When do you mix your seasonings into your meat?
I’ve been making bratwurst for a pretty long time and I’ve always mixed my seasonings with the cut up meat added water & ice and then ground it. I give it a good folding/mix after and it’s ready to stuff.
Every book and recipe out there says to grind then mix in seasonings, why??
It’s always seemed far more efficient to me to mix then grind since the grinder is going to “mix” it together far better and quicker than by hand or a mixer, right?
Also the slurry helps the meat slide down the chute much easier, i haven’t had to use a pusher in so long I seriously don’t know where it’s at…
Am I missing something in the process that adding seasoning after grinding helps with?
And if it means anything, it’s usually batches of 50+lbs at a time that I’m working with.
First of all you are not doing anything wrong. Plenty of people follow similar processes, either because they do not have a mixer or they have a mixer grinder. We recommend mixing separately for a few reasons, one being that as soon as you add seasoning or cure that is going to begin the protein extraction process which can make it more difficult to grind if the product is not very cold. Another reason is some of the seasoning is going get lost in your grinder, not much but some and I find it makes the grinder harder to clean, though doing it your way you don’t have to clean a mixer so it is sort of 6 of one 1/2 dozen of another there!
When making a fresh product like it sounds like you are with bratwurst you want good particle definition, meaning you don’t want much protein extraction so I would recommend that you grind and then mix in your seasoning. You can do this by hand as you are just trying to distribute the seasoning across your meat.
However, I always tell people unless you are experiencing issue with your product don’t change it. If you have found something that gives you a product you are happy with stick with it!
@Jonathon interesting points on proteins and particle definition… I think part of my lack of issues with doing it my way is that I grind once through a 5/16" plate. It gives a more rustic bite and been pretty popular around here… I might try mixing in after and see if I notice a difference.
I agree with Jonathan, 6 of one half dozen of another. We usually debone venison and store in muscle groups so when we are ready to make a batch we’ll grind venison, then the pork separately. I make a slurry of spice and ice water, 50/50 meat mix into the mixer and directly to the stuffer. I don’t like letting the mix sit long before stuffing, it really stiffens up. Over the years i’ve honed my process. My rule now is I make it the way my crew likes it, if someone wants us to make some-we make it our way. I will also add I’ve never stuffed off the grinder, always use a 3-step process: grind, mix, stuff.
I will admit that I have 3-6 people helping so I don’t have to run the manual mixer but I did take pity on them this year and added the large Weston mixer to the stable, we’ll see how it works.