First Sausage with Brat-View

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by smokeguy, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. smokeguy

    smokeguy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I’ve decided to stick my toe into the waters of making my own sausage. I got the LEM #10 hand meat grinder from Bass Pro Shops along with a kit to make Bratwurst. The kit contained the spices and the casings, and the LEM was not only a grinder but a stuffer, so basically I’m out the door for not much over $50 or so without the meat. The next step will be to bring back the manual and swap if for an electric!
    Here it is clamped to a cutting board and then clamped to my counter. It worked better than I thought it actually would.

    Here's what the seasoning from the kit looked like - enough to do 15 lbs. My butt was a bit over 5 lbs with the bone in still.

    The butt that had been so patiently waiting for me in the freezer! Looks pretty fatty and at least 20% fat, so didn't add any more.

    The casings rinsed and now soaking. I didn't know to run water through them to rinse the insides too and might be why the finished skin was a bit tough. Could use some help here if anyone knows for sure.

    After I cut the butt up (need to cut it smaller next time, more like one inch cubes instead of just happy chunks), I just had to stop and say "Cool!" when it first started coming through.

    After putting in all the chunked meat, here is the pile of course ground meat.

    After that I put it through the finer grinder for about half of it before I realized that duh! I needed to add the spices. Lots of cranking for nothing. So I measured out the seasonings and mixed it up in water, then mixed it into the meat. Then back to the grinding. I didn't get a picture of it but it looked pretty good coming out with well-defined strands.
    After that I took the plate and blade off and swapped over the the stuffing attachments and started turning that handle again. This is where you need three hands. One to hold the casings coming off, one to crank the handle and one to stuff more meat in and push it down. My wife helped out, but during all of this she gave me the a-ok for the electric!
    Here's what it looked like after it was stuffed, twisting it as I went. Guess I could have saved that for the end for a more consistent size. I'm guessing again that the wrinkles meant that I could have stuffed it more. Which might have made the skin thinner and therefore more tender?

    Started the smoker out low and kept raising the temperature every hour until it reached 154 degrees. Forgot about the part about letting them air-dry first so I got some spots but not too bad. The low starting temperature must have helped. Here they are coming out. I didn't have a way to hang them (yet) in the MES so they've got the lines on them from the shelves.

    Now under a cold water bath to get them down to less than 100.

    Overall they had a very good taste. We ate one right after the bath and they were nice and tender but a bit dense. The next day after refrigerating them the skin was more like a beef jerky skin. Tasty but tough.

    It was a lot of fun even though I made a lot of mistakes, and I'll definitely be trying it again. Hope you enjoyed seeing my first attempt!

    ETA: temp was at 100 for the 1st hour, then to 150 and up every hour to 190 until the inside sausage temp reached 154. Wasn't very clear about that.
  2. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Cool. I've been wanting to try my hand at sausage too. But my wife cringes with the wee bit of smoking I do now. I can't wait to see the reaction when I say "hey honey, you wanna push the meat down or turn the crank?"

    Congrats. One (ok two) questions...after the smoker hit 154* how long did you leave them in? I was thinking that you can't really go by internal temps since you'd be piercing the casing, right? Then after the cool down, did you smoke, grill, boil anything at all? Or just eat them like they were?
  3. werdwolf

    werdwolf Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks really good for your first dabble into sausage making.

    The wrinkles are just part of the outside. To make them go away you turn them inside out at the faucet. There was a good tutorial about that at one time, but not necessary to do, just cosmetic. Not sure why your casing were tough.
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks like a pretty decent first run, especially working without a stuffer, and using a manual grinder. Don't sweat boo-boos...that's how we learn. Maybe put together a checklist for your process so you don't forget steps...I know I'd need one...I have CRS.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    that looks like some tastey sausage specially for your first try. I keep saying things just taste better if you make it from scratch and it sure does and usually worth all the work. sausage is definetly on the list but rite after bacon for now It's in the frig chillin.
  6. smokeguy

    smokeguy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks everyone. I need all the tips I can get!

    Either answer from your honey can't be good! [​IMG]

    I started the smoker at about 100, then after an hour took it to 150, then up 10 every hour. So that left me at the 190 range by the time the sausage was internal 154 degrees. Wasn't very clear about that.
    I did have a remote probe stuck into one of them that was in the middle of the shelf in the middle of the pile, so a pretty accurate reading for the rest of them. So, one hole and that was the one I ate right after cooling them down with no further cooking etc.

    The next day I nuked 2 of them to heat them up. I'm going to put them in a beer bath the next time. The ARE brats after all!

    And yes, I definately need to use a checklist next time [​IMG]
    And I found the link to the inside out casings- this will certainly make things a bit nicer looking next time!
  7. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Your first run braver tha mine. Good job!
  8. sumosmoke

    sumosmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Excellent pics, I think ya did great!! Nice smoke job!!
  9. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Looks like a good first time a few things that may help next time

    1 Get the meat very cold almost frozen before grinding it will grind much easier.
    2. Work with 6-8' pieces of casing to start with much easier to handle.
    3. Put the end of the casing over the faucet and run rinse the inside if you want to turn them inside out nows the time.
    4. Keep the casings in ice water with just the end of each strand sticking out to get a grip on it
    5. A very light coat of cooking oil will help slide the casings on and off the stuffing tube.
    6. If you are going to low temp smoke anything it needs to be cured this includes sausage. Let sausage cure overnight before stuffing.

    Congrats on your first attempt but I'm afraid like the rest of us you are now hooked [​IMG]
  10. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    as piney has stated-also with the smoke smaller heat jumps-110-125-140-and so on I have never taken to 190-finish off at a 170 till they come to temp-and yes cure.
  11. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I personally don't turn the casings inside out as I find them harder to slide off that way; you do it for cosmetic reasons to put the grainy, tentacly side on the inside so they look purty. Well, those imperfections now on the inside impede them from sliding off easier and can cause more blowouts (holes and tears). Like to avoid all those possible using a 15lb. stuffer, otherwise I have to crank the plunger all the way back up, toss back in the sausage grind, then all the way back down to keep stuffing and can add air to the casing that way too. With good quality American hog casings (not Chinese) there is little imperfections you need to hide anyways. (I get mine from Syracuse Casing Co. which sells only American hog casings).

    You need to thoroughly rinse inside and out your casings and let soak at least ½ hr. before stuffing. Shake a few drops of white vinegar in your water while soaking to help tenderize them so they're not so tough. Also, spray your stuffing horn with a light coat of vegetable spray. Keep a small container of water nearby to dip your hand in to keep the casings wet as you guide them off the horn, too.

    Stuff all your casings first, then twist them into links. Twist one one way, twist the next one the opposite, then the next back the first way, then the next the other way,etc.

    Make sure you use cure if you're smoking; I get mine from Butcher Packer.

    Won't be long and you'll be processing butts by the case and churning out sausages for the entire neighborhood!

    Pops §§
  12. smokeguy

    smokeguy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for looking and thanks for all the great tips. It's going to make my next attempt that much better!
  13. Good Advice

    I never smoke over 165-170 the most . Once the meat hits 160 the fat turns to grease and makes you sausage dry and crumbly, also drips and could start a fire. I pull them off at about 154 and cool with cold water immediately, then I hang to dry , then into the fridge overnight.. As far as your skins being tough you may have to soak them longer(overnight in the fridge) or you didn't stuff them to their potential. Be careful, not to full or they'll break. Practice makes perfect. Looks great and is a fun and rewarding hobby.
  14. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for the clarification
  15. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great looking sausages for your first effort. You will be hooked now. You have to smoke to a specific internal temp, usually around that 154 mark. Yeah, you have to pierce a sausage to check that, and you may lose some moisture, but that is a sacrifice you have to make in order to make me. Again, great work.
  16. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I haven't got to the sausage yet. I think I'm saving sausage makin for this coming winters project. Points for diving in.
  17. smokininiowa

    smokininiowa Smoke Blower

    Try replacing some of the water you put in them with beer, you will get the taste you are wanting I think. Also try throwing those bad boy's in a crock with some kraut and a can of beer, on low before you go to work and mmmmmm!

    I am a huge curley's sausage guy, I tried bass pro and cabelas stuff when I first started and hands down curley's is the best in my opinion. Not affilated with Curley's in any way besides he takes a lot of my money every fall and the finished product is excellent!!! Let me know if you add beer how you like it. Great looking first batch!!!
  18. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    They look great especially for your first attempt.
    The casings may have been tough because you microwaved them. Try pan frying and let us know how they are.
  19. grothe

    grothe Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's a great first run....real nice lookin sausage!!
  20. fourthwind

    fourthwind Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can hang your sausage in the MES instead of laying them on the grills. I take all the grills out, and use cooking twine to tie the sausage to the bottom side of one of the grills to the appropriate lengths. I have done brats, German sausage, and summer sausage this way in my 30" MES. Another thing I have been working with is the meat to fat ratio. One thing I have found handy is I just keep an eye out for cheap lean pork (local king stupids has a bargain bin that usually has cheap meats in it) of whatever type or shape, then I buy pure fat trimmings from the local butcher. usually about 30 to 50 cents a pound for the pure pork fat. This way I know exactly what my fat contents are. I think you get a better texture this way as well. As the other poster said, make sure the meat is very cold before cutting, then after cutting put into the freezer for about 30 minutes, then grind. It will make a difference in the texture of the meat that is very noticable in the final product. If I had to guess the casing got tough due to the smoke. I have only used the natural casings on fresh sausage. I use the callogen for when I smoke em. Still it looks like you did a great job for what you had on hand. I give it about another 6 months and your kitchen will look like a butcher shop [​IMG]

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