1 – TENDERFOOT TERRITORY……… (Beginners’ Forum)

1 – TENDERFOOT TERRITORY……… (Beginners’ Forum)

Got questions?

(For that matter, got answers?) This is the place to go; not that other place, or is it called a state of mind, where you blunder about while trying things, then blame it on the recipe or the equipment, or if you’re lucky, figure something out despite… Hey! We’ve all been there. …no sense learning the hard way. There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.Let’s face it- – you can die from food poisoning if you don’t handle food correctly, so why risk it?Instead, learn how to do it the right way, right here. Also have a look at the “Sausage Making” Department, and also take a look at “Project ‘B’ ” which a number of us did a year or two or more back. Then fire away! All tasteful questions welcomed, usually with tasty answers.

Welcome to SausagesWest!

Yeee Haaaaw! Howdy pards… and welcome to the Rusty Spur Ranch– headquarters for SausagesWestForum. Ride on in, throw yer’ rig over the top rung on the corral fence, curry down yer’ ol’ hoss, then join us at the campfire for some hot Arbuckle’s and plenty of “corral dust” (tall tales). We can give you lots of tips here too, just like these:

– Never kick a cow pie on a hot day!

– Never squat down or run down a stairway with yer’ spurs on. YeeeOOoooow! 

We’re glad to have you with us. Grab some shade, tip yer’ Stetson back, and wipe yer’ brow. Shucks, where else can you learn how to make bratwurst and shoot at a duck while listening to the finer points of outlaws robbing banks and trains? Shoot at a duck? Yup… you heard me right. You see, our “top hand” around here is El DuckO… a pile of pontifical plummage at whom we just love to take pot shots. I recommend a .12 gauge with salt loads!


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123 thoughts on “1 – TENDERFOOT TERRITORY……… (Beginners’ Forum)

  1. Count me in!
    I have participated in some of the other beginners projects and learned loads from them.
    I have since upgraded my equipment and, as the temperatures here are starting to drop a bit, am keen to get going again.
    My home build smoker needs a bit of a clean but should still do OK in combination with my proQ csg (sometimes in combination with a hot plate).
    I would be keen to learn more about making snack sticks like Kabanosy (tried it once and they were ugly looking, but very tasty), all kind of other sausages, bacon, ham and a bit of dry curing too…….

    1. Good to hear from you lovely lady! Hope all is well. We’ll get into more snack like Kabanosy if you’d like. I’d also like to get you going on a ham and some bacon. We’ll be starting up soon. Thanks for writing in.
      Best Wishes,

  2. Graybeard, you ol’ smoke addict! How have you been? How are things back in Columbus? We are happy to have you join Project B. Would you mind if we use your terrific recipe for Brooklyn’s Sausage in the project. Lookin’ forward to chattin’ with you pal. Keep an eye out, we’re organizing the updates. It won’t be long before we start.

    Best Wishes,

    1. Things are going good here in Columbus. That is fine if you want to use Brooklyn’s sausage in the all new Project B. I am looking forward to getting started.

      1. Here’s Graybeard’s Brooklyn Sausage” recipe. We’ll include it in the Recipe Listings, and twist ol’ CW’s arm to include it in Project “B”.

        Graybeard’s “Brooklyn’s Jamaican Breakfast Sausage” Recipe
        Originally Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2014
        Brooklyn’s Jamaican Breakfast Sausage

        • pork butt 1000gr.
        • salt 20gr.
        • pepper 2 gr.
        • allspice 1.5gr.
        • cardamom 1gr.
        • coriander 1gr.
        • thyme 1gr.
        • water 100gr.

        This recipe comes from a little girl named Brooklyn from Jamaica that just made it out of Port Royal in 1692 right be fore the big earthquake hit. She was picked up by a bunch of pirates and forced to cook for them on their voyages all over the Caribbean. She finely escaped from them after many years and made it to Florida. Now in some way out of the place areas down there still serve it to this day. When I was down there I was lucky enough to get the recipe for it.

        1. This just in- – we made a batch of Brooklyn’s Jamaican, and it is delicious! The allspice is a nice change from the usual breakfast sausage. Thanks!

  3. Maybe it’s cheating, but I just found a really good way of making breakfast sausage quickly that’s “just like Mama used to make.” (Or, in my case, just like she bought from the local “country store.”)

    As it turns out, the local country grocery near where I grew up made their sausage using “Legg’s Old Plantation” sausage spice mixture. One bag added to 25 pounds of ground pork makes more sausage than your family will ever consume it a lifetime! So, what I did was, using my little meat grinder and some pork steaks (actually pork butt), I ground up 750 grams of meat, which is a bit over a pound and a half. Then, I ratio-ed the amount needed to get how much I should add. With 750 grams of ground meat, I needed 15 grams of spice mix.

    I’m not the world’s greatest mathematician, so I got my husband to check the ratio. It looked right to me as a homemaker, but I wanted a check. Sure enough, it was right. (The wrong answer would have been what, 50 grams?) How did I get the numbers? The label gives you a total weight of spices, and says to use it on 25 pounds. Be careful not to mix units! (There are 454 grams in a pound.)

    So, Mama is gone now, but we can still carry on little things like her breakfast tradition. That’s nice. My husband and kids may not have those memories, but to me they are precious.


    1. Hi Dee! Naw, of course it’s not cheating. Many folks use Legg’s seasonings. It’s great stuff. I really like it. I’m also stuck on “Uncle Abe’s” from the Sausagemaker. Dee, have you received a few catalogs from the various sausage supply companies? Most have a free catalog they’ll send you. You can learn quite a bit just by browsing through these things. Here’s a partial list of suppliers. Try emailing them for a free catalog.

      Sausage Making Supply Companies

      The Sausagemaker Inc. (Rytek Kutas founded this company) http://www.sausagemaker.com/sausage-s/1921.htm
      *Get $20.00 off your order here: http://www.retailmenot.com/view/sausagemaker.com
      Allied Kenco Sales (all sausage making products) http://www.alliedkenco.com/catalog/index.php
      Butcher-Packer (all sausage making products) http://www.butcher-packer.com/
      DNR Sausage Supply – http://www.dnrsausagesupplies.ca/cart/index.php
      Halford’s https://www.halfordsmailo…1-S1-lV1BS.aspx
      LEM Products (all sausage making products) http://www.lemproducts.com/
      Meat Processing Products Co. (all sausage making products) http://www.meatprocessingproducts.com/
      Midwestern Research & Supply (all sausage making products) http://www.midwesternresearch.com/INDEX.htm

      Sausage Making Specialty Items And Spices

      A-1 Spice World – http://www.a1spiceworld.com/
      Amazen Smoker – http://www.amazenproducts…ctCode=AMNPS5X8
      Ask The Meat Man (information, charts, equipment & supplies) http://www.askthemeatman.com/Our_Store.htm
      Atlantic Spice Company http://www.atlanticspice.com
      Bookmagic (Stan Marianski’s books about sausage making) http://bookmagic.com/
      Con Yeager Spice – http://www.conyeagerspice.com
      Franco’s Famous Sausagemaking.org http://www.sausagemaking.org/acatalog/index.html
      Grizzly Industrial http://www.grizzly.com
      Hot Paella http://www.hotpaella.com
      Jason Story’s “Three Little Pigs” Charcuterie (local cured & smoked meats) http://threelittlepigsdc.com/Menu.aspx
      Jordan Casing Co. http://www.jordancasing.com/
      La Española Meats (online and retail store) http://www.laespanolameats.com/mm5/merchant.mvc
      La Tienda (online and retail store) http://www.tienda.com
      Monterey Bay Spice Company http://www.herbco.com
      MySpiceSage – spices, herbs, teas, etc. http://www.myspicesage.com/
      Natural Casing Co. http://naturalcasingco.com/products.html
      Northern Tool & Equipment http://www.northerntool.c…food-processing
      One Stop Jerky Shop (jerky making equipment & supplies) http://www.onestopjerkyshop.com/
      P-S Seasonings and Spices- http://www.psseasoning.com/index.cfm/act/store
      Penzey’s Spices (onine and retail stores) http://www.penzeys.com
      Pendery’s World of Chiles & Spices http://www.penderys.com
      San Francisco Herb Company (all types of herbs & spices) http://www.sfherb.com/
      Sausage Mania (non-commercial recipes and tips – videos about stuffing etc.) http://www.sausagemania.com/
      Sausage Recipes (recipes and products) http://www.bbq-porch.org/recipes/html/C6.htm
      Sausagemaker (all sausage making products) http://www.sausagemaker.com/
      Sonoma Mountain (Len Poli) (copyrighted recipes) http://lpoli.50webs.com/Sausage%20recipes.htm
      Stuffers Supply http://www.stuffers.com
      Stehlin’s Meat Market (local butcher & meat market) http://www.stehlinsmeatmarket.com/
      Syracuse Casing Company (all types of casings) http://www.makincasing.com
      The Home Processor (all sausage making products) http://www.home-processor.com/
      The Sausage Source (all sausage making products) http://www.sausagesource.com/
      The Spanish Table (online and retail stores) http://www.spanishtable.com
      USDA-FSIS (food safety tips, recommendations, rules & regulations etc.) http://www.fsis.usda.gov/home/index.asp
      Walton’s (Midwestern) http://www.waltonsinc.com/

      Best Wishes,

  4. Beginners! … You Can Make Your Own Sausage

    Many people are under the impression that sausage is made from random odds and ends, cut from cheap meats being ground up with all sorts of cereals and fillers. Not true! Absolutely, not true! Rytek Kutas, the ol’ legendary Sausagemaker™ himself, used to say, “Junky meat makes junky sausage”. The plain truth is good sausage is made from good meat. Most trained meat cutters and butchers today, do a great job in removing sinew, gristle, clots of blood, excess fat, and glands from meat processed and sold commercially. At home, if we butcher and process our own meat, we must be quite diligent in locating these undesirable elements and remove them ourselves. If we purchase meat from a supplier or grocer, we’ll find that most unwanted gristle, clots, and glands have been removed, yet some sinews and silverskin remain. This is where a razor-sharp boning knife becomes indispensable.

    The Sausage Making Process

    Have you ever wondered why pork shoulder is called “Boston butt”? Meat cutters in the eighteenth century seaport Boston, Massachusetts, packed cuts of pork shoulder into wooden casks called “butts” to be placed aboard ships. Unless you butcher your own livestock, it is probably best to purchase untrimmed Boston butts from a reputable grocery-meat cutter or specialty meat supplier for making all around well-balanced pork sausage. Why? Shoulder (butt) contains the ideal type and ratio of fat (25% – 30%) for sausage making. Sausages are generally made in the following sequence, but of course may vary according to the type of sausage being made.

    1. Selection Of Meat
    2. Chopping, Seasoning, & Preparation
    3. Curing – Fermenting
    4. Grinding
    5. Mixing & Developing The Primary Bind
    6. Stuffing
    7. Fermentation (if dry-cured)
    6. Drying
    7. Smoking
    8. Cooking
    9. Cooling
    10. Storage

    Selecting, Chopping, And Curing Meat

    As your familiarity with bacteria and other microorganisms increases, and with a little practice in cutting, grinding, curing, mixing, and stuffing a few batches of sausage, you’ll begin to realize that your success in making quality sausage lies not as much in the ingredients found in a recipe, as it does with the process you’ve used to achieve it. Almost every beginner dreams about discovering the “secret” formula for the world’s greatest sausage! Avid novices spend hours closely scrutinizing recipes in books and the internet only to discover in time that the vast majority of sausage contains merely salt and pepper and just one or two more commonly used spices. At first, rookies believe they can “fudge” just a bit using the proper techniques and specific processing procedures, especially in dealing with precise temperatures. In due course, the quality of the product suffers and usually the recipe receives the blame. Although many beginners give up at this point, determined folks begin to correctly focus their attention on the finer details of accurate processing techniques, armed with the savvy of how microorganisms affect their product. Only then, will a novice begin to realize there is no such thing as a secret recipe.

    The freshness of meat is important and storing it more than a couple of days in a refrigerator or more than a few weeks in a freezer, will definitely affect the taste of otherwise great sausage. Beginners often ask if they may use frozen meat in sausage. Of course, the answer is yes, although the use of fresh meat is certainly preferred as ice crystals rupture meat cells during the freezing process. Some experienced people recommend using only a maximum of one-quarter frozen meat with three-quarters fresh. It is interesting to note that much commercially made sausage is made from “quickly frozen” meat using special equipment. When “flash” frozen, ice crystals do much less damage to meat cells.

    Many beginners believe they can just begin tossing large chunks of meat into a grinder and be done with it. That reasoning is like me… just won’t work! Nearly-frozen, cold meat just out of the refrigerator is less likely to “smear” while it is processed because rigid fibers are cleanly cut by the blades rather than being torn.

    The grinding process begins by placing the metal hopper, auger, and rotary cutting knife of your grinder into the freezer ten minutes prior to use. Use the time to cut the meat into inch-square chunks. This step will prevent long stands of sinew from wrapping around the shank of the auger. Be sure to use a cleaned and sterilized, plastic cutting board. Old, wooden, cutting boards are a thing of the past. As you work, never pass up a chance to refrigerate the meat. Meat chunks placed inside the deep freezer a few minutes, will allow the meat to firm up, ready for grinding. Use sharpened boning, chef’s, and butcher knives to cut the meat quickly into chunks no larger than 1-1/2 inches. Keep a sharpening steel at hand for honing the edges of your knives often. If you see “smearing” taking place or sausage exiting the plate holes looking bland and ragged, you’ll know you must take the grinder apart and clean the blade.

    Use an ultra-sharp boning knife and closely carve the flesh from the “Y” shaped bone of a nearly frozen pork butt. Trim the bulk of the fat and place it in a clean plastic freezer bag stored in the freezer. Remove the gristle, glands, blood veins, and any clots, cutting the meat into two-inch chunks ready for the grinder. What do you do with the bones? Don’t boil them. Barely simmer ‘em of course, with a carrot, stalk of celery, a clove of garlic, and a shake of salt to make great stock for soups and stews. If you are working with more than one butt, place the trimmed cubes back into the refrigerator, while you work on another. Never miss a chance to refrigerate the meat you are working with, even if it will only be left out a few minutes. Keep it cold to minimize bacteria reproduction and to ensure good texture later on. Don’t become obsessed with trimming every little bit of fat from the lean meat; its all going to go through the grinder eventually, and right now, it needs to be put back into the refrigerator to cure.

    The two-inch cubes of meat are often “cured” and spiced before being ground. Many recipes have you add sodium nitrite (and any number of additives mixed with a little water), to chunks placed inside a food-grade plastic packing “lug” covered with cloth for curing 72 hours in a refrigerator, being “overhauled” each day. At the end of this “curing” time period, the chunks are then “minced” (ground) and then mixed until the protein myosin develops. Other recipes call for the mincing of the meat right away – as soon as the 2” chunks come out of the refrigerator, being nearly frozen. Weigh spices and additives ahead of time, including the cures (nitrite or nitrate) mixed with water, and process them in a food processor. While you mix the spices and cures, place the grinder plate and knife into the freezer also.

    Grinding, Seasoning, And Mixing

    Does good sausage have to contain fat? Absolutely! Fat not only adds flavor and creamy, lubricating, moisture to good sausage, in an established, conventional amount, it is entirely necessary for good texture. The USDA limits fat content in fresh pork sausage to 50% and 30% in beef sausage, although we’ve found that about 20-25% fat makes a pretty good product. Of course, specific types of sausages may require more or less fat in their recipes. Still, there’s no such thing as reduced-fat sausage. Without fat, the flavor and texture will disappoint everyone. That being said, I am only able to think of one exception to the rule. Jerky is made using the very least possible fat, as it becomes rancid in the product over time. Jerky is dried; the leaner, the better.

    If you are going to put comminuted pork into a mixture for a snack-stick such as jerky, you MUST remember to cook the pork to a minimum temperature of 137°F to destroy any possible traces of trichinella spiralis.

    Does pork blend well with beef? Completely! Sausage products include ground meat in all sorts of varieties and proportions usually mixed with spices. If you are a beginner, you may wish to prove your recipe by making only a few pounds of sausage before carving up ten pounds of pork butts. Always cook and taste a small patty after the mixing step before adding more spice.

    Sausage evolved for one reason only – to preserve meat. Our ancestors must have been terribly disheartened following the major group effort of tracking and slaying an animal, just to lose most of the carcass to food spoilage bacteria. Early man simply knew nothing about preserving meat, but as time passed, he found that by cooking, drying, and adding salt, it took longer to spoil. The greatest discovery came when sodium nitrate and nitrite were found as natural contaminants in salt. Suddenly, preserved meat had even more advantages. For the first time, man was able to travel with a reserve of dried and salted preserved meat at his disposal. Of course, it had to be reconstituted in water and rinsed of its salt, but it was indeed preserved. As intestines were stripped of their contents and cleaned, they were filled with spiced chopped meat and the first true convenient fast food was developed. Sausages of all types became popular everywhere on earth after Roman soldiers put together their mixture of minced pork spiced with crushed pine nuts and salt. As time went by, the process became even more refined as an array of spices was added and smoking often became part of the process, especially in northern Europe. Sausages at first were named for their place of origin (and are even now to some extent); others are named for their ingredients or tagged with a specific handle in its indigenous language. Hundreds of years have passed as enhancements have been made to proven favorites and new varieties have been added. Today, having the benefit of centuries of improvements, and increasing expertise, we enjoy the finest sausages in all history.

    Will you be using the “old style” hand-crank grinder (mincer) you found in Grandma’s basement? You might have to replace the plate and blade. Maybe you’ve ordered a new model from any number of sources. They haven’t changed much over many years and old-style, hand cranked machines yet remain the very best for producing a few pounds of products at a time – as long as the blades are sharp. If Granny’s old blades were just worn out and dull, rest assured you may order new ones at modest prices from any sausage supply store. Many old models may be modernized by replacing the hand-crank with a pulley and an electric motor driving the auger by simply changing the auger bushing. Investing merely a few bucks, you may install a brass bushing, gear down the speed, and save much time and labor. Not interested? If you are like me, occasionally I just have to give up my electric grinder to lay my mitts on my old-time, cast-iron crank machine. It’s nostalgic and it allows time for my lady and I to talk about the ol’ times and enjoy each other’s company while doing something we both enjoy!

    Many better electric mixers are sold with meat-grinding (mincing) attachments. Although they are smaller, require a little more time, and are definitely not for commercial use, some home hobbyists use them satisfactorily. Although there is also usually an attachment for stuffing casings with this type grinder, it is not recommended due to its exceedingly slow stuffing speed. It is best to purchase a designated vertical stuffer to save frustration. There are now quite a few companies making rather decent home-grinding units available at a moderate price. Most are of good quality with size 8 or 10 plate, yet are not intended for commercial use. For the hobbyist, it might be just the right machine for occasional use.

    If a person is going to grind (mince) many pounds of sausage, a professional, powered unit becomes essential. A quality heavy-duty grinder is usually an expensive item! If your funds are limited, it may pay to check around with various sources to see if a used grinder in good condition might be obtained. Many are rebuilt and re-sold by suppliers.

    Set up your grinder being sure the grinding blade is screwed firmly against the plate, providing some resistance as you crank the handle, or “load” the motor ever so slightly, preventing “smearing” of the meat. Simply turn the outside cast iron securing ring clockwise with your left hand while turning the crank with your right hand until you encounter definite friction resistance. Does friction apply heat as the four-bladed grinder presses against the plate? Absolutely. Do people sometimes place the blade backwards into the grinder? Yes, they do. All motorized and hand-cranked grinders turn clockwise. Partially frozen fresh meat helps to reduce elevated temperatures produced by grinding friction. Yet, for best results, add a little ice water or crushed ice frequently, as you grind. Never add solid ice, as meat-cutting blades are not designed to grind solid ice and will become dull quickly. Old-time grinder blades are hypereutectoid carbon steel, cast and hardened at more than Rockwell C-60. You may not wish to sharpen them yourself, unless you are a machinist with a grinding “platen”. Dull blades may be replaced for about ten dollars each. Please note that the parts of your grinder and stuffer should be lubricated with FDA approved “food-grade” white grease rather than any type of cooking oil. When exposed to air, cooking oils become tacky and rancid in time. Generally, for aesthetic purposes, lean meat is ground coarsely while fatter meat is ground finely. If you’d like your sausages to have a more attractive and professionally finished appearance, grind the partially, or nearly frozen meat, using a 3/16” or ¼” larger plate, and then separately grind the fat through smaller 1/8” holes in another plate.

    Spices In Sausage

    Beginners, almost without exception, introduce too many varieties and excessive quantities of spices into their sausage. Attempting to improve grandpa’s old time “secret” recipe, most soon discover their own hodgepodge doesn’t taste anything at all as expected. Nor is there a constant flow of neighbors knocking at the door, hoping to get their mitts on the stuff. The sad truth is, most beginners usually toss out ten or more pounds of otherwise great pork, not to mention losing time and labor spent grinding and stuffing the meat. The fact remains, for thousands of years, the best sausage recipes have been the most simple and often contain merely a sprinkling of spices. A vast number of sausage makers use only salt and pepper as seasoning. Others add a “signature spice” as fennel in Italian sausage, or marjoram in Polish kielbasa. Beginners quickly learn that even the slightest departure from an accepted and “tried” recipe may cause immense dissimilarity in a finished product. With experience, most come to realize that the spices and herbs best suited for sausage fit into a pretty tight group:

    Spices And Herbs Best Suited For Sausage:

    Bay leaf
    Celery Seed
    Chili Powder
    Curry Powder
    Pepper (black)
    Pepper (Cayenne)
    Pepper (Red)
    Pepper (White)
    Peppercorns (green)
    Peppercorns (pink)

    Mix And Add Cures Safely

    Please be careful when adding cures to meat products. It must be done precisely. There is no room for “guesswork” here. Remember, a good carpenter “measures twice and cuts once”! Whenever working with large amounts of sodium nitrate/nitrite, I’ve often asked other sausage makers to check my math. I’d rather be slightly humiliated than greatly mortified by injuring someone by adding the wrong amount of curing agent. Usually mixed with spices, proper distribution of curing agents is crucial to sausage safety. Prepare the proper amount of Instacure (Prague Powder) by stirring it into a little cold water. Review the recipe and determine if you are going to use nitrate or nitrite. Remember, Cure # 2 contains both nitrate and nitrite and is used in “dry-cured” products or whole meats. Add spices with more cold water producing a well-blended and thickened “soup”. If you have a blender or food processor, use it to completely intersperse the liquid, spices, and curing agents, before adding the “soup” to ground meat. Next, thoroughly combine the mixed “soup” with the ground meat, using sterile plastic gloves covering your hands, or by using a mixing machine, until the curing agent and spices are evenly distributed completely throughout the meat. Most beginners having mixed meat by hand a few times will consider the purchase of a good mixing machine to avoid painfully cold hands. For persons suffering with arthritis, there’s nothing like a good electric or hand-cranked mixer! If you are going to mix large amounts of sausage, you may wish to investigate the “geared”, hand-cranked, stainless steel model sausage mixer available from most suppliers.

    The Types Of Sausages

    Basically, there are only four types of sausages:

    Type 1. Fresh Sausage – (“Fresh” meaning not cured), must be refrigerated and eaten within three days, or frozen for use later. Ol’ timers know there is no such thing as a “secret recipe”. There is however, “simply great sausage” – made using only salt, pepper, and only one or two other “signature ingredients”. Add all the seasonings you wish; stuff it inside casings or mold it into patties; but use it within three days or freeze it, as it is not cured and not smoked. Refrigerate it at 38°F (3°C). This is the famous “breakfast” type sausage containing pork and sage. Other favorites include fresh Italian and fresh kielbasa, the well-known Polish sausage. Fresh (meaning not-cured) sausage is never smoked as the process cuts off oxygen, raising the risk of obligate anaerobic and microaerophile bacterial development, including clostridium botulinum! Remember the “sausagemaker’s first rule”: If you can’t cure it – don’t smoke it!

    Type 2. Cured, Cooked, And Smoked Sausage – is sausage cured using sodium nitrite to destroy the toxin secretions produced by obligate anaerobic clostridium botulinum bacteria, as the oxygen is cut off when the meat is placed inside casings, and again as smoke replaces oxygen inside the smokehouse. Botulism, a potentially fatal illness causing flaccid paralysis, is the effect of food poisoning caused by clostridium botulinum. In 1925, the American Meat Institute introduced the use of sodium nitrite to America’s meat products. Since that time, there has not been a single case of food poisoning in this country due to botulism in commercially prepared cured meats. Sodium nitrite has also been found to prevent the growth of Listeria monocytogenes – the bacteria responsible for Listeriosis, a very virulent disease that can potentially result in the development of meningitis in newborns.

    Following drying, cured-cooked-smoked sausages are prep-cooked (and smoked if desired) to destroy any possible trichinella spiralis and retain moisture. Finish cooking them on the grill or in a pan. These are the famous Bratwurst, Bockwurst, Knockwurst, and emulsified sausages known as hot dogs or “wieners”. Also included in the emulsified category are bierwurst, Vienna sausage, and bologna. Cooked Italian mortadella, salami, Chinese “lop chong”, Cajun boudin (blood) sausage, smoked Polish kielbasa, and German Berliner, are other popular favorites.

    Type 3. Semi-Dry Cured Sausage are tangy, fermented, cured, sausages served on a fancy plate at a party or simply sliced with a pocketknife while you’re in the saddle. They are cured with nitrite, cooked during preparation, dried (yielding about 75%), but not further cooked before serving them. In other words, they are cured with sodium nitrite to protect them from clostridium botulinum, prep-cooked to protect them against trichinella spiralis, and further protected by drying them to a point where most pathogenic bacteria fail. Favorites include varieties of summer sausage, landjaeger, kabanosy, and “slim jims”.

    Type 4. Dry Cured Sausage – This is the only sausage that is not cooked during its preparation, and not usually cooked before serving or eating. Because dry-cured (fermented) sausage is made with raw meat, special precautions must be taken with pork sausage in this category, as the destruction of possible trichinella spiralis becomes necessary. This is the only type sausage safe to eat without having been refrigerated and it is made with Cure #2 containing nitrate (which is broken down to nitrite, and eventually nitric oxide). Favorites include salamis from virtually every country, dry-cured Mexican chorizo, Italian sopressata, pepperoni, and other fermented sausages. A hygrometer, thermometer, fermentation chamber, and curing chamber, are necessary to produce dry cured sausages as well as a reasonable amount of sausage-making experience and a practical knowledge of the dry-curing procedure. It requires a basic understanding of how bacteria affect the production of this type sausage.

    Additives Used In Sausage

    Soy Protein Concentrate And Non-Fat Dry Milk

    Soy protein concentrate is not a mysterious, risky, chemical additive. It is a natural, tasteless, concentration of the soybean, in white powdered form, containing up to 250% more protein than steak. Soy protein is invaluable in the sausage making process as it causes meat to retain its juices and maintain its volume, while it serves as a binder. Slap a burger on the griddle made only from freshly ground meat and see what happens! It crumbles, shrinks, and the juices run out during cooking – while those served at your favorite local burger joint (containing soy protein concentrate), retain their juices, holding their shape and volume.

    Dairy fine, non-fat dry milk accomplishes the very same tasks. Used as a binder for sausage, the granulated type found in a grocery store is not the substance to place into sausage. Powdered dry milk with the consistency of cornstarch is available from sausage making supply stores. There are limits to observe and the amount used in sausages should not exceed 3-1/2%, as higher amounts produce a mushy product with a “beany” flavor. The use of both products has only one drawback. Fresh meat won’t sear and brown nearly as well as an untreated product. As it cooks, it may appear tasteless and bland although it is not. What may we do about it? Use another natural product to hold the color of the meat inside – corn syrup solids. Powdered dextrose may also be used as a browning agent for sausage.

    Corn Syrup Solids

    Corn syrup, dried into solid flakes, is also used as a binder in sausage, as well as maintaining the fermentation bacteria (lactobacilli) necessary for that great tangy taste in dry-cured products. Perhaps the most important feature of corn syrup solids is the preservation of color in meat, allowing it to be browned although it may contain soy protein.

    Powdered Dextrose

    Powdered dextrose is only 70% as sweet as sugar and is often used as a browning base for sausage containing either soy protein concentrate or non-fat dry milk. The product is also used to support lactic acid organisms by assisting fermentation, producing the tangy flavor in many dry cured sausages.

    In the sausage making world, two specific families of lactic acid bacteria have been almost universally chosen to meet the needs of fermented type sausages. These are lactobacillus and pediococcus – both symbiotic. Each includes its own strains and depending upon the qualities desired in a specific product, more than one strain may be combined in one culture. Some do well in higher salt content, others do not. Some do better than others at higher (or lower) temperatures. The strains most beneficial (therefore most commonly used), of lactobacilli include: lactobacillus pentosus, lactobacillus curvatus, lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus farciminis, lactobacillus sakei, et.al. Of the pediococci, two widely used strains are pediococcus pentosaceus and pediococcus acidilactici. These are the workhorses of fermentation, thriving on sugar – dextrose ideally – as glucose (dextrose) is the most simple of all forms of sugar, being utilized quickly to produce rapid fermentation. Glucose, produced from cornstarch, is only about 70% as sweet as sucrose refined from sugar beets or sugar cane, then being combined with fructose from fruit. Lactose (called milk sugar) binds water very well but has poor fermenting quality and non-fat dry milk contains about 52% lactose. For this reason, I choose to add dextrose to fermented sausage rather than powdered milk composed of more than half lactose – the worst choice of fermenting sugars. Moreover, there are limits to be considered in using added sugar as the more that is used, the more sour or “tangy” the product will become.


    Never reduce or increase the prescribed amount of salt in a sausage recipe, as measured levels help destroy trichinae, inhibit growth of other bacteria and organisms, and serve as a binder. Salt also fine-tunes certain proteins in meat enabling them to hold water. Since the development of sodium nitrite in Prague Powder, sausages usually contain less than 3% salt. Previously, preserved meat required up to 8% sodium chloride (table salt) – enough to permanently raise anybody’s blood pressure!


    Fermento is a product blend of cultured whey protein and skim milk producing a quick tangy flavor in semi-dry cured sausages such as venison summer sausage, cervelat, goteborg and other summer sausages. Use one ounce per two pounds of meat, but do not exceed six pounds in 100lbs. of meat. (Five pounds of Fermento will process approximately 160 lbs. of meat.) Too much used in a sausage recipe (over 6%), will produce a mushy texture.

    Fat Replacer

    Fat Replacer is a product made by the Sausagemaker™ in Buffalo, New York. It is made of Konjac flour (from a plant root), xanthan gum (fermented glucose), and microcrystalline cellulose (cellulose from plants). The first two ingredients are water soluble. Microcrystalline cellulose is not. Fat Replacer simulates the “creamy” mouthfeel of fat and can be used in everything from grilled burgers to dry-cured salami. It contains almost no calories and it’s affordable. A proven cholesterol fighter, it is USDA approved. One half pound will treat 60 pounds of meat.

    Join Us In A Terrific Hobby – Sausagemaking!

    Stick around and read the articles in our data base and the comments and questions of many fine sausagemakers. Check in with us often and keep making sausages at home. Soon you’ll be crafting a better tasting and healthier product than you can purchase (for much more money) at your local grocer’s meat counter. Make your own sausages, save money, and become a legend in your own neighborhood!

    Best Wishes,

  5. I have a question about casing, hope this is the right location for the question. For the last 15 years, I have used DeWied casing, specifically the hand pulled. I use both the natural and the “smoked” pre-flushed bagged in hanks/10 hanks per bucket. Frankly, I just took the suggestion of the sales rep at the time (they have a turnover rate of about 2 per year). The more I read (and today was an all day sausage marathon) the more I believe I have just been very lucky developing recipes and techniques and not knowing all the technical realities. I seem to have just stumbled into some right conclusions. (and I haven’t killed anyone yet)

    Anyway, back to casing. Any do’s or don’t? I know that I’m paying a premium price, especially for the “smoked” casing which is I believe just dyed to give a more uniform color to the final product. Any comments about hand pulled and it’s value? How does hand pulled compared to knife cut and inverted. What exactly are the whiskers and are they a problem for the different type of sausages? Comments on different brands? Well, that’s my obsession of the moment….

  6. Hi All,
    Chuck n Duck, the website has heaps of information, it’s looking good! But…. I’m having trouble, where to post what, where? ……. Gimme a few days, or so.
    Chuck, we shared a few emails, over the last few days, and I’m very aware of trichinella spiralis.. I travel to Australia every 3 months, from VN. To buy my Cure #1, and salted hog casing(And visit my Son and 3 grandkids)….That’s why I live in Vietnam.
    I have 2 great Thermoworks ‘Chef Alarm’ thermometers. (They are awesome, BUT, the probes are easy to screw up)… I have read all instructions… No open flame. No bending the probe wire, Don’t slam the smoker door. Don’t look at the probe in a angry manner….. And, I buy them in Australia, at $40 AUD/$28.74 USD….4 probes in the last 12 months…. I’m looking for an alternative thermometer.
    Chuck, my 3 Kg/6.61387pound, chicken sausages, turned to dog food… Twice, I have made this recipe, well. But, this time I used Chicken skin and Chicken fat, instead of pork fat… It’s hot here in VN, I turned my Chicken skin/fat (chopped and frozen) into the food processor with a quarter of the ice water….. They looked good as before….. Slow/cold smoked with aragon fruit tree wood for 90 minutes, then poached, from cold water, to 75C/167F… (Collagen skin). All the fat came between the meat and skin, and a crumbly mess inside, you could peel the skin off the sausage, like a condom(I don’t have a dog, so I don’t mind giving them to my new neighbor… Smoke flavor, was right on.
    My 9Kg/19.8416 pound of Kransky/Carniolan sausage….. With chilly and cheese, are resting in the fridge, (Hog casing). I’ll be up at 4am, to smoke/cook them. They better work, as I have 6 Kg ordered.

    Constructive criticism….. For newbies, (Australians) ….It’s difficult, to get around(for me) with your American ‘Slang’. If I sent you an email in Australian ‘slang’, you would understand, 70%. ….
    Great website, heaps of info. Great ‘One on One’ info.
    “Cheers knackerbag, squawk tomorrow”

    This is called LEARNING, so I’m not devastated

    1. Thanks for your email reply…. I understood about 60-70%, of your American slang…… Funny you mentioned ‘Sparky’…. That, was the name of my first horse… (Supposed to be an American quarter horse, but it was a Brumby)…… In Aust, the ‘Brumby’ is a wild horse…. I think in the US, you call it a ‘Mustang’…. I may be wrong?
      Great horse, friend,(Gelding) heaps of fun, as a teenager… We spent many hours together…. Like teenagers with their, phone/Ipad/PC games,Fake Book, do now??? Times are changing!
      The Kransky/Carniolan sausage, baked and smoked off awesome(with Aragon wood chips), the hog skins were too big, in caliber… I can’t guess in inches, but, 4 sausages, 7″ long, weighed in at 650grams/22.92808oz…. So divided by 4 = 5.73202 oz per snag… If your into ‘Man vs food’, I guess this in ok? In VN, protein is about 5-10% of their, 4 meal a day intake…. So, 1 snag can can feed the family, per evening meal… Realistically, yes!
      Good flavor, Emmentaler Cheese, cut in tiny cubes(200g per Kg of meat)…
      From, what I have learned, and read, in this craft, over the last 4 years, …… To screw up my Chicken sausages, was only another step, of learning…..
      I’d love to send you pictures, but I have a $20 Nokia phone…. BLACK AND WHITE, the best phone anyone can buy……. You drop it on the floor, it goes into 3 pieces…. You pick up the phone/battery/back cover, and all is well…… No cracked $80-$120 screens/with crying teenagers.
      It’s late here, And can someone find me a ‘Hot Dog’ recipe. I’ve tried a few, with mixed results.
      Because there is a lot of US tourists, and, US Vietnam Vets, Ex-Pats here(God bless them), that would be awesome to knock out some Hot Dogs for……
      Good night my friend (Chúc bạn ngủ ngon).

    2. Hey X X ,

      You wrote, “All the fat came between the meat and skin, and a crumbly mess inside,…”
      Then you said “constructive criticism” was alright, so I’m going to offer some . It sounds like the trouble you are having is with the fat “breaking”. This happens when the prep-cooking step is done too quickly. In other words, the fat liquefies when the sausages are cooked too quickly inside the smoker. The texture becomes “grainy” like sawdust. The liquid fat gathers between the casing and the meat and solidifies when it cools off again. Most of the time, it will turn bright orange in color and will even drip all over the floor of your smoker. It is most important not to exceed the IMT (internal meat temperature) of 170°F., as the collagen will “break” and the fat in the sausage begins to melt.

      Let’s have a look at temperatures as a sausage smoke-cooks. As the temperature reaches 138°F. (59° C.) the sausage is protected from trichinella spiralis. At about 145°F. (63°C.) the sausage is “par-cooked” or “prep-cooked” for use on the grill later on. (Be sure to refrigerate the sausages until you cook and eat them.) Most sausages are safely fully-cooked upon reaching 152°F. (67°C.). At this point, the sausage becomes protected against all sorts of other pathogenic bacteria and microorganisms.

      The temperature of 170° is the extreme upper limit and beyond this point, nothing will save the sausage. Once the fat liquefies, the sausage cannot be salvaged and it will taste dreadful. Worse, the texture will resemble sawdust. Ol’ Rytek Kutas used to say, “sawdust… just like sawdust”, then shake his head.

      Whether you use your smoker, your kitchen oven, or even a pot of water on the stove, to prep-cook sausages, if you take your time and GRADUALLY raise the temperature only a couple of degrees every fifteen or twenty minutes, the sausages will be just fine. This procedure most often involves several hours. On the other hand, if you attempt to shorten the process by raising the heat too quickly, you’re only inviting problems. Worse, if the temperature exceeds 170°F., you’ll have to toss the batch. And don’t feed them to your dog! He didn’t do anything to you. At this point, the only thing sawdust sausages are good for is shotgun practice, and with a little drying, they’ll even disintegrate in the air in a delightful puff of dust upon receiving a well-placed blast of a 12 gauge.

      Oh, I almost forgot. You might enjoy looking at this recipe. I can’t remember when I ripped it off, but it is an authentic, genuine, bona fide, valid, legitimate, and original Polish recipe I stole…. I mean… pilfered… err…. Uhh.. I mean filched… No, no, I mean uhh… borrowed a long time ago from a nice Polish fellow who really liked chicken.

      Polish Chicken Sausage
      5 kg. (11 lbs.) Recipe

      Polish: ——————————————————- English:
      3-5 whole chickens (5 kg. meat) ———– 3-5 whole chickens (11 lbs. meat)
      peklosól – 0,10 kg ————- 2 tspns. Prague Powder #1
      water 0,5 litre ———- 2 cups water
      white sugar 0,010kg ———– 2 tspns. sugar
      salt +/- 0,005 kg ———— 1 tspn. salt
      black pepper – 0,005 kg ———— 1 tspn. pepper
      freshly grind dried coriander fruits – 0,0008 kg ———- 1 tspn. coriander
      freshly grind nutmeg seeds – 0,0006 kg ———— 1 tspn. nutmeg
      32-36mm hog casings (can also use 80-120 mm) ———- 32-36mm hog casings
      butchers twine ( cotton ) ——— butchers twine

      All meat should be cut in pieces of 3 cm or machine diced. Meat from legs grind on 5mm plate. Skin and fat grind twice on 3 mm plate. Peklosól & sugar dissolved in 0,5 litre of chilled water ( 6°C below )

      Separate chicken breast, wings, legs, skin and fat. Neck, wings and remaining bones can be used as the base to cook bullion. Next weight all the meat, skin and fat, total weight will be your base to add cure and spices.

      Mix all types of meat. Add curing solution until absorbed by the meat, this should take from 5 to 10 min. We press the mass in the proper bowl to remove eventual air pockets, and put in the fridge for 24 hours. After this time we mix again for 5 min and return to fridge for next 24 hours. Temperature should not exceed 6°C.

      Use hog casing 32 – 36 mm. Tie up end of hog casing by making knot. You can also use butchers twine. Remove visible air pockets with a needle. Divide continuous rope by twisting to 10-15 cm pieces. Leave the sausage in continuous rope. Put back into fridge for max 24 hour.

      Hot smoke during 120-150 min. until dark brown color. Put the sausage to water at temp. 65-72 st.C until temperature inside the sausage will reach 68°C. Slowly rise water temperature. Hot sausage has to be placed in cold water for 30 minutes, next put in the fridge for 12 hours.

      Best Wishes,

  7. Turkey? Schmurkey. We want Smoked, Roasted Lamb this time of year.

    Whataya mean, it’s not springtime? Our buddies in Australia and New Zealand are just now wrapping up spring, and lamb roasts are pretty inexpensive due to a strong U.S.Dollar. So, put ol’ Chuckwagon up against a bighorn sheep and see who has the hardest head. As for me, I’m bettin’ on buyin’ a lamb roast down at th’ Big Box Bulk Buyer Bunch. Believe it or not, due to the drought in the western US and the recent European problems devaluing the Euro, lamb is cheaper than beef by quite a bit. We’ll eat THOSE guys later. As for now, though, I’m goin’ fer roasted lamb, specifically “Green River Grilled Lamb.”

    I’m using the information in our recipe section at http://sausageswest.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Lamb-Preparation.pdf for guidance. Ol’ Chuckles knows what he’s talking about, even with non-beef animal entities. I’ve never tried the wine/lemons/garlic marinade before, so here goes! A day in the marinade, in a FoodSaver bag in the refrigerator, then three or four hours of apple wood smoke at 135 degF ought to be cool enough to absorb smoke yet hot enough to safely avoid botulism . Then I’ll crank the electric smoker to its max, 274.99999 degF, or maybe yank it out and put it in a 325 degF oven in the house if we’re in a hurry. …then invite over fifty or so of our closest friends. (Well, okay, forty relatives and ten of our remaining friends.)

    WooHoo! …medium rare, comin’ up! This is gonna be good.
    Duk 😀

    [ed.note: 3-1/2 hours of apple smoke. The 275 degF smoker setpoint gave 300 degF actual temperature. Pulled the lamb roast out at 145 degF IMT and wrapped it in foil. Served two hours later. Still slightly pink on the inside. The combination marinade and smoke were delicious and a real “crowd pleaser.” …will definitely use this recipe again.]

    1. Wull… eh…. Pilgrim! I’m mighty tickled to see you use muh lamb recipe. I’m not ‘zactly sure where I stole…. uhh… pinched….uhhh…. I mean acquired all those recipes, but they are authentic from the Greek Festivals etc. On a cattle ranch, I carried a bucket of brown paint right behind my saddle. Every time I saw a sheep, I got off muh hoss and painted the sheep to disguise it as a small bally-faced Hereford bovine type critter cow! That was the easy part! Teachin’ ’em to “Moo” was not an easy task! 😯

      Best Wishes,

  8. cooked a 65# lamb yesterday and have some questions to be answered if possible? Strict instructions were NO PINK OR RED MEAT!!!!! Ok then, cut animal up into 6 pcs. Two hinds 2 fronts and split rib/loin. put hinds on first 1.5 hr later put ribs and fronts on. Here is my question. I am a thermometer guy and check calibration before every time they are used. That being said the first time I checked I T the lowest was temp151. when I pulled thermo out juice had quit a bit of color. put back in 45min checked again I.T was 158. This time I cut into the hind and it was still pretty pink , wrapped in foil turned heat down to 200 served an hr later and it was very very good. no more pink but in MHO a bit over done. My question, How can there be any pink in juice or meat at 158, that’s well above med and hi end of med/well. If I were to serve when thermo read 150 party I was cooking for would not have been happy. thanks kd ps I checked temp in multiple places so thermo temps were accurate.

  9. I’ll attempt to answer this one, but it’s probably not thorough enough. I like my lamb cooked rare & bloody, so IMHO lamb that is no longer pink (juices included) is probably a candidate for use as leather.

    …but individual tastes are not the issue. Here’s what’s recommended by our all-knowing Department of Agriculture: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/meat-preparation/focus-on-lambfrom-farm-to-table/CT_Index Click on that link for a good, concise set of recommendations, at least for the USA. There’s a Wikipedia list of cooking temperatures at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doneness that discusses American, Chinese, French definitions of internal meat temperature for various degrees of doneness. Your 158 degF looks like borderline well done, according to them.

    …so I’ll go out on a limb and say that doneness is probably a function of both temperature and time at that temperature, and that slow roasting will tend to have less pinkness as those little red cells succomb to the effects of heat. (Then, as discussion begins, I will make a hasty exit, stage-left, and disappear into darkness and anonymity. WooHoo! Now, THERE’s a word you don’t hear every day.)

    I doubt that this helps, but hey! I tried. In the long run, it’s all about pleasing your guests, right? …and maybe, not inviting them again if they insist on ruining one of the best meats there is. …unless they’re relatives, in case you’re on your own. (We once drummed an in-law out of the family for ordering a steak well-done. Granddad musta been outa bullets.)

    Duk 😀

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