Equipment

Most fresh sausages can be made with no special equipment other than a meat grinder and a device for getting the meat into the casings.

The working parts of a meat grinder are a rotating blade and a selection of dies in various sizes.The size of the die determines the fineness of the grind. A screw forces the meat from the feed tube to the blade, and the blade chops the meat as it is forced through the holes of the die.

Before grinding meat, it is important to be sure of the following two points:

1. The equipment must be clean and sanitary. Make sure there is no trace of food from previous jobs hiding in the many nooks and crannies of the grinder, blades, and dies.

2. The equipment must be cold in order to avoid warming the meat. Refrigerate the grinder parts or set them in ice water before use.

The sausage stuffer is the second piece of equipment necessary for making sausages.The simplest stuffer resembles a funnel.The casings are pushed over the narrow end and the meat is pushed through the wide end by hand or with a wooden plunger. These are adequate for making a few pounds of sausage but are not suitable for larger batches.

Larger stuffers have detachable nozzles or horns for different casing sizes.The nozzle is attached to a cylindrical reservoir that holds the meat, which is pushed through by a piston. On smaller machines, the piston is simply pushed through by hand.These machines are suitable for small-scale production such as might be done in a small to medium-size restaurant. For large-scale commercial production, larger machines are used.The piston in a large machine is operated by means of a crank and a sequence of gears.

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