Invest in New & High Quality Equipment
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Meat Hacks: Invest in New & High Quality Meat Processing Equipment
Watch the full video below, read the highlights here, and then post your comments or questions below.
Invest in New & High Quality Meat Processing Equipment
First of all, don’t take this as just a sale pitch. While Walton’s would love you to buy all new equipment from us each year, this is really meant to help you make better meat snacks and produce a higher quality product. Newer equipment and higher quality equipment does make a HUGE difference in meat processing. We hear from people all the time that are using a 30-40 year old meat grinder, and they seem proud of the fact that they’ve made it last that long, and while it might be impressive that it is still running that long, we can almost guarantee it is no longer producing a high quality product. The head and auger on an old grinder like that will no longer fit correctly after extended years of use. Grinder parts, plus all other meat processing equipment parts do wear out over time. Worn out parts will cause a lower quality meat grind and a sub-par final product. Other people may be using a meat grinder at home that is simply an attachment for a kitchen stand mixer and while it does work in grinding meat, it is very poor at producing a high quality grind and is very inefficient at grinding as well. Another key point in meat grinding is to keep a sharp plate and knife, plus always use the same grinder plate and knife together can really be helpful. Another related point relates to whether you should use a meat grinder to stuff sausage. Meat grinders can be used as a sausage stuffer, but buying a true and dedicated sausage stuffer can really help make a more consistently stuffed sausage. Grinders will typically “smear” meat as you try to stuff sausage into casings and overwork the meat which leads to a loss of color and particle definition. So actually using a sausage stuffer is preferred over just stuffing from a meat grinder. Lastly, looking at meat mixing, you can hand mix many meat products but when you are trying to make a cured sausage that needs a lot of protein extraction is is hard to get an adequate mix by only hand mixing. Investing in a quality meat mixer can really help in your protein extraction (and thus your binding and consistency in your final product) plus reduce the amount of time you spend in your mixing cycle.
So make sure you are taking care of your equipment, following maintenance schedules, and investing in new equipment and parts, to make the highest quality meat products!
@weatherbow21 I agree with Jonathon of several points. I have been making snack sticks and summer sausage for years and I have scrapped my fair share of batches. There is certainly a difference between wild game and beef or pork from the store. My advice on this, buy a 10lb “log” of 80/20 from Sam’s. This takes out the grinding and having to mix in the right amount of fat. I have made several successful batches this way. BE PATIENT! The more meat you have in the smoker, the longer it is going to take, however, you will find that your temps will fluctuate less. If you get impatient and crank up the heat, you increase your chances of “fatting out”. Been there, done that.
You don’t have to put the entire batch in the smoker at one time as long as you are not using citric acid. Put in a few pounds, follow the temp settings in the recipe, and you will likely have good results in 4-5 hours max. I never set my smokers above 170, but I may try since I am seeing 175 a lot in the Walton’s recipes.
For a binder, I always use soy protein, but the type of binder that you use is based on your preference. I never make a batch without it.
I also document everything from start to finish. I find this helps me to remember not to leave ingredients out of my recipe. It sucks when you get done stuffing and then find your bag of cheese still sitting on the counter. I document my temp settings, time of day, internal temp, smoke on, smoke off, etc. and I do this with every batch I make. You can then record your results, flavor, texture, presentation. I often go back through my notes just skimming results to see what worked and what didn’t, especially if I am trying a new recipe. If you are fairly new to sausage making and you are not busting casings during the stuffing process, you might not be packing them tight enough. You definitely do not want to under stuff. You will get unsightly fat deposits between the meat and the casing. Don’t give up!
I used the carrot fiber at rate suggested and my homemade 60/40 pork/venison sausage came out dry…was really disappointing…any idea what happened?
I want to smoke some turkey necks this weekend to use as seasoning meat. I want to smoke them at around 165-170° (smoker temp) so I can get maximum smoke before they are cooked internally. I know with sausage you have to cure at these temps. What about turkey necks? Are they safe to smoke without any sort of cure with the pit temp being around 160-170°?