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Sausage Questions

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I just bought casings and a ton of seasonings so i am about ready to try stuffing some. Anyway i have a few questions? Should i start saving my pork fat like from ribs? or is there enough on a pork shoulder to make the whole shoulder with its own fat? I have never tried a pork shoulder picnic only boston buts so what is the best for sausage?

Any tips would be great thanks
post #2 of 20
I buy butts for sausage and there's plenty of fat on them for my tastes. I usually trim away a lot of the fat cap but I know my sausage would be even better if I left more fat in the mix.
post #3 of 20
Yeah, save your fat and any trimmings from ribs. I do.
When making sausage though, say fresh breakfast sausage or even Kielbasi, pork butts work just fine all by themselves. I keep the fat trimming and such for when I make any venison sausage.
I have my fat and trimming in bags of 2# and 5#.
post #4 of 20
I save all my trimmings from pork and beef they both work just fine for me. I have had to go and buy some fat from the regular food stores. If they charge you it really cheap I thnk I got 4 lbs for .66 cents.
post #5 of 20
If I remember correctly they say butts contain 30% fat as a rule if I'm wrong I'm sure somebody will correct me I don't have the book with me
post #6 of 20
Depends on the hog, but 15-30% is a good average. You want at least 10% fat or more otherwise your sausage will be seasoned sawdust; commercial sausage can contain up to 50% fat; you want to avoid that extreme too!
post #7 of 20
If you can it's always a good idea to save any extra good pork fat for sausage making. Particularly if you will be doing any game meat. Remember though that fat will go rancid in time, even if frozen. The biggest contributing factors are oxygen and light. Vacuam pac it if you can, and then put it in brown bags or outer wrap with butcher paper. I save in sizes that will work for you and your needs.
post #8 of 20
As far as saving the whole shoulder, you can, but the picnic is pretty lean so I would use either extra fat from your rib trimmings or don't trim the butts too well or you will have very dry and grainy sausage. In sausage as in many other things, fat is flavor as well as it makes a better consistancy. Good luck.
post #9 of 20
At first I was using butts, then my butcher recommended that I use picnic cuts instead. THe price of picnic are cheaper than butts and I don't have to contend with taking out the bone (saves a lot of time).
I also asked him what he uses when he makes his sausage, and he flat out told me Picnics.
When my wife and I get them we get about 50lbs and we go through them cleaning up any clots or excessive fat that may be on them (usally only about 1/4 lb waste). We cut into 1" to 2" chunks to feed into the grinder. We use a bean plate for the first grind, then mix our spices, and follow up with a hamburger grind for the final.
There are many way to buy and process your meat, so find what works for you and go for it
post #10 of 20
I like to use the shoulders, First I separate it into two piles. hard fat trim and lean meat. I grind them separately and then mix the two together use the proportion I need for the particular sausage, usually thats around 30% fat 70% meat.
When I'm lazy I take butts and grind them whole and there's always enough fat in it to make a good sausage.
post #11 of 20
I use Butts, they seem to have just the right proportion of fat
for my liking, and no waste. cut out the bone and grind the rest.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
someone said the picnic is boneless? i have never seen that they always have a big bone in ones i have seen
post #13 of 20

The butt and picnic are part of the front shoulder. Butt is a better cut (higher on the hog). Similarity to beef is a chuck roast from the butt, vs. an arm roast from what would be the picnic on a hog.

As they come off the hog, both have a bone. Someone might be buying a picnic with the bone removed. I'd think the picnic would be good for sausage, but you will need to watch for the sinew, as that will get wrapped around your axle and cutting blade. As always, grind chilled to partially frozen and clamp your blade down tight on the blade.

As for adding fat or not, I think it matters on what you are making. Stuffed sausage of about all types made from a butt or picnic have enough fat as is.

For bulk breakfast sausage, which is typically formed into a patty and fried in a pan, a little extra fat won't hurt. You get a nice texture vs. a hard, rubbery piece of meat. I'd say 1 pound of fat to 9 pounds of cubed butt (10% extra) would be about right. The right amount is when it will cook in a frying pan without sticking. If your sausage is shrinking and you are getting a ton of grease left in the pan, you have too much fat.

Breakfast this morning was a large patty sized wad of breakfast sausage, browned and broken apart into small clumps, then I added about 1 tablespoon of flour, which combined with the sausage and small amount of grease in the pan, then a little milk and heated until it thickened into a nice white sausage gravy. That went over a sourdough biscuit with a fried egg on top. Without that little amount of extra fat, I was going to get clumped up meat wads and not much grease for the gravy.

I've been using fresh butts for my sausage and the same store that sells the butts sells one pound packs of "pork fat for seasoning" on foam trays for 49 cents a pound. When you are out and about looking for your supplies, keep an eye out. Not many food stores will carry pork fat in the meat case.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
well the breakfast sausage i made the other day was too lean had too add a little oil to the pan while cooking the patties.
but that was already cut up boston but they had for four dollars so i grabbed it to try for my first batch, seemed like it had plenty of fat in it but not must not have
post #15 of 20
One thing that I should mention is around here the butts are trimmed to within an 1/8" of fat cap. they will make a good sausage but on the lean side.
Other areas of the country or world might buy it with more of a cap, so it's a trial and error thing at best to get the right amount until ya get a feel for it.
post #16 of 20
Thanks for the info Warden. I will bookmark this info. I get my picnic's there already boned from my butcher. I kinda figured that they must be a cheaper cut of meat, as they are cheaper per lb than the butts are with the bone in. But the picnic's do make a decent sausage. I save the butts for pulled pork.
Thanks again Warden.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
i like that so just use all the fat? easy the way i like it!!
post #18 of 20
you are right about the fat cap. when you go to the butcher for butts you want to ask him to sell you them the way he gets them.
I buy mine by the case and they are not trimmed so much. they are cyrovaced usually 2 in a package and a case is usually about 70#
some consumer ready butts you buy at the store are trimmed and sometimes even have solution added llike hormel butts.
they are ok to use but like dan says they might be a little on the lean side
post #19 of 20
I just go to my local butcher and get pork scraps. very cheap, already cut into chunks so minimal cutting and the right amount of fat. pretty inexpensive too. sometimes free if I offer him some sausage back.
post #20 of 20
My personal opinion.....
If extra fat is needed when making sausage, I only use the fat from the belly. It seems that it breaks down better when heated/cooked.

If the sausage I make is going to be fresh (not smoked) I will add more fat into the mix. But I will also poke holes in the casing. The reason for this is...
I don't want a greasy sausage, the extra fat gives it the flavour, and keeps it moist. The holes are put it so as the fat renders, it can escape so the sausage isn't too greasy.
Just my opinion........
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