Mix in Spice before or after the grind

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by diesel, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic

    I have mixed the spices into the cubed meat and let rest then grind. I have also waited and mixed in the spices after grind.  Only difference I can find is that the grinder isn't as messy.  

    Any opinions on this?  I know some recipes call for the spices to be added in one of the two ways.  Shooter Rick's Attitude brats call for option 2.  I make this recipe all the time... http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/100076/shooterricks-attitude-brats-recipe-and-pics-on-the-grill

    1. Apply spices to the cubed meat before grind. 

    2. Apply spices to the ground meat and thin mix.  Usually this is when you add your water, beer, wine..  to form the sticky consistency.  

    I would like to know if this will have an effect on the final product.  

    thanks in advance.

  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Diesel, morning....  When making andouille, I chunk the meat, pre grind the fat through the small plate... Mix the cure, salt, water and spices together and mix well.... added to the chunks and fat and mixed well...  then I add the soy protein (1/2 of what is recommended) and mix and grind immediately then stuff (vertical stuffer) immediately hopefully before all the sticky stuff happens.... I like to maintain the meat texture of the grind....  

    My experiences with mixing after grinding are, it mushes up the meat too much for the texture I'm looking for... I grind through the medium plate so the chunks are something your teeth can bite into.. I don't care for the "hot dog" texture in homemade sausage... As a note, the chunks with the spices etc. is pretty wet knowing the soy protein will thicken up the mix really fast.. water/beer may need to be added to thin the mix enough to stuff easily....  Then the stuffed casings are twisted and left to rest in the refer before going in the smoker...

    I mix everything by hand... usually 10 #'s at a time...  I would guess, all this is a personal preference... If I had a meat mixer, and doing 20# or so, I would do it different..  who knows ????   

  3. I've done it every way possible over the years, forwards and backwards, and even while standing on my head! :biggrin:

    My preferred way to do it, whether it's a cured sausage or fresh, is to cube the meat into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes, add the salt and the spices and then put the cubes in a bag to exclude all the air and leave it in the fridge for 48 hours before grinding.

    That accomplishes several things, it gives plenty of time to develop the protein exudate for a good bind (I never use binders or fillers), it firms the meat and fat up which gives a good clean grind that further limits smearing (beyond just semi-freezing the meat) and it ensures that the spices, etc. are well distributed which, when coupled with the good protein exudate development, drastically shortens the mixing time.


  4. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I always grind, mix then stuff...... It all comes out the same in the end.....LOL

  5. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I normally grind, mix and then stuff. I have put the spiced cubes in the fridge and let sit for 48 hours. I also have reground the spiced meat (course plate first then med plate) because I was told it would turn the ground meat inside out and allow the seasonings to do their thing. I can't tell the difference. (use a Lem meat mixer for everything)

    I tried all these methods because when I make sausage and test fry, the flavor is so vibrant and intense. After stuffing or freezing bulk the flavor level drops considerably.
  6. jnorth

    jnorth Fire Starter

    Heh, I was just coming here to ask this question.  I've also done both since I've only been making sausage for about a year now so I just follow whatever recipe I'm using.  Ruhlman seems to call for mixing then grinding while Kutas does the opposite. 
  7. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Its all how YOU like it.
  8. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic

    I appreciate all the responses.  I knew the info would be good. 

    I decided to do a little of it all.  I cubed the meat then added half of the seasoning.  Covered in plastic wrap and plan to grind tonight.  I will use the medium plate.  Then I will hand mix in the rest of the spice mix along with small cubes of cheddar cheese.  Let it rest over night then stuff.

    I plan to smoke the sausage on Saturday morning. 

    here is some picts of where I am now with the process.

    here is the list of ingredients for the spice mix.   I cut way back on the cayenne because this is for a party and I don't want to scare anyone. The last batch really packed a punch.  Thanks again for all the help!  I will post the qview later.

    Pork Shoulder 75/25         2644g

    Ground beef                       1510g

    Salt                                          66g

    NFDM powder                       66g

    Dark brown sugar                  42g

    Paprika                                   26g

    Onion powder                         26g

    mustard powder                     23g

    Szeged hot paprika               18g

    Cayenne pepper                    26g

    Phosphate                              16g  (I will NOT add this)

    Garlic powder                         18g

    Fennel powder                        10g

    Cure #1                                   11g

    Black pepper                          10g

    Coriander                                  7g

    Allspice                                      5g

    Ice water                                650ml
  9. Curious to see what you opinion is from the "test". I've done both.
  10. couger78

    couger78 Smoking Fanatic

    I look forward to seeing your results & how they compare.

    I usually grind first, then mix.

    The exception is whenever I'm doing an 'emulsified' sausage, where I'll do an initial coarse or med. coarse grind, add the spices & such, then re-grind through a fine plate.

    Did it here recently: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/126739/german-bockwurst-with-many-pix

  11. I may be too late on this, but I wouldn't put the cheese in until I was ready to stuff.

    Looking forward to your pics.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012

  12. It's certainly a well spiced mix!!!!

    The meat is definitely on the lean side and that's quite a bit of water to add to 4 kilos of sausage.

    I like to stuff right after grinding and mixing because it's so much easier....the mixture will stiffen up quite a bit in the fridge overnight which can make stuffing more of a chore.

    Not criticisms, just observations.

  13. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic


    I agree with the leanness and the water also.  What I did was just add some water to a glass full of Ice cubes.  Shake it around and then pour in a a little about half a cup.  To be honest I didn't even measure.  I did add 5 pieces of bacon to help with the lack of fat.  We will see.

    Grinding ..  I put the grinder attachment w/ all the pieces into the freezer.  I also dump some ice in the bowl and shake it around till it is nice and cold also.  Oh, and the meat was in the freezer for about a half hour.  All most frozen.

    The other half of the spice mix and a couple really big handfuls of cheddar cheese.  I didn't get to the store to pick up the cheese I wanted to use so I just used what we had.   I mixed this by hand.  It was so cold that I had to take breaks because my hands would get numb.  I think that is a good thing keeping the meat cold.  Like is said before.  I also poured some ice cold water in before mixing.

    All mixed up.  The smell is incredible.

    Not the best picture but I wanted to try and get the idea across.  I soaked the casings in lukewarm water while the meat was in the freezer.  About a half hour.  Then I pick one end and fill with water, just a little bit.  I take my other hand and pinch the casing and drag downward forcing the water through.  If you look closely you can see the water in the casing down in the container.  I do this several times to clean out the salt. 

    I am lucky.  My parents gave me this wonderful toy for my birthday.  What a difference this thing makes in stuffing.  I used the kitchen aid for a couple of years now.  If you are a sausage maker and don't have one yet.  Save the money and get it.  These things rock.

    Here you can see the casings on the tube and I have started to stuff.  This goes really quick and if you have a helper it is nice.  I didn't but it still went pretty smooth.  I did have a break about half way through.  Not a problem.  Just tied it and kept going.

    This isn't all of them, it was getting late and I had already put some of them away.  I will be smoking these bad boys up Saturday.  I will finish this up then.  Again, I really appreciate all of the responses.  Thanks for looking.  Aaron.

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My-T-Fine lookin' sausages Aaron....   [​IMG]  ....
  15. sam3

    sam3 Smoking Fanatic

    Nice job Aaron. They look great!
  16. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Your cheese really shows up through the casings as your stuffing them on your picture, looks like it will good eating when you are done.
  17. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nice Thumbs Up
  18. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I just stumbled into this and noticed the OP was using a Kitchen-Aid with grinder attachment. I'm not sure what caused it with my wife's rig, but, the first time I fired her's up for a grind (brand new grinder, lightly used stand mixer) I trashed the guts in the K-A...I mean TRASHED 'em. My meat mix had crushed red pepper (don't recall what else was in the mix), and I'm suspecting that is what jammed the plate/blade, but it made quick work out destroying the gears in the K-A, about one handful of cubed chicken thigh and beef fat and it was over.

    BTW, Diesel, darn fine looking work you did on the sausage...like the ingredients, even tossing the bacon into the mix...nice improvisation...I mean, bacon makes everything better, right??? Ya got me droolin'!!!

  19. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Might have been one of the mixers with the plastic gear case. I've used my KA grinder attachment on my well used tilt head Ultra Power model mixer for a few years without issue. As for seasoning before mixing, I would worry about seeds and coarse salt dulling the blades. Not sure if that's a realistic worry, but I just mix after grinding to be sure. I also mix with the paddle attachment in the KA bowl. Makes short work of it and saves me from frozen hands.

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