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.
denny66 We actually did an entire video on this a while back, here is a link to the post, and the video https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/320/the-importance-of-protein-extraction-in-snack-sticks. 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!
Thanks for the response. Your video was very helpful. I don’t know how I missed seeing that beforehand.
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
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.
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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