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Tip Tuesday: 3 Ways to Create the Best "Bind" in Sausage Making


You've had them before - dry, crumbly sausages. Sausages that fall apart. Mealy sausages. Sausages that are just plain weird and you can't put your finger on why you can't eat even one. more. bite. of one.

All can be accounted for by the lack of a proper bind. 

"Binding" sausage so that the meat holds together is essential. And yet it's often a mystery to home sausage makers. We find that even people we know who have been making their own sausage for years are bewildered by the bind. These are the three things we tell people when they ask us how to improve the funky texture of their homemade sausage:


1. Start with the Third/Third/Third Grind
(courtesy Brad Lockwood)
Grind your pork, beef, antelope - what have you - so that you end up with 1/3rd coarsely ground meat, 1/3rd medium grind, and 1/3rd fine grind. To achieve this, grind all of it through a coarse plate (10-12mm). Divide that in half. Set one half aside. Grind the other half through a medium plate (6-8mm). Take that medium grind, divide it in half. Set half of the medium grind aside. Grind the other half through a fine plate (3mm-5mm). Mix them all together. You'll find that the meat binds more tightly together.


2. Use a Meat Mixer 
(courtesy Hank Shaw)
Sure, a meat mixer is a must if you're combining large batches of meat and seasonings. It's also handy because you need to keep the meat as cold as possible in sausage making, and hand mixing means warm hands bringing up the temp. But, it's also a must-have for the bind. The paddles of the mixer break the proteins, creating a natural protein "glue." 


3. Add Non-Fat Milk Powder
(Brad, again)
The two tips above should take care of most binds, however: sometimes you need to really ensure that bind happens, and happens tightly. No one likes crumbly summer sausage -  that's just wrong. Brad's rule of thumb is 2lbs/100lb batch. Scale accordingly. This means a 5lb batch would get about 1/3 cup of milk powder. The proteins in that milk powder are especially sticky, and as you cook the sausage, the meat will get more closely and closely glued together - you'll see. Soy (soy protein, soy flour, soy concentrate) is a common additive used to produce the same effect. 
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