How to Link Sausage
Meat Hacks: How to Link Sausage
Learn How to Link Sausage with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.
How to Link Sausage
So, you’ve gone through all the process of making some fresh sausage, you’ve ground the meat, seasoned it and stuffed it and now you are getting ready to link it. Well if you’ve never done it before we are going to show you how to do it with a few different types of casings and show you three different techniques.
I am going to go over the most basic way to link them first. Grab your rope by the very end and pinch it down where you want the casing to begin, then with your other hand grab the casing about 5 inches down from that. If you like a little shorter brats then keep it closer or for longer move it a little further down. Now pinch the casing down at that point and start rolling the casing towards yourself with your finger, how many time you will need to spin it depends on how tightly or loosely you stuffed your casings.
If your casings are popping after just a twist or two then you have overstuffed them. Next, fold the now formed sausage down your rope and start a new pinch where the first one ended, this will help you keep some uniformity to your lengths. Now begin to twist it in the opposite direction as you did the first one. So if you started by twisting your first one towards you then twist the next one away from you. Continue this process until you have made it all the way down your rope. If you are using collagen I like to freeze them at this point before I cut them as this will help the collagen stay in place a little more and you need to freeze them before vac packing them anyway or they will get crushed. If you are using cellulose casings then you need to tie them closed.
A slightly quicker way to do this is to skip a link. So start as you would above but when you go to move on to the second link, pinch it where the first link ended but then fold it again and pinch it where that link will end, all while still holding that first pinch you made. Now, you twist them in the opposite direction as the first and you will be making two links at the same time. Just continue this down the rope until you are done. This is the method I generally use.
The third one is a bit advanced but it gives you nice uniform links and it looks pretty impressive. Just like the first two methods make your first link and then fold it over the rope so you second link is the same size. Then pinch this area down and wrap some of the casing at the end of the first link around where you have pinched. Then spin the two links that are now making an oval shape a few times. Next take the rope that is hanging down from the two brats and bring it up to the top of them where the twist is. Pinch this down and then fold it over and through the oval at the twist and then pull the rope through the oval. Now fold the rope down along the oval and pinch it, pull it up and at this point your oval should be hanging below the link you just pinched. Now let the rest of the rope hang down and pinch that where it meats your previous oval, now twist the new oval you have just created and pull the rope up to the top of that where you will pinch it and then fold the rope over and through the oval again, creating your second link. Continue this process until you have done the entire rope.
So those are the three ways we hand link sausages here, each gives you uniformity which is important for appearance and packaging. Another nice thing about hand linking is if you have under stuffed some casings like I have here you can give it a few extra twists to tighten it up. Remember, an under-stuffed casing is preferable to an overstuffed casing as it is easier to give it a few extra twists than it is to deal with a blow out after your stuffing has been completed!
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Just an FYI, everybody that received snack sticks for Christmas last year loved them… I just ordered another batch of Willie’s Snack Stick spice blend to do it again this year!
Jonathon, I have to agree that 275 is too hot… If you have the time I’d shoot for 225, but if it needs to be “done”, then 250 would be the max I would do…
I have always filled the water pan for everything I smoke… 2 reasons, first it does tend to add moisture during the long cook thus keeping the bark from turning to shoe leather… and second because the water pan acts as a heat sink and helps maintain the temperature (in my vertical propane smoker) a bit more accurately… I’ve heard folks tout using apple juice in the water pan to impart a sweeter flavor, but I’ve never tried it…
On the other hand, my dad smoked for years, mostly in a converted fridge with an electric hotplate in the bottom… he never used a water pan and never had an issue with dry meat…
As for the type of wood to use, that’s just a trial and error, personal preference thing… I happen to like steaks cooked with oak… that may be too strong a flavor for your taste (my GF hates it)… Recently I have been using a lot of maple for NC bbq, chicken and even cheese… I like the maple for the meats, but next batch of cheese will go back to the hickory / cherry mix that I was using…
I followed the instructions on the video. It may have something to do with the sausage not getting as firm as it should. I used the cotto salami on duck breast with pork fat. It sure tastes good. But it’s a little soft.
I’ve done a lot both ways. I would highly recommend a stuffer and I have the Weston grinder with the auger stuffing attachment. It’s slow, but if you’re doing 5# or 10# batches, it’s not that bad. I’ve had small 5# stuffer, old school cast iron Enterprise, 11# vertical and now a 35# hydraulic. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t trade the hydraulic but the 11# vertical I got on amazon had a lot of versatility. I think your bigger decision should be what type of stuffer should I buy. I would recommend the taller, smaller diameter instead of the large shorter one. The smaller diameter allow for a higher pressure for doing sticks with cure in them. The large short ones would be great for doing pork sausage or larger diameter casings, not 19-22mm sticks with cure. It would be fine as long as you’re doing fresh like breakfast or something like that. If you go the stuffer route I’d get it from Waltons and get the Weston-they stock parts, other no name from amazon is a one shot deal, once ours broke couldn’t find parts. Plus they have so many tube sizes now and Walton’s does a great job helping with casing and stuffing horn sizes, they carry them all.
I purchased a stuffer off Amazon for under $100 and would never go back to using the grinder. With the grinder, it was always a two man job and took forever. The stuffer is much faster and have no problems doing it all by myself. Plus with a hand crank stuffer, no electricity usage and wear and tear on your grinder.
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