Sausage making knife?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by carpenter, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. carpenter

    carpenter

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Hello all,

    Since moving to the East Coast I've been making my own Mexican chorizo.  I usually put all the meat and fat through a meat grinder.  I've read a few sausage recipes where they grind half and chop half(mince?) or chop all of the meat and then mix it with a paddle mixer.  For the life of me I can't get the consistency like the chorizo of Mexico and California(I'm an ex-native).  Would using a knife rather than a grinder give me a better texture?  What would be the ideal type of knife and what cutting method would you suggest?  How about the temperature of the meat?  Would this be a job for a cleaver?

    BTW, if you have any good chorizo recipes then please, let me know.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  2. duckfat

    duckfat

    Messages:
    1,354
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I think you will be better served with a quality grinder and different sized grinding discs for a variance in texture. Chorizo is made so many ways it's hard to offer a lot of help with out knowing the product you are trying to replicate. Some is very fine ground so it is run through a fine disc 2X. I like a variance in texture so I use coarse and fine ground.

    In regards to a "quality" grinder I'm referring to a dedicated meat grinder with sharp blades and enough power to get the job done. I used a Kitchen aid grinder at home for a long time but they are prone to schmearing which is great if you need to hit the Tuesday evening Schooze n Schmear but not so much for great sausage. I'll leave you a few links to equipment purveyors.

    As far as knives go when cutting pork I tend to grab a cleaver or a Scimitar.

    When I make Chorizo I'm typically working with Venison and my base recipe is;

    50/50 Pork/Venison

    salt

    Ancho Chili Powder

    Smoked Paprika

    Cumin

    Oregano

    Garlic

    Coriander

    Vinegar (I blend with Adobo)

    Many use some type of Panada but you can Google that or perfect your own (or skip it altogether) for the texture you are after.

    Good luck! Making snausages can be addicting.

    http://www.butcher-packer.com/

    http://www.lemproducts.com/

    Dave
     
  3. romanas

    romanas

    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Other
    I use a pair of chinese clevers for chopped meats and regular gyuto knife when I need diced meats.
     
  4. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,551
    Likes Received:
    193
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I guess you're looking for a coarse mince where the meat morsels are left with some integrity? 

    Grinder (Kitchen Aid grinder attachment or preferably a decent stand-alone), with a fairly coarse disk; forcing it through twice through (with a few chips of ice mixed in), is the right way if you're going to make any sort of quantity.  You might find that the ice makes enough of a difference in the quality of the grind that you don't need to resort to a knife.

    If you want a hand-cut texture badly enough to use a knife, you're probably best with a chef's/gyuto.  Just like using a grinder, "cold" makes everything easier -- not to mention more sanitary.  Try and work with meat that's almost frozen; and return it to the freezer for a few minutes between the plank, stick, and dice cuts.  If you work in batches, it won't even take extra time.

    You can also, if you like, use both methods for a good mix of textures that should please the tongue.  FWIW, I don't make sausage that often and use my KA grinder attachment for more than a couple of pounds.  For a smaller amount, the grinder isn't worth all the set up and cleaning, so that's when I'd go to a knife. 

    More serious guys have a lot of issues with the KA grinder attachment, including the few choices in disks, the small tray, and a lot of other stuff.l  They say the $100-ish stand-alone grinder/stuffers are well worth the slight extra expense and storage; while the super serious guys use stand-alone grinders AND stuffers... but that's a different universe.

    All of which reminds me to order some casings and sausage supplies.

    Hope this helps,

    BDL
     
  5. carpenter

    carpenter

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Thanks guys, I'll try all your tips.  As far as grinding, I use an old John Oster grinder with 340 watts of power.  It's a step up, or maybe a sideways step from the KitchenAid.

    Dave DuckFat, thanks for your reply; links, tips and recipe.  I usually use a 4/5# pork shoulder/butt and add up to 50% back fat  along with garlic, anchos and arbol chilis, oregano, cumin, coriander, a bit of dark brown sugar, vinegar, a shot of tequila, paprika and a bit of allspice.

    I looked up "PANADA' and after sorting through "panda" and "empanada" and reading about Victor Panada's empanadas, I found very little.  I saw some things about "forced meat".  Does that mean sausage?

    My product tastes pretty damn good but lacks that texture and red greasy pan affect which makes chorizo chorizo.  I don't get it, if I cook up store bought Mexican chorizo or 80/20 burger I get a pan full of grease, but with a 60/40 or 70/30% or so mix, I still need to add fat when cooking it uncased.  Why is that?  Do I need to add the ears, snout and jowels of the pig for that taste and texture?

    I looked at the Lem site and would be very interested in some of their equipment.  I think for what I do, the #5 or #8 would suffice.  Eventually I would like to try other sausage making but I don't suspect any thing over 10#.  What about a stuffer verses a grinder with attachment?stuffing   [​IMG]
     
  6. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,551
    Likes Received:
    193
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    It appears you're at least as advanced a sausage maker as I am, and probably a great deal more.  While I love the idea of talking with and learning from you, the best recommendation I can make is that you don't take my advice too seriously. 

    Where are you getting 80/20 (for SoCal Mexican style chorizo?  My impression is that the kind of good chorizo we're talking -- say the kind the Tropicana supermarket chain makes for itself -- has far more fat than 80/20.  Farmer John's nutritional disclosure says every 9g out of 37g is fat.  But their chorizo is on the lean side, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if a lot of good chorizo is more like 30%.

    BDL 
     
  7. duckfat

    duckfat

    Messages:
    1,354
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    LOL sorry you had trouble finding info. Here's the definition of Panada as per Larousse;

    "A paste of variable composition used to thicken and bind forcemeat."

    Ground or chopped and seasoned meat for sausage is forcemeat. Both terms are probably more commonly used for Terrines and Pate but I've seen some odd combinations used in Chorizo like ground tortillas with heavy cream. Your sausages look great. I rarely stuff Chorizo.

    Dave
     
  8. carpenter

    carpenter

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    BDL,  80/20 is the ratio of ground beef.  It renders a lot of fat.  My chorizo at 70/30 or 60/40 seems to not have enough fat. I was useing the ground beef only as a comparison.  thanks for all your advice.

    Mike
     
  9. the meal man

    the meal man

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    I've been making sausage and all types of charcutterie for many years now. I have the whole package, #22 grinder (grinds 10 pounds a minute), meat mixer, 12 pound piston stuffer and an all stainless 10" slicing machine. One of the most important things is to keep the meat cold. Using a non-deticated grinder (including KA) will smear the meat and melt the fat and you will end up with fatty tasting sausage. If you don't want to spend $400 on a grinder, $300 on a stuffer and 150 on a meat mixer, then buy a good old crank grinder try to find one that says "porkert" on it. a stantard #12 will be fine. Will give much better results that you can control and will not get any smearing. Remember to use a high-grit stone to flatten the blade and knife before grinding.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
     
  10. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    174
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    You are so right. I keep my grinder and all the heads in the walkin. I do all my grinding there as this is Florida. Nice neat pictures
     
  11. duckfat

    duckfat

    Messages:
    1,354
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Nice work Meal Man. Can you give us the run down on what you have in your pictures? I'm waiting on a new grinder myself as the one I want is back ordered for a few more weeks.

    Dave
     
  12. the meal man

    the meal man

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    To make sausage of any kind fresh or cured as the old addage goes, get the absolute best cuts possible. All of pork is raised by my neighbor in a pasture eating wild grasses living a stress free existence. I'm lucky enough to be able to actually choose the animals I want for my pork products. If your not so fortunate, choose Step 4 pork from whole foods, then big box store meat if all you can find.

    Here is a shot of of my chamber with about 200 pounds of meat in it.

    Top:

    Hungarian sausage and pancetta (age 2 months)

    From Left to right and front to back:

    Smoked Pastrami made from the deckle of the brisket (9 pounds, 1 month of age)

    Random cured sausages (4 months of age)

    Red sausage in front is is Portuguese Linguica (chourice) Smoked, aged 2 months

    Italian sliced Beef eye roast, smoked 2 months of age

    Behind that is a dry-cured non-smoked 5 pound pork jowl off a 500 pound hog aged 4 months

    8 pound smoked back-belly bacon with 3 months of age.

    Sausages to the right are smoked slim-jims stuffed into 6mm sheep casings with 2 months of cure. (my little daughters favorite)

    There are some other random cuts in the back too.

    Below is a shot if the slim-jim drying before being smoked. Notice how beautifully red the become. Remember to always give your smoked cured sausages a rinse with cold water after smoking.

    Let me know if you guys have any questions.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. the meal man

    the meal man

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    Here is a shot of the pancetta after curing but before smoking and one after being smoked. Also a shot of a the fresh back-belly bacon. Notice the deep rich color to the flesh and how white and creamy the fat is.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Almost forgot to mention, my dedicated sausage knife is a Takeda Bono-bocho 195. Top row, fourth from the right.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. duckfat

    duckfat

    Messages:
    1,354
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    What brand of grinder are you using and have you made any modifications to your fridge to cure the sausages?

    Dave
     
  15. the meal man

    the meal man

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    Dave, Yea I use a PID to adjust temperature. Its a tracable temperature control device from Cole Palmer.

    I have a Weston #22

    http://www.meatprocessingproducts.c...ogleproducts&gclid=CMGjhLPn0q8CFeJe7AodWzC5Hg

    Wow it seems to have gone up in price. Go figure.

    Its a wonderful design though, very very heavy-duty. Think commercial service utility truck, the ones that carry Miller-welding generators on top and have full vises bolted to their bumpers.

    Unique off-set head design, almost no pushing of the meat required. Meat just falls through it, even if frozen or there abouts. Quiet and heavy as a mofo. Huge hopper with high walls too. reverseable. Maybe you can tell but i'm a pretty picky guy about my kitchen tools and this puppy executes flawlessly. However, if your just going to be making sausage a few times a year, I consider the #12. Even that is probably over-kill, not kidding.

    Actually it seems that Weston just introduced two models a $8 and a #12 with he same head design. Go with the #12, I probably would have. Remember your still going to need to get a sausage piston and meat mixer. As you can tell i've been doing this a while and the piston is the most critical tool, followed by grinder then mixer. I made sausage for ten years with my hand crank porkert.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  16. duckfat

    duckfat

    Messages:
    1,354
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Thanks for the info! I have to check out those links. I ran up to Frankenmuth the other day. They have some serious grinders up there with all the German sausage makers.[​IMG]

    Dave
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  17. duckfat

    duckfat

    Messages:
    1,354
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    My LEM grinder arrived yesterday.. WOOOOT!

    Did burgers last last and some pork B'fast snausage this morning. I'll get some photos and a review up soon.

    BTW if your gonna buy one be sure to check the link in Meal Man's post. LEM does not price match and the day after mine arrived meat processing products has the #12 LEM on sale for $70 less than buying direct (Ouch). It's a solid grinder and other than missing the sale I'm pleased as punch.

    If any one has a burger grind mix they wanna share I've started experimenting with a blend of brisket and top Sirloin.

    Dave
     
  18. the meal man

    the meal man

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    DuckFat, Nice job. What are you using for a stuffer? Hope your not using your grinder as a stuffer? This is the one I have and the price I paid a few years ago. Highly recommended.

     
  19. the meal man

    the meal man

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    DuckFat, Nice job. What are you using for a stuffer? Hope your not using your grinder as a stuffer? This is the one I have and the price I paid a few years ago. Highly recommended.

     
  20. duckfat

    duckfat

    Messages:
    1,354
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Retired Chef