Top 5 Health Benefits of Processing your Meat at Home

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    Bratwurst platter

    Health Benefits of Processing your Meat at home

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    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, 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?

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  • @Robert-Tartaglia Generally vinegar was added to the water to help reduce the smell. In my opinion, if you are just stuffing them the casings don’t require them nowadays, if you are boiling them then I might and add some. Some people also say it makes them more tender but this is debatable.

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  • R

    A recipe that i have says to soak the hog casings in white vinegar and water. My question is, “what does the vinegar do for the casing?”

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  • B

    @parksider Thanks. I did all that. I stuffed them tight twisted the tops down tight and secured them with twist ties. I’m going out right now to try again. Thanks for the tips!

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  • Meat Hacks: Making Bone Marrow Burgers

    Learn about Making Bone Marrow Burgers with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.

    Meat Hacks

    The meatgistics User @Denny recently posted a question about how much bone marrow should be added to a burger per lb. Well, I had never done anything with bone marrow before so I decided to grab some and check out the process.

    I started out with a few beef marrow bones, you can pick these up at your local grocery store or butcher shop. The bones I bought were about 2 inches thick which made getting the marrow out a lot simpler than I thought it was going to be. I just pressed on one side with my thumbs and they came out the other end in one solid piece. After doing all the bones I had set aside for testing this I had 5.7 oz.

    Once I chopped them all up I wanted to find out how much a Tablespoon of this weighed so we could give advice in both volume and weight measurements, so 1 Tablespoon of this beef marrow weighed 8 grams so .28 of an oz.

    Now, Denny pointed out that a demo he saw said 3-4 Tablespoons per 1-2 lb of burger, we are going to go with 4 because I always tend to think more is better, so would be 1.1 oz per lb or .55 of an oz per lb. That’s a pretty big range so we are going to test it by using 4 tbsp or 1.1 oz for 1 lb of burger, then 1.5 lb of burger and then 2 lb of burgers.

    Since the purpose of this is to determine the ratio of Marrow to use we didn’t want any other taste to stand out so we aren’t using any patty mix with this, so just straight ground beef. We also are making burgers with no marrow as a control.

    So after we grilled all of the burgers the one we added the most bone marrow too was my favorite. The bone marrow adds a really interesting deep flavor but I was most surprised by how much it changed the texture of the burger. It stayed juicier and almost had a creaminess to it that would be hard to replicate with any other ingredient I can think of.

    I won’t be doing this every time I make a burger, buying the bones, prepping them and then mixing them in did not take too long but it was an extra step but if I had a bunch of friends over and really wanted to impress them with something then this is a really interesting way to make an over the top burger!

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  • P

    Sitting at the beach on vacation my mind has time to wander…when you’re done stuffing give them a good twist to compact the meat. I’ve also give up on string tying I use zip ties and yes I wash them most of the time. We have zip tie loops that we’ll zip tie to the casings, makes hanging so much easier then just reuse the loops. That should help with the shrinkage issue.

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  • P

    You may not have stuffed them enough. Sometimes it hard to stuff the larger casings and if it’s not tight the may cause the shrinking during the cooling process. Those cases are extremely durable don’t be afraid to stuff them.

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