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Sausage 101

smoke_chef

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I've smoked a good bit but haven't ventured in to sausage yet. I have the toys, grinder and stuffer... and I think I'm ready to give it a try. I used the search function to see if there was a tutorial of some sort for beginners but I can't find anything. I was hoping to find out a good sausage to try first. There must be some that are easier than others?
 

mdboatbum

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Pops' country breakfast sausage is a good pace to start. Bratwurst is another good one. Best way is just to do it and see what works for you.

A few things I've learned:

Keep everything cold. An hour in the freezer for the meat, grinder, auger, blade, bowl etc.. It makes it easier to grind and keeps the fat from emulsifying.

Use a binder. I just use nonfat dried milk powder at about a cup per 5lbs. It helps your sausage hang onto fat and moisture for a much juicier final product.

Most importantly, have fun. If something doesn't work out, you can always use it on chili, spaghetti sauce or meatloaf. This is supposed to be FUN DAMNIT!!
 

foamheart

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I might if I may add, clean inside and out the casing while checking for holes the day before and allow to sit in a bowl of water in the reefer over night to hydrate! You'll enjoy it much more if you remember do so. I have tried to grind, season the meat and clean and hydrate the casing the day before I stuff. Then I am back in the reefer again usually over night then smoke.

Anything that is Pop's is good info. Also Boykjo, Cougar, MdBoatbum, Woodcutter, etc... The reason I pick these is they are a bit more open about their secret recipes and tricks of the trade. I know they guided me a lot, as well as others.
 

junkcollector

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boatbum n foam gotcha started good. if your doing a stuffed sausage using natural casings, SOAK SOAK SOAK!!!! overnite preferably. the longer you soak the casings the better. change the water regularly. use vinegar or not is up to you, i've used em with and without vinegar with good results. nothing like playing with nice silky smooth sheep/pig guts....
 
 
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Since you all seem intense on soaking the casings longer than most of us currently do, please tell us WHAT the sausage will be like, IF one does not soak them as long as overnight. What problems will we experience? I soak mine for a couple hours, but I want to know how overnight will improve my finished product. Thanks.!
 

reinhard

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First, regarding a short soak [OldVirginiaJoe] as your doing, if it works for you that's all that matters.  However soaking casings overnight has been something i learned many years ago and have done to this day. The biggest reason [well two reasons] is to get maximum expansion capacity from the casing and of course a more softer casing to work with.  When ready to stuff i also like to change the water one more time and put luke warm water in the bowl with the casings [about an hour before stuffing].  This softens the casings even more and creates the best expansion of the casings. Hope this helps. Reinhard
 
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foamheart

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Since you all seem intense on soaking the casings longer than most of us currently do, please tell us WHAT the sausage will be like, IF one does not soak them as long as overnight. What problems will we experience? I soak mine for a couple hours, but I want to know how overnight will improve my finished product. Thanks.!
I learned, the way I always do, the hard way, that if I wash/rinse and check the casings then attempt to load them on the tube it takes me three times as long. They just want to hang up on the tube, no not the end but the actual tube. They just don't slide on with the ease they do with an over night.

Also because of the hang ups, when stuffing I have more blow outs. It doesn't release as well from the tube. This is on a new 5#LEM with SS tubes. I am no expert. Only passing along what I have learned personally. After I got a dedicated stuffer its really the only problem I have had. I always now laugh and think of that one important word for smoking.......... Patience.

I made some Andouille sausage with standard sized casing, but after a nights soak they were so close to being big enough to be Andouille and not sausage I was amazed. And not one single blow out. I have had similar experiences with the small sheep's casing. I tried soaking 3 or 4 hours and it was a soup sandwich, then I threw in the towel and left the second casing to soak overnight, no holes.

It just doesn't work for me as well if not an overnight soak. I am sure ol'hardheaded me will have numerous times in the future to add to experience of not giving 24 hours, but as of now I just don't see the need for the frustration.
 

smoke_chef

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All great info. Thanks to all. I'll post results and q-view when I give it a shot.
 

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