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Brad H

Sausage Help Needed

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Brad H

Greetings,

 

I recently shot a wild boar and have decided that I would like to try and make some sausage. I have never made sausage before so am looking for a recommendation of where to start? Should I buy a Kit like the ones I have seen in Cabela's, or does anyone have a recipe that would be good for a beginner? 

 

I was thinking about making Bratwurst or Breakfast Sausage. But I am completely open to suggestions. 

 

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated,

 

Brad

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Marc Ret

The nice thing with making sausage yourself is the ability to make small batches of various recipes. Take a couple pounds of meat and try a few recipes that sound appealing and freeze the balance til you settle on what you like. The only other suggestion I would offer is to use natural (intestine) casings and soak them well in warm water prior to running your sausage. A simple salt/pepper with a bit of crushed red pepper is a good place to start. 

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Brad Eden

I'm gonna move this to General Discussions. It will get more mileage there at the onset me thinks. Will move back to Upland Recipe Forum later.

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C.J.L.

Wild pork is great breakfast sausage and it's simple.  No casing needed and 100 recipes on the internet. As for cased, cured or smoked..........that's up to you.  I wouldn't (and I hate to use the word) waste fresh killed meat on sausage.  I just like eating wild pigs cause they are tasty. Just don't over cook the meat. But come fall if I have meat still in the freezer I'll take it all to a butcher in town and have it all turned into sausage. Might be bear, hog and deer all in the same mix but its sausage so taste wise it all tastes good because the butcher makes good sausage.  

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Dave in Maine

Whatever you do, make sure you work "cold", that is put all your equipment in the freezer to chill it down, and keep the meat cold and teh fat you'll add colder.  Not frozen, but close to it, lest the sausage "break".

 

A good book, if you want to spring for it, is "Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing (Revised and Updated)" by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn

 
As the review states, it is "a love song to animal fat and salt" and well worth the price.  Good recipes in there.
 
Work in small batches at first, and fry up small sample patties to test the recipe before stuffing.
 
Also, whatever you do and whatever recipe you use, make sure you use enough fat.  Buy plain pork fat at the butcher, but use enough regardless.

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Mike da Carpenter

I make 50# of breakfast sausage a couple times a year (same amount of bacon too).  I just stuff it into 2# bags, as we prefer patties to links.  I’ve even made 10# batches of about a dozen different flavored recipes (Italian sausage, brats, southern garlic...) and grill them as I would hamburgers.

 

For the sausage, I use meat from a 4H pig that doesn’t make the cut to be shown for my first batch, and the second batch is made from pork butts that go on sale for .99 per #.  I buy the seasonings from Sausagemaker.com and you can buy in small or bulk quantities.  The 4H pig has less fat, and I believe a MUCH better flavor than the store bought butts.  But taking a live pig to primal cuts and sausage is a ton of work, but in the same breath, very rewarding when doing it with my boys so they can learn where food comes from.

 

For bacon, I just buy pork bellies from Costco and mix up the cure myself from kosher salt, brown sugar and pepper then smoke on my WSM charcoal smoker. One of the simplest pleasures in life.  

 

Initial investment was a little tough to swallow, but when looking at the price of store bought bacon and sausage versus what I’m able to produce what my family likes at a cost savings of much more than 1/2 price, it was a no brainer decision.  I bought a grinder, slicer and stuffer.  Don’t try to save money in this department.  Just like my carpentry tools, buy once, cry once.  Being a penny (dollar) pincher here will cost you much more in the long run and ruin the enjoyment of the entire process.

 

My wife and I now refuse to buy sausage and bacon from the store, and if you read the ingredients on store bought, you too will come to the same conclusions.

 

Any questions, please feel free to ask.  

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topdog1961

I’ve been making venison brats and sausage for about 5 years.  I’m no expert, only knowing enough to be dangerous.  So I may be a good source for a starter, being not far from one myself. A relationship with a good butcher shop, especially one that processes wild game, is an asset.  I use a couple.  As stated, keep the meat cold, almost freezing, especially for grinding.  Grind the wild cuts first on coarse, then again on fine grind.  I get my added fat and seasonings from a local Amish butcher shop that does a couple thousand deer a season.  They sell me the rough ground high fat pork that they mix in with their wild game, for about $1.50 a pound.  I grind it again at the same time I do my game, but any ground pork will work. I have a cheap electric grinder and it does fine for me. Gallon ziploc bags are good for in process storing of the meats.   I also get my seasoning from the Amish, who like most butcher shops around here carry several flavors.  I usually get mild and spicy Italian, but on their recommendation I made some “county breakfast” flavor this year.  It is by far the favorite of all who try it, though I still like hot Italian for occasional change.  If you want to try it, PM me for their address.  I’m sure they would ship.  $8 makes 25 lb. if I recall.

 

Once the game and added pork is ground, chill again and mix them in a 2:1 ratio along with the seasoning.  The best thing to use, unless you invest a lot of $ in a meat mixer, is a common Kitchen Aid mixer.  Most housewives have one, if you don’t have one, likely you can borrow one.  You will need a baby scale, or some other way to accurately weigh the meat.  Put two pounds game and one pound pork in the bowl.  Mix with the attachment below on a low speed, while gradually sprinkling in the seasoning.  It does a great job, and mixes 3 pounds well in about one minute.  Repeat until all is mixed.  At this point your bulk sausage is done, enjoy.  Vacuum seal in the serving sizes that best suits your needs.

 

If you want to process further into brats, use natural casings.  The Amish shop uses man made, and I hate these.  I tried them once, and it was a fiasco, as they break easily.  I go to another butcher shop for natural casings.  Shop around to find a shop that will sell you just what you need, even though it is a “by guess and by golly” process to determine how much that is.  I tell them how much meat I have and usually they are close enough.  But many shops only sell a full “hank” of casings, that’s a lot of brats.  But they store well in a freezer for the next season if you pack them in water and plain salt.  As stated, rinse thoroughly inside and out in warm water or you will have salty brats.  I put some water in one end then pull up, letting gravity wash it throughout, then repeat two more times.  I use a 5 pound manual crank sausage press. The same stainless model is sold under several names for as little as $75.  Most grinders have a press accessory, and one can be bought for the Kitchen Aid, as can a grinder accessory.  Put some vegetable oil on the press tube and put a good length of casing over it.  Now comes the “you gotta learn by doing it” part, how tight to stuff the casing.  Too tight and even a good natural casing will pop when you twist it, too little and you have skinny brats with poor texture.  I have someone crank slowly as I feed the casing off the tube, just fast enough that the meat fills it without too much stretching, as it will tighten on twisting.  I make one long casing full, then twist to length and cut.  Again, enjoy by cooking on a grill until plump.  Like all wild game, don’t overcook or it will get dry.  First bite and you will know making wild game brats is well worth the effort. Plus you will get invited to every family BBQ, as long as you bring brats.   

image.jpeg

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Brad H

Wow! thanks guys for the detailed responses, I really appreciate it! I have a lot to digest here. Brad thank you for moving this to the General Forum. 


Based on what I you guys posted it sounds like I should start with breakfast sausage patties and then work my way to the bratwurst. 


I have most of the equipment that I need to get started. I have a Kitchen Aid machine with a Meat Grinder attachment, and a Scale. So, I am set for the grinding and mixing, at least with small batches anyway. I do not have a Sausage Stuffer but can buy one if I don’t completely screw up my first batch of breakfast sausage. You guys are right about buying good equipment, my Kitchen Aid was my Grandmothers. She was a big baker and put some miles on it. I don’t know how old the mixer is but it has been around since I was a kid and is still going strong! 


One area that we are short of in California is Butchers Shops, I could find a Tofu Shop. But Butchers Shops are almost non existent. The Markets have Butchers and they can get Pork Fat but they don’t make their own sausage so they are not of much help for advice. But if you want some Tofu and Yoga Pants we have you covered! 


Marc, Thank you for the recommendation on the small batches. Funny I did not think of that. For some reason I thought that you have to make Sausage in large batches. I like the idea of working on small batches until I figure this out. 


CJL, I kept a lot of the meat in Solid Cuts that I will eat as Roasts and Bar-B-Q. Right now I am experiment with the front shoulder. This was a rather large Boar so I am not sure the meat will taste that good. Hence the reason I am thinking about trying Sausage. 


Dave, Thank you for the book recommendation. I found it on Amazon and will pick up a copy. 


Mike, Thanks for the detailed information. I like the idea of making my own Bacon. My kids love Bacon but the stuff in it is awful. I may try that next. 


Topdog, I will send you a PM. My wife would like to get the seasoning from the Amish. She has always been fascinated by the Amish and I think that she would enjoy trying some Amish Sausage. Thank you. 


One Question for you guys: Several of you mentioned to keep the meat cool when Grinding, why is that? What happens if the meat does not stay cool during grinding? 
 

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Mike da Carpenter

The auger, cutter and die will heat up to the point that the meat will “cook”.  Keep it just above frozen and you will be golden, not to mention it grinds so much easier.  We have found that our family likes it ground once with the die that has the larger holes, then when spices are mixed in, it is broken down even more.

 

I bought an 11# horizontal stuffer.  Made it easier than a 5#er since you don’t have to fill it as often.  When stuffing into either 1# or 2# tubes (bags), makes it simple to slice while partially frozen into the size patty you want and then place in the skillet (removing the bag that was sliced through before cooking).  

 

If you want to wait on the stuffer to see if it’s something you want to get into, buy 10# of boneless pork butt, seasoning for 10# of whatever you want to make, and put it into quart size Ziplock FREEZER bags after grinding and mixing in your seasonings.  Don’t pinch pennies on cheaper bags.  When it’s time to make some sausage, just patty them out by hand and fry up to see if you like the flavor and enjoy the process, if not, you’re not out much $.

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topdog1961

They say everyone makes mistakes, but a smart person learns from their mistakes. By that standard, I should be an Einstein. 

 

The first time I ground venison, I was alone and used a hand grinder of a nephew. I took a big tub of burger cuts out of the fridge, all that I had.  At first it went well, but then things started to slow down. The meat was going through the grinder slower and slower, I was sweating more and more. By the time I was a third done, the meat was in the cutter so long it was slowly coming out the consistency of baby poop. I didn't know what caused the slow down, only later learning the warming meat was the issue. The brats were awful. 

 

Chill the meat and only take out what you can grind in a few minutes, it will go through like butter. You can even chill the grinder head before you start. 

 

I used coarse grind only until last season and mostly made brats. No one complained. But when I discovered the country breakfast seasoning, I started making more bulk sausage and noted it was coarser texture than commercial sausage. At some UJer's suggestion, I believe Brad's, I ran it through again on fine grind. It takes longer to grind the second time, but most like the texture better, especially in patties. I may experiment next season on a middle ground: twice on coarse grind. 

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C.J.L.

Heat melts the fat is why I grind almost frozen meat.  I like a course grind too.  That's just me though.  To keep a patty from falling apart when I cook it (course grinds tend to do that) I'll form it in plastic wrap then back in the freezer.

 

 

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Brad H

I want to thank everyone for the help. 

 

With your encouragement and guidance I made my first batch of Breakfast Sausage Patties last night and cooked them for my family this morning. I used a simple recipe that I found on the internet.  To say that they liked them was an understatement. I am going to try a different recipe this afternoon. 

 

Thanks again for all the help, I really appreciate it. 

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SelbyLowndes

I've been around "Piney Woods Rooters" all my life but only killed one of them.  He walked up to me while I was sitting on the ground deer hunting and I shot him just because he was too close.

 

Anyhow I cleaned him just as I would a deer and carried the cooler of meat to my local butcher and asked that he make fresh breakfast sausage of it.  He asked if I wanted him to add fat and I declined.  The sausage was great but I had to add butter to the pan to cook it because it was so lean it would not make grease for the pan.

 

Add fat...SelbyLowndes 

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Brad H

Yea, I noticed how lean it was and cooked it in lard. It was a little dry, but my wife and kids said that they liked it that way. 

 

I am going to try some with added fat to see how that turns out. 

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Cheesy

I buy most of my stuff from Walton's out of Wichita, Kansas.  They supply a good percentage of the butcher houses in the area.

 

www.waltonsinc.com

 

Everytime I make sausage I get mad at myself from not putting enough fat in it.  I know better, but the fat is harder for me to come by than a freezer full of deer or antelope.

 

Different types of sausage call for different grind sizes.  Hot dogs for instance do better with a fine grind size where as a breakfast sausage is better with a coarser size.  All that is dependent on personal taste as well though.

 

A good book was recommended above.  Another that I like is "Sausage Season" by Eilenn Clarke (her husband is gunwriter John Barsness).  https://riflesandrecipes.com/product-category/books/cookbooks/  The first half of the book is the science as to why you want cold temps, grind sizes, fat content etc.  The second half is a ton of recipes.

 

I used to stuff using my 3/4HP Cabelas grinder.  I bought a dedicated 11lb stuffer and kicked myself for waiting so long.  Now I kick myself for not buying the 18 lb stuffer instead of the 11lb.

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