• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

New girl here

10
4
Joined Oct 30, 2020
As an accomplished cook I dove into my first sausage making attempt (all beef kielbasa) with great confidence... oops. It's mealy as heck. Can this be fixed or do I write off the whole batch? What is stuffed in done and will be used for chili. There is another 15# all mixed in my freezer waiting to be stuffed.

I've read several posts here and am putting in the effort to learn well. I built my own recipe, love the flavor but the low salt content may be part of the problem, only 2 teaspoons per 5#. I am not using cure.

Lean to fat ration is a solid 70/30. I chopped my meat into 1-1/2" cubes, chilled them to semi frozen, tossed with mixed spice and ran thru a fine grind. Added 1/2 cup red wine vinegar and 1 cup water (the water and vinegar were not chilled, a mistake. I thought the meat was too cold/firm to stuff and needed to warm a little). I hand mixed quite a bit but the mixture was not creamy/sticky at all, rather crumbly in the pan (my inexperience). The liquid wanted to pool in the low spots.

My best guess is I need to add more salt, chill my liquid before adding and mix the heck out of the meat until it gets sticky. My question is, at this point can anything be done to salvage the the other half of my batch that is in the freezer? Can I add another teaspoon of salt to another cup of cold water and mix again? Once the proteins and fats have "broken" can they be mended?
 

Coreymacc

Newbie
20
16
Joined Oct 7, 2020
One thing I don't see in your recipe is binder. Binder will help keep the mealyness down. I just use dry milk powder, never had any issues. Usually 1 cup per 5 lbs. It may save your remainder.

Corey
 

SFLsmkr1

Legendary Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Group Lead
9,881
3,163
Joined Dec 25, 2010
Let me add this

binders are not always needed.

Binders are used to stop food from drying out. Improving to the taste and the appearance of foods by using enhancing flavors and colors. Another benefit of food additives is that consumers can be offered a wider choice of foods. Many processed foods contain additives. Some common examples are bacon, margarine, ice cream and bread. Some people believe that because food additives are chemicals they should be banned. However, everything in the world, Including the food we eat and our bodies is made of chemicals. Air, water, glucose and salt are chemicals in the same way that food additives are. Many food additives occur naturally, such as red color from beetroot (Beet red), and purple color from grape skins (anthocyanins). These colors can be extracted and added to foods. Some food additives found in nature can be manufactured, for example, ascorbic acid. Other additives are manufactured but not found in nature, such as aspartame, which is used to replace sugar.

BINDERS - Also known as Soy, Soy Protein Concentrate, Soy Flour, Soy Grits, Soy Protein Isolate - All soy products have a high protein value.
This gives soy its binding capability, allowing you to add water (called added water) to your sausage for a moister product. These ingredients are used to prevent weight loss and shrinkage to products being processed in the smokehouse, by helping to retain the natural juices (called bound moisture) in the meat. This product also helps to bind the sausage together and can be used in meat products such as burgers to retain the natural juices from cooking out. Although not generally used in fresh sausages it may be added with good results.
You should use the following ratios: Smoked products Use binder up to 5% of the meat weight. Fresh products Use binder up to 3% of the meat weight. Sausage binder weighs out at about 4 oz. per cup so 4 cups would equal about one lb. Soy grits are used in patties and products like Hamburger Helper.
Soy protein concentrate is made from the refining process of soy beans These binders are ineffective for the most part of holding water and the natural juices, which are in the meat (called bound moister) at temperatures in excess of 165°F

POTOTO STARCH “BOOM” - A very high quality binder that will hold fat & has superior water holding capacity. Great for keeping very lean products moist during processing & cooking. Mix in this product after the cure, salt and seasonings have been added to meat mix.
Recommended applications - reduced fat emulsified meat products, marinades and hams
• Hi Viscosity
• Improves yield
• Non allergenic
• Bland flavor - Will not add unacceptable flavor
• One to one replacement with milk

CARROT BINDER “C-BIND” Use as an alternative to soy binder, soy protein & dry milk. This binder is created from carrot fiber. Will hold up to 27 times its weight in water thus retaining moisture & delivering a juicier product.
It does not effect the taste of the product.
All natural "GRAS" approved Non HMO Non allergenic Isolated Carrot Product 1-1/2 oz. Pkg- dos 25 lb of sausage.

WATER - Water is used in sausage making to add moisture to the meat, to add lubrication to the stuffing process and to help distribute the seasonings through out the meat. This water, called added water, will cook out of the meat before the natural moisture, called bound water, cooks out of the meat. Thus, you have a moister product when cooked. Water is also added to lubricate the meat making it easier to stuff into casing. Adding water to the seasoning and ingredients helps carry them into the meat and distributes them evenly during the mixing stage. You can add water up to 10% of the meat weight. Always use ice-cold water.
Water is also used to shower the finished product after smoking. This stops the cooking process and prevents swiveling. Some water supplies have high lime contents that leave white powder spots on sausage after showering. Check for hard water.
 

tx smoker

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
4,066
4,863
Joined Apr 14, 2013
Binders are used to stop food from drying out. Improving to the taste and the appearance of foods by using enhancing flavors and colors.
Rick...thanks so much for posting this. You saved me a LOT of typing. I personally don't care for NFDM as a binder. I used it a couple of times and it does the job but I didn't care for the texture of the sausage. Rarely do I use a binder but if I feel one is needed I use STPP. About the only thing I use soy protein concentrate for is a bratwurst recipe and it works well in that application.

Thanks again for sharing!!
Robert
 

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Group Lead
19,892
4,345
Joined May 12, 2011
For one thing, Vinegar, any acid, can inhibit a good bind. If you added 1/2C to the whole the impact would be less. I think your biggest problem is Salt. There is not enough Salt to breakdown the meat proteins to bind well. A common amount is 2Tbs per 5 lbs plus 1tsp of Cure #1. Since you did not add Cure, you need to smoke this at 200°F or higher, to an internal temp of 160. At a minimum, I would add 2 tsp Salt for every 5 pound of remaining meat an mix well...JJ
 

Bearcarver

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
39,129
11,715
Joined Sep 12, 2009
One question, Mom.
Any particular reason you didn't add Cure, or did I miss it?

Bear
 

thirdeye

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,375
1,392
Joined Dec 1, 2019
I asked this question in the 'Mealy Sausage' thread, and it appears you do have some un-stuffed sausage in the freezer.

So you have tried some of your cased sausage, but still have some un-stuffed sausage? Have you done a test cook on a pattie of that? You might be able to skip stuffing and package it in patties, in bulk or even make meatballs.
 

radioguy

Smoking Fanatic
803
173
Joined Jan 12, 2013
Over working the meat will cause it to be mealy. I see you only ground it once, I would use a medium plate next time. I'm not sure how long you mixed it. Try not to over work it.

RG
 
10
4
Joined Oct 30, 2020
Let me add this

binders are not always needed.

Binders are used to stop food from drying out. Improving to the taste and the appearance of foods by using enhancing flavors and colors. Another benefit of food additives is that consumers can be offered a wider choice of foods. Many processed foods contain additives. Some common examples are bacon, margarine, ice cream and bread. Some people believe that because food additives are chemicals they should be banned. However, everything in the world, Including the food we eat and our bodies is made of chemicals. Air, water, glucose and salt are chemicals in the same way that food additives are. Many food additives occur naturally, such as red color from beetroot (Beet red), and purple color from grape skins (anthocyanins). These colors can be extracted and added to foods. Some food additives found in nature can be manufactured, for example, ascorbic acid. Other additives are manufactured but not found in nature, such as aspartame, which is used to replace sugar.

BINDERS - Also known as Soy, Soy Protein Concentrate, Soy Flour, Soy Grits, Soy Protein Isolate - All soy products have a high protein value.
This gives soy its binding capability, allowing you to add water (called added water) to your sausage for a moister product. These ingredients are used to prevent weight loss and shrinkage to products being processed in the smokehouse, by helping to retain the natural juices (called bound moisture) in the meat. This product also helps to bind the sausage together and can be used in meat products such as burgers to retain the natural juices from cooking out. Although not generally used in fresh sausages it may be added with good results.
You should use the following ratios: Smoked products Use binder up to 5% of the meat weight. Fresh products Use binder up to 3% of the meat weight. Sausage binder weighs out at about 4 oz. per cup so 4 cups would equal about one lb. Soy grits are used in patties and products like Hamburger Helper.
Soy protein concentrate is made from the refining process of soy beans These binders are ineffective for the most part of holding water and the natural juices, which are in the meat (called bound moister) at temperatures in excess of 165°F

POTOTO STARCH “BOOM” - A very high quality binder that will hold fat & has superior water holding capacity. Great for keeping very lean products moist during processing & cooking. Mix in this product after the cure, salt and seasonings have been added to meat mix.
Recommended applications - reduced fat emulsified meat products, marinades and hams
• Hi Viscosity
• Improves yield
• Non allergenic
• Bland flavor - Will not add unacceptable flavor
• One to one replacement with milk

CARROT BINDER “C-BIND” Use as an alternative to soy binder, soy protein & dry milk. This binder is created from carrot fiber. Will hold up to 27 times its weight in water thus retaining moisture & delivering a juicier product.
It does not effect the taste of the product.
All natural "GRAS" approved Non HMO Non allergenic Isolated Carrot Product 1-1/2 oz. Pkg- dos 25 lb of sausage.

WATER - Water is used in sausage making to add moisture to the meat, to add lubrication to the stuffing process and to help distribute the seasonings through out the meat. This water, called added water, will cook out of the meat before the natural moisture, called bound water, cooks out of the meat. Thus, you have a moister product when cooked. Water is also added to lubricate the meat making it easier to stuff into casing. Adding water to the seasoning and ingredients helps carry them into the meat and distributes them evenly during the mixing stage. You can add water up to 10% of the meat weight. Always use ice-cold water.
Water is also used to shower the finished product after smoking. This stops the cooking process and prevents swiveling. Some water supplies have high lime contents that leave white powder spots on sausage after showering. Check for hard water.
Let me add this

binders are not always needed.

Binders are used to stop food from drying out. Improving to the taste and the appearance of foods by using enhancing flavors and colors. Another benefit of food additives is that consumers can be offered a wider choice of foods. Many processed foods contain additives. Some common examples are bacon, margarine, ice cream and bread. Some people believe that because food additives are chemicals they should be banned. However, everything in the world, Including the food we eat and our bodies is made of chemicals. Air, water, glucose and salt are chemicals in the same way that food additives are. Many food additives occur naturally, such as red color from beetroot (Beet red), and purple color from grape skins (anthocyanins). These colors can be extracted and added to foods. Some food additives found in nature can be manufactured, for example, ascorbic acid. Other additives are manufactured but not found in nature, such as aspartame, which is used to replace sugar.

BINDERS - Also known as Soy, Soy Protein Concentrate, Soy Flour, Soy Grits, Soy Protein Isolate - All soy products have a high protein value.
This gives soy its binding capability, allowing you to add water (called added water) to your sausage for a moister product. These ingredients are used to prevent weight loss and shrinkage to products being processed in the smokehouse, by helping to retain the natural juices (called bound moisture) in the meat. This product also helps to bind the sausage together and can be used in meat products such as burgers to retain the natural juices from cooking out. Although not generally used in fresh sausages it may be added with good results.
You should use the following ratios: Smoked products Use binder up to 5% of the meat weight. Fresh products Use binder up to 3% of the meat weight. Sausage binder weighs out at about 4 oz. per cup so 4 cups would equal about one lb. Soy grits are used in patties and products like Hamburger Helper.
Soy protein concentrate is made from the refining process of soy beans These binders are ineffective for the most part of holding water and the natural juices, which are in the meat (called bound moister) at temperatures in excess of 165°F

POTOTO STARCH “BOOM” - A very high quality binder that will hold fat & has superior water holding capacity. Great for keeping very lean products moist during processing & cooking. Mix in this product after the cure, salt and seasonings have been added to meat mix.
Recommended applications - reduced fat emulsified meat products, marinades and hams
• Hi Viscosity
• Improves yield
• Non allergenic
• Bland flavor - Will not add unacceptable flavor
• One to one replacement with milk

CARROT BINDER “C-BIND” Use as an alternative to soy binder, soy protein & dry milk. This binder is created from carrot fiber. Will hold up to 27 times its weight in water thus retaining moisture & delivering a juicier product.
It does not effect the taste of the product.
All natural "GRAS" approved Non HMO Non allergenic Isolated Carrot Product 1-1/2 oz. Pkg- dos 25 lb of sausage.

WATER - Water is used in sausage making to add moisture to the meat, to add lubrication to the stuffing process and to help distribute the seasonings through out the meat. This water, called added water, will cook out of the meat before the natural moisture, called bound water, cooks out of the meat. Thus, you have a moister product when cooked. Water is also added to lubricate the meat making it easier to stuff into casing. Adding water to the seasoning and ingredients helps carry them into the meat and distributes them evenly during the mixing stage. You can add water up to 10% of the meat weight. Always use ice-cold water.
Water is also used to shower the finished product after smoking. This stops the cooking process and prevents swiveling. Some water supplies have high lime contents that leave white powder spots on sausage after showering. Check for hard water.
Fantastic info, on point and so complete. Very glad I joined this site, thanks
 

tallbm

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
4,759
1,870
Joined Dec 30, 2016
As an accomplished cook I dove into my first sausage making attempt (all beef kielbasa) with great confidence... oops. It's mealy as heck. Can this be fixed or do I write off the whole batch? What is stuffed in done and will be used for chili. There is another 15# all mixed in my freezer waiting to be stuffed.

I've read several posts here and am putting in the effort to learn well. I built my own recipe, love the flavor but the low salt content may be part of the problem, only 2 teaspoons per 5#. I am not using cure.

Lean to fat ration is a solid 70/30. I chopped my meat into 1-1/2" cubes, chilled them to semi frozen, tossed with mixed spice and ran thru a fine grind. Added 1/2 cup red wine vinegar and 1 cup water (the water and vinegar were not chilled, a mistake. I thought the meat was too cold/firm to stuff and needed to warm a little). I hand mixed quite a bit but the mixture was not creamy/sticky at all, rather crumbly in the pan (my inexperience). The liquid wanted to pool in the low spots.

My best guess is I need to add more salt, chill my liquid before adding and mix the heck out of the meat until it gets sticky. My question is, at this point can anything be done to salvage the the other half of my batch that is in the freezer? Can I add another teaspoon of salt to another cup of cold water and mix again? Once the proteins and fats have "broken" can they be mended?
Hi there and welcome!

Also how did you cook this sausage? I'm just asking to see if the cooking process caused any issues.
When people smoke cured sausage and they bring the heat in the smoker too fast or they cook at too high of a temp the fat drains out and u get crumbly or other texture issues with the sausage.
 
10
4
Joined Oct 30, 2020
For one thing, Vinegar, any acid, can inhibit a good bind. If you added 1/2C to the whole the impact would be less. I think your biggest problem is Salt. There is not enough Salt to breakdown the meat proteins to bind well. A common amount is 2Tbs per 5 lbs plus 1tsp of Cure #1. Since you did not add Cure, you need to smoke this at 200°F or higher, to an internal temp of 160. At a minimum, I would add 2 tsp Salt for every 5 pound of remaining meat an mix well...JJ
I suspected the vinegar was playing a part and figured I would need more salt. Wasn't aware the salt actually breaks down the proteins. Understanding "how" things work is important to me. You give specific info I can work with. I've made a few 100 pound of jerky over the last 5 years and understand the importance of cure for shelf life. I have a household member who can't tolerate nitrates, I'm sensitive to many preservatives and another household member has to limit salt and we all love sausage. My goal it to build a lean, nitrate free recipes that we can all enjoy. It looks like this type of product will be more prone to mealy texture. My learning curve is much steeper than I anticipated. I love this kind of challenge, thanks for sharing your knowledge. You have been a big help. Thanks
 
10
4
Joined Oct 30, 2020
Hi there and welcome!

Also how did you cook this sausage? I'm just asking to see if the cooking process caused any issues.
When people smoke cured sausage and they bring the heat in the smoker too fast or they cook at too high of a temp the fat drains out and u get crumbly or other texture issues with the sausage.
I don't have a smoker, yet. I put them on a slow alder fired grill, didn't puncture the casings and let them sit a few minutes before serving. Cooking them hot would of course effect their juiciness but these were sawdust awful. I have some good pointers on how to adjust both recipe and process thanks to you all. This is a great place to grow and learn.
 
10
4
Joined Oct 30, 2020
I asked this question in the 'Mealy Sausage' thread, and it appears you do have some un-stuffed sausage in the freezer.

So you have tried some of your cased sausage, but still have some un-stuffed sausage? Have you done a test cook on a pattie of that? You might be able to skip stuffing and package it in patties, in bulk or even make meatballs.
I tried a pattie in the pan before stuffing. I wasn't happy with the texture but thought the cooking process in the casing would improve my product enough to make it a passable first attempt. Nothing I've done warrants throwing anything away. Yes to meatballs and chili and whatever else my imagination can drum up.
 
10
4
Joined Oct 30, 2020
One question, Mom.
Any particular reason you didn't add Cure, or did I miss it?

Bear
I have a household member who can't tolerate nitrates, it messes with his heart. Another has to watch his salt very closely. I started making cure free jerky several years ago and have wanted to try sausage for some time. I'm super happy with my spices, now to conquer the texture.
 

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Group Lead
19,892
4,345
Joined May 12, 2011
You can get away without Cure #1, you just can't Smoke them below 200°F and the sausage won't have the Hammy flavor or classic Pink color. It's hard to have food and ingredient sensitivity. Sausage, unfortunately, is one of those foods that is difficult to get a quality product low fat, low Salt, no Nitrite...JJ
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
26,091
3,503
Joined Nov 12, 2010
mom, evening.... One thing I noticed is..... The ground meat with all it's additives, salt, sugar, pepper etc., needs to be mixed until the proteins break down and do some weird thing.... Can't remember what it's called... anywho, mix the meat until it gets sticky... like this....

1604123226358.jpeg


That should solve the crumbly situation....

2 guys and a cooler have a U-Tube video about that ... I'll find it....

 

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Group Lead
19,892
4,345
Joined May 12, 2011
I stumbled across 2 Guys and a Cooler the other day. Pretty impressive list of recipes and some great videos. I watched the Mex Chorizo video and commented that their's was the first recipe, I've seen, that called for aging the Chorizo a week before consuming or freezing...JJ
 

Bearcarver

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
39,129
11,715
Joined Sep 12, 2009
I have a household member who can't tolerate nitrates, it messes with his heart. Another has to watch his salt very closely. I started making cure free jerky several years ago and have wanted to try sausage for some time. I'm super happy with my spices, now to conquer the texture.

Thank You for the Reply!
I understand entirely! I'm in the same position for the last 8 years.

Bear
 

tallbm

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
4,759
1,870
Joined Dec 30, 2016
I don't have a smoker, yet. I put them on a slow alder fired grill, didn't puncture the casings and let them sit a few minutes before serving. Cooking them hot would of course effect their juiciness but these were sawdust awful. I have some good pointers on how to adjust both recipe and process thanks to you all. This is a great place to grow and learn.
You will get this figured out.
I make Fresh Brats that are amazing using Lem's Backwoods Fresh Brat seasoning. So nothing wrong with making fresh sausages you throw on the grill, they can be just as amazing as smoked sausages.

I'm sure if you play around with 1-2 pound batches you will nail it very soon. With most cooking I find that the simpler you keep things the most often you end up with something amazing versus messing with it a bunch of adding a ton of different ingredients/seasonings.

Rule of thumb with sausage making, if it doesn't pass the patty fry test dont stuff it hahaha. Also the way it tastes as a patty may differet some from how it tastes once grilled or smoked but if it tastes good then roll with it because the flavor profile will likely change when cooked as links :)

U are gonna get this, let us know how the next batches turn out :)
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.