Cured Sausage: 203 Using Cold Meat
Cured Sausage: 203 Using Cold Meat
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Avoiding The Danger Zone
When you are making cured sausage one of the best things you can do to make it easy on you and keep everything safe is to keep your meat very cold through the whole process. Whether it is grinding, mixing, or stuffing getting your meat around 30° is going to make a difference on how quickly you are done and how good of a finished product you have. Starting with very cold meat also means that we have longer before we are in the danger zone with the meat, between 41° and 140° are optimal growing temps for lots of bacteria and some can duplicate every 20 minutes, so within an hour you might very well have 8 times the bacteria in your meat you started with, so staying out of that danger zone as long as possible is very important to producing a quality product.
Benefits of Freezing
Meat does not freeze at 32° like we tend to think it does, depending on the pH of the meat it can start freezing around 27-29°. Freezing your meat is going to allow it all to move down the throat of the grinder towards the plates and knives more quickly, as meat warms up the fat starts to become sticky, making it more difficult for it to move down the throat, and once it gets to the throat it will be more difficult to cut. When the meat is very cold that fat is hard and can’t stick to anything so it is moving faster and it is easier for the plate and knife to cut it and push it through the plate. Another advantage during this portion is that the fat will not smear as it is ground, smeared fat can cause a hoist of problems when processing, it can make protein extraction more difficult and effect the texture of the finished product.
At 39 degrees it took us 43 seconds to grind 4.2 lb of meat, or roughly 1 lb per 10 seconds, when we reduced that temperature down to 31 degrees we were able to grind 4.5 lb of meat in 21 seconds, or roughly 5 seconds per pound. When doing small batches saving that amount of time doesn’t really matter, but when processing large batches it absolutely does. And, the real advantage is on the second grind, second grinds will always take longer because you aren’t pushing chunks of meat down the throat you are pushing the ground product, so it has much more opportunity to stick the sides and move around and over the auger. When it is still very cold it will be pushed down that throat faster.
Getting your meat icy cold when stuffing might be even more important from a speed standpoint, especially when stuffing your meat into a snack stick sized casing or using meat blocks with high fat content as the warmer fat gets the stickier it will be.
KLee last edited by
When the retail beef stick ingredients lists beef, pork,… What percentage do you recommend for the beef to pork ratio? And how about fat to meat ratio? Should I add pork fat to get the ratio to your suggestion?
@KLee The ratio is up to you on the beef to pork as that is mostly a personal taste issue. When I make snack sticks I use 100% pork and I go with pork butt. Now, I would use at least 50% pork because the pork fat is better than beef fat for making sausage as it is creamier than beef fat.
Yes, if you are adding fat to reach 70/30 or 75/25 then you should add pork fat as it’s better quality than other fats.
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