Eight Sausage-Making Tips From Weston

The 2015 Weston Game Processing Catalog is kind of like a Sears & Roebuck Christmas Catalog for the meat-making set. It's got lots of cool meat-processing and other food-related equipment to dream about. (Meat slicer? Yes, please! Jerky gun? Sure! Pasta Maker? Why not!) Sprinkled among all of those products are some ideas on grinding meat, making jerky and seasoning sausages. Here are eight tips from Weston that new and experienced sausage-makers should take note of.

1. Keep it cold. Place the metal parts of your meat grinder and sausage stuffer in the freezer prior to use. Limit how much you handle the meat; your hands radiate heat.

2. You need a certain amount of fat to keep sausage moist. We recommend a 4:1 ration (meat to fat). Ask the butcher for fatback (pure fat) or pork shoulder (marbled).

3. Grind the meat so that you end up with 1/3 coarse grind, 1/3 medium grind and 1/3 fine grind. The ground meat will bind together more tightly.

4. The higher the quality of the meat, the lower the amount of seasoning you should need. Save large black bears, boars, and bucks for highly seasoned sausages.

5. Always used a scale, rather than by volume, when measuring salt and seasonings for sausage.

6. Grind half the seasoning with the meat. Leave the other half to mix in after.

7. Add 1/3 cup of milk powder per 5 lb. batch of sausage to help bind the meat together. Soy protein is also a good substitute.

8. Use a meat mixer to ensure seasonings are well mixed. They also eliminate the need to mix by hand, which keep the meat colder and break down proteins for better binding.