“Certified” Pork And Raw Meat Sausages

“Certified” Pork And Raw Meat Sausages sausage making

Injun Country Mettwurst

Can you make your own delicious Mettwurst safely? Sure you can! Don’t pass up this delicious sausage just because you must “certify” the pork. True, Mettwurst is not fully cooked and the pork used must be “certified”. It requires some deep freezing to destroy trichinella spiralis, but you can do it!

 Destroying Trichinella Spiralis

Trichinella spiralis is a parasitic roundworm whose larval form may be present in the flesh of pork or wild game and its painful infection is known as trichinosis. The best way to eradicate the dangers of the trinchinella spiralis larva is to simply cook the meat thoroughly. However, not all sausagemaking procedures allow the meat to be fully cooked or even cooked at all. In these cases, “certified pork” must be used; pork that has been deeply (sub-zero) frozen for a prescribed amount of time. Because of new USDA regulations in American hog production during the 1970’s and 80’s, the disease in modern America has mostly been eradicated. For decades preceding the new rules, many hog producers fed hogs the entrails of other butchered hogs as the cycle continued until the modern rules were put into effect. By public demand over an extended period of time, American pork has become less fatty and mostly trichinae free. It is interesting to note that in England, as well as in many other hog producing countries, trichinella spiralis is virtually unknown.

Unless you are making a raw product using “certified pork”, you must always follow the recommended cooking temperatures in recipes. If Mettwurst or other raw sausage is being made, the pork must be “certified”. In other sausages, the internal temperature of cooked fresh pork must reach at least 150°F. (65°C.) . All hot smoked sausages should be cooked to 155° F. (68C.). Cold-smoked or air dried sausages, whose formulas contain Prague powder #2, should be cooked to 120-135° F. (49-57° C.). Never judge by looks alone, whether meat is cooked sufficiently, and always check the internal temperature using an accurate meat thermometer.

 Making “Certified Pork”

In North America, there are five known species of Trichinella. They are Trichinella spiralis, T. nativa, T. pseudospiralis, Trichinella T-5, and Trichinella T-6. The one we deal with most often in pork is trichinella spiralis. The other four occur mostly in game animals. Species T-5 is found mostly in bears and other wildlife in the eastern United States, while speciesT-6 is mostly in bears and other wildlife in the Northwestern United States. SpeciesT. nativa is found in Alaska. Both T. nativa and Trichinella T-6 are resistant to freezing. Trichinella pseudospiralis has been reported infrequently from birds, but can infect pigs also.

You would be surprised at just how many people believe that simple freezing will destroy trichinella spiralis. Actually, the majority of people believe it, and that frightens me. I often think of the folks who shoot javelinas and wild pigs and think simply freezing the carcass will take care of trichinella spiralis. It absolutely will not! In fact, The Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, at Massachusetts General Hospital has concluded that “Smoking, salting, or drying meat are not reliable methods of killing the organism that causes this infection”. Further, “Only freezing at subzero temperatures (Fahrenheit) for 3 to 4 weeks will kill the organism”. If folks ever gazed into a microscope and saw the round nematode worm embedded far into human muscle tissue, they would surely think twice about proper sub-zero temperatures. The first time I saw the living microorganism beneath the microscope, I thought I’d lose my lunch! The thing that alarms me is that most people do not have the means of freezing meat at these cryogenic temperatures – so, they take the chance. Yet, if the pork has come from a reliable grocer rather than an “independent small farmer”, you will be pretty much safe.

 Wanna get’ really scared?

Here’s how the little buggers work: Trichinella cysts break open in the intestines and grow into adult roundworms whenever a person eats meat from an infected animal. These roundworms produce other worms that move through the stomach wall and into the bloodstream. From here, the organisms tend to invade muscle tissues, including the heart and diaphragm, lungs and brain. At this point, trichinosis becomes most painful.

But we can get rid of it right? Wrong! The medications Mebendazole or albendazole may be used to treat infections in the intestines, but once the larvae have invaded the muscles, there is no specific treatment for trichinosis and the cysts remain viable for years. Complications of the disease include encephalitis, heart arrhythmias, myocarditis, (inflammation), and complete heart failure. Pneumonia is also a common complication. So, what do we do? Purchase pork from a known, reliable, supplier who conforms to USDA and FSIS rules and imports commercially-grown pork. Or, you can cryogenically treat your own if you are a small producer of hogs and insist on feeding your piggies the entrails of other animals.

 USDA (FSIS) Regulations Regarding The Destruction of Trichinella Spiralis

The Meat Inspection Division of the United States Department Of Agriculture arranges the size, volume, and weight of meat products into “groups” to specify handling instructions. Meat from hogs, having safely passed these specific requirements, is called “certified pork”.

 Group 1 “comprises meat products not exceeding 6” (inches) in thickness, or arranged on separate racks with the layers not exceeding 6” in depth, or stored in crates or boxes not exceeding 6” in depth, or stored as solidly frozen blocks not exceeding 6” in thickness”.

 Group 2 “comprises products in pieces, layers, or within containers, the thickness of which exceeds 6” but not 27” and products in containers including tierces, barrels, kegs, and cartons, having a thickness not exceeding 27”. The product undergoing such refrigeration or the containers thereof shall be spaced while in the freezer to insure a free circulation of air between the pieces of meat, layers, blocks, boxes, barrels, and tierces, in order that the temperature of the meat throughout will be promptly reduced to not higher than 5 degrees F., -10 degrees F., or -20 degrees F., as the case may be”.

 Item 1: Heating & Cooking

“All parts of the pork muscle tissue shall be heated to a temperature of not less than 138° F.” Whenever cooking a product in water, the entire product must be submerged for the heat to distribute entirely throughout the meat. Always test the largest pieces since it always takes longer to reach the 138°F temperature in thicker pieces. Always test the temperature in a number of places.

 Item 2: Refrigerating & Freezing

“At any stage of preparation and after preparatory chilling to a temperature of not above 40° F., or preparatory freezing, all parts of the muscle tissue of pork or product containing such tissue shall be subjected continuously to a temperature not higher than one of these specified in Table 1, the duration of such refrigeration at the specified temperature being dependent on the thickness of the meat or inside dimensions of the container.”

Table 1: Required Period Of Freezing At Temperature Indicated

Group 1 (first number of days) – Group 2 (second number of days)

+05° F. 20 days / 30 days

-10° F. 10 days / 20 days

-20° F. 6 days / 12 days

 Item 3: Curing Sausage

“Sausage may be stuffed in animal casings, hydrocellulose casings, or cloth bags. During any stage of treating the sausage for the destruction of live trichinae, these coverings shall not be coated with paraffin or like substance, nor shall any sausage be washed during any prescribed period of drying. In preparation of sausage, one of the following methods may be used:

 Method No. 1:

“The meat shall be ground or chopped into pieces not exceeding ¾” in diameter. A dry-curing mixture containing not less than 3-1/3 lbs. of salt to each hundredweight of the unstuffed sausage shall be thoroughly mixed with the ground or chopped meat. After being stuffed, sausage having a diameter not exceeding 3-1/2” measured at the time of stuffing, shall be held in a drying room not less than 20 days at a temperature not lower than 45 degrees F., except that in sausage of the variety known as pepperoni; if in casing and not exceeding 1-3/8” in diameter at the time of stuffing, the period of drying may be reduced to 15 days. In no case, however, shall the sausage be released from the drying room in less than 25 days from the time the curing materials are added, except that the sausage of the variety known as pepperoni, if in casings not exceeding the size specified, may be released at the expiration of 20 days from the time the curing materials are added. Sausage in casings exceeding 3-1/2” but not exceeding 4” in diameter at the time of stuffing shall be held in a drying room not less than 35 days at a temperature not lower than 45 degrees F., and in no case shall the sausage be released from the drying room in less than 40 days from the time the curing materials are added to the meat.

 Method No. 2:

“The meat shall be ground or chopped into pieces not exceeding ¾” in diameter. A dry-curing mixture containing no less than 3-1/3 lbs. of salt to each hundredweight of the unstuffed sausage shall be thoroughly mixed with the ground or chopped meat. After being stuffed, the sausage having a diameter not exceeding 3-1/2” measured at the time of stuffing, shall be smoked not less than 40 hours at a temperature of not lower than 80 degrees F. and finally held in a drying room not less than 10 days at a temperature not lower than 45 degrees F. In no case, however, shall the sausage be released from the drying room in fewer than 18 days from the time the curing materials are added to the meat. Sausage exceeding 3-1/2”, but not exceeding 4” in diameter at the time of stuffing, shall be held in a drying room following the smoking as above indicated, not less than 25 days at a temperature not lower than 45 degrees F., and in no case shall the sausage be released from the drying room in less than 33 days from the time the curing materials are added to the meat.

Injun Country Mettwurst

25 Lb. Batch

The US Department of Agriculture classifies this sausage as an “uncooked” sausage and requires that it be made using “certified” pork (treated frozen pork) to destroy trichinella spiralis.

  • 2 Tbsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 -1/2 Tbsp. Ground White Pepper
  • 2 -1/2 tsp. Ground Celery Seed
  • 2 -1/2 Tbsp. Ground Allspice
  • 2 -1/2 tsp. Marjoram
  • 1 -1/2 tsp. Ground Caraway Seed
  • 2 -1/2 tsp. Ground Coriander
  • 2 oz. (4 Tbsp.) Powdered Dextrose
  • * (3 Tbsp.Sugar may be substituted if desired)
  • 4 -1/2 tspn. Whole Mustard Seed
  • 2/3 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Distilled Water
  • 5 tspns. Cure #1
  • 15 Lbs. Pork Butt (*See USDA “curing” requirements above)
  • 10 Lbs. Beef Chuck

 Instructions:

Grind all the meat with fat through a 1/8″ grinder plate. Next, add the Cure #1 to the water and mix it into the meat. Mix in the soy protein concentrate and distribute it evenly with your hands. Add all other ingredients into just enough water to make a “soupy” mixture and mix the combination in thoroughly. Blend the mixture until the primary bind proteins develop and “soft peaks” are made when the meat is pulled apart with your hands. If necessary, add just enough ice water to ready the sausage for stuffing. (Do not add more than 2 lbs. of ice water.)

Stuff the meat into washed beef rounds cut into 16” to 18” lengths, prick the casings, tie the ends together, and hang sausages on sticks to dry inside a cooler 24 hours and 40°F. for 24 hours. Place the sausages into your smokehouse (in heavy smoke) at 100°F. for eight hours. Allow the sausages to cool to room temperature before hanging them overnight in the cooler again. It is important to understand the curing instructions below:

*Note that this sausage is not “cooked cured” because it is not cooked above the point where trichinella spiralis is destroyed (137°F.). Therefore, we need to use “certified” pork in this recipe; pork which has been sufficiently frozen to destroy trichinella spiralis. For you own safety, please read and understand the information about certifying your own pork.

Best Wishes,

Chuckwagon