Basic Grind

The fineness or coarseness of the grind is an important characteristic of any sausage. For example, one identifying feature of Toulouse Sausages (p. 839) is their coarse tex-ture.The meat is chopped by hand rather than ground. On the other hand, typical breakfast sausages have a fairly fine grind.

To grind meat, cut it into pieces small enough to fit easily into the feed tube of the grinder, then chill it well. Control the coarseness of the grind by selecting the proper die,as indicated in the recipe. In some cases, fine grinds are made by grinding the meat once through the large die and a second time through the fine die. As indicated in the procedure below, the meat, fat, and seasonings are mixed until uniformly blended after the meat is ground.

The meat mixture must be kept cold during grinding.When the mixture gets too warm, the fat becomes soft and begins to lose its structure. As a result, it may melt out too readily when the sausage is cooked, resulting in excessive shrinkage, poor texture, and dryness. If the kitchen is warm, return the meat to the refrigerator to chill it thoroughly after cutting it up and before grinding it. If it must be ground more than once,re-turn it to the refrigerator between grindings.

Additional textural variation in basic grind sausages can be created by mixing chunks or dice of meat or other ingredients into a more finely ground forcemeat, as is often done in pâtés.

When following any sausage recipe, adhere closely to the grinding and processing directions in order to achieve the proper texture and character.

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