I definitely dove head first with my new smoker & access to a commercial grinder and stuffer! I got a great deal from a friend who sold me 80lbs of pork butt for $1.02 /lb and 4 whole ham hocks at $1.20 /lb for prosciutto. I'll get to the prosciutto later because I'm many months away from the final product.
15 lbs of Fresh Italian
15 lbs of Fresh Hot Italian
32 lbs of Jalepeno Cheddar (10 lbs smoked)
10 lbs Dried Italian (still drying)
10 lbs Smoked Snack Sticks (3lbs pork 7 lbs beef(27% fat))
Took the bones out of each butt and saved them for soup. If you've never cleaned butts for sausage before, it is very IMPORTANT to not just look everywhere for the thin pieces of bone but feel the entire butt with your fingers because a lot of time you cannot see them. Depending on the pig, some have more of the calcium plates then others and you have to make sure you go through each piece of meat very thoroughly or you'll have ground pieces of bone in your sausage.
I cut them in strips, brought it over to my Italian friends house and used his super grinder. Without the bones I got a total of 75lbs of meat. Ground it once, course grind and it only took 7.5 minutes! That saved me hours..
I weighed them out in batches and mixed my seasonings in and let them sit overnight.
Luckily my awesome Italian neighbor / good friend had a 25-30lb stuffer! More hours of life saved..
Stuffed them all and let them sit a day to bloom.
Took 5lbs of the spicy italian and reg italian and hung them for Dried Sausage. TIP - While hanging to dry, it's important to squeeze them between your hands to flatten them out. You can pinch them with your thumbs and fingers but I find if you squeeze them between your hands while they are flat with fingers together ( as if you're praying to the sausage gods). This helps prevent a hollow area inside the middle to form while drying. That way you won't have a nice pocket for bacteria to grow. TIP 2 - grind the meat another time so it's finer. This will also help reduce the amount of air pockets. I'll post a money shot in a couple weeks when they're finished and I can slice into one.
I smoked 10 lbs of the Jalapeno Cheddar (hight temp cheddar) 1 hour cold smoke and less than three hrs at 225-260 for an IT of 160-165°. They turned out great. That was my first time using the high temp cheese, wow cool stuff. You get such nice pockets of cheese rather than your cheese just melting everywhere.
Fresh garlic tip. Use a garlic press and then smoosh and flatten them with a flat knife to make a paste. This way you will have no chunks of garlic but just the fresh flavor.
Partially freeze your sausage before vacuum sealing them and it'll be easier to package them and they'll keep their shape better.
The snack sticks came out fantastic, especially for my very first attempt at them. I learned some valuable things though. I used 3 lbs pork and 7 lbs (27% fat) beef.
I either smoked them at to high of a temp or I never should have skipped the ice bath because when they cooled some sticks had a build up of fat that settled on the bottom. It easily scraped away and didn't seem to change any flavor but I'll prevent it next time.
When I type up my recipes from my notebook of scribbles, I can share some of my spices if interested. I'm curing a pork loin right now for some CB! can't wait - all of the CB pictures on this site made me take a special trip to the store yesterday.
day one dry
day5 dry - notice the shape change (from praying to the sausage god)
Smoked Jal Ched
Edited by thoseguys26 - 1/29/12 at 5:03pm