixed until it stuck to the palm of my hand. Used a cup of ice water and a half cup of NFDM:

    Added 8oz. of cubed extra sharp yellow cheddar:

    Stuffed them with only one blowout while twisting links which to me is a great success:

    Into the smoker for about an hour at 130 with no smoke to dry them a bit. Of course it was 4 degrees out so I had to use my propane torch to heat up the sensor in my MES because it was reading some bizarre code which I learned from this forum means that it is reading a temp to low.

    Plan was to give it 3-4 hours of hickory smoke once it was dry. Started at 130 and bumped it up abot 160 halfway through. Here it is about half way through the smoke:
    And after abot 3.5 hours when I pulled them:
    Most of the links were around 130-135 degrees IT so I finished in a warm water bath. It got dark and It was too damn cold to keep running out to the smoker to check on them.

    Took about 20 minutes to reach temp in 165 degree water. I find that's like a magic number. No matter what the IT is when you pull from the smoker, they always seem to be up to about 152 in 20 minutes. Threw all but one link in ice water to cool them down:

    That one link was my sample:

    I was really happy with the texture and the juiciness. My wife who is a picky eater said they were some of her favorite that I have made so far. The extra sharp cheddar was a good addition and I'm glad I made the last minute decision to do it. I was a little hesitant because it wasn't high temp cheese but it held up pretty well to smoking and warm water finish. Casings had a nice snap too! Had this discussion with@Foamheart that I feel like being happy with the sausage I make is streaky... I have months where I am happy with what I make and then others where I just can't seem to get them to be just how I want them whether flavor or texture. Since this one was a good one I hope it's a good month haha

    Thanks for looking. Be back later with the Brats.

    smokinal, shoebe, c farmer and 2 others like this.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks great! Lowering the Fat is a great idea. I like to see how others are pushing the boundies...I make Krakowska, essentially a 3" Thick Kielbasa. The only meat is Pork Loin. The light pink meat is 1/2" cubes and the dark meat and the typically small amount of fat gets ground fine. They are juicy, not quite what you have above, and as Low Fat as it gets...JJ

    Borrowed from Shannon127 who taught me how it's made.

    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  3. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I'll be back for some brats

  4. dave17a

    dave17a Smoking Fanatic

    Looks great.Good color after smoke. Just ordered some hi temp cheese Friday along with a few other things. Gonna try some chicken brats with cheese next week.[​IMG]
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Those really look good!

    I can't believe they are so juicy without the fat.

    I eat so little sausage that when I do I go for the full fat recipe.

    But I guess someday I'll have to change my ways.


  6. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great looking sausages,everything is better with cheddar!
  7. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the compliments Jimmy! Lowering the fat in recipes has been a quest of mine since I lost a bunch of weight way back when. I have too big an appetite and love food way too much to be constantly eating foods that are high in fat and calories so these were a good compromise. I definitely want to try something like krakowska or summer sausage because I got some large casings for Christmas that are still waiting to be used. Maybe I'll make some salami... The possibilities are endless haha.
  8. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks so much! I wanted to order some high temp cheese but I have so much regular cheese in my basement fridge I figured I'd try it out. I was happy with the color too but after I water bathed to finish and then put it cold water to bring the temp down, it seems like the color faded haha not sure if that's possible!

    Thanks so much for the points Al! I find that the NFDM definitely helps with the juiciness. I have used all loin for some bulk chorizo and it definitely wasn't so juicy. The combo I used makes it only about 5-6% leaner than using all butt.
    Thanks! Yeah, I'm glad I used the extra sharp because regular cheddar seems to lose a lot of its flavor when it's warm or melted. The flavor came through really well!
  9. ragnar

    ragnar Smoke Blower

    Chris, this looks really good, man!

    For me, beef is an issue. Too much red meat makes me sick, and it isn't worth the pain and suffering. Because of this, I try to stick with all pork, pork/venison, or pork/elk, and just leave the beef out of the mix. Keeping the moisture in due to lowered fat can be tricky. On this round, you really did a great job of it. Probably in part to good processing, and in part to the addition of the NFDM. Soy protein or "fat replacer" can also help as alternatives, as well as phosphates.

    You rocked the cheese, too. Betting you used a quality sharp. Love it.

    Looking forward to the bratwurst! Hope it turns out as good!

  10. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks so much for the points. That's too bad about the beef but it sounds like you make some tasty sausages anyways. I wish I had access to the game meats you mention. Always loves them but they are not easy to come by around here.
  11. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    So here is the brat recipe:

    2.5 lbs pork loin
    1.25 lbs 80/20 beef
    1.25 lbs pork butt
    2 tablespoons kosher salt
    1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
    2 teaspoons ground mace
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    2 teaspoons pepper
    1 cup cold milk
    2 whole eggs, beaten
    1/2 cup non-fat dry milk powder

    All mixed up:

    I would have stuffed these yesterday but I ran out of casings. Could only find one local market that would sell them to me. For $5 they gave me probably enough for 20 pounds. It was so great to use casings that were long strands instead of the short pieces I had purchase online. One single piece was enough to stuff five pounds with probably about another 5 lbs worth left on the horn.

    I'll share a cooked pic later on. May have some for lunch tomorrow. The flavor in this is awesome. The nutmeg is pronounced but I love it.

    Just thought I'd share my lunch today. Fresh kielbasa patty on toast with an over easy egg.
    Thanks for looking eveyone and again thanks to all of you out there who I have learned so much from!

    tropics likes this.
  12. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dang they look great. Gonna try regular cheese some time. I never have Hi temp cheese on hand.

    One question thou, I have never finished in water. How does the water not penetrate where the probe hole is?

    What about using a instant read therm while in the water?
  13. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks so much! That's a great question. Maybe it does fill the hole to some extent but then drains and dries out? I do use an instant read to temp them and I do have to probe quite a few as the ITs are all over the place out of the smoker due to hot spots and what not. I never noticed any ill affects of the water. We need the sausage pros to chime in on this!
  14. ragnar

    ragnar Smoke Blower

    Hey, man... we do what we can, right? I can't claim credit for the game meat. That's on my father-in-law, who either hunts, fishes, plans to hunt/fish, recovers from hunting/fishing, or has to decide whether to hunt or to fish. That dude knocks down some meat. I just take it, turn it into something tasty, and give him half back. Everyone wins. He gave me 10lbs of venison and 5 lbs of bear this evening, in fact. Believe me, I count my blessings.
    The Bratwurst has got to be right up there with the Kielbasa. Sounds like a good bit of egg to bind, and the milk should keep it nice and moist.

    The sammich looks fantastic too, and familiar! Wife and I had bacon/egg/cheese muffins from the Canadian Bacon we made this past week. Something about enjoying the products of our labor that just can't be beat! Wish I could have shared one with you. Those pics - I can almost smell it.
  15. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Chris you are going to be known as the Sausage King,they both look great thanks for the recipe 


  16. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    WT, You have some excellent looking sausage sir !!!!! [​IMG]
  17. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks so much for the points Richie! I learned a lot from your sausage posts as well as other posts!

    Thanks so much for the points! Now the trick is not giving it all away before I get to eat it! Haha
  18. ragnar

    ragnar Smoke Blower

    It's amazing how much goes away that way. Honestly... half a pound of summer sausage is about what it takes to give the guys at work a taste.

    Be stingy, or make a bundle.
  19. quantri

    quantri Newbie

    You can buy a fat replacer which is TOTALLY SAFE

    and recognized by the heart association.

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