Types & Cuts for Sausage - In older times, any thing that wasn't for a
specific purpose went into sausage. For pork, you had your hams, chops, ribs and roasts,
You had your bacon... but what about all the other parts of meat that were left over?
For Beef, you have roasts, steaks, briskets, ribs, and hamburger. Meat
loaf gets old and so does those fried/grilled burgers, so what to do with it that'll be
Yep.. Grind it, Spice it, stuff it, then cook and enjoy. There are some cuts
of meat that make for nice sausages without the hassle of trying to find lean meat then
fat for it. My local grocer does provide me with pork fat for free, but the younger
generation does subject me to curious looks when I ask for it. Usually the head butcher
grins for he knows what I am using it for.
Cuts that take the guess work from fat to lean rations:
Pork - Boston Butts or Pork shoulder. These are approximately 75% lean to
25% fat which is perfect for almost any type of fresh sausage. You can purchase these
boneless or bone in... Bone in is cheaper, just be sure to weigh the actual meat for
proper amounts before starting the process.
Beef - Chuck Roast, 7 bone roast, Blade cut roast, pot roast or any cuts
form the shoulder or chuck works just great as is with the correct % of lean to fat.
Veal - Any cut of veal is good to use, especially if you are going to
make Bratwurst. But unfortunately, it's too damn expensive unless you have
access to some home butchered.
Other - You can add chicken, turkey, game hens, duck and goose to
sausages too. Actually, you can make whole sausages out of them. Any white fish
can be mixed with the more expensive shrimp or crab or lobster or oyster o clam
meats to make a seafood sausage that is to die for. Just remember that the breast is the leanest, and the
thighs and drumstick meat
is the fattiest... so additional fat may be needed.
Most recipes will call for some amount of lean, and then usually around
a quarter of that weight in the amount of fat. I have successfully taken a pork loin and
trimmed it of fat, and then ground it up, adding a couple of pounds of bacon (already
smoked) or back fat to bring the lean/fat up to about 75/25 (which is the max I have
the percentage I prefer). Be creative. Add more fat or less fat to suit your
particular tastes, but fair warning, Every time I use less then 15% fat, my smoked
sausages come out with a texture of sawdust, and it not very palatable to me, but the kids
still eat it... (grin).
Types & Cuts for Smoking - This section could exceed my web page space just
by itself. Basically anything that you can cook can be smoked. Like I said earlier... if
it's able to be grilled, then someone, somewhere has added wood chips to the fire to add a little
smoked flavor, and since they have already tried it, then why grill, SMOKE it! Of course,
I do not mean to include "T-Bone "steaks" or any other steaks... it would
be UN-American to not grill these awesome cuts of meat. But everything else is open for
In the course of a normal day/diet, if you were to separate out the fat from all the products that you eat, the average person consumes 8 tablespoons of fat. Can you imagine sitting down to the table and eating that with a spoon? Well, not to get to carried away, fat is necessary for good health. Certain vitamins are carried through the body while it is processing fat. It is beyond the scope of this site to teach the benefits of saturated and/or unsaturated fats, I just wanted you to know that while sausages are somewhat fatty, they can fit into a normal diet and be enjoyed.
Fat is necessary in sausage to give it the textures and
flavor that we know and love. I know that when you take an extremely lean cut
of meat and salt/pepper it then cook it, not only does it taste like leather, it
has the same texture. So fat, taken in properly, is not only needed for
good health, it is necessary for flavor.
Cuts/Items that I have smoked include the following:
Beef Brisket (trimmed and untrimmed)
Pork shoulder (Ham)
Pork leg (half and whole) [Big HAMS]
Prime Rib Roast
Standing Rib Roast
Corned Beef (Plain and prepared for Pastrami)
Baron of Beef
Pork (or "Country Style") Rind
Beef Jerky (along with turkey, salmon, tuna, halibut and even ham jerky)
Bones for Indy (my English Springer Spaniel)
Rawhide chews and soup bones for him too.
Need I go on? The list of what I have smoked is exceptionally long. But if you need
any more ideas about what you can smoke, just browse the meat counters of your favorite
grocery store, I am sure if it comes from an animal and it's edible it can be
smoked. It's all just a matter of time and temperature. And with all the different
ways to cook a roast, I cannot and will not attempt to list the things that can be
smoked... well except for the following stuff.. (grin).
2 Pork Shoulders ready to become Hickory Smoked Hams.
Same 2 shoulders that are now Hams.
1 Side of Pork ready to become Hickory Smoked Bacon.
Same Side, Now very flavorful bacon.