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Frequently Asked Questions to produce the best homemade sausages.

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Frequently Asked Questions to produce the best homemade sausages.

Old 11-25-2013, 11:33 AM
Fork Horn
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Location: 10905 HARRISON ST LAVISTA NE. 68128
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Default Frequently Asked Questions to produce the best homemade sausages.

My name is Mike and I am the owner here at FriscoSpices and I have been making sausage for over 25 years and teaching classes to our customers for about 10 years now.

I have refined these techniques over the past 25 years and I can promise if you apply these*methods combined with Frisco Spice sausage blends you, your family, and your friends will enjoy the best sausage you have ever made.

Sausage Making Tips

Once I have properly cared for my wild game meat in the field and processed the meat myself what should I do next?
I always refrigerate my wild game uncovered, on a raised drip screen in a bucket or lug to help with drying the blood. After a day or two I will grind all of my game into 10LB and 2LB meat bags. Then these can go in the freezer for at least a few days or whenever you’re ready to start making sausage. I freeze the ground meat mainly to kill any bacteria but also when we thaw it this allows one more time for some of the blood to be leeched out, this helps get rid of any remaining wild game taste. With this being done, you now have meat ready for homemade sausages. Wild Game can be used with any of our recipes. Of course each sausage is made differently and each would require some other meat, either pork or beef to be added to your wild game to make your finished product moist and most importantly that it tastes better than your buddies.

What if I either run out of wild game or do not want to use it in sausage making?
It isn’t necessary to make sausages with wild game, if you run out or maybe you don't Hunt you can still implement these tips to make sausages out of meat you buy at the store. When buying meat at the store for sausage making just make sure the meat isn’t pumped with a saline solution, it gives sausage a funny texture and adds salt to the recipe.

What if I only want to make a small a small batch of sausage or jerky?
We here at Frisco Spices sell all of our sausage seasoning blends in packages to make 25# of meat. I teach my customers to divide up the spices to make smaller batches. An example is if you make sausage in 8 # batches you would divide the spices up into 3 equal parts.

How do I divide up the spices if I want to make smaller batches?

The best I have found is to split up the bag of seasoning into small baby food jars, plus that is a great place to store the seasoning as well just mark each jar with the amount of meat for the seasoning in each jar. I would keep cure in a separate jar and just use 1tsp. per 5 lb. of meat. Seasonings and cure should be kept in an air tight container stored in the dark, seasonings and cure will loose potency after about a year, they are still good but may not be 100% strength.

Why would I want to make small batch's?
The reason I make smaller batches is once the sausage is made we have added Fat and Salt to the meat, both of these lower the freezing temperature of meat and then we have a loss in flavor when stored in the freezer too long. I like to make products that can be eaten within 3 months. If there is a group, split up the items and make sure everyone can keep a fresh supply. As an example, we had a couple of families that would split up the summer sausage they made evenly, even though one family had 6 members and the other 2 families had 2 and 3 in their household. The guy with a wife and 4 kids ran out of sausage way before the other guys so he made his own batch for himself. Now 6 -8 months down the road when everyone was finishing up there sausage the quality wasn't the same. So for me and my friends we split it up by the number of people per household. This can be applied to both cured and fresh sausage. I would say this is even a bit more important with the fresh sausages.

What should I make if it's my first time making sausage?
First no doubt I would recommend Fresh Sausages, these are the easiest and if someone is just starting usually this is the first products they would make and be successful every time. Most of these sausages are pork based products so if you don't have wild game then just use ground pork, but if you do use wild game then a minimum of a 50/50 mix should be used for best flavor. Item's like Breakfast Sausage could even go to 65% pork and 35% wild game to get a more traditional breakfast sausage flavor. Making sausages with wild game is a lot healthier as far as fat content goes, so if you want to make a leaner breakfast sausage use a leaner cut of pork.

What type of pork should I buy?
When they have pork butts or pork shoulders on sale I try to buy about 10 or 15 lb. and I have them grind it for me so it’s worth the time for the butcher. This service is free at most grocery stores. I freeze it in 10 lb. and 2 lb. bags just like my wild game. When I make pork breakfast sausage for just me and my wife I will make 4 lb. at a time with ground pork shoulder I buy from the grocery store. Now when my parents make breakfast sausage they like it lean they will have the butcher grind pork loin and have an 85 to 90 % lean product. Most sausage you buy that is at the store is around 60 - 65 % lean, that’s why it tastes so good. Other fresh sausages include Bratwurst, Italian Sausage, Chorizo, Andouille, and Polish. When you serve fresh sausage you will be cooking it just before you eat it usually to 160 degrees internal temp.

What is the best mix for Cured Sausages? How high a temp should I get to?
Cured sausages are cooked and or smoked. The same holds true here as with the Fresh sausage, we need to add pork or beef to these sausages for added fat. However I rarely go above 50/50 mix I like the leanness in the 50/50 mix the best. A 80% lean mix is most desirable for taste and texture. This is also something that can be done with or without wild game. Cure is used in these recipes to help preserve the meat and give the meat the deep red color. An example of a cured product would be the color and salt difference in cooking a fresh pork roast compared to a ham which is a cured pork roast. When making cured sausages we like to allow time for the cure to work in the meat. We teach in our classes a minimum of 8 hrs. But overnight is best. When you’re ready to cook or smoke these sausages usually we put them in casings or form into a shape we want them to be. This type of Sausage is only cooked to 150-155 degrees and immediately cooled once the internal temp is reached to stop the cooking process. We want to be sure to stop the cooking as this is the time so we retain all of the fat and moisture. I have always said the Art of making great sausage is to remove all the moisture and leave all the fat. That doesn't mean its dry it’s just less moist. Examples of these types of sausages are: Summer Sausage, Salami, Sticks, and Smoked Polish.

How do I smoke and cook the sausage and at what temperatures?
The first step is to start with about a 120 degree air temp in your smoker or oven. We also want to move air through the smoker, so we want upper and lower vents open to draw as much fresh air as possible. This will make the sausages dry to the touch. Once you see the sausage’s getting dry you want to place your hand in the smoker and feel if there is still humidity in the smoker. If there is continue to dry until you feel very little if any humidity.

Why do we have to dry sausage before smoking?
We dry these sausages so they accept the smoke which will make the casing and the meat to become glued, and it also helps smoke flavor too penetrate into meat easier.

How long should I smoke Summer Sausage?
Smoking is the second step in making cured sausages. We will start smoking our product, and increase temp about 10 to 15 degrees, this will help the smoke to start rolling. We all like our sausages with a certain amount of smoke on them, I like to measure this by the diameter of the sausage. Small sticks don't need as much smoke as Summer Sausage. I find a good place to start would be a 2-3 hour smoke on sticks and about 4-5 hour smoke on Summer Sausage. This is only a suggestion everyone’s smoker puts out a different amount of smoke, but this is a safe place to start to be sure you don't over smoke, which causes bitterness. Also different wood makes different smoke flavor so keep a record in a journal for best taste. I will usually turn up the temp maybe 10 degrees midway through the smoking process.

Whats the best temp to finish cooking cured Sausages?
Step three is cooking. We first want to remove the smoke pan from the burner if your smoker has this type of smoke generation. This will help with having all of your BTU’s being used to cook. Now we like to check internal temp of the meat and the air temp in the smoker. I always record them on a sheet of paper. Kick up the temps by another 15 degrees and let’s start cooking. How I judge when to increase air temp is by watching the internal temp of the meat. We want it to move up 8 or 10 degrees after we increase air temp by 15. Once it has moved up then we can increase air temp again until we reach and internal temp of around 153. I will rarely if ever have my air temp above 180 degrees.

Why can't you just turn up the temp and cook it until its 153?
The reason I cook this way is to make a sausage that has the same consistency from the outer skin to the center. Cooking them too fast cause’s wrinkled casings or a dried outer part of the meat and a good texture internally.

Should I put my sausage in an ice bath after its cooked?
Step 4 is the cooling and blooming. After we remove the cooked sausages from the smoker, I hang them and cool with a hose and water for about 10 minutes to be sure they are done cooking. Large diameter casings like bologna may take even longer. After you cool the sausages let them hang at room temp to drip dry, also during this time they will bloom, making a deeper color red in the meat. I never submerge meat in an ice bath of water, too much of a chance of getting water in the casings. Then I will refrigerate sausage uncovered for a minimum of 2 days to dry before packaging for the freezer.

Why is my summer sausage really moist when I take it out of the freezer even if it was dry when I put it in the freezer?
Whenever you remove cured smoked sausages from the freezer place them in the refrigerator uncovered for 2 days, then roll sausage in newspaper while in the refrigerator. The longer the sausage or salami remains in the refrigerator the dryer and stronger the taste becomes. I like mine after 3 weeks minimum. With the sticks this can be a way to eat at the desired texture you prefer. If you like your sticks more meaty and moist eat them soon after the second day. If you like them harder then simply place them in a paper bag or roll in newspaper until they are how you desire them. Putting sausage in a plastic bag in the refrigerator won’t allow the moisture to escape, whenever you have higher moisture you end up with mold soon after, so keeping our cured smoked meats dry will allow us to keep them longer in refrigeration.

What is the best way to store jerky?
Keep jerky in a paper bag rather than plastic for the same reason. The refrigerator can dehydrate as well as a dehydrator so if you need your jerky to be dryer just leave uncovered in the refrigerator for a few hour up to a day to dry. Likewise if your jerky is to dry and hard simply run it under water and place in a plastic bag for a few hours and you can get back to your desired texture.
Why is record keeping so important?

What if I do not have access to a smoker can I still make sausage?
Yes you can make sausage in your oven at home or in some recipes you can make them in a roaster oven. We call this a water bath, cooking Summer Sausage submerged in cold water with the roaster oven set at 190 degrees. This is the fastest way to make Summer Sausage and we recipe specifically for this process.

Whats the best type of smoker to buy?
There is a lot of debate on this so I will just say that for me and 95% of my customers will all say an electric smoker with a thermostat that controls temp plus or minus 5 degrees. Also I want a smoker that has a vent at least 3” on top of smoker and another low on the door or on the bottom to draw fresh air into the smokehouse. This is the only way to dry properly, especially if your making Jerky.

What is a casing and which ones are best for what type of sausage?
That again is all up to the person. For Summer Sausage types, you would want to use a fibrous casing that are pre-stuck with tiny holes all around the casing. These come in sizes from a pepperoni size up to 8” across and different lengths to allow for shorter smokers. For water bath we suggest using a water tight casing to keep the water from diluting the cure and seasoning from the very outside surface of the meat. We also carry natural casings these could be used for all the smaller diameter sausages both smoked and fresh. They are sold by the Hank which can hold about 100 lb. of meat or we have hunter packs that do about 30 lb.. There are various sizes of these from 18mm up to 45mm, A hot dog is about 28-30mm and brats are usually 30-32mm. They also make a man made casing called cologne these work well with sticks and hot dogs. I would recommend 21mm for sticks 100% of the time, they are not even noticeable to the bite if processed properly.

Why should I use FriscoSpices sausage seasoning?
FriscoSpices blends all of the sausage seasonings in house our blending company doesn't have a huge warehouse so we purchase smaller quantities more often to be assured the freshest quality. Choosing to buy more often has really paid off, we can tell by our customers feedback this is working and will continue to provide the freshest blends money can buy. Try Friscospices you will not believe what you've been missing.

Why is record keeping so important?
One last note, When I teach sausage class’s to my customers I always tell them to get a leather bound journal to record all info on each recipe and cooking instructions. This way once you have the perfect cook cycle or perfect ingredient mix you can repeat it over and over. Plus it’s a great journal to pass on to the family after we are gone.

We have all the supplies you need on our web site. Visit www.friscospices.com to make the best sausage with your wild game.

Last edited by friscospices.com; 11-25-2013 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:37 AM
Fork Horn
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I will leave this up if you guys think this is helpful. Its something I give out in our sausage making classes. Let me know if you think this is helpful?
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:06 PM
Fork Horn
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Good info!
itsslow98 is offline  
Old 11-25-2013, 09:17 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Charlotte
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I think those are some great tips..gotta follow them.
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