Boys and I filled our gator tags this year. We make venison smoked sausage every winter after deer season, would like to use some gator for sausage. Any ideas or tips?
@randynight Awesome job on filling your tags, post pictures here if you have any!
Okay, few thoughts on making Sausage out of your Alligators. First, Alligator is almost as lean as Chicken Breast, somewhere around 3% fat so you are going to need to add some pork fat (you can use other fat as well, pork is just my favorite because of its creaminess) or you are going to end up with a dry crumbly product. If you do add pork fat I would do something around the range of 17 lb of Gator meat to 8 lb of pork fat or untrimmed pork butts.
If you really don’t want to add any pork fat you can try what I did with chicken and add Cold Phosphate and Carrot Fiber or even better Cold Phosphate and Super Bind. Generally, I think Super Bind is a little expensive for the home processor but in the case where you have a really special product, it might be worth it for you? Super Bind is a blend of carrot fiber and potato starch so you get the additional water holding capacity of the carrot fiber plus the Potato Starch will begin to gel at the same temperature where your meat will start expelling most of its water so it is able to hold onto that water.
Second, I’d get a really good frost on the meat before grinding it, so cut it into cubes and throw in the freezer until they start to get pretty hard and then I would grind twice through a 3/16" plate like normal brats if you are making a fresh product. If you are making a cured product then grind twice, 1st through a 3/8" and then through a 1/8".
Third, if you are going to make a cured product I wouldn’t add Encapsulated Citric Acid if you are going to add cold phosphate as the two shouldn’t be used together. This is because the Citric Acid will lower the pH and the Cold Phosphate will raise it, so they will cancel each other out.
Last some thoughts on seasonings
If you are staying Fresh Inferno Hot Bratwurst Seasoning or Jerry’s Bratwurst Seaoning(this is a really basic but good bratwurst that will let the Gator taste shine) South of the Border Cheddarwurst Seasoning (this is one of the best chicken brats and gator has some similarities) Habanero Mango Brat.
Make sure you keep us up to date on how it all comes out!
Thanks for the ideas. Yes, it is lean and any fat that is in it needs to be trimmed as it does not taste good, I have been told. We have been adding 20% pork trimmings to the venison, looks like you recommend about 50%. The binders you mention are interesting, I have only been into making sausage the last 3 seasons.
My grandfather was big into butchering, he butchered 80 hogs the year he was 80. My mother and his family have an annual butchering day each February where 6-7 hogs are killed and cut up. I’m getting into it late, but enjoy it.
@randynight Nice pic and good luck! It sounds like you’ve got it handled. As far as fat content just try to get it somewhere in the 70/30 lean to fat ratio for the texture and taste.
@jonathon Female we think. Hard to tell on a reptile, since it was 9’5" and only weighed 200 lbs we assumed female as males can be much heavier
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I added a pinch of nutmeg and some high temp cheddar cheese and it was absolutely fantastic. I also mixed in 20% chicken thighs along with the pork fat. The Gator I got was very large over 500lbs. So was a little tough.
@randynight I grew up in New York State so we didn’t run into Gator meat a lot, so excuse my ignorance on this topic but other than the tail what is commonly eaten from a gator? Is it pretty much all the meat? I’d imagine that the thighs have some good meat on them, no?
@newbe … Afternoon… Keep the meat BELOW 40 degrees F… Bacteria is growing while the meat is warming up… then again when cooling down… The LAST thing you want or need is a batch of meat that has been warm for an hour or longer… One good way to do that is double bowl the meat… Ice in the larger bowl and the smaller bowl, with the meat in it, on ice… You don’t want your family to get food poisoning… Dave
I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.
Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.
Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??
Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.