Brats dry and crumbly when cooked

  • I made a 10lb batch of fresh polish sausage. Ground up pork shoulder. When cooked the sausage was dry and crumbly. Used the correct amount of seasoning. Did use cure even though it was fresh. Wondering what I did wrong?

  • @cll_2012 said in Brats dry and crumbly when cooked:

    I made a 10lb batch of fresh polish sausage. Ground up pork shoulder. When cooked the sausage was dry and crumbly. Used the correct amount of seasoning. Did use cure even though it was fresh. Wondering what I did wrong?

    I’m no pro but I use butts instead of shoulders and mine aren’t dry or crumbly

  • @cll_2012 may or may not apply to you
    Had this happen 3 batches ago. Did not add any water to the batch of meat while mixing and only mixed short time besause wife wanted larger grain size. They were dry and crumbly
    Next 2 batched added water and mixed twice as much. Perfect sausages

  • Shoulders are pretty lean - Do you know what the percentage of fat was?

  • Walton's Employee

    @cll_2012 How were they cooked, to what temp and at what temps? What seasoning and additives used? Did you add cure so that you could smoke them? If so then I am betting that they “fatted out”, which is when the fat renders out of the meat and it can leave you with a dry crumbly product. This would seem especially likely if you followed a bratwurst style recipe but added cure and did a smoked sausage cook schedule.

  • @jonathon I left them fresh and just cooked like a normal brat. 350 on the grill. I did use cure. And I used polish seasoning. I am curious why the fat would render out?

  • Walton's Employee

    @cll_2012 No other additives? How did you grind them, through what plates? How cold was the meat when you processed it? It sounds like the protein got denatured somehow. Do you have pictures of it? A close up of what it looks like would be helpful for sure. If you were doing cured sausage and used Citric Acid or something I would say that it leaked and prevented anything from binding together but it doesn’t sound like you used any other additives?

  • @jonathon no other additives. I ground using the biggest plate then after seasoning was mixed used a smaller plate. Then stuffed into casings. Meat wasn’t real cold but I put it in the freezer between each grinding and stuffing. I do not have any pictures but when the sausages are cut into they just fall apart. No bond what so ever.

  • Walton's Employee

    @cll_2012 I have no idea what could have done this, something stopped your product from binding together at all. With fresh sausage you arent trying to get protein extraction but when you mix in seasoning, water and additives you will get some binding. It sounds like your product ended almost like chorizo and unless an acid was somehow introduced then I don’t have an answer for you. Anyone else have thoughts?

  • @Jonathon was there too little fat in the recipe from the start and possibly too much seasoning in the batch and possibly and maybe not enough mixing? Maybe a combination of every variable named? Could too much cure been used, I thought they said cure was used even though it was fresh sausage.

  • Walton's Employee

    @demmerich It sounds a lot to me like the proteins were somehow being denatured as they were trying to mix it, if it had no bond at all something was preventing it from bonding. Even if you are just mixing in Brat seasoning by hand you are going to start getting some bond. I have to think it was either a problem with the meat (even if you buy something from the store occasionally bad pieces get through) or maybe REALLY old seasoning? It’s total guesswork without pictures though. The cure wouldn’t have played a part in preventing it from binding from what I can think of!

  • Power User

    @cll_2012 @Jonathon is going to laugh but try simmering them in water or sous vide cooker then a quick turn or two in a cast iron skillet and see if the fat is rendered out. I’ve had this happen in the fast and wondered if it was an old piece of meat and even does that matter. Water is a very gentle way to cook, the grill and direct heat can do this sometimes too.

  • @cuddless just to help clear some confusion ive seen on this board. Pork shoulder and pork butts are the same cut of meat. Its off the shoulder of the hog similar to a square cut chuck on beef. But its called pork shoulder or pork butts and its the same thing. Actual hindquarters of hogs are generally just used for hams and would be way to lean to use for sausage by themselves.
    This being said there are a lt of differences from farmers on hogs. Not all pork shoulders are the same and some of them have a bunch of moisture added to them to help charge you for water. You really have to make sure you get a great fatty pork shoulder to use for sausage or else you will need too add a little more fat or it will turn out crumbly. If your cooking it the way you are dont use any cure, its pointless and just adds something your body dont need anyways.
    My two bits of nonsense 🙂

  • Walton's Employee

    @Parksider You are right, I did laugh but not a derisive laugh, it was a good-natured, here he goes with cooking in water again! The thing is, I can’t say you are wrong between your advice on pulling around 140 and finishing up in water and the sponges in the smoker to increase humidity I really think we might be on the verge of a brave new world (in a good way though) of smoking meat products!

  • @Jonathon honestly having a high humidity is key in sausage making and a secret… but… for jerky making too. During part of my jerky cook cycle i increase the humidity as high as i can get it… around 90-95%. The jerky gets to about 185 degrees. Then i drop all humidity open dampers and let it dry out… i make some delicious jerky in about 4 hours and heating up to 185 degrees in high humidity ensures all leathality. If you can add humidity to your smoker youve found the holy grail

  • @lamurscrappy What kind of smoker do you have and what are you doing to reaching 90-95% humidity in a home smoker

  • I had that problem so I added 3 ozs of carrot fiber and about a quart of water this was in a 25lb batch. Best sausage I had ever made up to that point. It was very good sausage! Since then I always use carrot fiber and i have not had a dry batch. I’m very proud of the quality of my sausage!

  • @akdave i got a southern pride dh-65 that ive modified a little. But it has a 1500 watt steam heating element in the bottom. I fill a large pan with about 3/4 inch of water and close dampers fully. Works very well. Ill see if i can get some pics for you.

  • Walton's Employee

    @lamurscrappy Oh yeah it certainly is! This was one of the reason our tender jerky came out so good that time and the main reason I was so excited for the sponge trick, this should allow home smokers to vastly increase their rh, though still only around by 50% which is a lot better than nothing!@

  • Power User

    @Jonathon Did you ever post a description of how to measure the humidity for the home guys? I’ve never had much issue keeping the humidity high in my Masterbuilt…in fact, it literally drips down the glass in a constant stream.

  • @Joe-Hell i believe he did a wet bulb video… not sure where at though…

  • Power User

    @lamurscrappy that’s what I thought too but I was also having trouble finding it.

  • @lamurscrappy wo

    would love some pictures and information on your steam generator…

  • @akdave 20190313_183426.jpg
    Heres some pics.
    1st off its pretty seasoned and i do need to clean it lol
    So i installed a larger vent port up top. In the bottom you can see the steam element and another element for my smoke box. I will use a large pan with about 3/4 inch of water in it. It creates a lot of steam. On the top of the smoker is a toggle switch i installed to turn the steam element on or off.

  • Walton's Employee

    @Joe-Hell Here is the article and video To actually measure it you need some specialized equipment that can measure the Wet Bulb and Dry bulb temps. I used some Madgetech loggers that we had as we used t sell them, we don’t anymore but not because we don’t like them, they sell directly to end users and it was just simpler to let people go directly to them.

    Anyway, if you want to measure the RH I can’t think of another way to do it than that, can anyone else?

  • Power User

    @Jonathon ah…looks like that might be out of my league for now. I don’t know if I’m actually having a problem with that or not. The masterbuilts seem to hold humidity quite well. It just seems to take twice as long as I’m used to when using the MB40 vs. my old 30. Outside temps have been quite cold of course but the smoker seems to stay a constant temp

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