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!


How to Do It:
To comment, click in the “Comment” area below, then write your li’l heart out.
—Need to add an image to your comment? Click on the “attachment” wording, near the comment you are adding, to browse for it. See “Adding an Image to a Comment…” if you want details.
Select what main topic you want to see (and comment on) from the picture links on the Home Page. The most recent comments are also listed at the bottom of this and all other pages
— Use the “Older Comments” and “Newer Comments” thingies at the bottom of each page to navigate within a comment section.
— To log out, click here

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

  1. That was some very useful information, I will have to be more careful with my frozen backfat. Just wondering how long will vacuum sealed pork back fat stay fresh in the freezer?

  2. How many members use a salinometer? If You do are you using 60 degree Fahrenheit water? Reason why I am asking is because I am making a corned beef and have done numerous times. It is a hit and miss. Usually comes out too salty but this time I am going to pump the brine. Reading Home Production by Marianski. Looks like I MUST start keeping a log book and work out of that for future reference. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Just a note to rosshill. Had friends over and had some homemade Ross Hill rolls. Roast beef on kimmelweck. (A Buffalo NY staple) They went wild over the rolls.
    Thanks to ALL. Much Appreciated


    1. There’s a good discussion on correcting various types of salinometers at http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-07/rhf/ where, it should be noted, the correction is only on the order of a couple of percent. As long as you keep a journal so you can be consistent, you can home in on a good value.
      But the most important thing you must do is share the corned beef. I’ll be right over. (Wow, that looks good!)

    2. Isn’t that something Fred, most every burger and sandwich I make is on a Ross Hill inspired hunk of bread. I’d love to try to make a corned beef from a brisket and have thought about trying to pull that off for a long long time. The hold up for me has always been that it’s not cost effective and the corned beef I get at the market has always made me fairly happy. I wait for St. Patty’s Day sales every year and buy Shenson’s corned beef flats for $2.29 – $2.49 lb., I try to grab four pounders. The best price I ever see on brisket is $3.99 a pound, so factoring in the brining price drives the process up even more. The sales should begin next week and I’ll score 6-8 packs for the freezer when I find the right deal. I’d like to try my own but the fact I know what I’m getting every time and at a better price makes it a easy decision for me. Let me know how things come out, I love a corned beef and cabbage dinner, or a nice corned beef Ruben sandwich. RAY

  3. Thank you for the responses Fellas. Yes it is more expensive to make but it is a conversation piece. Just met a fellow vet at the VFW yesterday and he has not had Polish sausage in 20 years. Just some small talk about this hobby and well, Easter time when I make fresh, smoked and pierogi he is going to sample some. Not too many people in this hobby and it’s hard for people to disagree when speaking, unlike sports, news and politics. It’s an interesting conversation when people are listening. Thanks again

    How about some homemade sweet cherry pie?


  4. Right, it is starting to get a bit cooler here, or at least it soon will be, so time to pick up smoking (not of the cigarette type though) and sausage making again.
    I really liked the Goan chorico I made last year, so decided to make it again.
    Ran into some problems though:
    I used my new mincer and it kept cutting.
    First thought it was the electricity supply. I was at least clever enough to use a transformer as I bought the mincer in the states and our voltage here is 240 (or realistically anything between 180 and 230). It wasn’t the voltage. I checked the knife several times and it was in correct.
    Eventually it turned out that I forgot the washer, so there was too much give and the knife was not firmly against the plate.
    Secondly I didn’t soak enough casings……
    Anyway, ended up with some nice sausages and a lot of spiced mince for burger patties.

    New attempts to follow shortly 🙂

    1. Oh how we learn from our mistakes! My first sausages were totally miserable. I remember the horn stuffer I had. What a nightmare! I should have done some jail time for using that kind of language!
      Keep practicing Sambal… you’ll get the hang of it soon enough!
      Like my ol’ daddy said…. “Back up and hit it again”!

      Best Wishes,

      1. It’s all very tasty though, so not everything went wrong.
        And I am happy with my new grinder as it is pretty fast in comparison with my old one 🙂

  5. It’s A Puzzlement

    This is the top tray of the 4 tray Bradley with Len Poli’s Slim Jims. The light colored area of some of these sticks was, in all cases, facing down on the tray during the smoker session. The sticks on the lower 3 trays had uniform color. What the heck?


    1. Phil, that’s the “bloom” taking place. It’s always like that when you put sausages out to dry. The tops will bloom first and eventually turn into a beautiful mahogany color. The bottoms will retain more moisture as they dry and will be the last to bloom. Simply turn them over after a day of drying to get them to bloom evenly. I just turned over several screens of jerky strips this afternoon, getting ready for the smoker.

    1. Phil ol’ pard,
      How about posting another photo of a few of the sausages with the “bloom” on them so our readers can see the beautiful, mahogany, “pellicle” that formed on the skins.

        1. As Buddy Ebsen would say…. Wheeeeee Doggeeeee!
          Those little things are gorgeous. Nice work pal. With that “bloom”, now is the ideal time to smoke em’. Without all that moisture on the surface, they’ll take up smoke quickly and evenly.

          Best Wishes,

  6. There’s nothing like second-hand information, except maybe if it’s third- or fourth-hand. Here’s an article from “EpiCurious” website titled “Sausages for Oktoberfest” by Megan O. Steintrager, quoting Bruce Aidells, at http://www.epicurious.com/archive/holidays/oktoberfest/germansausagesbruceaidells. It explains the different types of German sausages.

    I hope you don’t mind the repeat, you experts, but I’m new to this game and I don’t know the ethnic traditions. So, for us new people with growing families, here goes. (Maybe you can share some of the recipes?)

    P.S. Love the new website look!

    Aidells explained that German sausage-makers “tend to be very subtle” with spices. The most common seasonings include salt, white—not black—pepper, and mace; then, “depending on the sausage-maker’s whim or regional variations,” they might contain cumin, coriander, cardamom, marjoram, thyme, sage, caraway, garlic, and cloves. Here are some common varieties:
    • Blutwurst: Made of diced, cooked pork fat and blood, blut (blood) sausages come in many varieties served both hot and cold. Aidells’s favorite contains forcemeat, blood, and diced pieces of smoked tongue.
    • Bockwurst: These fat, mild white sausages contain finely ground pork or pork and veal flavored with leeks, chives, or green onions.
    • Bratwurst: The name means “farmers’ sausage,” according to Aidells. In Germany, these sausages—which can be fresh or smoked—tend to be all pork, but they can also contain veal.
    • Cervelat: These large smoked sausages tend to be more heavily seasoned than other German varieties. They can be eaten as cold cuts or poached and used in various dishes.
    • Frankfurter: Hailing from Frankfurt, this is a smoky, mildly seasoned sausage distinguished by its long, narrow shape. It’s usually made with pork in natural sheep casing. This casing—missing from many American sausages—is what gives the frankfurter “that nice pop,” says Aidells.
    • Knockwurst (Knackwurst): These fat smoked sausages are generally made of pork and veal and are distinguished by a strong garlic flavor.
    Most of these sausages can be boiled, broiled, grilled, panfried, or even deep-fried. What to serve with all of this sausage? “I always like to make a really nice pot of sauerkraut or warm potato salad with bacon,” says Aidells. He also recommends serving German breads such as pumpernickel, sour pickles, a variety of sweet and spicy mustards, and—of course—beer.

  7. Great Information Dee,
    Thanks pal! When I go shopping, I often look for some of Bruce Aidell’s sausage. It’s pretty good stuff and a break from my own creations. Dee, what is your favorite “fresh” type recipe? Does your family have a preference for a breakfast sausage? How about your favorite dinner sausage? Kielbasa? Perhaps Italian Mild? Maybe a German or Swiss sausage like Krainerwurst, a type of Slovenian sausage. Do you mix your own? If you are totally new to the process, we can guide you through it and have you making “cooked n’ cured” stuffed sausages in no time at all.
    If we could get 5 people to commit to a beginner’s project, I would start another one like our old ‘Project B’. Anyone else interested in a beginner’s project on this forum? Just post and say “you’re in”!

    Best Wishes,

    1. Bruce Aidells seemed to be a pretty nice guy! I had a question about the recipe to his chicken -apple sausage a couple years back and he actually took the time to answer the e-mail himself. I’m planning a ten pound batch each this week of chicken Italian and Wild Hog Italian sausage. Now it’s time to see if that kid can hold up around Amen Corner with Lefty and a Tiger on his tail. Sunday brekky!


  8. Regarding your “Beginners Project,” thanks, Mr. Chuckwagon. Yes, I’m definitely, totally, new at this, and interested in learning. Mama and Papa were immigrants who wanted us to fit in as Americans, so while most other girls learned the knowledge of “old country” ways from family, they wanted my sisters and me to be free of it. The old generation is gone now, my husband and I moved west, and as far as ethnic cooking skills, life is that much more empty.

    Would it be appropriate for a housewife to join your Beginners Project? I won’t be expected to hunt, catch, or kill things, will I? If so, then count me out. However, if I can learn cooking skills, that’s different.

    A friend pointed me to this website, and he has a meat grinder and sausage stuffer and some of the other equipment. Maybe for that part, he could help. My family doesn’t eat that much meat, let alone sausage, but neighbors do, and my husband enjoys it. Plus, I’ll admit, plain old meat loaf isn’t the best thing in the world. We made one of your hamburger recipes a while back, and now our girls know why fast food both tastes bad and is bad for you. And that turkey recipe is really good!

    I guess I’m saying that I would be interested in participating in a beginners project. Could my neighbor do it too, even though he’s more experienced? Are there any other housewives out there like me who might be interested? …sure hope so.

    Texas Blonde Lady (Dee)

    1. Hi Dee! It’s great to hear your enthusiasm. No, we don’t have you hunt, catch, or kill anything. Think about this: A person with a little knowledge and a grinder / stuffer can not only save a truckload of money, but make better, more healthy, and tastier, meat products than your local grocer can provide. You KNOW what goes into your own products. You KNOW how much salt and you KNOW how much fat goes into your own creations. When was the last time you opened a package of sandwich ham and found enough water inside to float your six-gun? And what is that stuff they put in a can and call “corned beef”? Then there is Vienna sausage in a can that resembles… uhh, some kind of mushy hot dog! These items don’t even look or taste anything like the original, hand-crafted products.
      Our members on this site, often purchase large, whole, primal cuts from a butcher then fashion their own bacon, ham, or sausage products themselves, saving a bunch of money! If you have priced beef lately, you’ll be interested in making your own jerky too. The commercial prices are out of sight.
      Caution! This hobby can become addictive. It will get into your blood and you won’t be able to stop! You’ll chuckle as you pass your grocer’s meat display. Even if you are just making your own Bologna for kids sandwiches, you’ll find your own with incredible new flavor. Shucks girl, make your own hot dogs too! Make them from beef chuck and pork butt and our recipe (containing mustard), and you’ll never eat another store-bought frankfurter again. (Do you really want me to tell you what they put into theirs?). I guarantee… absolutely guarantee… your own sausages and hot dogs will be healthier and more tasty than any store-bought item. When you discover this secret and share it with your family members and neighbors, you’ll soon become the “talk of the block”… people will listen when they overhear conversations and remarks about YOUR meat products and sausages.
      You may ask… “But isn’t this stuff sort of complicated and even dangerous”? No, it is not – as long as you follow a few rules. I compare it to “home canning” of jams & jellies. Many, many folks can their own fruits and vegetables. Sure, if you don’t follow the rules, the process may be dangerous to your health. But people learn the rules and follow them. It’s just not that hard to do. Don’t fret! We’ll guide you right through the process and make sure you do it correctly.
      Several years ago at Christmas time, some of my family members went temporarily nuts! Bananas, you know. Crazy! I had asked my local butcher to order me in an entire “fresh” ham – a “BIG” fresh ham. I was going to “cure and cook” it myself. It was gorgeous and I had to wait a few days to get it. It was so large, I had to use a large Coleman cooler full of ice water to contain it. I added the correct amount of sodium nitrite (cure) to the water along with the prescribed amount of salt. Meat that thick has to be injected with the curing agent, so I got out my hypodermic and gave the piggy a series of shots all along the bone and deep into the muscle. I waited a few days and then cooked it slowly. My sister-in-law asked what I had just taken out of the oven and sampled a slice. Then she sampled another slice. Then another and another! She mumbled something about it being the best she had ever tasted, and then went back to chomping up another slice and I hadn’t even smoked it yet! I had added powdered dextrose to the curing liquid (it’s only 70% sweet as sugar). The stuff gave it a magic flavor balanced with the salt. That year, I didn’t even get a chance to smoke the danged thing because my family devoured it before I had a chance to even start the smoker. Home-made bacon receives the same treatment as it comes out of my smoker. My Kabanosy sticks? That’s another story. That stuff disappears quicker than El DuckO can evade my 12-gauge salt loads!
      Dee, get a few of your neighbors to join you and sign up for one of my basic sausage-making projects. We’re right here to help you learn all about it. Good luck pal!

      Best Wishes,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.