Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Beginners FAQ on sausage making, meat curing etc may often be found at the head of each relevant section, but here is the place to ask experienced users for advice if you are still stuck or need more information...we're here to help!

Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby Quovardis » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:01 pm

HI all,

I'm a brit living in the US (Texas) and I've been missing some of my traditional sausage so over the last 2 months have been experimenting with making my own.

I've had some success with Cumberland and Lincolnshire, even went as far as making my own rusk which has lead to me having some questions. I do have a few books which have helped a lot but I'm looking for feedback from practical experienced people.

1. What plate size is the best for an initial "mince/grind" before mixing seasoning/filler in? (10mm or stuffing plate even?)
2. After adding the seasoning/filler do you regrind? if so which size plate? (bearing in mind that Cumberland is a coarse grind)...I currently use the 6mm.
3. Should I even do a first/second grind? (example if the initial grind is with a 6mm plate)
4. Am I correct in believing the correct water to filler ratio is thus....Rusk = 1.5:1 / Breadcrumbs = 1:1?
5. Should I mix the water/rusk before adding to the meat? (I've seen different directions on this.

Hoping for some good discussion and ideas...thanks in advance.
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby NCPaul » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:45 pm

Welcome to the forum. :D These are good questions. I can tell you what I do for British sausages. I grind twice through a 6 mm plate and add the seasoning then the breadcrumbs then the water to the meat mixture in a 1:1 ratio. I also try to salt the meat the night before which helps the grinding and helps with the bind. If the recipe is written for rusk (and kudos to you for making your own) I use the same amount of breadcrumbs and decrease the water.
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby MikeD » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:51 pm

I am also new to the world of sausage making and have just made my first attempt at a basic pork sausage and although not the most professional start, I certainly learned a lot through some of my mistakes during the steep learning curve I am embarked upon.
One thing that had me confused were the variations of methods that were to be read in books, so I decided to approach an old school butcher to ask for some pointers as to methods, and with the notes I made from his advice I will try to answer the questions you are asking.
[1] I used the 8mm coarse plate to mince my shoulder and back fat, however before I minced the shoulder meat I added my seasoning to it, mixed it thoroughly and then placed the meat back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, before passing both the shoulder and back fat through the mincer.
[2] After mincing the pork I added the rusk mix that I had already measured, mixed with ice cold water and placed in the refrigerator an hour earlier. (Rusk ratio is 10% of the total weight of meat, double the weight of iced water to dry rusk)
[3] At this point I hand mixed all the ingredients in the bowl to develop the myocin and when it began to emulsify, I then ran it through the 8mm coarse plate again.
[4] After this second pass through the coarse plate, I then hand mixed the sausage meat to develop the myocin further creating a very sticky and creamy consistency, at which point I made my sausages.
They were not the most brilliant to look at given it was my first attempt, but I certainly learned a lot from this first attempt and hope with further practice to perfect the craft.
When making the rusk, fist weigh the rusk and place it in the mixing bowl and then add the water to the rusk, my butcher friend told me that sometimes it is better to reserve some of the water for when you are developing the meat mixture.
As a complete novice, I hope my notes may point you in the right direction, good luck and enjoy your sausage making journey, the results will be well worth it both in flavour, satisfaction and of course in the knowledge of what it is you are actually eating! Regards
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby Quovardis » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:07 pm

NCPaul wrote:Welcome to the forum. :D These are good questions. I can tell you what I do for British sausages. I grind twice through a 6 mm plate and add the seasoning then the breadcrumbs then the water to the meat mixture in a 1:1 ratio. I also try to salt the meat the night before which helps the grinding and helps with the bind. If the recipe is written for rusk (and kudos to you for making your own) I use the same amount of breadcrumbs and decrease the water.


Thanks...some good suggestions, im also using a 6mm plate

My process: grind meat/fat>add seasoning>add rusk>add water>regrind>mix to correct mixture (mysin)>stuff>leave to bloom hanging in fridge

Have left the meat/seasoning mix sit overnight also and tried mixing the rusk/water first and am just trying to figure out what would result. Ive seen a lot of info saying a 1.5:1 or 2:1 water to rusk ratio though...I have been only using 1:1 like you.
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby Quovardis » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:14 pm

MikeD wrote:I am also new to the world of sausage making and have just made my first attempt at a basic pork sausage and although not the most professional start, I certainly learned a lot through some of my mistakes during the steep learning curve I am embarked upon.
One thing that had me confused were the variations of methods that were to be read in books, so I decided to approach an old school butcher to ask for some pointers as to methods, and with the notes I made from his advice I will try to answer the questions you are asking.
[1] I used the 8mm coarse plate to mince my shoulder and back fat, however before I minced the shoulder meat I added my seasoning to it, mixed it thoroughly and then placed the meat back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, before passing both the shoulder and back fat through the mincer.
[2] After mincing the pork I added the rusk mix that I had already measured, mixed with ice cold water and placed in the refrigerator an hour earlier. (Rusk ratio is 10% of the total weight of meat, double the weight of iced water to dry rusk)
[3] At this point I hand mixed all the ingredients in the bowl to develop the myocin and when it began to emulsify, I then ran it through the 8mm coarse plate again.
[4] After this second pass through the coarse plate, I then hand mixed the sausage meat to develop the myocin further creating a very sticky and creamy consistency, at which point I made my sausages.
They were not the most brilliant to look at given it was my first attempt, but I certainly learned a lot from this first attempt and hope with further practice to perfect the craft.
When making the rusk, fist weigh the rusk and place it in the mixing bowl and then add the water to the rusk, my butcher friend told me that sometimes it is better to reserve some of the water for when you are developing the meat mixture.
As a complete novice, I hope my notes may point you in the right direction, good luck and enjoy your sausage making journey, the results will be well worth it both in flavour, satisfaction and of course in the knowledge of what it is you are actually eating! Regards


Thats very similar to what Ive been doing only with a 6mm plate, rusk/meate ratio is the same at 10% total weight and the only thing different is the 2:1 water to rusk content as Ive been using 1:1.

As I replied to NCPaul Ive tried adding the water to rusk then combined to the meat > and also seasoning>meat>rusk>water.... and I think I prefer adding the water to rusk first then adding to the seasoned meat.

What difference does the 2:1 water/rusk ratio make? (BTW ive been making 1:1 with breadcrumbs also)
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby Quovardis » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:48 pm

MikeD wrote:I am also new to the world of sausage making and have just made my first attempt at a basic pork sausage and although not the most professional start, I certainly learned a lot through some of my mistakes during the steep learning curve I am embarked upon.
One thing that had me confused were the variations of methods that were to be read in books, so I decided to approach an old school butcher to ask for some pointers as to methods, and with the notes I made from his advice I will try to answer the questions you are asking.
[1] I used the 8mm coarse plate to mince my shoulder and back fat, however before I minced the shoulder meat I added my seasoning to it, mixed it thoroughly and then placed the meat back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, before passing both the shoulder and back fat through the mincer.
[2] After mincing the pork I added the rusk mix that I had already measured, mixed with ice cold water and placed in the refrigerator an hour earlier. (Rusk ratio is 10% of the total weight of meat, double the weight of iced water to dry rusk)
[3] At this point I hand mixed all the ingredients in the bowl to develop the myocin and when it began to emulsify, I then ran it through the 8mm coarse plate again.
[4] After this second pass through the coarse plate, I then hand mixed the sausage meat to develop the myocin further creating a very sticky and creamy consistency, at which point I made my sausages.
They were not the most brilliant to look at given it was my first attempt, but I certainly learned a lot from this first attempt and hope with further practice to perfect the craft.
When making the rusk, fist weigh the rusk and place it in the mixing bowl and then add the water to the rusk, my butcher friend told me that sometimes it is better to reserve some of the water for when you are developing the meat mixture.
As a complete novice, I hope my notes may point you in the right direction, good luck and enjoy your sausage making journey, the results will be well worth it both in flavour, satisfaction and of course in the knowledge of what it is you are actually eating! Regards



I also built myself a calculator for sausage, heres the mix with breadcrumbs I use:-
Item % of Content
Shoulder 57.5%
Belly 20.0%
Water 10.0%
BreadCrumb 10.0%
Seasoning 2.5%

Should I then use this for Rusk?:-
Item % of Content
Shoulder 57.5%
Belly 20.0%
Water 13.33%
Rusk 6.66%
Seasoning 2.5%
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby NCPaul » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:33 pm

Similar to baker's percentages, most of the recipes here are set with the meat at 100 % or per kilo of meat. The meat mix used to reach a kilo can be also specified.
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby Quovardis » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:04 pm

So...can anyone help clarify the best Rusk to water Ratio? Should it be 1.5:1 or 2:1?

Will it make a difference, If so what will it be?

At 2:1 it would give me percentages like this:-
Item % of Content
Shoulder 57.5%
Belly 20.0%
Water 13.33%
Rusk 6.66%
Seasoning 2.5%
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby wheels » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:09 am

Homemade rusk is 1:1.5 Rusk:water. Commercial is more like 2:1 or higher.

Not all sausage are the same. For one you might grind twice on a #6 plate, others once. For other mixes maybe #6 followed by #4.5. It depends on the end result you want. Cumberland, for example is course. Others finer.

Personally, if grinding twice I tend to use a larger plate first - a #10 or #12. Followed by the finished size.

I never mix the rusk through the grinder, and never mix the homemade-rusk with water first. Whilst it's fine with commercial stuff, I'm not so sure with homemade.

I put the rusk on the ground meat, add the spices and salt (if I've not salted it before), then the cold water, and mix.

I guess people do what works for them. UK sausage types are quite forgiving due to the rusk etc. More effort is necessary in ensuring good myosin development in continental and US styles.

Phil
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby Quovardis » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:37 pm

wheels wrote:Homemade rusk is 1:1.5 Rusk:water. Commercial is more like 2:1 or higher.

Not all sausage are the same. For one you might grind twice on a #6 plate, others once. For other mixes maybe #6 followed by #4.5. It depends on the end result you want. Cumberland, for example is course. Others finer.

Personally, if grinding twice I tend to use a larger plate first - a #10 or #12. Followed by the finished size.

I never mix the rusk through the grinder, and never mix the homemade-rusk with water first. Whilst it's fine with commercial stuff, I'm not so sure with homemade.

I put the rusk on the ground meat, add the spices and salt (if I've not salted it before), then the cold water, and mix.

I guess people do what works for them. UK sausage types are quite forgiving due to the rusk etc. More effort is necessary in ensuring good myosin development in continental and US styles.

Phil


Thanks again for the advice....Ive been thinking of starting with a 10mm plate then moving to a 7mm.

Whats the issue with grinding with the rusk though?
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby wheels » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:50 pm

I don't know that there is, but the way I was advised to do it, was to grind then mix.

My logic for not mixing rusk with water is that it means that less water is available to carry the salt throughout the meat to develop myosin.

It's also the way that the forum's most expert sausage maker who has years designing and fabricating sausage for commercial companies advised in his tutorial:

http://www.localfoodheroes.co.uk/sausag ... _guide.pdf

Phil
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby DanMcG » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:07 am

wheels wrote:It's also the way that the forum's most expert sausage maker who has years designing and fabricating sausage for commercial companies advised in his tutorial:

http://www.localfoodheroes.co.uk/sausag ... _guide.pdf

Phil


Thanks for the link Phil, Besides the great tutorial from Richard, there's a ton of interesting recipes to try too.
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby Quovardis » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:34 pm

wheels wrote:I don't know that there is, but the way I was advised to do it, was to grind then mix.

My logic for not mixing rusk with water is that it means that less water is available to carry the salt throughout the meat to develop myosin.

It's also the way that the forum's most expert sausage maker who has years designing and fabricating sausage for commercial companies advised in his tutorial:

http://www.localfoodheroes.co.uk/sausag ... _guide.pdf

Phil


Thanks again Phil...I had already downloaded that a while ago and is a great guide, I've been using this book (in the link below) as my main guidance though and and it says to add water to the rusk first:-

https://www.amazon.com/Manual-Traditional-Bacon-Maynard-Davies/dp/1906122083

Also I read a very interesting paper done by Derby City Council which described using the "Paste Method", this would help carrying the salt and seasoning around.

http://www.derby.gov.uk/media/derbycitycouncil/contentassets/documents/guides/DerbyCityCouncil-Butchers-Guidance-Notes.pdf
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby wheels » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:17 am

Maynard Davies books are superb, but he uses a different method of making sausages. We don't have bowl-cutters at home.

He wasn't far from Derby and the other link. I've downloaded it. It's interesting. I've not read it fully yet and my sausage mixes are well below the salt levels they recommend. I've never made sausage with those salt levels and assumed that it was only something that I read about in pre-50's books.

A quick scan - I'm not convinced about pre-mixing meaning that sausages don't need blooming.

EHO's know a fantastic amount about food safety, but wouldn't be my first port of call for advice about sausage making.

I'll assess it further in due course. I'm sure that there's a lot we can learn from it.

Phil
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Re: Beginners questions on British Pork Sausage

Postby Quovardis » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:43 pm

I think whole premise of the paper is that by activating the seasoning with water prior to adding with the meat it helps to amplify the flavor.

They're saying that in regards to the salt content in particular, that you can reduce it by 20% and end up with the same flavor profile by making a paste instead of dry seasoning.
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