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What to add to make sausage more tender

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by zwiller, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Lets use an emulsified sausage as an example. Anything I can add (or maybe leave out) to yield a more tender product? Tried phosphate and more water but water evaporates when cooking. Also experimented with TVP. Not sure if it helped. Been thinking maybe more added fat would do it but not sure. Thanks in advance.
  2. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Not sure what you mean by more tender .
    Something I haven't used , but have been reading up on is Whey protein isolate . I noticed in some of the bologna I did it continues to lose weight / moisture . So I was looking for something to hold the water and stop shrinkage . Came across the Whey .
    zwiller likes this.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cook at a lower temperature so stuff doesn't evaporate... Condition the casings... Boyko has a good thread on how to treat natural casings... Maybe add more fat... Sausage should have at least 30% fat... some has 50%....
    zwiller likes this.
  4. What are you using for a lean to fat ratio? In my experience with really fine ground sausage
    like you are describing the ratio is very critical, too much fat and the end product
    becomes greasy and not very plaitable. Not enough fat and it doesn’t bind
    very well. Phosphate’s in sausage help the meat cells retain moisture so the liquid don’t
    “cook out” If you are using the proper amount that should not be your problem.
    There are other solutions to dry sausage but with out a recipe of what you are making
    it is really just guess work.

    zwiller likes this.
  5. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You need to give more info on what's the recipe and your processing, cooking methods to give you some ideas.
    What are ya using for the meat block? An all beef sausage will be less tender then a beef/pork sausage.
    zwiller likes this.
  6. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    In the interest of full disclosure I am developing a slider recipe and not a traditional sausage per se but it is a meat emulsion. You know those little hamburgers, the patties. I am using 80/20 ground beef with water, seasonings, and phosphate and emulsifying in a food processor.

    I am not way off and am pretty happy with it just needs some tweaking. Anyway, the goal is too produce a thin burger that does not shrink much and the bite is tender. When I first started (I am probably on 4-5 versions now) and did all beef it just broke apart and could not it as thin as I wanted. Phosphate helped ALOT. From here I have been experimenting with fillers and just haven't found something that clicks. Fat sounds promising. Have also thought about flours. Marianski spoke so highly of TVP I tried it and it works but I feel that the product is too firm. This might be a good thing for other things but not this. What's crazy is the stuff shrinks alot but I am adding alot of water (30%) as TVP allows this but what I am finding is that it all evaporates out during cooking.
  7. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How are you cooking them ? My opinion , steam grilled . Yellow onion under the slider patties . You have White Castle in Ohio ?
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I read an interesting article from "Meatgistics"... A Walton's forum.... Try adding beef bone marrow... Don't know what %... but it's a fat that shouldn't run out of the meat..
    I don't care for the toughness VP's add to my sausage...
  9. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Correct steamed however they still shrink. I think they actually use rehydrated minced/dried union but we use fresh. The shrinking itself is not really a problem but they toughen up when they do. I might be slightly overcooking but not that much. I've watched them make them and theirs don't shrink much at all. We're huge White Castle fans but nearest one is 3hrs away...

    Marrow? Sounds killer. Marrow is mostly fat right too?

    OK just went digging again and found a little more info. WC brags that the slider is 100% beef but got a confirmation it is 30% fat. That's 10% more than what I use. Actually, wife usually gets ground chuck so probably even more lean. I sense a step in the right direction. Am I right I would have ALOT of trim if I did a brisket?
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've had brisket that trimmed out at 50% fat... Brisket flavor, to me, is a little strong... I'd use it but cut the brisket amount down to around 10-30%.. That's an adjustment you will have to make... I've tried grinding 100% brisket for burger... Didn't care for the flavor... Some high end restaurants use brisket in a mix of other cuts for their burgers...
    Your results will be interesting... .... 1popcorn.gif ....
    zwiller likes this.
  11. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I once made a bologna that I triple ground with phosphates and let it set in the fridge for a few hours. When I pulled it out it was set up pretty tight, so I added water and mixed it up enough to run through the stuffer. (it took a lot of mixing) After it was finished and taste tested it had almost a rubbery mouth feel to it. I chalked it up to over mixing and the Phosphates. It was years ago, but I still remember the firm rubber like texture to this day.
    zwiller likes this.
  12. crazymoon

    crazymoon Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Z, Maybe some Soy protein concentrate will help reduce shrinkage?
    zwiller likes this.
  13. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The phosphates, used correctly will retain the moisture and any other binder really isn't needed.
    zwiller likes this.
  14. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Some good stuff. Overmixing. Didn't think there was such a thing for emulsified but your descriptions sounds close to mine. Also makes sense not to use multiple additives. Pretty sure I am going back to basics with this and starting with 70/30 GB. Maybe phosphate.
  15. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I was going to suggest that . I do these alot with 80 / 20 no add ins . They shrink but never tough or fall apart . I do poke finger size holes in the patties to get them cooked faster .
  16. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm still having trouble imagining what an emulsified burger would be like. Share some pic's when ya get a chance.
    zwiller likes this.
  17. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You have another good point. Maybe I don't need to emulsify and just mix well, but WC patties are processed to some extent. Might be nice not to have to clean up the food processor... OK. Breakthrough... Just watched a few videos of WC preparing the burgers and they season the burger. Well duh. If you add salt to hamburger it hardens... Also, the package of frozen burgers clearly states 100% beef, nothing else.
  18. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think you hit the nail on the head! I was about to reply saying that if you add salt early and you work it in the meat what you get is a burger that turns out "dense" or as you are describing, "hard".

    Do a google search on "The Burger Lab: Salting Ground Beef" and they will show you what I think you are running into.
    Basically when you add salt to ground beef the salt helps make the proteins bind together to produce a thicker/denser/harder patty. If you mix the salt in and really work the mixing you overwork the meat protein to break down which then wants to bind together via the salt to be even more dense! :emoji_astonished:

    Here is what they/I'm talking about. Patty on the left side is perfect. Patty on the right side has had salt mixed in and the meat worked quite a bit while mixing which results in a dense/hard hockey puck patty!

    I have run into this issue and I employ a simple solution.
    In a large bowl I mix the meat and all seasoning EXCEPT SALT into the ground meat very well. My seasoning is Pepper, Onion, and Garlic.
    I take the bowl out to the grill (my grill has side panels) and when the grill is hot and ready, I mix the Salt into the ground meat and immediately form a patty and throw it on the grill. Form another patty and throw it on the grill... repeat until all patties are on the grill.

    This process gives me the wonderful mixed in seasonings and flavor WHILE keeping the salt from having enough time to do it's thing where it binds the proteins to make the patty come out dense/thick/hard!

    Another solution is to premix all seasoning EXCEPT SALT and then make patties.
    Before you go and grill the patties you season the outside of the patties with salt (flip to salt both sides). Then you don't run the risk of the salt binding the meat inside the patty. This is the faster easy way but doesn't taste as good to me.

    Anyhow, give this a shot and let us know if it fixes your issues and helps with the conclusion about salt we both have come to. I can tell you I don't run into the issue anymore and my burgers have maximum flavor! :)
    zwiller and danmcg like this.
  19. donr

    donr Smoking Fanatic

    I think I saw this on Food Network. Someone chef grinding beef and stuffing it into a burger dia. casing in one step. Then slicing the tube to pattie thickness. This apparently lined the "grain" up with the direction your teeth bite into the burger, giving it a more tender feel. It also didn't work the meat very much. You could try with a Summer Sausage sized casing.

    You would have to season the beef before grinding, but when I make test fry patties of breakfast sausage this way, the spices are mixed evenly enough that I can't tell.

    May I ask what you gain by having it emulsified like a hot dog?

    zwiller likes this.
  20. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Lean sausages will always be 'tough' IMO. I've read (though can't remember where) that a sausage must have minimum 20% fat. All additional fat is what contributes to flavor and tenderness in the sausage.
    zwiller likes this.