What plate should i use as my final grind? I have 3/16, 5/16 and 3/8 plates
Also how long should i let the seasoned meat sit in the fridge before stuffing?
That depends on what type of sausage you are making and what you like. I personally like a course sausage so I start with a 3/8 plate and then the second time through use a 5/16. After the first grinding I mix the seasoning in and mix by hand very well and then grind through the 5/16 plate which will also help mix everything. Then I stuff right away, if you wait it will get very stiff from the salt in the seasoning and be harder to stuff. I have never had an issue with poorly mixed seasonings or uneven distribution.
With the grind its a matter of preference.... Mostly I only grind once course, season, set in the fridge overnight and stuff the next day. If your going to grind, season and grind again go with your largest plate first, season then use your smallest plate last then stuff.... You can cook right after stuffing
For me it depend on how much sausage I'm doing. If I'm doing a lot (15-20 pounds), I do the course grind then season and mix. I'll cover the bowl with plastic wrap, put the meat into the fridge and move on to the next batch.
If I'm going to stuff the meat into casings, I'll mix in about 1/4-1/3 cup of cold water to 5 pounds of meat. This will replace what moisture evaporated over night and help prevent blow back on the stuffer.
If I'm just running a single batch, I'll grind, mix and stuff and place the linked sausage onto a sheet pan and place into the freezer for a couple of hours to let the sausage firm up. Then I'll place 5-6 links into a vacuum seal bag and seal the bag. By firming up the links before bagging helps keep the links from flattening out when you seal them.
When making fresh sausage i do like others and use a course plate first and grind the meat. If i make 25 pounds of sausage i put all the seasonings in 6 cups of water or beer and mix all the seasonings in the liquid and then pour over the meat and mix well. Then I grind it a second time with a medium plate. Fresh sausage at this point can be stuffed right away. When using a cure [instacure #1 for example] you must always mix it in the amount of water or beer you are using. With a cure you should leave the meat mix set overnight before stuffing. If i want my sausage somewhat course i grind the meat twice through the course plate. Reinhard
I wish there had been a forum like this when I first started SM. Oh ... I forgot , we did not have PCs. Lots of excellent advice!! I would only add that , as it applies to water ,there is a difference between fresh sausage as you are making and cured smoked sausage.Not a huge difference but it will effect your product. Just FYI when you begin curing and smoking. Happy ( and safe ) SM. Weisswurst.