Top 5 Health Benefits of Processing your Meat at Home
Health Benefits of Processing your Meat at home
It is well-known that eating meat products can provide many health benefits and nutrients in our diets. However, many times we are shopping at the grocery store we do not stop and look at what is in a meat product, what the fat ratio is, or what the proportions are. We simply grab an item off the shelf and go on our way. Making homemade sausage, jerky, snack sticks, summer sausage, hams, bacon, and so many other meat products can be done easily at home in a healthier process without sacrificing taste or flavor, and many times you can improve or customize the flavor to fit your distinct palate. Here are our top five reasons why you should begin taking control of what goes into your meat products and making your own homemade sausage, jerky, and other meat snacks from home.”
#1. You control what goes into your product.
You have probably heard the saying that if you enjoy sausage you don’t want to see how it’s made. This saying is referring to the questionable portions of the cow or pig that processors used to put into sausages (cheeks, lips, etc.), this is not as much of an issue now but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still learn something from this saying. One of my main issues with purchasing a snack stick, summer sausage or other type of processed meat product at the grocery store are the ingredients. When I make my bratwursts or snack sticks at home I control exactly what is going into them, for example I know my chicken brats have 100% chicken breast along with carrot fiber, no other fillers and no preservatives, so if I am tracking my calories its super simple to do. I know the nutritional value of each and every brat, same goes for anything I make out of pork butt or shoulder. I control how much fat, cheese and salt goes into each one and I know that all premium ingredients were used, no old or questionable meat was processed into my food.
#2. Conscientiously Consuming Calories.
Something interesting happened when I started making more and more of my own food, I started to become much more conscious of exactly how many calories were in everything I was eating, whether I bought it at the grocery store, ordered it at a restaurant our made it myself. When I started doing this I had three basic goals for everything I made, I wanted options that had a good balance of taste to calories, a healthy fat content and I wanted everything to be easy to make. Now I weigh the health versus taste benefits of almost everything I put into my body. Even meat snacks I make myself I’ll find myself asking do I really need to add 20% pork fat to this venison sausage or can I get away using a binder, is the pork fat going to make it that much better? Or, if I’m already making a pork brat, do I really need to add cheese and therefore more fat to this? Asking yourself these questions is important, they can be a great way to balance the calories with the taste of the product.
#3. Paying attention to portion sizes.
Another thing I hate about buying meat products from the store are the portions. For example, if I bought two store store brand bratwursts, each one is 4 ounces but I only really need to eat 6 oz to fill my nutritional and hunger needs…well if I make two Brats then two Brats are what I am going to eat! Those other 2 ounces that I did not need or even particularly want but still ate are the reason most of us are carrying around 5, 10 or more pounds than we should be. It is also the main reason why I make my homemade brats into smaller portions. I use 28 mm casings, which is smaller diameter than the 32 mm you normally use, and I make them shorter than what you see in the store. You wont even notice it being thinner than the store bought kind and with them shorter and thinner you can probably have 3 of those instead of 2 store bought ones. Your brain will see that third one and be convinced you are getting more even if the total weight you consume is the same or even less.
#4. You’ll have more fun!
Processing your own food can make healthy eating fun! I know that sounds like an oxymoron but we have an incredibly wide variety of seasonings available at Waltonsinc.com, have you ever seen a Habanero Mango, Supreme Pizza or Reuben Flavored bratwurst in your supermarket? Processing at home allows you try out all sorts of flavors that you would otherwise never have access to. It took us a long time to find out which seasonings worked best with chicken for brats or to marinate extremely lean beef in but we made sure we kept notes on what worked and what did not and ended up having a great time. There is also a great feeling of pride that comes from people saying that your sausages taste better than what they buy at the store!
#5. It will keep you active.
Instead of just plopping down money at the store for something someone else went through the effort to make you will be the one cutting, grinding and stuffing. This might not burn a ton of calories in an of itself but staying active is almost always healthier than laying around on the couch right?
How do you know how much sure cure to put on your mix if it’s less than 25 lb ?
@peculiarb You can have an issue with pickled jalapenos and getting the meat to properly bind to them.
You can blanch fruits and veggies before adding them to sausage and that will help. Some people add them straight in, but blanching will help the meat bind together with the jalapenos. Not a requirement though. If the jalapenos don’t bind perfectly into the meat, when you slice the summer sausage, the jalapenos may not fully stick to the meat and just fall off the slices. It won’t hurt the sausage, but it may not be 100% perfect. I would at least dry the jalapenos thoroughly, but blanching would provide the best results.
Has anyone ever used pickled jalapeños in their summer sausage? I have a buddy who gave me a jar of picked jalapeños to add to his summer sausage I am going to make for him. Is this a bad idea? I’ve always used dried jalapeños in the past. Please advise! Thanks.
I have only made about three batches of snack sticks so far but, I have found that adding an extra ounce of water ( per 5lb batch) over what is called for in the recipe, makes the meat “flow just a little easier when stuffing into casings.
So far, the texture of the finished product has been great and I have had no problem with casings breaking etc. from the excess moisture.
I recently had a 26 lb batch of summer sausage end up with brown spots here and there? Could this be from cure not evenly mixed ??? Or from encapsulated citric acid not fully mixed in??? I’m thinking eca wasn’t mixed in good enough because cure was put in initially with spices and binder and I mixed by hand till I got good protein extraction because it was very sticky ???
I am going to be making a 10 pound batch of pepper stick snack sticks how much water do I add for easier stuffing. or is the water that I mix the sure gel in enough for the batch is there a ratio for sure jell to water?