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Texture not right on Keilbasa I made

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I don't know what the problem is, but maybe someone has encountered this as well. I made some Keilbasa this last weekend, used a Penzey's spice mix I got for Christmas. I used 70% Pork Butt and 30% Beef Chuck roast.

I grinded it with the large and then the small plates and it seemed like the texture and size was good. I stuffed into hog casings. Put in smoker at 130 degrees with no smoke for about hour and a half, then applied smoke and turned up to 150 degrees for 3 more hours. It looked nice and the taste was good, but the texture was sorta mushy. Maybe I didn't use enough fat, as the pork butt and beef were about 90% lean and I didn't have any other fat. Or maybe I ground it too fine, or maybe I smoked it incorrectly.

I used to make sausage many years ago with my Uncle, but he passed away 14 years ago and now I am just starting to make sausage again since I found all his old recipes that date back to my grandfather. I also got his 10lb old cast iron Enterprise sausage stuffer that was my grandfathers.

Does anybody know what I did wrong to cause the sausage to seem mushy or mealy? Any help is appreciated.

Thank you.
post #2 of 20
First, welcome to SMF. Second, goto Roll Call forum and fill us in on your equipment, location, experience and dog food type. Just kidding on the dog food. All the rest have a large bearing on advice we can give.
Third, why'd ya grind it twice? Fourth..where'd ya find a 90% lean butt? That's a dry roast. You need 25-30 percent FAT for that style.
post #3 of 20
Any kielbossa I've ever had was very coarse grind to almost chunks.
Just my guess,as I've only done fresh farmer type sausages.
Someone should be along soon to help you.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys,

I recall my uncle always grinding the meat twice. At least that is what I thought. I had a feeling this might be part of the problem. And Costco has very lean pork. I am going to go somewhere else to get my meat from now on, or at least find a place to pick up more pork fat as Costco does not carry it.
post #5 of 20
I buy a belly once in a while. About half of that is fat, and freeze that in 1 lb packages. VERY handy for a sausage maker.

Also, did you cure the sausage..I am not familiar with thatseasoning mix...is it a cure or just spice/herbs?

Not that that would have cause the trouble tho
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Great idea Richtee,

I will find a place to buy some belly. Too bad I can't sell some of mine! ha.

There was no cure in the spice mix. I only used it since I got it as a gift. I try to stay away from the pre-made spice mixes but will use them once in a while. Maybe adding cure could have helped. I did bring about 2 lbs into work today and everybody scarfed it down like they hadn't eaten in two days despite my warnings that I did not think it was that good. They are kinda like my dog, they will pretty much eat anything!
post #7 of 20
" I used 70% Pork Butt and 30% Beef Chuck roast. "
For whatever its worth, my recipes call for the opposite, for 10# of sausage, it calls for, 6# lean beef or game, and 4# of 70% lean pork.
I use this ratio with good results, I don't grind it through a fine plate, just a medium plate. You will get better advice when the pro's jump in. icon_smile.gif
post #8 of 20

mushy sausage?

Hello, I also make ethnic sausage and had a similar problem over the holidays. I smoked 10 lbs in my Masterbuilt electric and the outside temperature was about 25 degrees. I followed the same basic procedure as you. The internal temp maintained correct per the readout. However, since it was cold outside the hot plate cycled more frequently. Also I added more hickery chips than recommended. I believe the hickory chips got too hot causing uneven temperatures in parts of the smokehouse. I will be more disciplined next time.

I am wondering about the length of time you smoked the sausage. For me it took 9 hours to get the temperature up to 152 for the 10 lbs. I believe that has something to do with your mushy texture. It is important that you have the correct amount of instacure #1 or you are taking a gamble with the low temp process. Get a Temp. probe! I would recommend the Rytek Kutas book. Good luck and don't give up.
post #9 of 20
I found 4 recpes for Polisj kielbasa.
2 are pork butt only-coarse ground.
The other 2 have a mix of pork and beef [similar to yours].
1 is 3 lbs. coarse gr. pork butt with 2lbs. coarse gr. stew meat
[doesn't actually say beef,but that would be my guess]
The last one is 4 lbs.coarse ground pork butt and 1 lb fine ground beef chuck.[sounds closer to what your grandpa did]
Hope this helps as well.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

Funny you mention Ryteks book. I just received it from Amazon this morning. I do have a great digital thermometer that actually is in two parts, the transmitter that stays by the smoker and the receiver which hooks into my belt so I can be anywhere within reason and know what the temp of my meat is. Btw, it was about 60 yesterday, so it was good weather for smoking and it went pretty fast. Total time was about 5 1/2 hours.
post #11 of 20
I did some checking and most recipes DO call for more pork than beef. I must have just got a weird recipe, it tastes fine though. smile.gif
post #12 of 20
What was the internal temperature of the meat once you pulled it out?

It seems like the time was too short and would explain the mushy meat.

Outside of that I am at a loss.
post #13 of 20
Just going from memories of when I was a kid and such. I thought that everything was ground once and then mixed and then ground again as it was stuffed. Both times thru the biggest plate you have (3/8 maybe?) As we ground and stuffed we added ice to help keep the meat from getting hot and to help it "set" and to add moisture I guess. I remember that the finished product seemed to have about 1/4" and finer chunks in it after it was cooked. I also remember that one of my favorite parts of the sausage was that there seemed to be lots of little peices of "Gristle" in it (But I don't know where it came from). I grew up in a pretty deversified neigberhood and I don't recall anyone using anything but a grinder with stuffing tubes to stuff the casings. I never even seen a canister type stuffer until a few years ago, and it was water powered. It could shoot sausage 10' if you had a blow out or if the casing ran out on you!

I have always just been a helper, never the brains behind the operation, I never knew the why, I just did as I was told!
post #14 of 20
While I do not make a cooked kielbasa, I do make a sausage that would be equivalent to fresh kielbasa. I have ground it twice, but mostly I grind once thru a 3/16 plate. Your pork butt should have been about 80% lean and the chuck roast could have been 85 to 90% lean depending on how close the trim was. I really do not know why your sausage tasted mushy other than it might have been ground too fine and perhaps could have used a little more fat.
post #15 of 20
I think that could be part of the problem also as it has taken me longer than that to get some slim jims up to 152* and they are a lot smaller that your kielbasa. My thought is that you should have needed to take the temp up to about 170* until the sausage reached 152*. Just a guess.
post #16 of 20


hello dude & welcome-like Rich says roll call & give us more info-nothing wrong with grinding twice,I do 1/2" plate than mix seasonings,than 3/16 plate but no finer-I would like to know what type of grinder u useing? and if you are getting your meat close to freeze-it really makes a diff.If useing a meat grinder that attaches to kitchen aid mixer,they tend to mush your meat at times-sausage making is an art-practice makes perfect & keep notes of everything u do-good luck & keep on stuffing.
post #17 of 20


oops maybe # were not right-I grind course than medium
post #18 of 20
My best guess at the problem is from inadequet(sp) mixing. If you don't get a good primary bind then the texture goes all to hell. This typically makes for a crumbly mealy texture though not a mushy one. Another cause could be from heating the sausge during smoking too high too quickly. When that happens the fat starts to render out rather than stay encased. This is easy to tell because you'll get streaks on the casing from smoke not adhering and the bottom of the smoker will have drips of grease.

I took a look on penzeys to see if i could find the spice kit but couldn't. My best guess though is the kit you have isn't intended for warm smoked kielbasa, probably only fresh versions. It most likely did not contain curing salt or milk powder to help keep the meat moist during the long smoke.

I'm not an expert but if you want here are some points of advice.....
you have a stuffer, you dont need to double grind
start with 100% pork butt so you can tell your fat %(butt is typically 30%)
grind the fat in the small die and meat in a medium or large
make sure the meat you grind is near freezing so it doesnt smear(could also have led to the mushy problem)
try and use curing salt to make sure you avoid the buggies

If you make sure the meat is cold, at least 20% fat, and mixed enough you should get the proper final texture. Properly mixed the meat should no longer look like a pile of ground pork and when a bit is squished in your hand it should ooze out like playdough. Oh, and it should be pretty sticky stuff to because of the meat proteins being developed. Then when you smoke it, take the temp up gradually when going form the 120/130 to 165. Last time i warm smoked i went from 125 and moved 5 degrees a half hour.
post #19 of 20
I think you need to include a cure for safety if you are going to slow smoke the sausage for a long period of time to get up to the final temps.
post #20 of 20
Things that made sausage mushy:
1. Not having meat really cold for grinding..Example..

My first grind is coarse 1/2" plate, the meats cut in 2" chunks and 1/2 frozen when I start grinding. Immediately I mix in my seasoning & cure thouroughly. Then set in the freezer 1/2 hour and regrind with 3/16" plate.

Then put in the fridge. Until I am ready to stuff.
2. 1/8' plate like hamburger or bologna ...can be sorta mushy.
3. 3/8" plate for chile meat
4.To fast a grinder on warm meat...mushy
5.Dull knives makes the meat mushy..and smear the fat!
Smoking or cooking does not cause the problem! Cook to internal temp 155-160 above 170 the fat starts to melt and the sausage gets greasy..

Smoking..(A).1 hour no smoke to dry sausage at 130 degees
(B)Add smoke and set at 140 for an hour.
(C)set at 150 for an hour..keep it smoking!
(D)Set at 160 for an hour Keep it smoking!
(E) set at 170 for an hour...Only smoke if you like stronger smoke flavor.
(F) Depending on the sausage You might have reached 155 internal temp by now..I also rotate my shelve about every 2 hours.
When the reach temp...Cool wiith cold water spray( Blooming) to 100 degree internal let dry and put in the fridge...or eat..

Talk about plate size in inches...not coarse, medium, fine...Then we know what your doing..some of these grinder are odd sizes.
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