Summer sausage texture differences

  • PK100

    Hi all, I’m looking for a little insight into some differences I found between summer sausage batches this weekend. Specifically, one has a more classic texture with a bit more firmness and the other has less particle definition and less resistance to the chew; more like a hot dog than a summer sausage.

    I made two batches of summer sausage from 20 lbs of 80/20 venison and beef fat mix using the jalapeño unit seasoning and high temp cheddar cheese. I ground all the meat and fat through a 10mm plate, mixed them together by hand, and then ground them through a 4 mm plate. Then I split them into two 10 lb batches to finish processing.

    Here’s the difference between the two batches:

    • For one batch I stopped grinding there and added seasoning, cure dissolved in 2 cups of water, and Sure Gel binder, mixed in a meat mixer and stuffed into fibrous casings.
    • I was a little worried that the beef fat hadn’t mixed in well with the venison, so I put the second batch back through the 4.5 mm plate one more time. I thought it looked a lot better after that. I then mixed it with seasoning, cure in 2 cups water, and soy protein concentrate because I didn’t have enough Sure Gel (poor planning). Stuffed into fibrous casings. I got interrupted between the two batches, so I finished the second one about 7 hours later.

    Protein extraction seemed to be about the same for both. Both batches were handled identically after that: overnight in fridge, smoked on Waltons suggested schedule, ice bath, hang to bloom, done and into fridge. They look just about identical. The one made with Sure Gel and one grind through 4.5 mm plate has the better (more classic) texture. The soy protein and 2x grind through the 4.5 mm plate is a little softer and has a slightly mushy texture. They look the same but the mushier one just doesn’t have the feel of ground sausage (particle definition?) it has more of an emulsified texture.

    So, do you all think the difference between these is mainly attributable to the additional grind or the difference in binder?

    Sorry for the long description and thanks in advance for any insight!

  • Sous Vide Canning American BBQ System Team Blue

    Roe Bear personally I think the extra grind has a lot to do with it. I have never worked with soy protein so not sure if that has any difference. Also, if you left the meat sit out that entire time that could have had some issues. I have noticed that if I allow meat to warm up too much I do have texture issues, as if the meat is starting to denature before I was done… if you are making hot dogs without an emulsifier, the extra grinds are used to lower particle definition and make a more blended product, so that is essentially what you have done. Summer sausage is meant to have a particle definition, so I like grinding the meat and fat separate when it’s all nice and cold then mix what I need together, and depending on how big the casing is you’re using, I’ve even ground the fat only through a 3/8" plate to get those nice particle definitions of fat!

  • Power User

    the grind makes the difference the 4.5mm plate is what I use when making summer sausage and I prefer the soy protein for the binder as I have had good results with it

  • Team Blue Regular Contributors Canning Green Mountain Grill

    Roe Bear I think it’s the binder myself…I’ve only used soy protein once and didn’t care for it seemed like I didn’t get as good of protein extraction compared to sure gel. Sure gel is my go to binder or I’ve used carrot fiber too but mostly in fresh pork brats or chicken brats for the wife but haven’t mastered chicken brats yet

  • Sous Vide Canning American BBQ System Team Blue

    Roe Bear 20210102_220245.jpg 20210102_220252.jpg

    Here’s a couple pics from the last summer I made with small casings, used sure gel and ground 3 times with 25% back fat but kept as cold as possible while working with it. These I didn’t realize were so small (supposed to be 1.5") so the fat was too big for these casings, but overall a happy customer!

  • PK100

    RJ Adventures Thanks for the response! I like to keep things nice and cold so the meat and fat were either frozen or almost frozen when I ground them. The 3-grind batch went into the fridge when I got interrupted so that stayed good and cold between grinds.

    I’ve been going back through my notes and I’ve never noticed any similar results using soy protein concentrate, so I’m thinking you and others are right it’s gotta be the grind.

    Are you using pork fat or beef fat in your SS? This was my first go with beef fat as pork fat is getting really hard to find. I’m really happy with the result overall. The flavor is excellent and I don’t think anyone else would notice the difference in texture unless you ate them side by side.

  • PK100

    craigrice Thanks! Good to know you’ve had good results with soy protein too.

  • PK100

    blackbetty61 Thanks for the response! Interesting that you have seen a difference in protein extraction. That’s actually one thing I was worried about, so I watched that carefully and didn’t notice a big difference. I’m sure it could be a combination of factors too. Didn’t mean to change up more than one variable, as a scientists I should know better haha. Stuff just happens sometimes.

    It’s worth noting that I’m really happy with the taste of both these batches though, and I’ll be proud to share them with friends.

  • PK100

    Thank you all for your responses! This is an amazing resource for learning. Can’t thank the folks at Walton’s enough for everything they’ve put together here, and thanks to everyone in this community for sharing their experience and knowledge. Makes climbing the learning curve a lot easier!

  • Sous Vide Canning American BBQ System Team Blue

    Roe Bear I either use 25% pork fat or I use a 50/50 mixture with pork butt.

  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Admin Walton's Employee Canning

    Roe Bear Yes, grinding that 3rd time, especially since it seems you did some mixing and then put through the grinder again is going to give you a more hotdog like product. When they make hot dogs they usually use an emulsifier plate or even better would be a bowl chopper. This gives the hotdog its texture, grinding that 3rd time is what we tell people to do if the are wanting to make a hotdog. Glad everyone chimed in and helped you out!

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