I went to a gourmet sausage restaurant last night, and the chef had about 20 or 30 types of fresh sausage on the menu. I sampled half a dozen of them and they were all great, good levels of salt & seasonings, great combinations of meat. The one thing that stood out for me, though, was the texture he'd achieved in the sausages. Overall it was a very coarse texture, resulting in a very meaty and almost chewy mouthfeel, at the same time, very moist and juicy. They were fantastic. I've attached a few close-up pics.
I've been making fresh sausage at home for over 5 years, but I don't think I've mastered getting a perfect texture like that - yet.
I grind using a dedicated kitchen meat grinder, but it's a small home unit (#8 size) and the largest plate is about ⅜" / 10mm. I've read about larger plates, like ½" and ¾", but these won't fit my grinder. Even when I grind my lean meat through the large ⅜" plate, I don't get the nice firm chewy texture and definition of the sausages I had last night.
Sometimes I've also tried hand-chopping a percentage of the lean meat (about 50%), and this definitely results in more definition and texture, but the results are inconsistent. Is there a particular technique for hand-chopping meat?
What's everyone's experience been with varying the texture of their fresh sausage?
Assuming you don't have a ½" and ¾" grinder plate - is hand-chopping the only way?
Edited by chozume - 1/21/16 at 11:50pm