New and Overwhelmed

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by realist, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. realist

    realist Newbie

    hello from MN...

    i've been doing a lot of looking around online the past few weeks and there's way too much information out there... i think it would be nicer to just be able to talk to a few people instead of just reading webpage after webpage...

    i'm a novice... i have never ground meat, do very little grilling but love to cook... i'm looking to make my own brats, sausage and meat patties... things i'm looking to replicate are the grilled chicken patties you can get from trader joes, flavored brats i buy from the meat department in the grocery store(minus all the fat), chicken, spinach and asiago cheese brats you can get from sams club... i like the fact i know everything that's going into what i'm making... nothing artificial and lowest possible fat

    i currently own a rival vacuum sealer model vs106 (picked up refurbished for $25) which i have already used to freeze chicken breasts with... i bought about 15 pounds of split breast for 89c a pound... cut the breast from the bone, took off the skin and fat... worked wonderfully... i am curious though if i can use this model with the rolls of plastic instead of the bags... if so, any recommendations on where to purchase cheap rolls from...

    i recently bought a #8 LEM 575 watt meat grinder from fleet farm only because it was on sale for $88... i'm not going to use it yet until i know this is the one i should be using... the sale ends tomorrow so it was the only reason i got it now... my budget for a grinder is $100... give or take a few dollars... i'm also looking at the Kitchener #12 Electric Meat Grinder 1/2 HP from northern tool...

    my question is, should i be looking at wattage or horse power... anyone have other grinder options in that price range i should look at? any other pieces of equipment i will need? i do have a scale too...

    thanks for the guidance...
  2. First off, welcome to SMF!  There is alot of info here and please take time to read the many threads. They alone can give you the answers.  I don't do what you are planning, but many others do and will be along to help.

    Enjoy it!  Dont get discouraged at failures as they lead to improvements for the next round!


    (formerly from Rochester, MN)
    realist likes this.
  3. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome realist... Do you own a meat grinder? after that the rest is simple.
  4. realist

    realist Newbie

    i would also like to add another question... what is everyone's thought on natural and collagen casings... do people just use the natural ones because their stubborn or is there really that much difference...
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011
  5. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Natural casings tend to be more forgiving.  They shrink to fit the stuffing better and provide a better "pop" after cooking.  Collagen casings are more consistent in size, do not have to be preserved with salt and water and are not as "messy".  I use natural casing for sausages and collagen when stuffing smaller snack sticks.  I think they are considerably cheaper then sheep casings in the smaller sizes
  6. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My Answers in RED

  7. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]    Glad to have you with us!
  9. realist

    realist Newbie

    thanks for the warm welcome and quick replies...

    natural casings more forgiving? I would have thought that would have been the other way around. After rinsing natural casings, is there any significant sodium left behind.. I try to lower my salt intake as much as I can

    anyone know where Kitchener is made. That might help determine which meat grinder I buy. I see LEM is made in China. I can't find where Kitchener is made.

    I'm live in SE MN

    I do have a scale and have been looking at $99 stuffers.. I'm also thinking about making my own smoker.. Depends how ambitious I get. Thumbs Up
  10. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use natural casings for sausages, and collagen casings for snack sticks.

    Natural casings stretch a little more and collagen casings tend to split under too much pressure

  11. Take a deep breath!! OK?

    Find ONE (1) recipe for a fresh sausage. OK? Make ONE (1) 5 # batch of the sausage. OK? 


    Baby steps. I really recommend Ruhlman and Polcyn's "Charcuterie". Easy and straight forward recipes. 

    Try a fresh breakfast sausage or chorizo first - you don't need to stuff them!!

    Have fun. Food is FUN!! If you ain't havin' fun you have missed the reason for cooking!!

    I've got a pound of fresh garlic sausage thawing right now. I'm planning to poach the sausage in some fantastic red sauce a Sicilian buddy and I made two weekends ago and then do fresh veggie "pasta" (julienne squash, zuchinni, and eggplant). Making your own food is fantastic!!
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  12. saugeyejoe

    saugeyejoe Fire Starter

    Ive never purchased a grinder but 746 watts = 1 horsepower.
  13. sunman76

    sunman76 Master of the Pit

  14. smokeamotive

    smokeamotive Smoking Fanatic

    [​IMG]  toSMF there Realist. First I have to agree with ChadinClw. Don't try to do everthing at once. Try one recipe, see if you like it, make your own improvment, and try again. Thats the beauty of fresh sausage. You do a "fry test" when you get it mixed up, then if you need to add something just go ahead and do it till you get it where you want it. If you bought a LEM #8 grinder for $ 88.00, you didn't buy it.... you STOLE it!!! I just saw the same one a BPS yesterday for $ 288.00. You will want to get a sausage stuffer, some people use there grinders but it can be a bit of a challenge. You can get them from a number of places like Northern tool or Grizzly's. And don't be afraid to ask questions, we all need some help on one thing or another. Lots of geat folks here and as many great recipies too! Good luck and good smokin to you.
  15. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Have to agree with the posts above and much info can be daunting & intimadating.Take it slow. I have yet to make sausage but it's on my short list of things to do. There are MANY great guys on here that do all kinds of sausage and post won't take you long to find them & recipes to copy and try. Any specific questions you have just ask and you will get answers. This is the best site IMHO for learning anything related to what you're looking for. I'd start with the handy dandy search bar above and check out some links posted from members. Some will even have tutorial links below their names to click and follow. Enjoy the site and the ride to sausage making heaven. Welcome to the SMF.... 
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Realist, evening.....Follow the advice from previous members about the grinder and stuffer...As far as casings go, I have only used natural casings. I like to do things the "old fashioned way". I like the "snap" when you bite into them. You can rinse the salt out, no problem.

    I have the Grizzley 5# stuffer and it works well. It has plastic gears but they are replaceable if you have a problem.... If you treat them with respect, should be no problem...

    Enjoy your long smokey ride on this forum... great people and great recipes... Dave
  17. rp ribking

    rp ribking Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    My answer is in red below
    Good Luck, RP
  18. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

  19. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    Welcome aboard!
  20. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit


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