Sausage making plunge

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Nefarious

Master of the Pit
Original poster
Oct 10, 2021
1,618
1,310
Seattle WA
I'm not sure I really know what I'm asking for. I want to make sausage. I think this is a multi step process, I will start making simple Italian hot sausage for my pasta sauce, without links, just to get started. Second step will be adding links and curing, whatever that means, the current goal is to make an andouille sausage, I love cajun cooking. I have a kitchen aid grinder, and will upgrade as this project evolves. I do not have a stuffer, will get one when I get there.

I am on a trip, family is skiing, I can't because of arthritis, I have lots of time on my hands to read anything you can throw at me.

I have done a bunch of searches and there many instructions about how to get this going. I trust you guys will lead me down the correct path, and if I am going to ask you questions later on, it would be better for me to be speaking the local language.

We also eat very little sodium, are there any references to lower sodium sausage making.
 
NF, You are correct in starting simple by just making fresh bulk sausage
Here is my favorite hot Italian recipe, courtesy of Eldon Cutlip:
10 pounds of pork butt with back fat taken off ( frozen for later use in venny sausage)
4 Tbspn salt
2 Tbspn paprika
2 Tbspn crushed red pepper
1 Tbspn cayenne pepper
3 Tbspn whole fennel seed
2 Tbspn whole anise seed
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbspn sugar
1 cup ice water
Ground once through a 3/16 or 1/4 inch plate
I just made a batch of this and had patties on the grill the past few nights, DELICIOUS!.

You need some salt to bind/flavor the meat , I cut back on a lot of fresh sausage recipes . You'll have to experiment but don't cut back too much.
 
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Eldon and Karen are good folks. Dont know if Eldon is doing any better. Karen told me he was Ill with MS or something like that.

The employees bought the company. Eldon and Karen own and run the Dakotah stuffer part.
 
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Eldon and Karen are good folks. Dont know if Eldon is doing any better. Karen told me he was Ill with MS or something like that.

The employees bought the company. Eldon and Karen own and run the Dakotah stuffer part.
Do you have a link to the company, or a name?
 
My suggestion is to read everything you can on sausage making, and hit youtube. There are a ton of good videos on all the ins and outs.
 
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For just making sausage, this is a great book. Just 158 pages with everything you need to know plus tons of recipes.
 
I'm not sure I really know what I'm asking for. I want to make sausage. I think this is a multi step process, I will start making simple Italian hot sausage for my pasta sauce, without links, just to get started. Second step will be adding links and curing, whatever that means, the current goal is to make an andouille sausage, I love cajun cooking. I have a kitchen aid grinder, and will upgrade as this project evolves. I do not have a stuffer, will get one when I get there.

I am on a trip, family is skiing, I can't because of arthritis, I have lots of time on my hands to read anything you can throw at me.

I have done a bunch of searches and there many instructions about how to get this going. I trust you guys will lead me down the correct path, and if I am going to ask you questions later on, it would be better for me to be speaking the local language.

We also eat very little sodium, are there any references to lower sodium sausage making.

  1. Easy Mode -You can dip your toe in the water if you buy ground beef or ground pork at like 80/20, 73/27 or so and start trying Italian Hot Sausage recipes or store bought seasonings. Weigh out the seasoning in grams and make notes and see what you like until you get a bulk sausage you like. If you want to start making larger batches that you want to bag up then you can get your hands on a stuffer and some 1 pound poly ground meat bags. This is like a training wheels step you can dive into and spend as much or as little time as you like with very little equipment and time restriction
    • Fry Test - learn to fry test to see if your meat is too salty or too bland. Adjust too salty by adding more meat. Too bland, add more seasonings. Update your seasoning per pound notes here so you nail it every time in the future AND you can scale up or down without the flavor changing!!!!!
    • Easy Mode 2 Grinding - buy pork butts and grind them for 80/20 pork. You will learn how to grind meat to make bulk sausage rather than buying already ground meat. You will learn if you need to upgrade to a dedicated grinder, especially if you want to start making 10lbs, 20lbs, or more sausage at one time without it being a loooooong hard endeavor.
  2. Link the Easy Mode Stuff - now that you are fry testing and making good hot Italian, you can get a stuffer and some natural hog casings to make Fresh Links. Fresh??? Fresh = no cure #1 added to the seasoning mix. You will hot cook these sausages on the grill ,skillet, oven, etc. No low temp smoking for these since they have no Cure#1.
    The job of Cure#1 is to allow you to low temp smoke sausages over a long period of time without the fear of bacteria spoiling the food or making you sick. Cure#1 = food safety AND good cured flavor (pork bell with cure#1 taste like bacon, without tasted like pork chops).
    • Natural Hog Casings - you will learn to prep and use them (soak for at least 5 days in water in the fridge before using. Buy a "Hank" of castings NEVER the little plastic home packs which are nothing but the ends and rejects from the Hanks haha
    • Stuffing - you will learn about stuffing into casings. Stuff into casing and coil up the "rope". Also stuff like 80% full so they dont bust when linking or cooking, they will plump up and fill out when cooking. If you are making bulk sausage you will likely have a stuffer to stuff into 1 pound poly bags anyhow at this point.
    • Linking - you will learn to link. If not stuffed full you can more easily link without busing the casing. I also suggest when making links you don't link tight, try to leave like 80-90% from a tight stuff as they will continue to expand and plump while cooking and if linked too tight they will bust or split. Linking not so tight allows for expansion when cooking as they plump
  3. Cured Smoked Sausage Evolution - at this point you know how to grind meat and fat, mix seasonings, fry test to verify, stuff, and link. Now comes cured smoked sausage processes. You basically just add Cure#1 to the seasoning and meat in the appropriate measurements. This is because plan to smoke the sausage which is many hours over a low temp. Times and temps that would make uncured meat unsafe to eat, hence the need for Cure#1. Why long times and low temps???? If you cook or smoke sausage at too high of a temp the fat melts out and leaves you with nothing but crumbly meat that is often flavorless as the seasoning also drains out with the fat.

    So to avoid the issue the process is to start at a low temp 100/110F and then bring the smoker cooking temp up like 10F-20F degrees or so every hour. The max smoker temp is usually 165-170F. You can push 180F but your smoker better hold tight and you probably don't want to go forever at that temp.
    Why these temps??? Well meat seems to want to be only about as hot as 15F degrees lower than your cooking temp in these situations. So you need to go high enough to take the meat to 150-155F Internal Temp (IT) of the meat. If you have wild game and are concerned with parasites you can take it to 165F IT but there are some things you might be able to do to mitigate that need, if not then you can do smoker tmep of 180F and meat IT of 165F to be safe. indaswamp indaswamp has some good info on dealing with parasites that I never remember off the top of my head but you dont have to worry about this with store bought or farm raised meat. Only wild game that can carry specific parasites (bears, feral hogs, etc.)
    • Perform all steps you know but add Cure#1 to seasoning for amount of meat needed - Grind, season, fry test, stuff and link link
    • Smoking Process - hang or lay on smoker racks. Also you don't have to do links if you want to do just big coils which is a quicker option too and produces like the big "U" shaped cuts of sausage you buy at the store in the bacon section
      • Start at 100/110F smoker temp with no smoke for an hour
      • Hour 2 start smoke and bump up smoker 10-20F every 45-60min until you hit 165-170F smoker temp
      • Keep cooking until you hit 150F-155F IT. Texture differences will dictate which exact temp you like but in general that is the good range but you can go higher if you like. I try around 152-153F and I don't worry if any temps are higher while the whole batch is cooking. It's all good to me
      • Pull when IT temp hit and throw into an ice water bath!!! This cools them down to stop cooking and prevents shriveling. Once they are good and cool (under 90F IT) you can pull them out and let them sit to "Bloom". Most people do this at room temp for an hour to a few hours. I do this for like 30-45 min (time it takes for me to clean up) then I transfer to the garage fridge to continue the process.
      • When blooming period is done you can store them, eat them, heat them, do whatever you want with them. I vac seal and freeze them. All except the ones I plan to eat at that moment or over the next few days. Those I plan to eat I just put on a plate and place in the fridge to come back to when cooking eating time happens over the next few says. I vac seal and freeze the rest!
  4. Evolve - Now that you know how to do bulk, fresh, and cured/smoked sausage you can expand and evolve your game! You can try sheep casings (more delicate, smaller, more difficult to work with but make a thinner sausage and casings are more tender).
    You can do summer sausage in big fibrous casings.
    You can do skinless sausage which are done in cellulose/plastic cases (easy and fast to work with but you must tie off links and you basically commit to smoking the same day as stuffing as you can't link, cut, and vac seal to cook or smoke another day).
    You can cold'ish smoke for how ever long you want to apply smoke and then Sous Vide to finish them in a way faster overall time.
    Etc, etc.!
Well I tried to throw a good amount at you so you have something to read haha.
I hope you find this info helpful, especially since it's all in 1 spot for ya :D
 
Yep, sausage making is a huge rabbit hole. the types and processes are nearly unlimited.
 
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Good call on starting with bulk sausage. About half of my sausage is in bulk. Italian for sure, then Chorizo, but I make a farm sausage, and breakfast sausage in bulk too.
 
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Have some pork ground for you if you don't have a grinder, or buy pre-ground.

Season and mix well, cook and enjoy!

Making fresh bulk sausage is pretty straight forward.

I started out that way and have accumulated some equipment over the years.

Dedicated grinder and 20lb motorized stuffer for sausage.

When you make link sausage, i think a dedicated stuffer is the way to go.

I went from 5lb and 15lb manual stuffers before the motorized one.

Have a 5lb still for small batches.

Good luck.
 
You might also check out Len Poli. Great step by step proven recipes and user friendly....Google for his site.
 
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I too started with the kitchen aid grinder attachment, and many are happy with that, but if you are going to be making 10 pound batches and doing it very often, my advice would be to just bite the bullet and get yourself a quality grinder. it is a HUGE leap between that kitchen aid attachment and something that was actually built for grinding meat. the kitchen aid grinder does make nice work of boiled potatoes at Christmas or other large family gatherings that call for mashed potatoes. I went with 1HP cabelas, but the LEMs are very popular as well. Good Luck!
 
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