Why Grind (2) Times?

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by tjohnson, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Is there an advantage or disadvantage to grinding (2) times?

    I thought the meat breaks down the more you grind and/or mix it.

  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It depends on what you are making. For breakfast sausage a second grind is optional but for a lot of folks there is no second grind even for links. I think it depends on what your personal taste is for the sausage you plan to make
  3. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I guess my question really should be.......

    If I have a 3/4hp #12 grinder and can grind a pork butt with the 3/16" plate in one run, is there a benefit to grinding 1st with a 1/2" plate and then regrinding with a 3/16" plate?

    Does the texture come out different with (2) grinds?

    I always hand mix after all the meat is ground.

  4. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I grind once. The reason I do is to maintain the integrity of the meat. Meaning, when you take a chunk of meat and grind it thru a plate, you have now made a large piece into a small piece. And when you run it thru again, you take a small piece and make it even smaller. Some recipes and styles of sausage call for that however, but most don't.

    Some will grind and then add their spices and such to the mix and then grind again. You can get around this and it works very very well. Say your going to grind a pork butt into some sausage. Cut the meat into strips, I go 3/4" x 3/4" by however long the piece comes out. Some will go 1" x 1", but I would not go larger than that. Now you have a tub of cut pork strips. Add your spices and such to this and let it sit for a few hours under refrigeration so things can mix up and absorb. Before grinding, make sure that these meat pieces are very very cold, somewhat frozen but still pliable. Run the seasoned meat thru the grinder and out comes ground, seasoned meat. Next step is to stuff. Make sense? Some grinders will even allow you to run your stuffing tube off the end and do everything in one shot. Grind the seasoned meat and it goes right into the stuffing tube and into your casings. By running it thru once, and ensuring that the meat is almost frozen, your grinder will do what it was designed for, grind, and a nice sausage will reflect that as the meat will look individual pieces inside the casing and not a meat paste.

    If you cut your meat into small strips, you will have no problem running it thru once on a 3/16 plate. Just make sure to let the auger take the meat on its own and not force it. That will give you some mushy meat.
  5. davef63

    davef63 Smoke Blower

    meathunter, so with that method are you adding the water as well,before you grind or water after the seasond meat is ground. thanks,
  6. plj

    plj Meat Mopper

    meathunter pretty much sums it up - grind once if you want smaller pieces of meat, grind twice if you want a paste/emulsion. I grind twice for hot dogs, nothing else.
  7. c crane

    c crane Newbie

    i've been doing it the way meat hunter suggested --mix, grind, & stuff all at once, for several years----saves alot of time and work.
  8. jerrykr

    jerrykr Meat Mopper

    My preference is pretty much the same as Meat Hunter, tho I usually cube the meat up instead of strips.

    I do a lot of packer brisket for sausage, so when I cube it up, I seperate the fat and lean meat into two piles. I weight each and try to make sure that the fat I put back in is about 25-30% vs the lean. I mix the cubes back together while applying the seasoning and cure. I believe that this method gets the fat evenly distributed when you do the grind.

    Of course with pork, the pig already mixed the fat in for you, so you just have to cut it up and grind it.

    I also like to stuff directly into the casings while grinding. If you do only one grind, I don't see much difference in using the grinder vs a stuffer.

    I do use my stuffer for such things as snack sticks, and summer sausage chubs. If you grind twice, the stuffer is certainly the way to go.

    Just my .02
  9. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I grind ours once if we are grinding it because we have small grinders and we are usually doing around 350lbs at a time and we don't have the time to do it again. We just grind it with a smaller plate the first time. How ever the first year we ever made sausage we ground it twice and it took forever with our little cheap electric grinders and we decided we would never do it twice again. But now we have a connection and we don't have to grind ours. We buy the pork trim from a place and he will grind it with our venison for free and he does grind it twice. I like it either way so its all a personal preference in my opinion.
  10. tlzimmerman

    tlzimmerman Meat Mopper

    I guess I am in the corner of grind twice. We have always done it that way when butchering our own cattle pigs and deer, and it does not emulsify the meat at all in my experience. One big reason for grinding twice when you are doing hamburger and such is you get a more even consistent product in the end with the fat mixed in perfectly instead of having one hamburger thats lean, and another thats half fat. With sausages of course this is not a concern because you are mixing the meat anyways, but I find the best mix I can do, is grind first using 1/2 inch plates and mix, and then grind again using 3/16. I also think you get a more uniform size smaller pieces of meat when you grind twice, instead of some having larger chunks and some having smaller based on how much meat squeezed through the hole before it was sheared off.

    To me its also alot faster, I guarantee my grinder can make small chunks of meat faster than I can cube it with a knife, but thats just me. Chunk it just so it will fit down the throat and that first grind sure doesn't take long. They key I think is keeping the meet as cold as possible without being frozen, you get a much better grind and not so much mushing. I say try both ways and use what works for you, but for me I was taught to grind twice, really like how it turns out when I do it that way, and will continue to do so.
  11. jerrykr

    jerrykr Meat Mopper

    tlz makes some very good points, especially "try both ways and use what works for you".
  12. I grind once for my kielbasa. Twice is too pasty.
  13. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Yes, if a recipes that I am making calls for water, I will add any spices that I am using for that recipes to the water first, and then I mix that with the meat. Makes for a more uniform distribution of spices throughout the meat, and a whole lot easier than trying to mix the spices dry.
  14. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    good info here........
  15. pantherfan83

    pantherfan83 Smoking Fanatic

    Except for emulsified recipes, I grind only once. Then I add the cure (if needed), spices, and the liquid and mix thoroughly. Then, I stuff and let it sit overnight in the fridge. I believe if you mix in your spices and such before you grind, you can't help but leave some of it in the bowl/container instead of all of it going into the sausage.

    If I have some ingredients that are in larger pieces than I want in the finished product such as chopped onion, diced jalapenos, minced garlic, sun dried tomato, etc... I'd run them trough the grinder along with the meat, but still add the liquid and ground/powdered spices after grinding the meat and then mix well.
  16. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Since Ryteks book is a "Sausage Making Bible" for many of us, I was just curious why some on SMF grind coarse and then regrind to 3/16" or 1/4"?

    I can't find a recipe in Rytek's book where he grinds meat a second time. He may grind different meats to different sizes when making a particular sausage.

    Some sausage recipes in HOME MAKING SAUSAGE by Perry & Reavis call for a coarse grind and 2nd grind with a smaller disk.

    Seems like it all comes down to personal preference, sausage recipes and prior experiences with different sausages.


  17. tlzimmerman

    tlzimmerman Meat Mopper

    Another thing I should mention is I think the practice originated when using hand crank grinders, cuz it can be a real bear to grind down to 3/16 or 1/8 first grind with a #32 grinder without cubing the meat first. That said, I think grinding twice figure to me to be a little easier on the equipment. Not that its not built to handle it, but alot of times with our large #32 torrey at home, we can grind an entire deer loin at a time, start the end and it pulls it through, and I think thats going to cause alot more strain on the motor and grinder parts if you are grinding straight down to small.

    Just maybe another thing to think about, both ways have their merits for sure. I still think that grinding twice should have very little to no effect on the texture of the meat, if clean cuts are being made because the meat is at the right temp there should be little to no mushing involved. I might have to do some testing next time I grind something and do some quick fry tests....put that on the list I guess.
  18. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have always grind once unless the recipe says to grind twice. I'm still really new to the whole sausage thing so I reading and learning right along with ya.
  19. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    Good info here also i want to try mixing the seasonings with water or beer and pour the liquid on the meat like rytek says to do, but i do like the idea of grinding the meat with the spices so your mixing at the same time as mixing really sucks in my opinion.
  20. linescum

    linescum Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree we always grind twice, first coarse then add seasonig and mix then grind a second finer grind and added dry ice to keep things good and cold

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