First attempt making sausage

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Guys, let your dishwashers help with cleaning up. Cleaning up the grinder sucks, cleaning my stuffer sucks, cleaning the counters sucks, and cleaning the cutting boards sucks.

Now I can't help with the countertops, but everything else that fits in the dishwasher goes into the dishwasher.

DO NOT USE DISHWASHER DETERGENT. It will oxidize and ruin aluminum parts. Use Dawn or whatever you use for sink detergent. I'm a Dawn Platinum guy because I know exactly how much Dawn Platinum I can use in my dishwasher without the dishwasher over sudsing and pouring out of the door.

2-3 drops in the prewash cycle, 2-3 drops in the little door that opens during the regular wash cycle. No grease left on the grinder or stuffer parts. My LEM hopper barely fits, I mean like maybe a quarter inch from the top water spinner, but it fits. Every other part I lay on its side so it fits.

Yes, I do rinse out the majority of the chunky and fat particles left behind. But that is way easier than hand washing everything to non-greasy clean.

That sausage looks great!
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Reactions: kevinwi here's the learning moments.

I did everything outside under my cook shed on the new prep table....I mean...that's why I bought it right? It was 37°F when I started.

I took the meat from the freezer on Tuesday to cut up for grinding on Saturday Morning.
It actually worked perfectly. the butts and brisket were both about half frozen and cutting the meat went very easily.

I unboxed the grinder that had been in my garage for the last 2 weeks and set it up before starting.
I cut the meat into long strips which could be easily slid down the throat of the grinder.
I turned the grinder on, and it acted like it was jammed...just hummed...nothing moved.
I took it apart and turned it on and could see the gears barely moving....(I was upset)...what the hell?? did I buy a lemon..... I got my tools out ready to tear the thing apart and thought....maybe I should read the instruction booklet?? So I opened it up and started reading...skipped the first page of safety and was about to skip the 2nd page of safety instruction when something caught my eye...... "DO NOT OPERATE UNIT UNDER 45°F. Well that told me what I needed to know...the grease was too cold. Brought it in and warmed it up inside (with help from a heat gun for 30 seconds and all was good. Operated normally..... IDIOT! So that was mistake #1

I brought the grinder back outside and it operated just fine...I even bought a pedal so it wouldn't run all the time.
But I ran into issues right out of the jammed almost immediately. I tore the head apart and did it a few pieces done and jam again.....I figured maybe the meat was too cold...
Anyway, after about 6 jams I finally figured out what the cause first I thought it was the half frozen meat...but no...strips way too I had to recut all 25 lbs as I fed the grinder. The pieces were too long and got caught up in the auger. But all the jams and recutting all the meat took me an extra hour and a half I'll bet. After cutting the meat up again, things went pretty smooth.

I had sprinkled the seasonings onto the meat before grinding....I think it distributes the seasonings well.

After everything was ground (I used a one shot head (double grind), I added the NFDM, dissolved the cure in water and mixed by hand a bit before transferring into the LEM mixer.

The mixer was a PITA....probably the worst investment I've made.... it mixed well, but you have to hold it down like you're wrestling a calf while you crank. Then getting the meat out....doesn't have a tip feature...but didn't matter....picked the whole unit up, meat and all and attempted to dump it into the tub....nothing...didn't move....I put it down and dismantled the mixer blades and it still wouldn't come out....the meat stuck to everything on the's got some weird coating that attracts meat like a baby to a teat....and it won't let go....what a mess...finally got the mixing blade out full of meat and slowly had to scrape the mixer down to get the meat out.....I wanted to toss it in the trash right there....

The stuffing went okay...There is a "practice makes perfect" art to stuffing hog casings which I knew going it....had some blowouts....had to learn by feel how much to better as it went....but all in all, that process went well.
I made half regular, then added jalepeno and cheddar (which I'm eating right now as I type this) yummm.

My final mistakes came while smoking the meat.
I had a probe in one sausage in the middle of cooker and a smoker thermometer at the center as well.
I started at around 125 and slowly brought it up to 150 over the hour and then the next at 150-160.
The next 2 hours were at sausage was up around 138 at that time....
I then kicked it up to 205 and decided to probe other sausages with the thermapen....good thing too...some were at 148, some up to 155 on the right half of the I panicked a bit to get them off and got that half off the pit and into an ice bath...mistake was that I didn't pay attention to which were which. Put them on the drying rack to bloom, took out the 2nd half and iced them as well.... the sausage got so dark I found it hard to distinguish regular from Jalepeno & some of my "gifts" to people with softer stomachs will be a mystery....some I could see cheese...but I just couldn't tell TBH..... I thought it would be easier to tell which is which....nope! ha.

Side note...the chamber vacuum sealer I bought absolutely rocks!

Anyway...those are my lessons learned. Cheers!
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Awesome job man. What cheese did you use? Did you leave seeds in jalapeños? What’s the heat level? Looks great.
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Awesome job man. What cheese did you use? Did you leave seeds in jalapeños? What’s the heat level? Looks great.
have no idea the heat level package didn't say....yes there were a ton of seeds...which made me use less...glad I did because there was some heat to these links.
I used high temp cheddar. I bought some habanero and pepper jack, but it didn't arrive until after the cook....lucky because there was enough heat... Cheese helps temper the heat....that and a cold beer.
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