Protein Extraction

  • Sorry for what is going to be an obvious question for most but I tend to over think things.
    I’ve watched many sausage making videos, both from Walton’s and others. I don’t recall anyone using the term “protein extraction but in Walton’s videos. I think I know what it looks like and feels like but can you give me a simple explanation.

  • Walton's Employee

    @denny66 We actually did an entire video on this a while back, here is a link to the post, and the video For what protein extraction actually looks you can skip right ahead to the 1:20-ish mark but I would recommend watching the entire video and reading the post.

    Protein extraction is when you break down the meat to release the myosin which will allow the protein, fat, water, seasoning and additives to become bound together. This prevents the fat from rendering out of the meat during the smoking process. If you don’t have enough protein extraction in your product the fat will leak out of the meat and either cause a mess on your drip tray or become trapped between the meat and your casing. It is also going to give you an overly dry finished product.

    It can create an entire host of other possible issues as well, that is why on any cured sausage (Snack Stick, Summer Sausage, Smoked Sausage, etc.) video we always point out the importance of it!

    Let me know if that answered your question!

  • @jonathon

    Thanks for the response. Your video was very helpful. I don’t know how I missed seeing that beforehand.

  • Regular Contributors

    denny66: Last summer I made two batches of summer sausage that were so terrible I couldn’t even get my daughter’s dog to eat it. The sausage “de-fatted” during smoking and was so dry it was inedable. See my post “Summer Sausage Nightmare” and the following posts by Austin and Jonathan. I was not mixing the meat enough to get proper protein extraction.
    I bought one of the small meat mixers from Walton’s and it made a world of difference. I could mix the meat and seasoning properly. In 7 to 8 minutes the protein extraction became obvious–the meat changes from “ground beef” to a more cohesive, sticky mass. However, too much mixing and you lose the particle definition of meat and fat in your sausage–finished it looks like bologna or a hot dog. Some sausage makers grind their lean meat and fat separately, adding fat to the mixer toward the end of the mixing process to preserve some of that definition that we like to see.

    I hope you have good luck with your sausage. The right amount of mixing is critical to getting a good product.


  • Thanks, for jumping in and giving me some more info. I certainly am trying to soak up some of this info.
    So much to learn, Thanks Again

  • Regular Contributors

    denny66: You are right, denny, there is a lot to learn. But the info from Jonathan and Austin, and many of the other sausage makers who follow these posts, can be a real shortcut to producing consistently good sausage. I’ve only been at this a couple of years, and I keep adding to my knowledge with each batch, but must be doing some things right. My my wife just bought a new bigger freezer so she had enough room for all the good tasting stuff!
    A good place to start is with a fresh sausage like traditional breakfast links. It’s easy, makes a good product, and everyone loves breakfast sausage. You may also decide to venture into the wonderful world of bacon. Once you’ve tried homemade bacon you’ll never buy the store stuff again. (One hint for bacon: There are two schools; some dry rub and hold the pork bellies in refrigeration for a week, then smoke the product. I’ve recently been introduced through Walton’s to making bacon by injecting the seasoning and cure. After an overnight in the refrig with a little of the liquid cure as a bath, the bellies go in the smoker for a four-hour smoke. The bacon came out really good and the process was so easy.)
    As you get more confidence and experience you’ll be making cured products like summer sausage, snack sticks, and smoked brots. Explore the info here at Walton’s; the guys do a pretty good job with their videos although they sometimes seem to get bored and venture off into exotics like smoking octopus? Even if you could, who wants to eat it?
    For me, getting into the process of making my own sausage and cured meat products like bacon has been really rewarding. It’s fun, and the sausage is good, too.
    Best of luck. Post some pictures of your next project.

  • Walton's Employee

    @gadahl Thanks for the compliments! It’s great to see people absorbing this information and putting it to practical use, that is the purpose of all of this afterall. I absolutely agree on the Bacon, super simple to do either way but being able to inject one day and then smoke the next makes injecting it the way to go in my mind.

    As for the Will it BBQ? section it started out as just doing some interesting things on the BBQ but it has quickly evolved into a competition to see who can come up with the weirdest thing to try! It got really strange when we started taking suggestions on what to try next. We have some unappetizing ones coming up that seem more like a dare than anything else but they should be fun, for us at least!

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  • @papasop I have a response from the manufacturer…
    They said that they designed the mixer in a way that it would not need to run in reverse for a long time. It should mix efficiently enough in one direction and it was designed to mix in just 1 direction. So, using the grinder in any scenario (grinding or mixing) you should limit the reverse time to approximately 5 seconds at one time.

    My own opinion on the mixing is that I wouldn’t mix in just 1 direction though. I think there is still a benefit to going in reverse, even if temporarily, so I think my course of action for the future will probably be to mix 90% of the time in 1 direction, but still do the reverse in the 5 second interval. Probably something like 30 to 60 seconds forward, 5 seconds backward, then another 30 to 60 forward, etc… I think that would get enough benefit of a direction mix cycle, but still limit the reverse action as much as possible.

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  • @jonathon Moscow Mules!! I’m sold. Will It BBQ is on the way soon for sure!

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  • @alan Lol, I’m an idiot, just the other day I said that I am fully capable of thinking one thing and typing something else! Getting information from an old timer is usually a great way to go! Glad you got it worked out though! Send pictures of them!

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  • @Danbow Back when I was in customer service I know I talked to someone who either said his wife did it exactly how you are explaining it or I talked to the woman who did it, I wonder if I was talking to either you or your wife?!

    Wrapping it in foil would keep more moisture in the product, same basic process that some people do when they are smoking ribs. I can absolutely see how this would work and I think the way she is doing it, without a casing, would be more effective when wrapping it in foil. I don’t think you’ll ever convert me from using a casing but we might be making some updates here and when we do I might have access to an oven and will give this a try!

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  • A

    Lol, no rice in Andoullie. You are thinking of Boudin.
    I spoke to an Old Timer Cajun down here and he said, after you cure your meat for 24 hours, spray and moisten the meat just before stuffing it. If the stuffing is too dry, the meat will shrink when smoked and it will make voids between the stuffing and casing.
    The recipe I use is hundred plus years ago and I added some modern safeguards and seasonings. By the way, I use Boston Butt & Cushion Meat, in lieu of the hogs head and neck.
    The Smoke Houses are selling it for over $10 a pound here and I can make it for $1.30.
    LaPlace, LA is, The Andoullie Capital of the World!

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  • H

    @jonathon Thank you for your quick and detailed response. It is greatly appreciated. Just another reason why Walton’s is the best. For some reason, I thought that you needed to soak the collagen before loading it on the stuffing horn. Thanks for the correction there.

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