Finished Product Too Tight

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Finished Product Too Tight

Postby gdkaufmann » Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:38 pm

I just finished my second batch of sausage (my first using casings), and while the spices were spot on, the finished product was very tightly packed and, while not "tough", it was definitely "dense".

Any idea what could cause that?

I'm trying to decide if I've finally developed a taste for local sausage, and am just not use to all meat sausage anymore. I live in Ireland where the local taste is for sausage with about 40% oat filler, and the sausage tastes flabby to me. But maybe I've gotten use to it.

I realized later that my recipe had no filler or water in it, could that be the cause?

I was making sweet Italian and used pork shoulder (500 grams) with a bit (20 grams) of extra fat cut in (because it looked lean to me). Mostly standard spices, but these casing were also not like others I'd seen. Could our stuffing be the cause, or the casings? We didn't overfill, so I lean towards other causes, but defer to more knowledgeable makers.

Thanks for the help.
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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby senorkevin » Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:46 am

What stuffer do you have? Electric stuffer/grinder?
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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby gdkaufmann » Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:41 pm

Kitchen Craft hand crank plastic grinder and stuffer.
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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby wheels » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:04 am

OK. A sausage without filler will be very different to a sausage with it.

A sausage without filler is more dependent on the fat content. Both are dependent on the development of something called Myosin, where the salt reacts with the meat to turn minced meat in to sausage meat.

Without knowing more about the casings, we can't advise further about those.

Please read/review the document in this link:

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11029

If that doesn't answer your question, please post the full recipe that you used, along with details of the casing, and what you did with both the casings, and the meat.

I'm sure that then someone will be able to help.

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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby This Little Piggy » Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:42 pm

As wheels says, I think the problem you are describing may be inescapable with such a low-fat sausage.

Myosin binds the sausage together, but without enough fat in the mix (typically around 30%) to create soft spots or weak spots in the bind, what you get is a dense, rubbery sausage.

You can also read more about myosin here: http://thesaltcuredpig.com/Porkopedia/i ... tle=Myosin

If you make the sausage in such a way to reduce the amount of myosin you're extracting, then what you'll get is a loose, crumbly mix inside a casing, which is probably equally undesirable.

One question I have for others is whether fillers, such as oats, rusk, or cooked rice, also create such soft spots in the bind?
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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby johngaltsmotor » Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:16 pm

As Piggy said, the fat content is the 1st question. If you had to guess, based on how the meat looked, was it 10% fat? 20%? I often separate my pork while de-boning into mostly-fat and mostly-lean piles so I have an idea of the % fat.

I haven't used fillers, but I could easily see rusk or grains swelling initially to take up extra space and then when they donate their moisture during cooking deflating and providing a little more free space in the finished product (similar to the way fat shrinks when it renders).

Based on your statement that you didn't overfill, perhaps you over ground. What size plate did you use? I know my personal preference is to go for at least 1 size larger plate than indicated in recipes so there is more texture. The larger pieces don't lock together as tightly and naturally give a bit looser fill.
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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby NCPaul » Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:09 pm

One question I have for others is whether fillers, such as oats, rusk, or cooked rice, also create such soft spots in the bind?


I would say yes; try for instance a chicken sausage with and without 5 % breadcrumbs.
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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby This Little Piggy » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:07 pm

I'm making some British bangers with recipes from this forum that call for rusk, breadcrumbs, and cooked rice in the mix. I'm curious to see how it affects the texture, although of course it's not a controlled experiment. I asked because these ingredients are usually considered "fillers" or "extenders" – simply a way to use less meat. But if they actually contribute to the flavor and improve the texture, then they are not merely filler.
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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby quietwatersfarm » Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:58 pm

I think the fact that rusk is considered a cheap cheat is because it is abused in many instances, for exactly that reason which has then led to a popular consumer misconception about even its correct use. I am constantly having to explain to people why its good and useful in terms of texture, moisture retention etc in the face of them thinking its use is some sort of inferior cop out.

Its not a proper banger without rusk!
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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby wheels » Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:42 pm

Rice can definitely add to taste as well. I've not tried it yet, but basmati in the Cambridge sausage might work. It'd be nice and easy to 'scald' so that's an advantage.

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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby This Little Piggy » Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:05 pm

Wheels, basmati rice is precisely what I used recently to make the Cambridge sausage (the recipe for which I poached off your blog). The recipe also calls for a large amount of rusk or breadcrumb, and the sausage turned out very nicely and was quite a favorite! You had some reservations about the "massive amount" of white pepper called for, but I went with the full amount and it wasn't overwhelming. It just gave it a nice peppery bite to it.
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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby gdkaufmann » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:25 pm

Sorry to take so long to respond.

Here's the "recipe" I used, and I've also attached a photo of the casings I used (bought from our local butchers)

Perhaps these will give a more seasoned maker a better idea of what went wrong.


Best,
Glenn

RECIPE: Sweet Italian Sausage

2 ibs. pork shoulder ( looked to be about 20% fat) so I added about 50-80 grams of extra pork fat)
1 tbsp. toasted fennel seed
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. white sugar
2 tsp. sweet paprika
1-2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. red pepper flake
1.5 tsp. fresh ground white pepper
1.5tsp. fresh ground black pepper

PROCESS:
The meat was frozen for 24 hours before hand, and then allowed to thaw to "half frozen before first grind.

Before first grind spices were mixed and ground in a food mill and then worked into "half frozen" meat and fat (which was cut into 1-inch pieces.

The meat/fat/spices were put through course grind disk. Then a test piece was fired. Taste and texture were good. The mix was ground again using the fine disk. We then used the stuffer attachment to fill stuff the casings, and then refrigerated for 24 hours before cooking.

Image

Casings are covered in salt which I washed off before stuffing.

Thanks for any and all help.

-Glenn
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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby NCPaul » Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:42 pm

That description of your process helps. Could you try the same recipe again but make a couple of small changes? I would take the meat (and you might need even more fat added) and mix it with the salt. The salt seems to be missing from your recipe but I have to believe that you had it in there, about 1 tbsp. Let the meat and salt sit in your frig overnight. Spread it out on a tray in the morning and put it in the freezer. Soak your casings in a bowl of cold water while the meat chills. Put one ounce of red wine in the freezer (I think this helps). When the meat feels dry to the touch (nearly frozen) scatter the spices over the meat and put everything through the grinder once. Mix the sausage meat until it is sticky and has made a good bind. Add the wine slowly while mixing and mix just to combine it. Flush through the casing with water and stuff them as usual.
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Re: Finished Product Too Tight

Postby gdkaufmann » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:10 am

Thanks, for the suggestions, NCPaul.

Clearly threre were quite a few problems with my process and my recipe.

I'll give it a go with the changes you suggest, and update the boards.

Cheers,
Glenn
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