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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 06-12-2019, 11:14 AM   #1
airedale
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Default Newbie with meat grinder. Questions

OK, I bought a used LEM #8 grinder. It's basically an experiment to see if the results are worth the hassles.

Hamburgers: I ground 6# of chuck through the 5/16" plate -- coarser than grocery store stuff but the only other plate I got was about 3/16" and the holes looked very small. Cooled the meat, ground it, all went fine. But the patties really don't want to stay together. If I smash one I get about half the patty as loose bits. If I form and carefully fry one it goes pretty well but I am not at all sure that a patty will stay together on the charcoal grill. Comments?

Hot Italian Sausage: I ground about 3# of pork picnic seasoned with the LEM prepackaged seasoning, again 5/16" plate. Again it went pretty well except frying a trial patty showed very little flavor. Wive is a pretty good cook; she suggested adding a couple of teasponns of fennel seed (she didn't have ground) and that helped. Use more LEM next time? Find another brand? We like fairly strong flavor in sausage.

Stuffed it into pig casing. Jeez -- threading that stuff on the tube was a PITA. Short of buying pre-threaded casing for more $$, are there tricks to this?

I used a foot switch as has been suggested here and tried to fill the casing working alone. Diameter of the result was pretty highly variable. Apparently a second person is really needed to manage the sausage as it comes out. Right? Tricks?

I twisted it into two-sausage packages, twisting then using butcher string/square knotted to tie the open ends. It didn't look to me like the twist would hold alone. THe sausage diameter variation made the weight of the package kind of a joke; they varied from 9oz to 5oz. Do you guys use string? Or ... ?
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:39 PM   #2
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You don't want to pack the ground meat for hamburgers, they will be dense and tough. I use a coarse grind for a larger texture and lightly form the patties. Others grind twice, they grind once and chill the meat and grind again through the same plate. It's the protein stands that bind together to keep it's shape when cooking.



For Italian sausage, you have to add salt and spices for flavor, otherwise you will have bland sausage. Try a proven recipe by a trusted expert in the field.
http://lpoli.50webs.com/index_files/...Napolitana.pdf


Trying to stuff casing from the grinder is a feudal cause. Make patties to see if it is really what you want to do. Your best bet, if you want to continue making sausage is to purchase a dedicated stuffer to make things easy. One person can easily make sausage with a stuffer, and yes a quick twist/twirl is all that is needed to keep the sausages individual sections.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:53 PM   #3
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I use a 1/4" plate for burger and sausage but if had to chose between a plate w/5/16" holes or 3/16", i'd opt for the 3/16". When i form patties i am not very gentle, you need some pressure to keep things together, and cant recall the last time i had one fall apart on any grill.

For sausage, i would ditch the store bought seasoning and go with a known recipe, like the one suggested and go from there.

For casing, get ones preloaded on plastic tubes so all you have to do is slide the casing onto your stuffer.
https://www.waltonsinc.com/tubed-nat...asings-32-35mm

Getting consistently thick sausage takes practice and is easy with 2 people.

I will use string on occasion to keep a sausage from unraveling.
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:22 PM   #4
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Thanks, gents. We'll try IAmMadMan's recipie; I've come to see him as reliable source.

I am packaging the sausages two to a vacuum bag since they will be used in cooking that is about the right amount for us. IAmMadMan are you saying that just the twist will be enough on to keep the cut ends from opening? It looked risky to me.

Re a stuffer, I already have so much junk I am resisting this one. I am going to try with a second person and the foot switch before I cave in and buy one more thing that takes storage space.

Re falling apart I am not really clear on this. Grinding twice I understand and will try this. I can also buy a 1/4" plate if this will help. As far as making the patties with pressure that's fine but it probably means I can't make smash burgers which I like. I also remember at some point reading posts that recommended mixing the meat until it became a little sticky. Does that work?
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airedale View Post
Thanks, gents. We'll try IAmMadMan's recipie; I've come to see him as reliable source.
Amen to that.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:36 PM   #6
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I grind mine with a 3/16" plate. A coarser grind gets you a burger that will not form.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:55 PM   #7
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Unless I am grinding for chili, I use 3/16th. Also you want to make sure you get a good fat content in your burger. If you go to lean it will not stay together, and it doesn't taste as good.

This was one pass through a 3/16" plate. IMO, no need to grind twice. Just make sure your meat is good and cold.

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Old 06-12-2019, 06:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airedale View Post
Thanks, gents. We'll try IAmMadMan's recipie; I've come to see him as reliable source.

It's actually not my recipe, it belongs to Len Paoli who is a master in curing/sausage making. I use that recipe for my hot sausage, but I adjust for my wife's tastes. It doesn't hurt to add some fennel seed and crushed red pepper if you like those flavors.


Quote:
Originally Posted by airedale View Post
I am packaging the sausages two to a vacuum bag since they will be used in cooking that is about the right amount for us. IAmMadMan are you saying that just the twist will be enough on to keep the cut ends from opening? It looked risky to me.

Sorry, I thought you meant twists between individual links. But I don't tie the ends, I simply pinch the end as I start stuffing and all is well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by airedale View Post
Re a stuffer, I already have so much junk I am resisting this one. I am going to try with a second person and the foot switch before I cave in and buy one more thing that takes storage space.

I know what you mean, I had to build a prep/sausage area in the basement to keep the wife happy.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:45 PM   #9
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I recently ground a brisket for hamburgers using a 1/4” plate and found the patties to have some chunky bits, not a lot but noticeable. I will use the 3/16” plate next time. The brisket tasted great by the way. We BBQ’d the hamburgers, didn’t grill them and that might make a difference. In any event the smaller plate should make the hamburgers more tender. Fresh ground beef will come apart if you smash them too soon. I use a LEM#8 big bite also.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:46 PM   #10
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You can take what IamMadMan says to the bank!
Edit: Although I am a bit puzzled that you have a foot pedal and still feel you need 2 people to stuff.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshw View Post
Unless I am grinding for chili, I use 3/16th. Also you want to make sure you get a good fat content in your burger. If you go to lean it will not stay together, and it doesn't taste as good.
I have ~100 lbs of burger that my BIL raised and processed, about 90-95% lean. It tastes good but it does fall apart on the grill and it's dry when well done or browned for tacos, etc. I want to try regrinding it with some fat to see if that helps. Has anybody tried regrinding burger after it's been frozen?
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemci View Post
You can take what IamMadMan says to the bank!
Edit: Although I am a bit puzzled that you have a foot pedal and still feel you need 2 people to stuff.

Mike,


It's because he is stuffing directly from the grinder feed, not through a stuffer. He's using the foot petal switch to control the flow because the grinder has a capacity of 7 pounds per minute.



We've all tried stuffing from a grinder at some point, even if we don't want to admit it publicly (LOL).
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:06 AM   #13
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Get a vertical stuffer, one man no problem, absolutely painless
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:34 AM   #14
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Another thing I would add about getting the casings on the horn.

1. Soak those casings in cold water in the fridge for a few days. I usually do 3-4 days if i plan ahead enough.
2. Run some cold water through each piece before putting it on the horn
3. Don't be afraid to go down one stuffing tube size.

I do agree with above. A dedicated stuffer is the way to go but these suggestions may help you out in the future!
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Old 06-13-2019, 11:56 AM   #15
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Since I'm making sausage this week and saw your post and question/challenge with getting the casings on I made a quick video for ya to show how I do it. Was stuffing some chicken sausage and the trick I learned that helps me is get just a little of the meat out of the tip of the tube.

Here is a pic


And here is the video
https://youtu.be/7ceOyPlOJTU

I rinse my casings out 3-4 times in a bowl and let them sit in the fridge in water overnight.

Also getting a dedicated piston stuffer makes life so easy. I only ever do it myself and can crank and case. Stuffing with the grinder works, but isn't the best.

Took me a few go rounds to figure out how to stuff them evenly and also make decent links. I'm still learning, but like anything the more you do it the better you get. The whole process takes a lot of steps and larger batches can be frustrating in the beginning, but now I know the motions, but still working on it.
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