Meat Hacks: Using the Best Fat to Lean Ratio In Making Sausage
How much fat should you use when making sausage? Watch the full video below, read the highlights here, and then post your comments or questions below.
What Is The Best Fat To Lean Ratio In Making Sausage?
Using the correct lean to fat ratio when making sausage is going to help in several different aspects towards making a better meat product. The first thing it is going to do is help with flavor. Simply put, fat equals flavor. So, the more fat you use the more flavorful the final meat product is going to be. You don’t want to use too much fat though because too much fat will have a different flavor and consistency in the final product that people are not familiar with or prefer. Too lean of meat can cause the final product to be dry and crumbly with a low amount of flavor. Then, it also helps out with the appearance of your meat products and having a good looking particle definition in the final product. Fat is also cheaper than lean meat, so using more fat will make your products less expensive as well. Sausage is also easier to make, process, and stuff into casings when the fat content is correct. If the meat is too lean, stuffing smaller diameter meat snacks will be a lot more work for you and your sausage stuffer (especially hand crank sausage stuffers).
What Lean to Fat Ratio Does Walton’s Recommend?
It does depend on the meat product you are making, but as a general rule of thumb, we recommend using a ratio of 70% lean to 30% fat (or 70/30). You can go up to a 60/40 ratio for many meat products, but that would be the maximum we’d recommend. An 80/20 lean to fat ratio can be used in some instances and can still work out well, but if you get up towards a 90/10 lean to fat ratio, problems with the meat being dry, crumbly, and keeping an outstanding flavor will become difficult to manage.
So as a general rule of thumb, start out with a 70% lean to 30% fat ratio when making sausage for what would be considered best practice for most types of sausage.
mtnjim what Roadster is recommending is the best solution if you can’t get your hands on plain pork fat. If you have a good local butcher then I would still say get pure fat. but pork trimmings are probably the best replacement but they can be difficult to get too, so pork butts are the next best thing!
An important tip is to add the fat during the grinding process, otherwise, you run the risk of the fat not really mixing in with the meat. instead what you get is clumps of fat that have been surrounded by the proteins and that can cause issues.
mtnjim That is exactly how you’d add the fat. By doing it that way it gets mixed in with the meat and makes it easier come mixing time to ensure you have good dispersion of the fat. At least that’s what I’ve done and it works great for me.
revid I’d absolutely add pork fat if you are making a snack stick out of any wild game or lean meat. 80/20 is the absolute lowest I would go before starting to use additives like Cold Phosphate and Carrot Fiber to prevent it from drying out.
Summer Sausage and Snack Sticks are very similar processes aside from size and seasoning and smoke schedule.
Thanks Bud, just tried to make some but used only lean meat. Looks ok but the casings didn’t shrivel up like you see other snack sticks. I used 17 mm mahogany casings. Put in my Bradley smoker, smoked low(110-120) for an hour then gradually up to 150. That’s the highest I could get it to go cause smoking out in my shed and it’s cold outside, despite having a fire on in shed. Had it going for about 7 hrs but only smoked( used 5 brickettes) for an hour. Took out then cooled off in cold water food few minutes. Have yet to try but looks ok.
revid You really need to get the internal temp up to 160 degrees for food safety. In the future if you have that problem I’d transfer them to the oven to finish them off to make sure you get that internal temp up where it needs to be. That 160 degree temp is where you kill off the harmful
mtnjim I’ve made two 10lb batches of venison/pork snack sticks. I used 2:1 ratio of lean venison and port butt. I smoked using a Cook Shack model 55 smoker and started low (120F) without smoke and door ajar. I added smoke the 2nd hour and ramped up the heat every hour x 3 until the batch reached approx 160F in 4 hours. They taste and look great.
WaltonsTV: Creativity In Using Seasonings
Meat Hacks: Creativity In Using Seasonings Outside Their Intended Purpose
Can I use a seasoning for a use besides what it says on the label? Watch the full video, read the highlights here, and then post your comments or questions below.
Using Seasonings Outside Their Intended Purpose - Be Creative
Just because a seasoning is a labeled as a snack stick seasoning, doesn’t mean that you cannot use it for something else like summer sausage or jerky. Be creative and don’t be afraid to use a seasoning for something other than what is was originally developed for. For example, if you really like the Sriracha Flavored Snack Stick Seasoning, but you would prefer making summer sausage or jerky, there is nothing wrong with using the snack stick seasoning in a different product like summer sausage or jerky.
So if you like the sound of a certain seasoning flavor, but it’s not labeled for the meat snack you wanted to make, don’t be afraid to still try it out and use it in any type of meat snack!
WaltonsTV: Cleaning vs Sanitizing
Meat Hacks: Difference Between Cleaning & Sanitizing
Watch the full video below, read the highlights here, and then post your comments or questions below.
What Is The Difference Between Cleaning & Sanitizing?
A lot of people don’t realize that cleaning and sanitizing are actually two separate steps. Cleaning is where you first remove any dirt, grime, or fat residue or meat particles leftover on your equipment or work surfaces. Then, you sanitize by killing bacteria and disinfecting your work surfaces and equipment. Cleaning and sanitizing is very important because maintaining a clean environment will help you make a safer product, and then safer products will lead to a longer shelf-life.
What Kind of Cleaners and Sanitizers Are Available for Meat Processing?
What we recommend and use are some of these products…
Cleaning larger areas - Neutra Sol Cleaner
Cleaning smaller areas - Power Foam Cleaner
Sanitizing larger areas - Bi-Quat
Sanitizing smaller areas - Hard Surface 60 Second Sanitizer
Both of the cleaners listed above are degreasers so they will help breakdown any leftover fat particles or meat leftover on your equipment or other working surfaces and make them easy to rinse off completely. And then the Hard Surface Sanitizer is Walton’s favorite option for a sanitizer because it works in 60 seconds, and is a no-rinse sanitizer so it doesn’t need to be rinsed off and can just be left on the product to dry until your ready to use your equipment or working surfaces next time.
So always remember that cleaning and sanitizing are two different steps and by doing both properly, you’ll keep your equipment, work surfaces, and environment safer, you’ll make a safer product, and that will ultimately lead to a longer shelf-life in your meat products.
WaltonsTV: Cold Meat Meat Hack
Meat Hacks: Using Cold Meat for Making Sausage
Does the temperature of meat matter when making sausage? Watch the full video below, read the highlights here, and then post your comments or questions below.
Always Use Cold Meat
Whenever you are making sausage whether that is snack sticks, summer sausage, brats, or any type of smoked sausage, make sure you use as cold of meat as possible. What we do before we make sausage is to put the meat in the freezer for an hour or so before processing. This helps get the meat even colder than the temp of just being in a refrigerator, but keeps it from being completely frozen. We want the meat to be as cold as possible and putting in the freezer for an hour or so will get it really cold and even start to make the outside layers even slightly frozen. The colder the meat, the better it will grind and have better particle definition in your final sausage. Cold meat will also help with meat safety. The colder the meat is, the less likely we’ll have bacteria grow. And, lastly, protein extraction is more efficient at colder temps.
So whenever you are making sausage, just remember to have your meat temperature be as cold as possible and you will make a better and safer overall product!
Meatgistics is brought to you by Walton's (waltonsinc.com).
Meatgistics is a community site, knowledgebase, forum, blog, learning center, and a sharing site. You can find help and ask questions about anything related to meat processing, smoking and grilling meats, plus a whole lot more. Join Austin & Jon from Walton's and sign up for our Meatgistics community today.