I cannot speak for the quality or abilities on a Mainca or other brands, but…
We sell and recommend Talsa Stuffers. We have one here in our test kitchen as well. They do not have a problem running snack sticks on a 12mm horn. 10mm can get to be a little more difficult but can work fine still. A 12mm horn works fine for us and stuffing then into 19mm collagen casings.
Even on the smallest Talsa we offer, at a 26lb capacity and 1.75HP, they will stuff snack sticks fine. I think a lot of the capability just relies on what brand and quality of motor is in the hydraulic stuffer.
If you are doing half deer and half pork, the deer is going to be very lean so just make sure the pork used has a high enough fat content. You can safely use up to about 40% of the total product weight in fat and water (approximately 2 quarts water and meat at 75/25 lean to fat ratio), but that’s the limit I’d suggest. If you still struggle to stuff snack sticks at that point, it may just be a limitation on the stuffer you are using.
@cruise-dw I think it is a little small for Brats yes. A 1/8 plate is better as a second grind plate for snack sticks, summer sausages or other cured products. For Bratwursts a 3/8 plate it going to give you a better consistency for a fresh product. If you are using a 1/8 plate for your first grind that is going to take a long time and it will cause a little too much stress on your meat. Switching will, at the very least, help speed up your process!
@jonathon Good Morning Jonathon. Pick the seasoning you want, since you are the one who is going to be eating them. Im interested in how the thighs will affect the texture, how you are going to grind them etc.
Used some ground deer burger with the 19mm casing and the jalepeno stick seasoning and high temp cheddar cheese. Made them on a treager set for smoke for about 2 hours then turned up the heat to 225 to finish them and brought the internal temp to around 163. Immediately chilled the sticks and then let them rest for about an hour before packaging. I was impressed with myself with the result and the quality of the casings and seasonings. Can’t wait to try doing some more. Thanks for your help and suggestions.
@calldoctoday I would say that a little heavy or a little light will be fine. It would be most important to just not use multiple times more than what you need, and also not just 10% of what you need. Close will be ok, but I would definitely put a small kitchen scale on your wishlist! Hope you have a great Thanksgiving too!
@jonathon the turkey definitely saves on a few calories and the fat content. I think that my favorite is the 50/50 beef/turkey. Less saturated fat than the “real” bacon out of pork belly. I use a wet cure for my pork belly and it takes a few days. The ease of using the imitation seasoning puts a good tasting product in the freezer very quickly. I’m not sure much more smoke flavor I actually got out of using hickory chips in the smoker. It may be just as easy and just as tasty to put the meat loaves in the oven. I may try that as the weather gets colder.
@chicovt If you are trying to keep the price down, I’d recommend the Masterbuilt 40-inch electric smoker that you can pick up for less than $400. Then you can add some smoker sausage hangers (about $11 each) - they lay across a rack and have hooks to hang from below). I have 2 of those plus a bacon hanger, that I used last weekend when making venison summer sausage.
@sternh8gen If you are making 25 lb then I would recommend 4 oz of carrot fiber and for the Sure Gel use 6 oz per 25 lb batch. We have a Conversion Chart to show you how much by both weight and volume to use for 1 and 5 lb batches. We also have the same for seasoning and cures!
Parksider is right on with how the dehydrators typically work.
For temp and length of time in the oven, 170 to 200 degrees is as low as most ovens go, so as low of a temp in there as you can reach. Then, you want to hit an internal temp of 160 on snack sticks which will probably be several hours in the oven, really just depends on what size of snack sticks you’re making. Really small sticks may be 2-3 hours, or larger sticks could be 4-6 hours. Just throw in a thermometer probe, and when it hits 160, take them out and start cooling.
@gadahl Okay, I think I see part of the confusion, the label on the bag for the Blue Ribbon Maple Bacon Cure says “Use 2 lb of cure to 100 lb of fresh bellies. This imparts 120 ppm of nitrite and 547 ppm of erythorbate” As the bags have 5 lb of cure this means you would get 2.5 batches out of each bag and each batch does 100 lb of meat so it is enough to cure 250 lb of bellies.
If you are looking at a bag and it says something other than “Use 2 lb of cure to 100 of fresh bellies” please let me know!
As for the math at the end of your post, you wouldn’t use 5 lb of cure to 5 gallons of water, you would use 5 lb of cure to 2.5 gallons of water. Each gallon weighs 8.34 lb so 2.5 x 8.34 = 20.85 (water), 20.85 + 5 lb (cure) = 25.85 and with that you could pump 250 lb of fresh bellies.
Let me know if I did not understand something correctly!
A sausage stuffer is definitely worth the investment. It will stuff a more consistent product and can be easier. Stuffing off a grinder also has a tendency to overwork the meat and cause smearing (or loss of particle definition).
That being said, you absolutely still can stuff off a grinder, but it’s just not the ideal method to produce the best final product. Starting with just a grinder is a great way to just get started and begin sausage making, and as you advance, then start finding new equipment and tools to start adding to your collection.
@gadahl I’m sure both the chefs appreciated hearing from a customer how much they enjoyed their food so I bet that was a nice thing for them to see! I will have to check out some more on Purity Foods, I appreciate you letting us know.
We will have to compare notes on how the Hawaiian Sausage turns out!
@demmerich When you say smear, I think of fat smear when grinding which usually means a dull plate and knife or warm meat. From context it doesnt seem like that is what you are meaning. Can you explain what you are thinking a little more?
@skipdiggidy If you started them at 220° then that might have played a part in drying them out. If you add cure I would recommend a smoke schedule of 120 with no smoke, then add smoke and cook them at 130 for a half hour, then 140 for a half hour, then a 150 for a half hour and finally at 200 until the internal temperature is 165°. This schedule should give you a a finished product with more moisture.
I picked up brisket at the Kroger Chain grocery already for $1.99 a lb. on sale. Walmart has some very nice full brisket with the round for $3.94 a lb. I have checked several butcher shops and they normally stock packer 6 full briskets with the round on it to a box @ $4.99 to $5.99 per pound or most butcher shops would sell you a individual brisket. You did not have to buy a whole case.
Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.
For anyone who is having issues getting their summer sausage, salami, pepperoni or anything else up to temp what @Rusty does is a good way to handle that. Small increases up to 185 is fine if it is going to cut hours off of your smoking process.
Another option and one that @Parksider uses often is to smoke for the first few hours and then move it to water to finish it off. I used a Sous Vide cooker to finish off my Lebanon bologna and I recently did some experimenting with when to pull it and I even tried adding hickory smoke powder and starting and finishing off in a sous vide cooker. It seemed that pulling it around 140 and moving it to the water was the best time, at 120 it just did not seem to have the correct consistency. Using water the entire way is not a good idea! It cooks fine and is safe to eat but it is very mushy!
Save your money and don’t spend a dime on that machine. I got the Weston #22 1.5hp pro series and it’s worrh every penny. Walton’s carries and sharpens every size plate and blade. Not the throw away ones from big box stores. Keep in mind they supply processors so you are getting pro level equipment. Buy with confidence!!!
@twigg267 Some people will add it during the second grind and let the grinder do some of the work for you. I tend to not like this as it makes clean up that much more difficult on the grinder. I just add the seasoning to the meat after I am done grinding. To make mixing it in easier you can add some water. Just dont add as much as you would for a cured sausage. I would say for 50 lb around a pint of water will be enough to help.
The holly is great, it is our best seller for a reason!
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