Hey all! I had to throw in the towel...man, it sux to admit it, but after having tons of great eating sausage loafs and whole muscle meats come out of my smokers, I finally found something that beat me up pretty good......LOL!!!!!!!! Everything started off pretty well, from curing, to smoking, to chopping. Then, after blending the first trial batch of meats and seasonings, I knew something was definitely not right. I think the worst part of it all for me is realizing how close I really came to having some awesome home-made braunschweiger without a grinder or stuffer in my arsenal.
I've tried some fresh minced onion (in chopped liver only) hoping that the oils in the onion would smooth over the very strong and heavy odor of the smoked/chopped liver, as Big-Guy suggested. I didn't want to use anything wet, trying to avoid thinning out the paste which formed from processing the liver, but it was a really thick paste.
I just couldn't find the missing link(s), and now I'm thinking that these organ meats were in a freezer for much longer than I suspected (I recieved this second-hand). 6 months wouldn't be a problem, but I think this may well have been 12-18 months. I wouldn't think this would be an issue unless the freezer temps weren't very stable/cold. I suspect the original freezer they were stored in was not cold enough and probably had the door opened too often for long-term storage without having adverse effects on the meats. Now, I'm at a point in time where my remaining chopped liver is probably reaching the end of it's refrigerated life...hard to say for sure, and I'm not willing to risk a game of roulette...so, to the dumpster we go...
I've enjoyed store-bought braunschweiger all my life (in moderation, of course), spread on crackers or added as a layer to a sandwich. I'm not brave enough to taste the stuff I have here, as the odors are just soooooooooo strong that it makes me wonder if it's even safe for consumption. My Mom used to fry-up beef liver & onions on occasion (I liked that, too), and what I have here is way out in left field by comparison to either of the two.
Anyway, if I had fresh liver instead of frozen (for an unknown length of time, especially), I really think this whole process would be a go. If I ever get my hands on fresh liver, trying this out again will be a high priority.
OK, one more thought just came to mind now...it's possible that with hot smoking the liver first that the naturally strong odors and flavors were sealed into the meat, instead of boiling it for the initial cooking, which could very well leech out quite a bit of those stronger organ meat characteristics...hmm...so smoking first in this case could be the wrong way to go...never though I'd say smoking meat is bad...LOL!!!!! As Big-Guy's method and recipe states to boil the liver pieces prior to grinding, and then, mix/stuff/poach and/or smoke...that may well be the key...along with fresh meats to start the project.
Well, we tried anyway...can't say it wasn't a fun trial run, 'cause I'd be a lyin' fool!!!!!!!! Besides, when it comes to smoking/grilling, I'm always looking for something new to try my hands on.
Thanks for all the input too! Lots of good came from this, even though the product was a failure...I think the condition of the meat and smoking first are probably to the two biggest factors here which went against me. If anyone else doesn't have a grinder/stuffer and gets a chance to try this, let us know when you get started...I for one would like to see it work out. You can pack meat (with due care) into larger casings by hand, as an option, so keep that in mind.
This just may be one of those sausage projects that can't be done right without a properly cased meat mix in order to get it smoked at the very end, instead of first thing.
Thanks again everyone!!!