How To Make Homemade Sausage & Brats - Recipe
paddlingnomad last edited by
@austin Wow, you guys have a great website. I’ve been learning some tricks about snack sticks from Walton’s now I want to try changing my fresh sausage recipe from natural hog casing to 30 mm collagen casings. The reason for the change is to better control the finish size. Couple questions; will the change help with the “pop” that we all seek in a sausage DAWG, and will the collagen cased sausage freeze well. I usually make 50 lbs of venison dogs in the fall and enjoy them throughout the next year. Thanks in advance for your help.
Collagen and natural have very different and distinct “pops” to them. Natural has more of a snap and bite to it usually, while fresh collagen has a bit more tenderness to it. If you are wanting more pop/snap/bite to the casing, you can try using the 32mm Clear Collagen Casings or 32mm Smoke Collagen Casings. These will be a quite a bit more pop/snap/bite than the 30mm Fresh Collagen. The 32 Clear/Smoke are what we call a Fine-H variant, and specifically designed to be a replacement for hog casings. I usually use the fresh casings and prefer the more tender bite, but if you want more pop to the bite, go with the clear or smoke casings.
Freezing shouldn’t be an issue. The casings should all behave similarly there. Avoid condensation in the package before sealing and freezing, and it will be fine (that same rule applies to any casings, not just collagen).
paddlingnomad last edited by
@austin Am I going Crazy? A few days ago I read somewhere on your site about Fresh vs. Fine-T vs. Fine-H. Now I want to review that again and can not find it.
Under the Walton’s Learning Center > Meat Hacks > Sausage Stuffing… there is a topic called Collagen Casings 101
That also correlates to a video covering the same information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be1dK0BFo8c
Then, on the product pages for collagen casings on waltonsinc.com, each casing will specifically say which type it is, and have a shortened bit of info from the collagen casings help page I linked above.
Let me know if you need anything else!
Jeff Allen last edited by
I’d like to make 10lbs of brats, make about 2lbs right away and then freeze the remainder. Do I need to add something like the pink sure cure to the meat prior to stuffing since I plan on freezing some?
Also, is there an ideal ratio of fat to meat that you should have when making your own brats?
@Jeff-Allen No, you dont need to add any sure cure, you only need to do that if are planning on slowly smoking the sausage, if you freeze it for future use it will be perfectly fine! As for fat ratio with brats I like to stay in the 80-20 to 70-30 ratio any less than 80-20 and you start to get a dry product. Hope this helps!
I smoked up 25 lbs of brats 30 pork and 70 deer. I used the natural hog casings 32-35mm. I smoked them for an 1.5 hours at 140 degrees and then at 185 until I reached an internal temp of 160. The casings were really rubbery when i was done and made them really chewy. Any ideas what im doing wrong
@kking Did you follow the bratwurst process where you grind through 3/16 plate and then mix in the seasoning without getting protein extraction? The reason I ask is that you wouldn’t normally cook bratwurst like that. Bratwurst is a fresh product so that means that no cure has been added and by keeping it at that lower temp for that length of time you might have grown some bacteria and microorganisms in there that could throw off the taste and texture of the meat. I’m not sure if this would have affected the casing but it is a natural product.
So if you did make a bratwurst and then smoked it like you would a smoked sausage, then what MIGHT have happened is that the fat rendered out of the product and started “cooking” the casing basically in the fat. This doesn’t happen when you are making smoked sausage because the protein extraction will keep the meat, fat, water and other additives all bound up together.
I will say I prefer using collagen casings because I think the natural casings do get a little bit rubbery when they are smoked, so that could be what it is. Have you smoked other sausages with natural casings in the past and been okay with them?
Other things it could possibly have been:
Not soaking the casings long enough
Poor Casings or Old Casings (Unlikely but I am running out of thoughts here!)
Im hoping someone else has a better idea because other than the fat rendering out I don’t think any of my suggestions were the likely cause. Does anyone have some possibility that I missed?
@jonathon what temp do you recommend smoking them at and how long?
@kking If you are making a bratwurst I wouldn’t recommend smoking it. If you want to add some smoke flavor to it I would either add Hickory Smoke Powder during the mixing process or get something like an Amaz-en Tube or the Flip Professional Smoke Box to add smoke as you grill them at medium heat.
When I am cooking brats on my pellet grill at home I set the temp to 315° and cook until it is 160° for pork and 165 for chicken.
If you are wanting to make a smoked product out of any bratwurst seasoning just buy some sure cure and then use the bratwurst seasoning and follow the grinding and mixing instructions from Cured Sausage 108 - Basics For Making Smoked Sausage.
That’s my advice at least!
@jonathon thanks for the help. However I did add sure cure to it when I mixed it and stuffed it. Is the issue I’m using the wrong casing? Do the natural casing not hold up to that slow cooking process. I guess I called them brats because I used brat seasoning.
@kking Gotcha! Okay, that changes things a little, if you added sure cure then the only other difference is the grinding and mixing. All of that is contained in the article I posted in my previous one, so if you ground and mixed as I did in that video that . I’m glad people are starting to try adding cure to traditionally fresh products, it’s a great way to experience new flavors!
Since there was nothing bad growing in your meat (since you used sure cure) then I think the most likely thing would be either be some fat rendering out and essentially basting the casing in fat(which would have happened if you did not get enough protein extraction), or it might just have been a less than perfect batch of casings. They are natural casings and even though they are processed there is going to be some variability. You certainly can use natural hog casings to smoke sausage, people do it often, I just prefer collagen because I find it so much easier to work with and I like the snap of it better.
The major downside to collagen is that it will not accept a twist as natural casings will.
@jonathon will it hurt anything to cook them at a higher temp to get them done quicker or should I stay low and slow?
@kking It wouldn’t necessarily hurt anything, the only real danger you would run into is getting some case hardening. That is where the outside cooks too quickly and will not pass heat into the center. So you get an overcooked outside and an undercooked inside. If you stick to your previous smoke schedule and get good protein extraction when mixing (should be sticky and stretch if you grab a handful) then you should be good!
If you get protein extraction my recommendation is low and slow!
Tdonley last edited by
How do you know how much sure cure to put on your mix if it’s less than 25 lb ?
@Tdonley There are 6 tspns of cure to a 1 oz package so you can use that to figure it out. We also made a Cure Conversion Char which has Sure Cure, and other cures, broken down into weight and volume by 1 lb and 5 lb batches.
cruise.dw last edited by
I ground my deer meat threw 1/8 in plateis that to small for brats i see everyone using 3/16
@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!
I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.
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.
Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??
Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.
@Kinger Thanks for the information. Your process, other than going to 178, is on in my mind. The only thing I do differently is an ice bath for 20 minutes. Showering for 10 minutes, if you are running a cycle and a fan in your smoker can work, but I still think an ice bath would bring it down faster and more. Last time I did thick summer sausage it was down to 110 in 20 minutes, I also tried showering it at 2 minutes on 2 minutes off for 20 minutes and it was only down to 136 (ish) but i did not have a fan running on them.
One more thing you might want to try, if you are stalled towards the end you can finish them up by putting them in a vacuum bag (I have done then hot, right from the smoker, some condensation in the bag but it still gets a good vac) and get some water going at around 165, it should get up to temp in under an hour depending on the thickness.