My first sausage... A lot to learn but I had a blast.

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by worktogthr, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Disclaimer... Only have one photo because my hands were gunked with sausage and casings during the process.

    So I got a grinder and stuffer for Christmas and this book

    Ordered some casings online.

    Used my new turboforce grinder to grind up some pork butt for hot italian sausage. 5lbs or so. Grinder worked like a dream. Letting the meat chill in the freezer for a bit really seemed to work as the meat came through the plate with a consistent texture. From what I understand putting all the metal parts of the grinder in the fridge for a while also helps stop the meat from gumming up.

    Now I followed the instructions on the package as far as handling the casings, not what I read on here or in the sausage making book. Mistake #1! Package said to soak in warm water for 45 minutes and that's it. Book and SMF seem to say 24 hours in cold water. I am assuming the soaking makes them wet, therefore more flexible. I wet the nozzle of my stuffer but still struggled while loading the casing onto the nozzle. Seemed like a lot of friction happening. Would the overnight soak help this.

    Had a few blowouts and rips which I attribute mostly to the casing not being soaked long enough? Does that make sense? Well here is the final product. 5 lbs of hot italian sausage.

    Not exactly even or beautiful but I can't wait to taste them.
    smoking coastie likes this.
  2. I must say those look great sir! I don't know if soaking longer will help with the loading them on the horn part, but it's possible. I wet the horn a little and load straight out of the soaking water onto the horn. There's usually plenty of water left on the casings to lubricate it onto the horn. I try and load them evenly so the casings doesn't pull to one side of the horn or the other while loading....does that make sense?

    It's a bit tricky, but you'll get the hang of it. Soaking the casings for the 24 hours will help make them nice and tender so when they're cooked they have a good snap to them.

    Have fun and welcome to the addiction!
  3. How long you have to soak the casings can vary a great deal depending on the casings themselves. In a bind I purchased some casings from an outdoor store. They were fairly dry, but i dealt with them the same as I had with casings I accquired from my local butcher. It was a terrible mistake. My usual casings are packed in what could be described as sort of a slushy brine. All I ever have to do to them are give them a good rinse and roughly an hour soak. Handling the new casings this way produced the same problems you mentioned. It was not a pleasant experience at all. Hopefully a longer soak, as suggested above, will produce the desired results.

    Welcome to a fun and tasty hobby!
  4. Good point actually. My 1st few go rounds I used the same Home Pack you showed a picture of. I only did a short soak also because that's what it says and wasn't overly happy like yourself. I started doing the longer soak and I get much better results. I now use casings from a brine like above but I've maintained doing the 24 hr or so soak. Still great results.

    I made some sausages a couple days ago and my wife started yelling at me from the living room (I was in the kitchen) after I bit into one because it snapped so loud!
  5. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    They look good for your first stuffing. You want a longer soak and also flush the casing out from the inside by holding the casing up to the faucet and adding water. As RG said you need the water inside the casing and water on the tube as lubricant to get the casing on easier. You'll be a pro in no time !
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
    smoking coastie likes this.
  6. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement ! I did hold them under the faucet to rinse them out but not for long. I'll definitely soak overnight next time and give them a better rinse.

    Am I correct in assuming that I soak them overnight in the fridge? Thanks guys!
    smoking coastie likes this.
  7. Now that you say "in the fridge", that's probably the best idea. I've just done it on the counter so'll be fridge next time though.
  8. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    They look good to me. I am getting in to sausage making myself.
  9. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  10. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I rinse the hell out of em inside and out... and then rinse some more... then into a soak with a splash or two of vinegar... the longer they soaked (2-3 days because I couldn't stuff them the following day).. they were really easy to work with.. nice and silky... stretchable ... I even changed the soak water daily... gave them a shake (in a tuperware bowl) a couple of times a day...
  11. mickey jay

    mickey jay Meat Mopper

    Looks pretty good from this angle! The 'Home Packs' if I recall, are the scrap ends or 2nds from the standard larger packs. Blowouts or outright preexisting holes are common. It won't hurt anything except maybe your patience. I've only used the standard packs from Butcher Packer and been quite pleased.

    It's hard to tell from the picture, but you might have been really stuffing the casings to the limit, which can cause blowouts; maybe back off just a tad next time on the pressure and you'll be alright. I tend to throw some veggy oil on the tube which seems to help loading the casing. Looks tasty for sure; Italian is good stuff.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  12. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    We have a butcher in town who told me to try food grade mineral oil on the stuffing  tube, never tried it but friends have used this method.
  13. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well yesterday was the moment of truth. Grilled up a few links for the taste test.

    From a texture standpoint, they were great! Nice snap when you bite them, incredibly juicy inside. Flavor wise, I thought they were good but they were lacking something that I couldn't quite pinpoint. I followed the recipe from the book mentioned above exactly and too me it tastes like very good breakfast sausage. It's lacking something that makes the sausage more italian. Maybe herbs, or cheese, or even maybe just more garlic. Can't pinpoint it. Could use a bit more salt in my opinion. I did fry a test patty and had some of these same feelings but chalked it up to the fact that it needed an overnight in the fridge for the flavors to meld. Next time I'll trust my gut.

    Put some on a hero with some extra sharp provolone and together it was a great flavor combo. So maybe some cheese was all this recipe needed. Here's a couple of more pics.

    Thanks for looking and for all the help along the way!
  14. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hit me............[​IMG]


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