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Sausage making adventures in Lubbock, TX

post #1 of 5
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We've only been here a week and a half, we're not even close to being completely unpacked. But things are going well, and my new job is enjoyable.

There is a Gander Mountain here in Lubbock, and I've never been to one until just a week ago. I remember someone here mentioning that they have meat grinders and accessories, so we check it out... only to find that other than one electric meat grinder, the shelves are bare. I ask, and they say that they only get such things in once a year (ordered from China). Blah. But not all is lost... they have casing there, several sizes, both natural and collagen. The prices aren't the greatest compared to online, but there's no shipping and I don't have to wait.

So, last night I decide I'm going to try to make some breakfast links, and head back for casing. And my wife starts digging in the bargain bin (it's not like she likes camping, which is the majority of stuff in that particular bin... [shrug]), and she pulls out a meat grinder plate. Stainless, with a hub on it, and damned if it doesn't look like it's for a #10.

So, I start digging through it too, and I find a second one. Hubless, different sized holes.

We go up to the front register, and after waiting behind someone who bought a shopping cart full of bargained bin fishing lures for about an hour (he kept arguing the prices), we get our turn.

$4.99 marked down to $3.99, but the bargain bin means it's 50% off. And apparently she only rung us up for the one. So $2 got me two plates. They do fit, and they're 1/4" and 5/16". (I only had the original 3/16".) Better yet, the casings were on sale for $7.99.

Now, if anyone is actually reading this, I have a question about cure. It was $2.99, so I grabbed a packet. I'm really not ready yet to make any cured sausage, but I grabbed it anyway. The brand is LEM, and it says "Backwoods LEM Cure, cures 100lbs of meat".

I know that if I make smaller batches, I need to be particularly careful with fractional amounts. The ingredients say that it's sodium nitrite (6.25%, out of 4 ounces total).

Just what is this equivalent to, compared to the cures that you guys use?

Anyway, back to the story... here in Lubbock, there is a local grocery store chain called Lowes (no affiliation with the home improvement store). I'd say it's somewhat comparable to IGA in a small town.

Last night, they had chuck roast on sale for $1.68. So cheap hamburger will be easy... just gotta get a chest freezer. They also have fatback there, which is good. I know you guys say that the boston butt/picnics should be at about 30% anyway, but the first two batches of italian sausage cooked up so lean that it was burning in the pan. So I'm going to try adding some tomorrow.

The fatback's 98ยข a pound. Not great, but maybe I'll be able to catch it on sale once I've been here a few months, and stash 10 or 20 pounds of it away. We even signed up for a free prize there of a chest freezer. Maybe my luck's turning...

Oh, and if anyone here is just reading thinking about trying to make sausage here in Lubbock, Lowes Grocery also has a few #10 generics back in the section with the cookware. I didn't catch the price.

Dammit, that's what I forgot... I was going to see if they had rennet on the shelf. Note to self.

So, tomorrow I think I'm going to try to make some cased italian sausages, but definitely some breakfast links. I've got about 10 pounds of pork butt cubed up and ready to go. Thanks again Meat Hunter, it'll be the first time I use the tubes, and they're going to be a great help.

More questions: I've been looking through Amazon, and I stumbled across this...


Has anyone actually bought/used one of these? Does anyone have an opinion?

And then, I saw this one:


This seems like it'd be really useful. My hands wouldn't have to get messy at all. But I don't know if it would fit my #10. To look at it, it looks like it might fit anyway.
post #2 of 5
Welcome to the Panhandle. I am way up in Booker.
Lowes will sometimes have pork shoulder for about 90 cents a pound. Brisket will be about 99 cents on sale. Keep your eyes open.
post #3 of 5
Glad your getting settled in and the new job is going well. The cure you got is the same as Instacure #1 or Prague #1 Good luck with the sausage don't forget the Qview
post #4 of 5
Yup, like Jerry said, it's cure #1, Modern Cure #1 an such. Use a level 1/4 tsp per pound a meat fer dry cures an yall do just fine. Love them bargain bins!
post #5 of 5
Buy an electric grinder, and seperate verticle stuffer. You will not regret it if you plan to do as much sausage and grinding as you are.

I have the 1200 watt version of this one, and it has worked great for me.


You can get a 5 pound verticle stuffer for about a 100 bucks from northern tool, or gander mountains online catalog. Both work fine, and are made by the same manufacture.

The patty maker looks cool. I have seen adds for them, but have not seen one in action myself.

Good luck.. looks like your in good meat country.. Haven't seen prices on beef like that around here for a long time.
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