Pigmy

Need help with Sausage and Jerky

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Over the summer I bought more stuff to help prepare wild game, I already have a grinder with a sausage stuffer attachment and I bought the LEM stainless jerky gun. I had this Hi mountain sausage making kit that I honestly think I got at Gander's going out of business sale. Anyhow, this past weekend I was going to finally take a stab at sausage. Baby steps of course. Small batches and pre-packaged deals until I got the hang of it and get more creative/exploratory.

1st problem. This summer sausage kit came with 2.5" casings. Holy cow, the largest tube I have is 3/4" and a quick search didn't find any of the basic stuffers come with anything that big, and honestly I'm not sure I want to buy a dedicated stuffer just yet. Should I just scrap the casings? I believe they're the fibrous non-edible kind. Follow-up, do you guys buy your casings online or local? Again not looking to get crazy out of the gates.

2nd question. I defrosted 6 pounds of ground (80/20) and wanted to try 3 pounds of jerky and 3 pounds of snack sticks. This time with the packets that came with my jerky gun. I screwed up my jerky recipe and added the recommended water for sliced meat instead of ground, but I'm not sure the extra water hurt it terribly (12 ounces instead of 2 lol). Anyhow all went according to plan and I tried 2 methods for the jerky. One is the oven method and the other is my parents old Ronco food dehydrator from the early 90's. The dehydrator mentions something like 48 hours and when I checked this morning to rotate they seemed done, but I'm going to let it go till this afternoon. The over method (75min one side 200* oven door cracked open, 75 min on other side door closed). They came out good, a little salty but edible and my kids already chowed down a bunch. Question here is this. They're crispy. Not chewy at all. Is this normal for ground jerky and the difference between sliced and ground jerky? I'm used to chewy jerky. Results are still out on the dehydrator method. 

Didn't use casing for the snack sticks, but they seemed to come out ok as well, but it's funny that 2 different style baking sheets resulted in different levels of "cooked" sticks. 

Everything is in the fridge now per recommendations. It's a lot but not sure it's enough to bother freezing. idk...


"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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On the summer sausage casing, hold the casing as tight as you can to the nozzle and let it fill as you press.  it should be fine.  I run it straight from the grinder through a smaller tube into a larger casing and it works fine.  Just try to hold it tight until the meat expands it and pushes it from the tube - ie no more room.

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With the summer sausage, it's not so much the diameter of the stuffer or tube...you just have to work with the casings, summer sausage & salami needs to be stuffed as tightly as possible. If you are using plastic or collagen casings, this shouldn't be a problem, they are almost impossible to tear. I always prick any visible air pockets also.

I can't speak of ground meat jerky, but if it is truly chewy jerky you are after, try cutting muscle jerky instead. But it sounds like you are using too much heat, my smoker runs at about 130 when I make muscle jerky.

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@Belo

My thoughts on your jerky issues:

For the 2.5" casings, how big is the "throat" of the stuffer? What if you don't screw on the stuffing tube and stuff straight from the throat? You can use a 3/4" stuffing tube into a 2.5" casing, you just need to go slow and avoid creating air pockets as much as possible.

The extra water won't hurt the jerky, just will take a much longer time to dehydrate.

Sounds like the oven jerky got overcooked. In general, the oven method is a "less gentle" way of dehydrating, and you risk cooking/crisping up the outside before you've removed all the moisture on the inside. Conversely, a food dehydrator does a more gentle and even job, but can take a long time if its underpowered (48 hours sounds too long to me). Why not try a combination of doing say 75 minutes in the open oven and then finish them off in the dehydrator overnight or so? Dirty a few more pans, but you'll get more control over the finished product.

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I make the jerky with the gun and ground . My dehydrator maxes out at 165 degrees and 4 hours exactly is perfect . At least the way I like it. I use the cabellas packets ,peppered is my favorite ,I tried the hot and sweet and did not care for it ,it was more sweet then hot.

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19 minutes ago, goosifer said:

@Belo

My thoughts on your jerky issues:

For the 2.5" casings, how big is the "throat" of the stuffer? What if you don't screw on the stuffing tube and stuff straight from the throat? You can use a 3/4" stuffing tube into a 2.5" casing, you just need to go slow and avoid creating air pockets as much as possible.

The extra water won't hurt the jerky, just will take a much longer time to dehydrate.

Sounds like the oven jerky got overcooked. In general, the oven method is a "less gentle" way of dehydrating, and you risk cooking/crisping up the outside before you've removed all the moisture on the inside. Conversely, a food dehydrator does a more gentle and even job, but can take a long time if its underpowered (48 hours sounds too long to me). Why not try a combination of doing say 75 minutes in the open oven and then finish them off in the dehydrator overnight or so? Dirty a few more pans, but you'll get more control over the finished product.

i guess my only concern is undercooking. Is there a good method to knowing when it's done? like a steak on a grill?


"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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20 minutes ago, Jeremy K said:

I make the jerky with the gun and ground . My dehydrator maxes out at 165 degrees and 4 hours exactly is perfect . At least the way I like it. I use the cabellas packets ,peppered is my favorite ,I tried the hot and sweet and did not care for it ,it was more sweet then hot.

that sounds more reasonable. the unit doesn't specify what temp it gets too, here is what i'm using https://www.amazon.com/Ronco-Dehydrator-Yogurt-Maker-Machine/dp/B000059L4A 


"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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1 minute ago, Belo said:

that sounds more reasonable. the unit doesn't specify what temp it gets too, here is what i'm using https://www.amazon.com/Ronco-Dehydrator-Yogurt-Maker-Machine/dp/B000059L4A 

I remember using one of those a while back that I borrowed . It seemed to take for ever and never really got done. I bought an excaliber this year and it works amazing.

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25 minutes ago, moog5050 said:

On the summer sausage casing, hold the casing as tight as you can to the nozzle and let it fill as you press.  it should be fine.  I run it straight from the grinder through a smaller tube into a larger casing and it works fine.  Just try to hold it tight until the meat expands it and pushes it from the tube - ie no more room.

 

23 minutes ago, Uncle Nicky said:

With the summer sausage, it's not so much the diameter of the stuffer or tube...you just have to work with the casings, summer sausage & salami needs to be stuffed as tightly as possible. If you are using plastic or collagen casings, this shouldn't be a problem, they are almost impossible to tear. I always prick any visible air pockets also.

I can't speak of ground meat jerky, but if it is truly chewy jerky you are after, try cutting muscle jerky instead. But it sounds like you are using too much heat, my smoker runs at about 130 when I make muscle jerky.

yeah my concern is not being able to stuff it and pack it tight without it being snug to a fitting. I might see if it'll fit on the grinder without the stuffer attachment. I have 2 150+lb. deer to work with, but that stuff goes fast in my house so I'm leery of wasting anything. I think next year I'm going to freeze some cut up, but unground meat as well. Then unfreeze and mix in the sausage spice on the second grind. Might be better then grinding it and trying to make sausage later. idk.


"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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1 minute ago, Jeremy K said:

I remember using one of those a while back that I borrowed . It seemed to take for ever and never really got done. I bought an excaliber this year and it works amazing.

it's funny. I read the reviews and some complain it cooks too slow, and others too fast. I'm sure it has a lot to do with how many trays, rotation and also how much you cram in there. Truthfully speed isn't a concern for me. The final product is. I'm willing to wait if I need to. how much is the excaliber? 


"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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4 minutes ago, Belo said:

i guess my only concern is undercooking. Is there a good method to knowing when it's done? like a steak on a grill?

internal temp of 160. just stick an instant read thermometer into one of the jerky pieces when it looks like its getting done. That's the official guideline. I am sure a lot of folks don't go that far as it will probably look overdone.

One tip for overdone crispy jerky. put it in a ziploc bag in the fridge for a day and the moisture content will even out. Usually the jerky will soften up to get back to chewy texture. If it was really overcooked, you can put in a small damp piece of paper towel in the bag.

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1 minute ago, Belo said:

it's funny. I read the reviews and some complain it cooks too slow, and others too fast. I'm sure it has a lot to do with how many trays, rotation and also how much you cram in there. Truthfully speed isn't a concern for me. The final product is. I'm willing to wait if I need to. how much is the excaliber? 

woot.com had the 9-tray on sale for $155 back in December. It's $180 at Amazon right now.

shape and diameter of jerky, water content, even starting temp, all factor into how long it will take to dry.

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18 minutes ago, Belo said:

i guess my only concern is undercooking. Is there a good method to knowing when it's done? like a steak on a grill?

For whole muscle jerky, the easy way to tell when its done is by bending it. If you bend and small cracks appear, its done. I havnet made any of the ground stuff so I cant help you there.

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Belo, What is the 80/20? it isn't pork fat or pork is it?


"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

"The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later you run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

"When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.." - James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

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What Moog said for the casings.  Just push as much of them over the tube attachment and be sure they fill up with out air. Try a couple and you will get the hang of it.

For the snack sticks I buy casings from Walton's. 19mm smoke collagen and they work great. I fill them about the length of the pan ,Then cut after cooking. 

Check out Walton's online , lots of good stuff there. 

But I buy my sausage casings at the local supermarket, they come from Syracuse casing, and then I get spices from the Amish store.  On the bottom of container it even tells you how much to add to venison etc. But I use jerky/snack stick spices from hi mountain cause it has cure as well, then usually add jalapenos or some BBQ sauce.  

I usually make sure they are at 165 degrees to be done. Esp since there is pork in it.  For the sticks I make one pound of ground pork to 5 lbs of ground venison.  For sausage I use 4 lbs of ground pork to 6 lbs of ground venison.  Gives you that sausage consistency.  

This year made sage breakfast, apple breakfast, smoked rope sausage and sweet and spicy BBQ snack sticks. 

Good luck, gotta experiment a little at first.  

IMG_20181222_181724380.jpg

IMG_20181119_184248696.thumb.jpg.d30f68bd7efa5a0c36af83d22b4b133e.jpg

Edited by Robhuntandfish
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jerky. Bend it. if it cracks it's done


"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

"The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later you run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

"When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.." - James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

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20 minutes ago, Culvercreek hunt club said:

Belo, What is the 80/20? it isn't pork fat or pork is it?

yes 80% venison, 20% pork shoulder


"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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18 minutes ago, Robhuntandfish said:

What Moog said for the casings.  Just push as much of them over the tube attachment and be sure they fill up with out air. Try a couple and you will get the hang of it.

For the snack sticks I buy casings from Walton's. 19mm smoke collagen and they work great. I fill them about the length of the pan ,Then cut after cooking. 

Check out Walton's online , lots of good stuff there. 

But I buy my sausage casings at the local supermarket, they come from Syracuse casing, and then I get spices from the Amish store.  On the bottom of container it even tells you how much to add to venison etc. But I use jerky/snack stick spices from hi mountain cause it has cure as well, then usually add jalapenos or some BBQ sauce.  

I usually make sure they are at 165 degrees to be done. Esp since there is pork in it.  For the sticks I make one pound of ground pork to 5 lbs of ground venison.  For sausage I use 4 lbs of ground pork to 6 lbs of ground venison.  Gives you that sausage consistency.  

This year made sage breakfast, apple breakfast, smoked rope sausage and sweet and spicy BBQ snack sticks. 

Good luck, gotta experiment a little at first.  

IMG_20181222_181724380.jpg

 

your snack sticks look pretty watery, I had that happen on one pan as well. Is that normal? What's your cooking process/average times?


"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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5 minutes ago, Belo said:

yes 80% venison, 20% pork shoulder

I have heard some very mixed reviews for dehydrating with pork fat. Let me know how it turns out. 


"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

"The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later you run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

"When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.." - James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

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5 minutes ago, Belo said:

your snack sticks look pretty watery, I had that happen on one pan as well. Is that normal? What's your cooking process/average times?

I had one burst from the casing. Happens sometimes. Plus I added a little too much BBQ sauce this year. Lol. Rest came out great. 

I got recipe from Chris on this site.  200 degrees in oven til sticks are 165 inside. 

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21 minutes ago, Culvercreek hunt club said:

I have heard some very mixed reviews for dehydrating with pork fat. Let me know how it turns out. 

clearly not well haha

13 minutes ago, Robhuntandfish said:

I had one burst from the casing. Happens sometimes. Plus I added a little too much BBQ sauce this year. Lol. Rest came out great. 

I got recipe from Chris on this site.  200 degrees in oven til sticks are 165 inside. 

how much time usually? just trying to get a ballpark, I know there are a lot of variables.


"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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This was from Chrisw last year. It took over an hour.  "I use 4lbs ground venison, 1 lb pork (any kind of pork will work, even fatty beef will work), 3 jalapenos diced (remove most seeds unless you want real hot). A bag of shredded or small cubed cheese (any flavor you want). Then I buy a package of LEM snack stick seasoning (which does 5lbs). Just grind everything and mix it well, following the package instructions. I use 19mm collagen casings and fill them with a jerky shooter, then just put them on a baking sheet in the oven at 200° and let them cook until the internal temp hits 165°, you just want to slowly bring the temp to 165° so don't try to cook them too fast. It's even better if you have a smoker to cook them in. That's it! Pretty easy, you can tweak the recipe any way you like. Good luck"

 

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1 hour ago, Belo said:

it's funny. I read the reviews and some complain it cooks too slow, and others too fast. I'm sure it has a lot to do with how many trays, rotation and also how much you cram in there. Truthfully speed isn't a concern for me. The final product is. I'm willing to wait if I need to. how much is the excaliber? 

It was around 180 , my raspberries should be growing this year and we plan to do fruit roll ups as well as jerky . 

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39 minutes ago, Belo said:

clearly not well haha

how much time usually? just trying to get a ballpark, I know there are a lot of variables.

Moisture content seems to play a really big role in time. We use the 21 mm casings for snacksticks. We found they stuffed easier and we could get cheese in better with a little bigger casing. 

Get something like this and you will be set. They even have them blue tooth now so you can see it on your phone from anywhere. I use mine for grilling and in the kitchen doing chicken and about everything.  

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Taylor-Multi-use-Gray-Digital-Probe-Food-Thermometer-with-Timer-Feature-1470/302798823?cm_mmc=Shopping|G|Base|DD|29-29_HOUSEWARES|NA|NA|71700000032305523|58700003835510657|92700037675004782|aud-495306490706:pla-330599027184-34721822124&gclid=Cj0KCQiAjszhBRDgARIsAH8Kgve-6zYFjW0JVXk2MNK7xCeqVAq2snEdHVzkpRLRpEefGjlEX1LpRAYaArHcEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

This seems like a really good deal on a vertical stuffer if you are in the market. It is SOOOO much easier with a stuffer than a grinder and we even have the foot control for the grinder.

https://www.meatprocessingproducts.com/we5lbcavesas.html

 


"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

"The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later you run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

"When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.." - James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

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1 hour ago, goosifer said:

woot.com had the 9-tray on sale for $155 back in December. It's $180 at Amazon right now.

shape and diameter of jerky, water content, even starting temp, all factor into how long it will take to dry.

I got this one for the past  Father's day. 12 tray. It took 15# of meat and only used 11 trays. it was wonderful to not have to rotate tray and it was done so much faster than my old round tray one. https://www.target.com/p/weston-4-tray-round-dehydrator/-/A-51077083  <---old round tray one. 

 

https://www.cabelas.com/product/CABELAS-L-COMMERCIAL-FOOD-DEHYDRATOR/2339805.uts?productVariantId=5012887&amp;WT.tsrc=PPC&amp;WT.mc_id=GoogleProductAds&amp;WT.z_mc_id1=04697254&amp;rid=20&amp;ds_rl=1252079&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQiAjszhBRDgARIsAH8KgveE3lLjFGJj99G12BYq_RJOZO0XE-a5NL2N85MuR7AtHaGa2hr8taYaAkh5EALw_wcB&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds


"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

"The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later you run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

"When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.." - James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

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