Originally Posted by mummel
Oh and by the way, I am really glad I got a stuffer with metal gears. I underestimated the pressure required to crank the plunger. Im not sure how long plastic gears will last.
Also, the air valve. After I did my first 5lbs, when the plunger reached the bottom, the valve filled with mince (oozing out). When I did my next 5lbs, it was blocked and didnt work right. Without removing it and cleaning it, any tips on how to deal with this?
Oh an note to self, next time use the C clamps. What was I thinking hahaha!
Meat should not be coming out the air valve. As the plunger hits the top of the meat in the cylinder, it should push the air valve plate closed against the plunger bottom. It should stay that way through out the stuffing even when the plunger is bottomed out.
As to the nylon gears, I have the Kitchener with nylon gears and regularly stuff snack sticks using a 3/8" stainless LEM tube. That requires the most pressure of any of the sausage making I've done and I do not think I've ever come close to breaking or stripping a gear. I think most people have problems when the plunger bottoms out and they try to keep cranking. I mark the threads on my stuffer with a sharpie pen to indicate "bottom" so I have a visual indicator when I am getting close and can pay attention to the pressure I put on the crank. Yeah, I know you have steel gears, but marking the threaded rod might still be a good idea to give you some idea of where you are in the process.
If you were having trouble cranking to stuff sausage in that size casing, you meat was too dry. I would add some water, beer, or whatever liquid you prefer to loosen it up some. Stuffing that size casing should be a breeze (unless you are using a 3/8" tube which would be way undersized). I pretty much always add liquid to my spices to make a slurry, which also helps distribute it when mixing in.
I think you might have overground the meat using pre-ground like that, but as long as it tasted good, who cares! If all you were doing was mixing, you could have used the same size grinding plate or even a larger one to keep from making an over emulsified grind. From what you said in your post, I would have mixed it by hand or in my 20lb sausage mixer depending on the batch size.
One tip for meat you grind a second time. I form the first grind into roughly shaped long cylinders and put them on a cookie sheet. I then stick them into the freezer until they are just about frozen. Not frozen solid, but enough to hold it together if I pick up the meat cylinder. If you make the cylinders just a tad smaller in diameter than your neck of the grinder, they should fall into the grinding screw without requiring stomping. It adds a few minutes to the process and might be difficult with a large volume of meat, but I run 5 pound batches and it works fine for that.