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?
In the past while making summer sausage I have used ground beef 80/20 about 8 pounds and about 4 pounds mixed together… what mixture do you use for summer sausage
@KSHusker First, yes they should be safe to eat. You cooked them to 160° which will kill anything harmful. Now, obviously use common sense and your senses, if it smells bad don’t eat it!
The first thing to know is if you used sure cure (or another version) or not? From the sounds of it, you did but I just want to make sure we are looking at all possibilities. Were the butts untrimmed? If they had a nice fat cap on them then you should have been okay, I still like to use a little more fat than that but you should have been in the realm. How did you mix it, was it by hand? If you mixed for 30 minutes in a meat mixer that is a long time to be mixing it (I don’t think this was your issue, just pointing it out). Starting at 200 is a little high but it also sounds like it came down to 180° pretty quickly but this would be my thought on why the casing stuck, cooking too high can cause this.
For the color, the only thing I can think of (if you used a cure) is that it looks pinker around the edges because you got a nice smoke ring around it? How deep does the nice pink color go and what type of casing did you use? With wild game, I always use some sort of cure accelerator, either Encapsulated Citric Acid, Smoked Meat Stabilizer or something, it helps burn the color more and then you can skip holding it overnight and go right from stuffing to the smokehouse.
Anyone else have thoughts?