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Smoked Liverwurst questions (q-view in arrest...done for now)

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by forluvofsmoke, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here's my situation...

    I have pork liver (4.4lbs steak size cuts which I need to use up) and sliced uncured/unsmoked bacon thawing to smoke and make a mix.

    I have no grinder or stuffer, but I have 16oz and 22lb scales and a food processor which I've used for home-made sausage loaves in the past.

    I've got a simple recipe and process laid-out (I prefer the KISS method)...what do think? Does this look like a sound plan for decent liverwurst?


    Ingredients include pork liver, pork fat, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder.

    1. Hot smoke unsalted/unseasoned sliced liver pieces @ 210-230* to the desired amount of smoke flavor
        with hickory & cherry wood (approx 60-90 minutes), and smoke pork fat until heated through to 170* or higher.

    2. Steam the liver pieces on elevated grates until very tender, keeping the drippings for adding to the meat mix when pureed.

    3. Cool the liver pieces, cover and chill well before chopping/grinding.

    4. Weigh the chilled liver and weigh out 20% of that amount of smoked pork fat. Return both to covered refrigeration.

    5. Weigh out the following dry ingredients for adding to the combined weight of liver/fat when chopping/grinding:

         Salt - 2.0%

         Black Peppercorn, fine ground - 0.75%

         Garlic powder - 1.50%

         Onion powder - 1.0%

    6. In a large food processor, puree smoked pork/fat with added drippings, dry ingredients and additional cold water as needed to form
        a moist paste consistency. Add only enough water as necessary to allow the liver and fat to flow in the processor bowl

    7. Tightly fill plastic bags or air-tight containers for refrigeration and/or freezing.

    I'll get started on the smoke/steam & puree on Thursday (10-14-10), and of course post the progress/q-view along the way.

    Thanks all!

  2. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I wish I had some good advice for ya Eric, but I don't. Sorry brother.

    It sounds like a good plan and should work fine for ya.

    Please let us know how it comes out, It's really got me thinking now.

  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I can''t help you either Eric but it does sound like you have a good plan for your sausage. I can't wait to see the final product.
  4. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ok here's a couple thoughts. If the liver is cooked I'm not sure the salt will develop the proteins to bind the sausage, I don't know never tried working with cooked meat. if it doesn't it might be somewhat dry and mealy

    I don't think the liverwurst around here is smoked, if you could do with out the smoke you could poach them in the baggie or a vac sealed bag  in a180° pot of water till they get up to 155° then they'd be ready to eat or freeze

    And why no cure? It will improver the color flavor and shelf life.

    Just a few ramblings on my part Eric, let us know what ya do.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  5. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yea, the typical liverwurst wouldn't be smoked, but I'm not the typical average cook either, I guess. I'll use almost any excuse I can find to fire up a smoker...LOL!!!!!!

    Hmmm...Dan, I had thought about using TQ on all the liver and fat earlier today when I was tossing the idea around. I figured on dropping the salt from the seasoning mix. And now, with your mention of the bold/italic items above, that could present a very good solution if those conditions are likely to exist.

    I could also add a binding agent such as powdered milk when I puree the mix. I'm just not sure if those proteins would activate at all in the cold mix...I maybe wasting my time there, but I can't see why it would hurt anything. I think it's worth a shot, anyway.

    Thanks, fellas! I think with a bit more thought, and maybe put the smoke off for one day to do a cure...well, TQ on thin cuts should cure overnight, so, this just may come together quite nicely in the morning. I'm thinking right now that I should unwrap the patrtially thawed meat and get a blend of the recommended amount of TQ and the other powders going on it for tonight.

    Well, time to do some prep!

    Thanks again!

  6. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    I hope to be there some day!
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It does seem like a good challenge, doesn't it? I'm looking forward to it myself...I'm really stepping out of my comfort zone here and stretching my current knowledge and skills a bit, but it feels pretty darn good!

    I've been thinking about this almost non-stop for the past couple of hours while I got my pork liver and raw bacon into freezer ziplocs with TQ...I was eating my dinner sitting at the computer and reviewing this thread when my brain-waves started to get into sync one more time.

    I did opt for a wet cure instead of dusting it...the natural juices would wet it down quite a bit anyway being it was frozen...I used about 4 times the amount of TQ as I would have with a dry cure, but I think I'll get quicker and more complete curing this way. 2 cups water and 1/2 cup TQ in each of two 1-gallon bags. Oh, I had one pork heart to put into this mix as well, so it's curing along with everything else.

    Also, the 180* poaching in bags won't be an option without having a meat grinder to finely grind the liver while raw. So, I have to commit to coming up with a pre-cooked process, and being able to pre-smoke will just be an added benefit to the whole concept.

    After unpacking the liver this evening, I found that it was cut into strips approx 3/4 - 1" thick, so that will give me a quicker cure and save some smoking time and final processing time as well.

    A couple hours into the wet cure after a few flips and squishes of the bags...3.2 lbs liver & 1lb heart on the left, 2lbs of ~20% lean raw bacon with 1.2 lbs liver on the right...fat from the bacon is sticking to the bag from handling:


    It's been a long time since I've handled any organ meats...very dark coloring...and very minerally odor if you crack the bag to remove air...just what I remembered:


    The TQ is working it's magic, so I'll do my eyelid inspections for the night...[​IMG]

    I already prepped my smoker, so, when the cured meats come out they can go straight to a cold/fresh water soak while I fire up a charcoal chinmey.

    See ya Thursday with the rest of this adventure!

    Thanks all!

  8. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    I have only a few experiences with emulsified sausage (frankfurters, not liverwurst or bologna) and my only suggestion is this:

    Treat your food processor gently. Tiny batches of meat, lots of pulsing, keep everything COLD (my processor seemed to heat up really fast). Rumour has it that a belt-driven FP will heat up and get cranky faster than a gear-driven one... But I'm sure you'd not be going out and buying a new FP today anyhow.

    PLEASE keep posting progess on this? I am really interested!!


  9. What I usually do is to cure the liver and fatty pork meat overnight, I then boil the liver and pork meat. ratio of pork(shoulder) to liver is 50/50. Strain the meat and save the liquid. grind meats, add spices and enough of the boiling liquid to make a paste. Stuff into cotton casings ( I make my own from unbleached muslin) Poach the stuffed sausages in 180 F water for 20 minutes. Shower with cold water and let dry.You now have liver wurst if you then smoke it you will have Branschwager(sp?)

    Here is my recipe


    10 Lbs. Pork liver chunks

    10 Lbs. Pork chunks

    8 Tbsp. salt

    4 cups grated onion

    4 Tbsp. Sugar

    3 Tbsp. White pepper

    2 Tsp. ground sage

    4 Tbsp. Marjoram

    2 Tsp. Nutmeg

    1 Tsp. Ginger

    2 Tbsp. Cayenne pepper

    4 cups of water used to boil the meat


    Cut up pork and liver into chunks. Soak overnight in enough water to cover ,into which 2 Tbs. of salt and 3 tsp. of cure #1   has been dissolved.

    Boil pork and liver until cooked approximately 15 minutes. Combine all ingredients and grind through medium plate. Re-grind through fine plate. Mix until smooth. Stuff into cloth casings. Simmer in salted water for 20 minutes, cool. Refrigerate for 24 hrs before using.

    some in my smoker


    hope this helps. You really need a grinder and stuffer. enjoy.

  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks, good advice...I was thinking along the same lines myself. When I do my chicken sausage, it's a course chop which takes only 30-40 seconds of some continuous and some pulsed chopping, and I only put about 1lb in per batch. I figured if I get a total of 5lbs to puree, I may be at it for about 30-45 minutes if the motor gets too hot. Maybe do a batch, clean the FP, etc, and chill everything for the next batch. I do have a fridge outside which I run at about 20* for quick chilling so that will come in helpful.

    The food processor we have is a 10 cup, 450 watt. I did actually have the motor's automatic thermal overload protection trip a couple times, until I found a reasonable sized batch for that meat chopping project...that was about a year ago. Must be a pretty good FP.

    I'm giving the meats a bit more time to cure before I start the smoke. I think I'll do a fry pan test to be...never used that high of concentration of TQ before, and folks have said that it gets pretty salty. So, I'll see if it needs a soak before the smoke.

    Thanks again!

  11. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Also... don't be afraid to throw the metal parts in the freezser the night before you start. ;)
  12. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Thanks for the recipe and process.

    You're right, I do need a grinder and stuffer. Right now, I'm still at the stage where I'm kind of toying with a few ideas. Obviously I'm interested in sausage making, but maybe not ready to go full-blown just yet. Finding local supplies would be great, and a reliable and inexpensive source for whole meats would be even better.

    Work space and equipment storage are issues for me as well, so I'm taking things slow in the sausage business for right now. Today's project is just a way to gain some skill/knowledge and use up some organ meats we had in the freezer for a while.

  13. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Smoke is on! I'm posting these as I get the chance...the smoke is keeping me fairly busy, as I have 4 racks loaded in my Smoke Vault 24...2 with liver, one with heart and bacon, one with bacon only. The bacon is coming off to chill a few pieces at a time, so I have to peek on progress pretty often.

    Tossed it all into a bin of cold fresh water after 10-hrs curing to de-salt for about 15 minutes:


    First rack of Liver:




    Just in...started cold and cranked the burner to high to get the smoke chips started, then backed it off as temps reached the 200* mark...decided that would eb about hot enough:



    Started pulling a few slices of bacon here:



    I'm going by color change and the formation of rendering/dripping fat on the bacon to determine doneness:


    Back to the smoker...got more bacon to pull by now.

  14. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The cooking stage is nearing completion. Bacon is chilled, heart is simmering to tenderize (hopefully), and the liver is just out to chill...I decided not to steam it, as it seemed fairly tender as is...maybe the low & slow is good for liver as well?

    My seasonings are freshly ground and ready for the mix.

    Liver, when I checked for sagging into the grates after 2 hours:


    Some ends were drooping into the grates and required some gentle lifting to release from the grate...worked pretty well though:


    Bacon chilling...smoked @ ~200* for 45-60 minutes:


    Heart...smoked for 3.75 hours @ ~200*...very tough at this point, as it was prior to smoking as well:


    Heart in saucepan with water to boil it into oblivian...OK, hopefully it will tenderize with a couple hours of slow simmering:


    Liver ready to chill with a firm exterior and soft center...smoked for 3 hours @ ~200*...pieces are too small to check temps, so texture is my only guide here:


    Next step is to get my bacon chopped into crumbs, and the liver pureed. The heart will be chilled well before processing also.

    Back with the finish ASAP!

  15. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Keep us posted Eric, this is something new to me and I'm looking forward to the results.

    Also thanks for the recipe BigGuy!
  16. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey all! I'm back after experiencing several challenges. Firts, our DSL is down...finally got my blackberry lined-out as low-speed internet modem.

    As for the Liverwurst, my first batch had the odor of...well, something I wouldn't eat, unless in severe deseration. Made about 1.5 lbs containing the chopped bacon, liver and heart...my thoughts are that neither of the two are up to the task...the odors are way off, so I'll not be using this batch. I even tried adding more onion and garlic powders, along with more ground peppercorn...no change. I'm convinced that the fresh bacon and heart just aren't going to do. The liver by itself seems to have the minerally smell to it, but not the other smell which turned me away, so I may still have a shot.

    I do have about 2/3 of the smoked liver left from the first round which hasn't been mixed with anything including seasonings. The liver was finely chopped in the food processor without any added liquids, and it formed a pretty tacky paste, so that part of it worked out just fine...better than I expected anyway.

    My pic uploads to PB, etc took forever, so I'll just stick with the parts that did work so far.

    The bacon, chopped up dry...worked out not too bad, I just wish the product was usable with the liver:


    The smoked heart...I decided to chop this in the boiling liquids as it was a bit tough after a couple hours of simmering...returned to the saucepan to cover and chill again:


    I didn't get pics of the blend of the liver, heart and bacon...not much too look at anyway.

    The main issues I'm trying to figure out is how to get a decent aroma and flavor from the chopped liver...it seems the onion/garlic powders don't carry alot of punch when they hit these strong organ meats? It just doesn't make sense, as I powdered both myself, and I had far exceeded the typical amounts I would use in a sausage or whole smoked meat with the first batch...I couldn't even smell either one. Not sure what's up, I'm still pondering thoughts and ideas though.

  17. Try using fresh onion not dried powder.
  18. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Thanks for the recipe again.... you should write a book
  19. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Actually smoking liverwurst is not uncommon at all.  Smoked liverwurst with bacon?  Sounds a lot like braunschweiger to me!

    Let us know how this turns out.  Sounds great!
  20. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey all! I had to throw in the towel...man, it sux to admit it, but after having tons of great eating sausage loafs and whole muscle meats come out of my smokers, I finally found something that beat me up pretty good...[​IMG]...LOL!!!!!!!! Everything started off pretty well, from curing, to smoking, to chopping. Then, after blending the first trial batch of meats and seasonings, I knew something was definitely not right. I think the worst part of it all for me is realizing how close I really came to having some awesome home-made braunschweiger without a grinder or stuffer in my arsenal.

    I've tried some fresh minced onion (in chopped liver only) hoping that the oils in the onion would smooth over the very strong and heavy odor of the smoked/chopped liver, as Big-Guy suggested. I didn't want to use anything wet, trying to avoid thinning out the paste which formed from processing the liver, but it was a really thick paste.

    I just couldn't find the missing link(s), and now I'm thinking that these organ meats were in a freezer for much longer than I suspected (I recieved this second-hand). 6 months wouldn't be a problem, but I think this may well have been 12-18 months. I wouldn't think this would be an issue unless the freezer temps weren't very stable/cold. I suspect the original freezer they were stored in was not cold enough and probably had the door opened too often for long-term storage without having adverse effects on the meats. Now, I'm at a point in time where my remaining chopped liver is probably reaching the end of it's refrigerated life...hard to say for sure, and I'm not willing to risk a game of roulette...so, to the dumpster we go...[​IMG]

    I've enjoyed store-bought braunschweiger all my life (in moderation, of course), spread on crackers or added as a layer to a sandwich. I'm not brave enough to taste the stuff I have here, as the odors are just soooooooooo strong that it makes me wonder if it's even safe for consumption. My Mom used to fry-up beef liver & onions on occasion (I liked that, too), and what I have here is way out in left field by comparison to either of the two.

    Anyway, if I had fresh liver instead of frozen (for an unknown length of time, especially), I really think this whole process would be a go. If I ever get my hands on fresh liver, trying this out again will be a high priority.

    OK, one more thought just came to mind now...it's possible that with hot smoking the liver first that the naturally strong odors and flavors were sealed into the meat, instead of boiling it for the initial cooking, which could very well leech out quite a bit of those stronger organ meat characteristics...hmm...so smoking first in this case could be the wrong way to go...never though I'd say smoking meat is bad...LOL!!!!! As Big-Guy's method and recipe states to boil the liver pieces prior to grinding, and then, mix/stuff/poach and/or smoke...that may well be the key...along with fresh meats to start the project.

    Well, we tried anyway...can't say it wasn't a fun trial run, 'cause I'd be a lyin' fool!!!!!!!! Besides, when it comes to smoking/grilling, I'm always looking for something new to try my hands on.

    Thanks for all the input too! Lots of good came from this, even though the product was a failure...I think the condition of the meat and smoking first are probably to the two biggest factors here which went against me. If anyone else doesn't have a grinder/stuffer and gets a chance to try this, let us know when you get started...I for one would like to see it work out. You can pack meat (with due care) into larger casings by hand, as an option, so keep that in mind.

    This just may be one of those sausage projects that can't be done right without a properly cased meat mix in order to get it smoked at the very end, instead of first thing.

    Thanks again everyone!!!

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010