So I'm trying my second day to knock it out and it turned out really well!
Picking up from where I left off...
Thanks to boykjo's calculations with the beer buds, it turns out to be close to 1 tbs of buds to each pound of meat.
I decided to use 4 tbs overall for the 5 pounds.
Almost frozen and grinding very nicely...The LEM grinder was a great investment but, the foot pedal made it even better.
I decided to double grind it with the 10mm plate
Mixed the spices and the water together then, I mixed by hand until my fingers were almost too cold to work it anymore. Now I'm ready to stuff.
Stuffing was a chore, yes in this picture, I'm using my hands a bit and its not safe but, believe me...It was more plunger than hand sausage.
All stuffed and twisted up...see lesions learned below.
Smoked at 300 degrees with hickory till done.
1. I got so focused being my first time that I forgot to add cheeses to half the mix.
2. The LEM grinder is awesome!
3. How you put the casings on the tube makes a big difference...They need to be evenly distributed or they bind and bunch during stuffing.
4. The foot pedal and a second set of hands are needed.
5. If you over stuff, you will get blow outs during the stuffing process which make it impossible to twist as well as cook without more blow outs later.
6. Blow Outs - In the beginning, I didn't have a feel for it and just went for broke. About half way through and my wife helping me with the blow outs, I learned that under stuffing a bit makes it very easy to twist later down the road.
7. Next investment, the 5 lbs vertical stuffer.
8. Casings - Clean and prep enough to do the job but, make them in sections that are manageable. I started with a few really long ones but in hind sight. I would have been easier working with several 4 ft sections that can easily be twisted into 4 links per at 8 in each.
9. Enjoying a beverage while gloved up is a challenge unless your second set of hands are willing to go the extra mile...Thank you Sarah!
Overall feedback from my wife when I did the test fry...."Oh my freaking word!"
Dinner was great and the kids scarfed it down so mission accomplished!
Now that this is behind me, I'm looking forward to the next challenge.
I need to say thank you to everyone....This site and the people here have really helped me tackle things I did not know I could.
Happy smoking...its time for a relaxing beer,