2 – Project “B” – 2015 Startup

grilling sausages“Yeeee Hawww” !!  Time to start up the fourth somewhat-annual Project “B,” for 2015. Let’s begin by hearing from good ol’ moderator Chuckwagon, who covers a few “Rules of the Road,” before he leads off with “The Fascinating World of Sausage Making.”

 Preface To Project B2 (May 18th, 2015)
A Few Rules…
Hi everyone! Project B is organized for those who wish to learn the very basics of sausage making. We will assume that beginners have no experience whatsoever. It is also a place for more experienced members who wish to participate to truly help others over some of the obstacles. It is not the place for more experienced members to boast about their own knowledge or experience. Rather, posts made by more experienced members should be geared directly to helping beginners learn – as they once did themselves. The moderator will be a little more critical in this area and may even delete certain information if necessary. In other words, experienced members are encouraged to help beginners by providing pertinent material and crucial information alright, but in the spirit of support and encouragement. Knowledge should be shared humbly and prudently ONLY with the advancement of the beginner in mind. There will be a ton of questions and we encourage those with experience to share their knowledge while remembering it is a beginner’s project. Let it be said upfront, “There are no ‘silly’ questions here… just silly answers”.

Beginners will find a suggested reading and study agenda included with each new topic and there are even quizzes for those choosing to correct their own answers. Whether or not participants wish to discuss their mistakes with others, is entirely optional.

The format for Project B includes reading and studying the very basic issues of the craft, while making “fresh” type sausages and then “cured & prep-cooked”- type sausages for grilling. Finishing up, we’ll touch on Semi-dry curing and even make a fermented spreadable sausage. As the chat opens, please remember to pose questions that would help benefit others also. Advanced techniques will be studied in a later forum. Please remember courtesy and fellowship. Now, let’s have fun learning!

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon

Introduction: The Fascinating World Of Sausage Making

Come along and join us in the intriguing and engrossing hobby of sausage making… where folks get to eat their hard work! Ask questions and learn. We’re here to help you. In no time at all, you’ll be making sausages, bacon, hams, and other meat products not only for yourself, but for your family and neighbors as well. Slowly, you’ll gain a reputation for being able to hand-craft better products than those other people shop for – but never find – in grocery stores. Most often, those shoppers are spending their hard-earned bucks for premium-priced, commercial meat products that turn out to be disappointing and of lesser quality.

Best of all, you’ll gain knowledge along the way and have the satisfaction of hand-crafting premium sausages by yourself. However, one must walk before he runs. Our fellow-member Ross Hill’s words still ring in my ears. He stated: “I have no qualms about killing and eating meat but I am deeply offended when I hear of people wasting meat that was supposed to be food. The worst kinds of waste come from people seeking an easy answer to a complex method and refusing to invest the time and effort needed to learn the skills.”

First, a person should learn how to make “fresh sausage”. No, that doesn’t refer to beef that was “mooing” just twenty minutes before you started grinding. “Fresh” is the term used for designating “uncured” sausage or meat that has not actually been treated or “cured” using chemicals or salt. This type of comminuted (ground) meat must be refrigerated and used up within three days, or frozen for future use.

Add all the seasonings you may, stuff it inside casings, or mold it into patties, but use it up within three days or freeze it. Because the meat has not been cured, it must not be smoked. This is the famous “breakfast” type sausage containing pork and sage. Other favorites include fresh Italian and kielbasa, the well-known Polish sausage. Pick up a few good books and learn how to properly cool, chop, grind, mix, case, and link, “fresh meat”. Learn about casings, grinding and stuffing equipment. Read about the proper procedure and the professional and safe way to grind, mix, and stuff sausage. Please note that “Fresh sausage” is NEVER smoked (without cure having been added). Refrigerate it and use it within three days or freeze it. Only if you add cure, (sodium nitrite) to the recipe, may you stuff the meat into casings and smoke sausages for grilling.

Next, having mastered the basics, we’ll move on to “smoked-cooked” sausage. Smoked n’ cured brats on the grill just can’t be beat – especially if you make them yourself. Learn how to use sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate. This is not “rocket science” folks! Any prudent adult may learn quickly and safely, how to mix cures. Soon, people will ask you to make a batch or two for them! Watch out though! This hobby will get into your blood and become a passion! It will almost take over your life. Your spouse will ask why you are staying up so late at night just to study read about molds or cold smoking!

Why not make your own hams and bacons? It’s just not that hard to make and you’ll save pickup loads of money in the long run. Believe me, the finished product is much better than the stuff you may buy in a grocery store. So, ask questions and learn how to do it yourself. You will be surprised how many people on this website would really like to answer your queries and help you. Give them a chance to respond. And quit paying those steep prices in your local grocery store! That’s just crazy. Make your own, save a fortune, and craft a much better tasting product than you’ve ever eaten in all your life!

With the basics of “smoked-cooked sausage” under your belt, you may wish to learn how to make “Semi-Dry-Cured” sausages also. These sausages are fermented then cooked during their initial manufacture, but are then further dried before eating them. They are not generally cooked for consumption, rather being sliced and “eaten on the spot” or served as hors d’oeuvres. (There are exceptions of course, pepperoni being the most widely-used air-dried sausage cooked atop America’s pizzas). Semi-dry cured sausages are a cowboy’s best “saddlebag n’ pocketknife” food.

More Advanced Types Of Sausages

There is another type of sausage in a class all by itself, and it is not included in Project B. This more advanced sausage requires a basic understanding of bacteria and a bit of special equipment. This is the “fermented” or “dry-cured” sausage, also called the “air-dried” sausage. How does it differ from the “semi-dry cured” sausage? This one is not cooked… at all! You know the stuff… the famous “dry-cured” “salami” or “pepperoni” et al. Although it is a raw-meat product, this “fermented sausage” is the only type sausage that is safe to keep outside the refrigerator – all because of a certain bacterium. Making fermented sausage should only be attempted having first learned to make (1.) fresh sausage, then (2.) cured-cooked-smoked sausage, and finally, (3.) having studied the basics of the bacteria involved in this specific type of “fermented” sausage. Making this type of sausage also requires the construction and use of a “fermentation” chamber with variable temperature and relative humidity controls. This type of sausage “separates the men from the boys”. However, quite truthfully, if you also wish to make this type of sausage, you surely may! It requires more effort on your part, but you may certainly make this type of sausage also. As our “Project B” concludes, we will open another “Project A” for learning how to make dry-cured (air dried) sausages. Be aware that those folks completing Project B will be invited to join us in Project A in which we craft dry-cured sausage. Good luck. Fear not. We’re here to help you and answer your questions. By the way, we’ve never let anyone “fail” one of our Project courses.

Best Wishes,
Chuck n’ Duck

Link back to “1 – Project “B” – 2015 Introduction

Link forward to “3 – 2015 Project “B” Reading <em>(How to Start),(Proteins & Amino Acids), (Botulism), (Mix/Cure/Stuff/Grades of Meat), (Additives), (Casing & Stuffing)</em>

14 thoughts on “2 – Project “B” – 2015 Startup

  1. Preface To Project B2 (May 18th, 2015)
    A Few Rules…
    Hi everyone! Project B is organized for those who wish to learn the very basics of sausage making. We will assume that beginners have no experience whatsoever. It is also a place for more experienced members who wish to participate to truly help others over some of the obstacles. It is not the place for more experienced members to boast about their own knowledge or experience. (topic moved in its entirety to top of page.)

  2. Introduction: The Fascinating World Of Sausage Making

    Come along and join us in the intriguing and engrossing hobby of sausage making…
    (topic moved in its entirety to top of page.)

  3. I am ready to go…
    YEEEEEEEHAW

    And already looking forward to the next project A as well 🙂
    One question: could the recipes be written in metric measurements as well (I am imperially challenged)?

    1. Excellent point, Badjak. With the British Empire waning, only the US and Myanmar use “Imperial” units.

      Folks, could we all commit to using metric units exclusively? (If not, I’ll “reach in” and try to convert the recipes, at least for this project.) May I suggest a couple of items? Chuckwagon and I will commit to doing the following (Raise that right hand high, CW, dagnabbit !):
      —Use, as a basis for recipes that you share, one kilogram of the primary meat.
      —Use weight measurements (grams) instead of volumes wherever possible.

      Yee Haw! Down with Imperialism!

      Duk
      Imperial Waterfowl Officer
      😀

  4. YeeeHaaaw! It’ll be great. I’m ready, too.

    Marianskis’ book is so good that I bought a second copy for my brother.
    —Today’s list price on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Home-Production-Quality-Meats-Sausages/dp/0982426739 was $21.89.
    —Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/home-production-of-quality-meats-and-sausages-stanley-marianski/1022923618?ean=9780982426739 hangs in there at $22.20.
    —On the Book Magic site, suggested retail price is $26.95 An e-book version is also available.
    —If you Google it, you can see much of the book’s content on-line. Try https://books.google.com/books/about/Home_Production_of_Quality_Meats_and_Sau.html?id=uiP6TuF93yQC&hl=en

    Badjak, I assume that you already own a copy, seeing as how you’ve been around for a bit. If not, you can maybe use the Google page listed above until you can obtain one for yourself. I hope that it’s not too hard to obtain internationally, but I’ve been wrong before. Just in case, much of the content is also available on-line at http://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausage-making which is the English version of a website which originates in Poland and has close ties to the Marianski family.

    …looking forward to it, folks. Yee Haaw! (again.)

  5. Mr Duck, I do have the book.
    I bought it initially as a kindle book and later on I purchased the hard copy as well.
    Just find it easier to browse through a real book (maybe I am showing my age here)

  6. Hi, guys, and Yee Haww too! I’m ready.

    …but do I have to give up my measuring spoons and cups? Maybe Mr. Duck could provide a conversion between metric and all the various spoon units, so we can convert to what we’re used to? This would be especially useful for people like me who don’t have a scale that measures things in grams. That way, both Badjak and I can make the recepes without too much pain.

  7. Uh oh! (…turns up the volume on vintage song “For What It’s Worth.”) (…senses “so much resistance from behind.”) So much for the “only metric” idea. (…hangs head.)

    Okay- – volumes and weights are not the same. However, if you know something called the “density” (in the case of powders and such, it’s called “bulk density”), we can convert. So, for example, if we know that we need 3 teaspoons of garlic powder and the garlic powder weighs 2.8 grams per teaspoon, we would need
    (3 tsp) * (2.8 gm/tsp) = 8.44 grams of garlic powder.

    How do you get “bulk density”? (By the way, it’s a really good idea to do this periodically, to check things.) Simply take a level teaspoon of the material, put a small dish onto your scale, push the “tare” button to compensate for the weight of the dish, then dump the spoon of material into the dish to weigh it. A better, more accurate way to weigh (yuk yuk) is to weigh, say, two TABLEspoons of material, remember that there are three teaspoons in a Tablespoon, so divide what you weighed by six.

    Clear as mud, right?

    Of course right.

    So, what I’ll try to do on the recipes is to give both grams of herbs/spices/whatnot AND teaspoons. I will try to ALWAYS give the metric amounts, so if you want conversions units in addition to teaspoons/tablespoons/cups, let me know.

    And now, today’s trivia question: Scotch whiskey is measured in sixths of a gill (pronounced “jill.”) Okay, so, knowing that this is a British unit (because you picked up on the hint that “It’s not pronounced the way it’s spelled”), can you tell me how much a sixth of a gill IS?

    The answer, given to me by a barman in Middlesborough, Cleveland, England, years ago: “Not nearly enough.”

    Best regards,
    Metro/Metric Duk
    😀

  8. Using both measurements seems the best solution.
    I wouldn’t want anyone to give up the way they are measuring in if they are comfortable with it!

    I have to admit that I do use teaspoons for small amounts of spices, basically when it is not that important if it is a bit more or less..
    I will always weigh my cure though. And because my cure #1 has a different percentage nitrite, it is very easy to convert if I know the weight 🙂
    Salt is another one where weighing is quite a bit better as not all salts take up the same volume (compare coarse salt with table salt).

    And calculating in metric is soooo easy, 1 ppm is 1 mg per kg….

    Just a query (just out of interest): Almost everyone I know in continental Europe has a weighing scale in their kitchen, even if they are not big into their cooking and baking. I assume that’s not the case in the USA?

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