Good morning, all.
Thought I would pop in and introduce myself. I am based out of Nova Scotia, on the East Coast of Canada. The main reason I have signed up for this forum, is to simply observe and check out the methods in which people are using to process meat products. I myself, am a German trained butcher (hence the screen name, Metzger) and have an understanding of food science and bacteria cultures.
What I will not do here is instruct people on how to make fermented or dry cured products. While it is a relatively simple process, without knowing your level of cleanliness or understanding of bacteria, I do not want to be held responsible for someone getting sick as a result of not following my methods correctly. Sorry if this seems selfish, but I still need to sleep at night! :P I will also not reveal recipes, as these are closely guarded trade secrets, mostly unique to each butcher.
What I will do is occasionally check out the different threads and posts and contribute some insight into improving food safety practices, or how to improve your product quality. For example, starting with garbage meat will often result in a garbage product. Using imported spice that is 3x as potent and twice as expensive will save you money in the long run, as well as improve the flavor of your products. Simple tips like this that most people overlook are the things we as butchers are taught.
What I run for equipment: (I will post a couple of pictures to accompany)
- Schrofner KVF-80 100KG capacity hydrostatic vacuum stuffer with autolinker attachment (the autolinker is only good for synthetic casings, and therefor goes unused)
- Alexanderwerk 2spd/3 Blade Bowl Cutter (This thing is old, but of better quality than any of the modern cutters!)
- Beelonia 250L Propane Sausage Kettle
- Polyclip manual staple machine (late 90's model very much like the SCH 7210 as found on the polyclip website)
- Biro Band Saw (Just a generic old saw from the early 90s picked up at the local food service supplier)
- Biro 5HP Table Top Grinder
- Single Bag Vacuum Sealer
- Tile Lined Smokehaus with Stainless Hanging/Track sliding cart which is now used for cold smoked sausage storage
- Vorton 2100 Smokehaus which has replaced the tile lined homebuilt one. Capable of handling up to 60 bellies, 1000 sausages (about 150kg,) or a combination of smoked goods. I know I have a picture of this in operation somewhere, but alas I cannot find it. I will post if I can locate it! :)
Also, just a fun bit of info. In Germany, meat is shipped directly to the butchers from the slaughterhaus on privately owned trucks. Slaughterhaus owners do not employ drivers, but rather contract the work out. If the trailer is not spotless, the truck owner goes home with no work and is kindly told to not return. If their trailer is clean, however, rather than loading it full of cardboard garbage that falls apart and leaks juices, they are loaded full of Euroboxen (Euro Boxes of the E2 variety.)
These plastic boxes full of meat are then shipped to the butcher and unloaded into his shop. Upon his next meat delivery, the butcher returns the empty boxes to the driver to be taken back to the slaughterhaus for automated cleaning/sanitizing. If the butcher does not return the boxes, he or she will be charged up to 20EU for each box on their next order.
Here is a stack of E2 boxes in our shop. We have over 120 of them (25kg Capacity), and by the end of the week they are all used up. Genereally, 900-1200KG of product to be shipped to a retail market, while the rest contains freshly cut meat for processing the following week.
(The stack on the left is stacked face up to indicate they are dirty and need cleaning. The stack on the right is clean and stacked face down to prevent dirt from getting into the box.)
Anyways, this is all I have time for today. Glad to be able to share this stuff somewhere, and hope to be on here at least once a week.
Stay sanitary and enjoy the fruits of your labor! :)