My first sausage - Three ways

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Chris_in_SoCal

Master of the Pit
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Feb 18, 2012
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After spending many hours looking at everyone's sausage cooks here and learning a lot in a short amount of time I decided it was time to try it out myself.

I started with 8.4 Lbs of butt and 2.8 Lbs of Chuck roast. I used LEM polish for my first try, I will make my own on the next ones. Also cure #1. I bought LEM natural casings but learned later that the home packs were not the best. They seemed to work OK for me.

Small cubes of pepper jack and jalapeno were frozen for about half the mix. 1/4 were plain and the last 1/4 my wife ground up a huge amount of fresh garlic for me to add.

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I didn't want another appliance so I ordered a stainless steel grinding attachment and stuffer for our Kitchen aid mixer.

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10 Lbs was a lot to grind up. I mixed it all up and let it marinade in the fridge for a while before stuffing.

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This part was not fun and took a lot more work than I was expecting. We started out by me feeding and my wife guiding but she gave up pretty quick so it was up to me to do the other 8 Lbs or so. I was able to get pretty consistent but was getting a lot of air in the casings. I did get a couple of blowouts and a few air pockets but I think they came out OK for the first time.

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Now they are in the smoker. I found out the new PID will only go down to 160* I thought I had it lower before but it said no.

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I also picked up a vacuum sealer for when these are done.
 
Sausage looks good. What kind of vac sealer did you decide on? A dedicated stuffer is a lifesaver for me and makes the process much more enjoyable.. very nice job on the sausage!!

I just picked up a cheap Seal A Meal from Walmart along with a couple 11 inch rolls. I did watch a few videos comparing the attachment to dedicated stuffers but since I only plan on doing this a few times a year I thought this would be fine.

The plastic push rod on the stuffer was the problem. It was fine pushing in the solid chunks of meat but it is too narrow so pushing the ground meat back into stuff it more meat shot back up the sides than went down into the auger.

I might just dig out the mini wood lathe and make a wooden one that fits better.
 
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It is now 2:15am and they are not done. They are looking pretty good though. It is a good thing I am retired and do not have to get up early anymore. They are currently sitting at an IT of 123*.

I will let them go until 155* no matter how late that is and have a long sleep tomorrow.

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It is now 2:15am and they are not done. They are looking pretty good though. It is a good thing I am retired and do not have to get up early anymore. They are currently sitting at an IT of 123*.

I will let them go until 155* no matter how late that is and have a long sleep tomorrow.

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Those look great. Nice work!

I'm also in the dedicated stuffer crowd. Tried stuffing with both a kitchen aid grinder and a stand alone grinder and had the same experience you described. Both ground the meat really well, even if grinding a second time. But the sausage once mixed was way too sticky to feed well into the auger and it changed the final consistency of the sausage. As well as it was just a royal pita. I got a 7l Vevor horizontal stuffer off fleabay and it works great.
 
The finally. They were finished at 4:15am. I did not expect them to take this long to finish but they smell so good I think it was worth staying up so late. I could not attempt to try it now but will wait until tomorrow to eat one. Most will be vacuum packed and given to family and friends but I will enjoy enough of them for me.

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Well done for first time. Smaller LEM or Hakka stuffer would fill the bill. The KA grinder works pretty good but are slow. If I do any more than 5# at once I get out the big rig.
 
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Sausages look good. Couple things I see.
A cold water bath for 15-20 minutes after smoking cools the sausage and sets the casing. Without that step your casings may be pretty chewy.

Stuffing with a grinder is a slow PIA. The more you push it the more air in the casing. One thing that helps a little is to make sure you use a stuffing plate or a kidney plate not a regular grinding plate, the grinding plate creates to much restriction when stuffing.

A dedicated stuffer makes life much more simple and finished product much better, however if a new appliance is not possible, look into a Jerky cannon (looks like a caulking gun) LEM sells one and has a stuffing horn for sausage. You have to refill a lot but it works much better than a grinder to stuff. I use one when developing new sausage recipes in small one or two pound batches.
 
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The look terrific. Nicely done!!!
We have a stand alone stuffer that works OK.
I need to clamp it to the counter to keep it from moving.
Two people trying to do the stuffing didn't work for me. Couldn't keep in sync with feed & guiding.
Way down on the "to purchase sometime" list is an electric stuffer.
Single person operation will be easy with a foot pedal for speed control.
 
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Excellent job Chris!! The color on those things in the last pic is nothing short of breathtaking. Just gorgeous. I know you don't want another appliance but if you really enjoy the sausages and making them, a dedicated stuffer is a must-have tool. It makes all the difference in the world.

Robert
 
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I started out with a Kitchen Aid. You have to love a kitchen appliance with a PTO!

Your first batch looks great and had to be a labor of love!

I agree with the others that you will probably graduate to better equipment if you catch the sausage making bug. I still use my KA grinder to help with small batches...like ham salad, a pound of fresh breakfast sausage...due to the super easy clean up.
 
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The sausages look great! Nice color. As has been said, a cold water bath to quickly cool them will set your casings, making them more tender and free of wrinkles. How about a cut shot of the finished product?
 
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