Chitterling Preperation And Food Safety December 28th, 2011


Chitterlings are a traditional meal around the New Year’s holiday. Chitterlings, which are the intestines of pigs, may harbor bacteria called Yersinia enterocolitica that can cause yersiniosis, a diarrheal illness in humans. Yersiniosis peaks in winter and is most common and severe in children under four, with adults over 85 being the next most affected age group. Since chitterlings typically are enjoyed this time of year, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is offering tips to keep families safer from yersiniosis this winter.

“As with preparing any raw meat or poultry, cleaning and cooking chitterlings in household kitchens can create a messy environment in which bacteria can easily spread to kitchen counters, tables, utensils, and even baby bottles and pacifiers,” said Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. “Young children are four times as likely as the general population to develop yersiniosis, while the elderly are twice as likely. People with compromised immune systems due to pregnancy or other conditions are also at higher risk for yersiniosis, so it is important that caregivers take extra steps to prevent this illness for the most vulnerable groups in our population.”

In addition to Yersinia enterocolitica, chitterlings also can be contaminated with other foodborne pathogens, such as Salmonella and E. coli. After chitterlings are thoroughly boiled and carefully prepared, the final product is not likely to be a risk for foodborne illness. The risk comes from the preparation process. Follow these tips for safely preparing chitterling dishes:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for a full 20 seconds before and after preparing chitterlings.
  • Wash utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next item. Countertops, equipment, utensils, and cutting boards can be sanitized with a freshly prepared solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of water. Flood the surface with the bleach solution and allow it to stand for several minutes. Rinse with clean water and air dry or pat dry with clean paper towels.
  • Buy pre-cooked chitterlings if possible. If using raw ones, pre-boil them for five minutes before cleaning and cooking.
  • Thaw chitterlings in their original packaging in the refrigerator. Wrap the package in plastic wrap before placing it in the refrigerator to prevent juices from leaking.
  • Refrigerate and use raw chitterlings within two days after thawing. Use frozen chitterlings within three to four months for best quality.
  • Keep children out of the kitchen when chitterlings are being prepared. Caregivers should find others to look after infants and small children to prevent cross-contamination and infections.
  • Boil and simmer chitterlings until they are well cooked and tender before battering and frying.
  • Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator. Cooked chitterlings can be stored for three to four days in the refrigerator or three to four months in the freezer.

Between 2006 and 2008, 0.4 cases of yersiniosis were reported per 100,000 people in the United States, while 1.8 cases per 100,000 children under age four were reported, and 0.8 cases per 100,000 people over 85 were reported.

FSIS’ “Yersiniosis and Chitterlings” fact sheet has more information on safely handling chitterlings and preventing foodborne illness and can be found at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides information about yersiniosis at

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How To Make A Boneless Pit Ham June 5th, 2011


Boneless HamPreparation

Skin the ham, then separate the tip portion of the ham from the leg. I do this to make the ham a more manageable size when it comes to slicing. The tip cut can be used to make a small pit ham by itself, it can go into sausage, made into cutlets, or perhaps dry cured into a prosciutto type product.

Weigh a non reactive container large enough to hold the boneless ham and enough water to cover it. A food grade plastic 5 gallon bucket works well. A scale with a tare function is good to use but as long as we have the weight of the container we’ll be good.


Take the boneless ham and put it in the container and cover with water. Weigh and subtract the weight of the container.

Remove the ham from the container and using the total weight of the ham plus the weight of the water make a brine using Golden Brown Sugar Cure at the rate of 1/2 ounce of cure per pound of combined ham/water weight.  Make sure all the cure dissolves.

Pump the thicker parts of the ham with the brine using a clean meat pump or an injection needle. This speeds up curing time and reduces the chance of spoilage. Put the ham back in the brine making sure its covered. Use a clean dinner plate as a weight to keep the ham submerged.

Hold the ham in the brine at 38 degrees for seven days to allow the ham to cure and the salt to equalize.

 Take the ham out of the brine and discard the brine. Place the ham in a smoking net and let hang for at least overnight and up to a couple of days at 40 – 45 degrees.

To The Smokehouse

Put the ham into a preheated smokehouse at 90 – 100 degrees for 2 hours. Increase smokehouse temperature to 110 – 120 degrees and apply smoke for 2-4 hours. Kill the smoke and increase the house temperature to 180. Cook until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 152 degrees.

Once the internal temperature of 152 is reached, remove the ham from the smokehouse and shower with cold water until the internal temperature is reduced to 120 degrees. This will reduce shrinkage and preserve moisture in the ham. Hang the ham to chill overnight before slicing.

Slice And Enjoy

Boneless Smoked Pit Ham


 Boneless Pit Ham









Visit The Southern Indiana Butcher Supply Store For These Items

Golden Brown Sugar Cure:

Morton Meat Pump:

Cotton Smoking Nets:

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Meat Inspection And Grading May 15th, 2011


Meat inspection and grading of meat and poultry are two separate programs of the USDA. The purpose of inspection is to protect the consumer by ensuring wholesomeness of all meat products sold. The purpose of grading is to indicate expected quality or yield of a carcass or retail meat cuts.

 Meat Inspection

By law, all meat and meat animals (including poultry, cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, and other equine animals) in the United States must be inspected by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), an agency of the USDA, or a state inspection program which is monitored by the USDA. Inspection ensures that the meat is fit for human consumption. Animals are inspected before and after slaughter for signs of disease so that only the meat of healthy animals is sold as meat or meat products. Each step of production is also scrutinized to guard against contamination and misrepresentation of meat products.

Mandatory meat inspection is paid for out of tax dollars. Animals which are not covered by the mandatory inspection laws (such as buffalo, rabbit, reindeer, elk, deer, antelope) may be inspected by an FSIS inspector for an hourly fee which is paid for by the requester of the inspection.

Meat Grading

Meat grading is a voluntary service which may be performed after inspection for wholesomeness. Meat grading is requested and paid for by meat producers and processors. Meat grading refers to the segregation of carcasses, meat, or meat products based upon expected quality (palatability characteristics such as tenderness, juiciness, and flavor) or yield.

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Father’s Day June 17th, 2010


Smoked RibsFather’s Day is one of the biggest days of the year for back yard family get-together BBQ grilling. But how did it all start?

Believe it or not, Father’s day was not created by Hallmark. Scholars believe that the origin of Father’s Day can be traced in the ruins of ancient Babylon. They have recorded that a young boy called Elmesu carved a Father’s Day message on a card made out of clay wishing his Babylonian father good health and a long life. Though there is no record of what happened to Elmesu and his father but the tradition of celebrating Father’s Day remained in several countries all over the world.

A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd is given dredit for the modern Father’s Day celebration, coming up with the idea while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at church in 1909.

Sonora’s dad, William Smart, a veteran of the Civil War, was left a widower when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. He went on to raise the six children by himself on their small farm in Washington. To show her appreciation for all the hard work and love William gave to her and her siblings, Sonora thought there should be a day to pay homage to him and other dads like him. She initially suggested June 5th, the anniversary of her father’s death to be the designated day to celebrate Father’s Day, but due to some bad planning, the celebration in Spokane, Washington was deferred to the third Sunday in June.

Another version of the origination of Father’s Day comes from Fairmont, West Virginia, July 5, 1908. Grace Golden Clayton suggested to the minister of the local Methodist church that they hold services to celebrate fathers after a deadly mine explosion killed 361 men.

In 1924, President Coolidge offered his support for a national Father’s Day holiday. The National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York City in 1926. A Joint Resolution of Congress recognized the Father’s day in 1956 and in 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson, through an executive order, designated the third Sunday in June as the official day to celebrate Father’s Day. However, it wasn’t until 1972, during the Nixon administration, that Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday.

Here are a few recipies to try this Father’s Day.

Thai Grilled Chicken



  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander root, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 3 pounds chicken breasts and/or legs, chopped into 10 to 12 pieces

Cooking Instructions

  1. Prepare the marinade using a large mortar and pestle or a small food processor. Combine the garlic, salt and pepper and pound or process to a smooth paste. Add the coriander root and pound or process to a paste. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the fish sauce and coconut milk. Place the chicken pieces in marinade and turn to coat well. Let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat a charcoal or gas-fired grill, then place the chicken 4 to 5 inches from the flame, bone side down. Once the bottom side is starting to brown, brush the pieces with some marinade, turn over and cook on the other side until golden brown and the juices run clear.
  3. Alternatively, the chicken can be cooked under a broiler. Preheat the broiler. Lightly oil a broiling pan, add the chicken pieces bone side up and place 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the chicken starts to brown. Turn pieces over and lightly brush with a little of the marinade. Broil for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the juices run clear.
  4. Transfer to a platter and serve with the dipping sauce and plenty of sticky rice.

Beer Marinated Ribs


  • 2 racks pork spareribs, about 2 lb each
  • 6 bottles of beer
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves, 6 to 8 large sprigs fresh thyme, 6 to 8 large sprigs fresh sage (or 2 tablespoons seasoning salt)
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • 2 to 6 jalapeno peppers (according to taste) seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup store-bought or homemade barbecue sauce

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a saucepan large enough to hold the ribs, combine all the ingredients except the ribs and barbecue sauce and bring to a boil. Immerse the ribs into the hot liquid, they should be completely covered. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour until the meat is tender.
  2. Turn off the heat and let the ribs cool in the cooking liquid. This can be done several hours before grilling. Refrigerate if necessary. Keep the ribs in liquid.
  3. When ready to serve, lightly oil the grate and preheat the grill to hot.
  4. Remove the ribs from the cooking liquid and pat dry. Brush both sides with BBQ sauce and place the ribs meat side down on the grill. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, basting with barbecue sauce, until golden and crisp. Turn on the other side and cook for another 6 minutes until nicely brown.
  5. Remove from the grill and serve immediately with extra barbecue sauce on the side.

Seasoned Sirloin Kabobs


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning
  • 4 fluid ounces lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
  • 2 pounds beef sirloin steak, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • skewers
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 fresh pineapple – peeled, cored and cubed

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, light brown sugar, distilled white vinegar, garlic powder, seasoned salt, garlic pepper seasoning, and lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage. Reserve about 1/2 cup of this marinade for basting. Place steak in a large resealable plastic bag. Cover with the remaining marinade, and seal. Refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add green peppers, and cook for 1 minute, just to blanch. Drain, and set aside.
  3. Preheat grill for high heat. Thread steak, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and pineapple onto skewers in an alternating fashion. Discard marinade and the bag.
  4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Cook kabobs on the prepared grill for 10 minutes, or to desired doneness. Baste frequently with reserved marinade during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there and have great cookout.

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Hot Smoking and Cold Smoking; Whats the Difference? April 1st, 2010


Hot smoking and cold smoking are two different processes. Cold smoking is part of a method of preservation that allows meat products to be kept for extended periods. Hot smoking is a cooking technique that uses heat and smoke from wood, charcoal, gas, or any combination to produce ready to eat meat and even some vegetable dishes.

 Wood for both hot and cold smoking should be from deciduous hardwood species and properly seasoned to provide the most flavorful smoke while generating the least amount of soot and creosote. Hickory is the king of wood for smoking meat but pecan, cherry, apple, mesquite, maple, and some oaks are all suitable woods as well as combinations. Softwoods like pine, cedar, or fir should be avoided as the result can be a resinous, turpentine like flavor.

 Cold smoked meats are or should always be cured with a sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate cure. Depending on the method of curing, some products can be kept safely for months or even years without refrigeration. Ham, bacon, salami, summer sausage, and smoked sausage are some examples of cold smoked meats.

 Cold smoked meats may be smoked for up to several hours or even days and are almost always smoked at temperatures between 90° F and 120° F., well within the Temperature Danger Zone. The combination of temperature, lack of oxygen (displaced by the smoke), and the natural low acid characteristic of meat creates the perfect environment for botulism spores to germinate, grow, and produce toxin. It is for this reason these products must be cured.

 Hot smoking temperatures are well in excess of the Temperature Danger Zone’s ceiling of 140° F and is usually used to prepare un-cured fresh cuts of meat that will be served immediately. Sometimes an additional step is used where the meat is shredded, sliced, or pulled and then simmered in sauce. Pulled pork is made this way.

 The meat is typically seasoned with salt, sugar, and various herbs and spices applied as a marinade, rub, or pump injection and then held under refrigeration for an hour or two but sometimes up to as long as 24 hours to allow the seasonings to aromatize and flavor the meat. Chicken, ribs, and heavy cuts such as beef brisket, pork butts, and pork loins are good choices for hot smoking.

 The key to successfully hot smoking meats is temperature and duration, “Low and Slow” as they say. To create a more even temperature and aid in tenderization an indirect heating method is used. Sometimes a water pan is placed over the heat source to add humidity and help control temperature. A cooking temperature range of between 190° F and 250° F. is used depending upon the kind of meat being smoked. Poultry is usually cooked at the higher end while beef and pork cuts cook best at the mid to lower end of the range.

Some Approximate Cooking Times And Temperatures For Hot Smoking


Type of Meat Smoker Temp Cooking Time Finished

Internal Temp

Brisket (Sliced) 225 degrees 1.5 hours/pound 180 degrees
Brisket (Pulled) 225 degrees 1.5 hours/pound 195 degrees
Pork Butt (Sliced) 225 degrees 1.5 hours/pound 175 degrees
Pork Butt (Pulled) 225 degrees 1.5 hours/pound 190-205 degrees
Whole Chicken 250 degrees 4 hours 167 degrees
Chicken Thighs 250 degrees 1.5 hours 167 degrees
Chicken Quarters 250 degrees 3 hours 167 degrees
Whole Turkey 12# 240 degrees 6.5 hours 170 degrees
Turkey Leg 250 degrees 4 hours 165 degrees
Meat Loaf 250 -300 degrees 3 hours 160 degrees
Spare Ribs 225-240 degrees 6 hours 172 degrees
Baby Back Ribs 225-240 degrees 5 hours 168 degrees
Smoked Corn 225 degrees 1.5 – 2 hours N/A
Smoked Potatoes 225 Degrees 2 – 2.5 Hours N/A

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Ingredients In Processed Meat Products March 21st, 2010


More than 200 kinds of sausages, luncheon meats, hams and canned meats are available to consumers. The use of nonmeat ingredients, or additives, provides the meat industry with the flexibility needed for the development of a wide diversity of products. All processed meat products have an ingredient statement on the product label. The ingredients are listed in order of predominance so that the ingredient present in the greatest quantity is listed first while the ingredient present in the smallest amount is last. A typical ingredient statement might list “beef, pork, water, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, salt, dextrose, corn syrup, hydrolyzed milk protein, sodium phosphate, natural spices, smoke flavoring, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.” Each additive has specific functions in the product.

Water is added to many products for several reasons. Some products would be dry and unpalatable without adding water. Using water improves tenderness and juiciness, and it serves as a processing aid when the product is made. The amount of water that may be used in a product is regulated by the government.

Some products may contain extenders and binders such as vegetable and milk proteins, nonfat dry milk, dried whey and cereal flours. These ingredients function to hold the product together, and to improve flavor, texture and cooking yield. In general, processed meat products may not contain more than 3.5 percent extenders or binders unless it is labeled as an imitation product.

Salt is used as a seasoning and a preservative, plus it functions to bind a product together. Many different spices are used to give meat products distinctive flavors. Red, white and black pepper, mustard, garlic, allspice and cinnamon are among the spices most commonly used in sausages. Liquid smoke is sometimes added to meat products to provide a smoky flavor and aroma. Sweeteners such as dextrose and corn syrup are also used to enhance flavor. The addition of sugars or sweeteners to a product will also increase browning of meat during cooking.

Phosphates are used to enhance juiciness and texture, and to help prevent fat from becoming rancid in products such as ham, bacon and cooked sausages. The amount of phosphate that can be used in meat products is limited to a maximum of 0.5 percent. That means that no more than 8 ounces of phosphate can be used in 100 pounds of finished product.

Sodium erythorbate is used to improve and maintain the color of processed meats. Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, sodium ascorbate and erythorbic acid are also used for this purpose. Sodium nitrite contributes to the characteristic flavor and color of cured meats, helps to prevent rancidity and serves to inhibit the growth of some microorganisms in processed meat products.

By using nonmeat ingredients in processed meat products, consumers are provided with a large selection of meat products.

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Making Summer Sausage Step By Step November 1st, 2009


Summer Sausage is traditionally a cured, fermented sausage seasoned with salt, sugar or dextrose, mustard, black pepper, and garlic with many cultural and geographic variations. Summer sausage is usually made from leftover trimmings, low quality cuts, and organ meat but can be made with higher classes of meat as well.

The fermentation process is facilitated by the addition of lactic acid bacteria starter cultures and the sausage must then be allowed time to ferment. These bacteria feed on the sugars in the meat mix and produce lactic acid as a by product which lowers the pH of the product and creates an environment unfavorable for further bacterial activity. There is usually a drying period and the combination of proper pH coupled with reduced water activity results in a product that is shelf stable and can be stored at room temperature.

Lactic acid also imparts a tangy flavor common to this type of product and can be duplicated by the addition of encapsulated citric acid when the time required for the fermentation process or the availability of starter cultures is a factor.

An excellent product can be made without fermentation, the addition of encapsulated citric acid, or the drying period but this product will be perishable and must be kept refrigerated.

Before starting have everything ready to go. Grinder, stuffer, and all food contact surfaces should be sterilized. Grinder plates and knives should be clean, sharp, and matched. Sharp plates and knives yield a cleaner cut with less smearing as will a matched set.  Have a clean sharp boning knife ready. Meat must be clean and cold, free of bacterial contamination. 32-35 deg F. is a good place to be.
Fat ratio is a matter of preference but should be between 15% – 25% (20lb lean + 5lb fat = 80/20 lean/ fat ratio)

Lets get started.

1. If using fibrous or natural casings put them into some warm water to soak
2. Grind 25lb meat/ fat through a coarse plate once. If you want to grind the lean and the fat separate before mixing, that’s fine too. If you only have one size grinder plate don’t worry about it, it’ll be ok.
3. Dissolve one ounce of pink curing salt in 1 quart of ICE COLD water. Note: 5 level teaspoons will give you about 1 ounce of cure.
4. Add the spice mix and the dissolved cure solution into the ground meat. If you are using a binder add that now too. Mix well. This should take a full 2-3 minutes to mix by hand. Make sure the spice and cure is evenly distributed throughout the mix. If you are using encapsulated citric acid it should be added after the last grind and mixed in thoroughly.
5. Grind again through a small plate, 3/16 or 1/8.
6. If you’re stuffing off the grinder, remove the plate and knife from the grinder head and put the stuffing attachment in place. Stuff the casings as tight as you can without breaking the casing. If you’re using a sausage stuffer, grind the meat one more time. That’s a toal of 3 times through the grinder. The mix is going to get very sticky. This is good, it shows the binding quality of the mix.

7. Pack the mix into the stuffer tight, making sure to get all the air out and stuff the casings as tight as you can without breaking the casing.
8. The sausage should now be returned to a 40 deg F cooler to cure. 4-6 hours should do it but overnight is better. Don’t be in too big of a hurry, if your cooler is 38-40 deg the sausage will hold for a couple of days.
9. Hang the sausage in the smokehouse and let the surface dry for an hour or more before you start the heat. Again, don’t be in a hurry.
10. Using your favorite hardwood (hickory is a good choice) apply a heavy smoke at around 100 deg F for 1-4 hours. This is a matter of personal taste, first time out try 1-2 hours.
11. Kill the smoke and gradually, over the next 4 or so hours, raise the house temperature to around 175-180 deg F and cook until the sausage reaches an internal temperature of 155 deg F. This is going to take some time, let it. Be sure and check temperatures of the sausages around different parts of the smokehouse to manage cool and hot spots.
12. When the sausage reaches 155 deg pull it out of the house and immediately shower with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the sausage. Try to get the internal temperature down to around 120 deg F. You can hang the sausage up outside and spray with the water hose or an ice water bath will work too. When using the ice water bath method, have the tank of cold water ready before the sausage is done.
13. Hang the sausage in the cooler overnight to chill before cutting.

Smoked Venison Summer Sausage


Find all your sausage making supplies at Southern Indiana Butcher Supply

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Home Sausage Making Basics October 29th, 2009


Meat Selection And Fat Content

The quality of the finished product can only be as good as the quality of the meat selected. The meat needs to be fresh, clean, not contaminated with bacteria, and frosty cold. Start with meat that is between 32 deg and 35 deg F. For food safety the meat should be kept below 40 deg F. through the entire process and one should be aware that meat will warm as it moves through the different stages of grinding, mixing, and stuffing. 

Higher quality classes of meat should be used for fresh sausage. Pork shoulder butts and picnics are good choices as they contain good amounts of fat. Loins and hams can be used to produce a much leaner but drier product.  Whole hog sausage is made with parts from the entire hog, including muscle by-products like tongue and heart, in proportions consistent with the natural animal.

Smoked sausage refers to a number of sausage varieties that are usually made from low quality cuts, organ meats, and left over trim but many of these same sausages can be made with better quality selections as well. With some exceptions, nearly any species will do or even a blend of species can produce a good quality product. Plenty of folks will make a whole deer into summer sausage and I have made fresh and smoked sausage from beef, pork, antelope, elk, bear, venison, goat, turkey, goose, duck, rabbit, along with a few others. The duck and the rabbit were a pleasant surprise but I have to say that Snow Geese are not high on my list of favorite sausage meats. 

Fat content is an important consideration as some fat in the meat mix will aid in binding qualities, moisture retention, and flavor. Legally, fresh pork sausage, country sausage, whole hog sausage, and breakfast sausage can contain up to 50% fat.  Something to remember when you see that 99 cent sausage sale in the store.

The flavor and juiciness of sausages made from lean game meats can be improved with the addition of fat pork trim. As a rule I do not like to use the fat from wild game, especially the heavy external cover fat from the back and rump areas. This fat can be dirty and can have a thick, greasy, sticky, or even gritty mouthfeel. Some creamy white intramuscular fat is ok. This internal fat is generally of higher quality and a creamy white color is a good indicator that the meat is fresh and has been handled properly so it is less likely to contribute to a wild or gamey flavor. Avoid using grey or pink colored fat from your game animal.

Always use good quality pork trimmings, to adjust the lean/ fat ratio. Learn what your preference for fat content is for different varieties of sausage. The finished product should contain somewhere around 15%-25% fat. Fresh sausages can be made leaner if that is your preference but smoked sausages usually need a little higher fat content to keep the sausage from drying out.

To calculate fat/ lean requirements the math goes like this: Lean meat weight divided by desired lean meat percentage = Total weight. Total weight minus lean meat weight = weight of fat trim. Here’s an example where 20 is the weight of our lean and the desired lean percentage is 80%:    20 ÷ .80 = 25,   25-20 = 5, so we’re going to add 5 pounds of fat to 20 pounds of lean for a total of 25 pounds of product with a lean/ fat ratio of 80/20.


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Gamey Or Wild Tasting Meat September 21st, 2009


Deer archery season is right around the corner here in Indiana and every year i hear about all the folks that have a problem with wild or gamey tasting meat.

Part of the problem early in the season can be attributed to the warm weather. If a hunter has to spend much time on a 70-80 degree day searching for a downed animal potential problems with meat quality can certainly arise.

That being said I’ve always held the opinion that gamey meat is, for the most part, the result of poor handling practices. Granted, a large animal downed in the field must be dealt with in the conditions at hand but there are some things we can do to help preserve the quality of the meat.

Once the animal is down deterioration begins right away. Bacteria begin multiplying and the breakdown process is under way. Fortunately this progression can be checked with sanitation and temperature control.

Game meat should be handled like any other animal that is butchered for food. That is, keep it clean and reduce the internal temperature of the carcass as quickly as possible.

Some hunters like to load the fresh kill and head for camp or home right away and field dress in a cleaner more convenient setting. This is probably fine if you’re only a few minutes away but the outdoor temperature relates directly to the amount of time you have. If

it’s very warm out or the time/distance is too great you should field dress the animal right away. This allows the majority of the body heat to escape.

When field dressing, try not to bust any guts, watch the bladder. Clean out the anal cavity. Try not to let any fecal matter come into contact with your knife or the meat. It is also my opinion that you should leave the scent glands alone. Cutting around here can contaminate your knife and spread musk all over the place. Keep the body cavity clean.

Next is skinning your animal. The hide is an excellent insulator and unless its single digit weather outside it’s a good idea to get it off.

Start with a clean, sharp knife and clean hands. The hair side of the skin is very dirty and while handling it try not to touch the meat with your hands.

Now that the animal is skinned it’s a good idea to wash it liberally inside and out with cold water. Do a thorough job otherwise you will spread dirt, and bacteria across the entire carcass and end up making matters worse. A clean linen sheet, cotton shroud or game bag put over a wet carcass will help keep it clean and the evaporation will speed up cooling. If you like to age the meat this will help keep the surface from drying out as fast.

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Butt Bacon July 21st, 2009


For a brine cure use the same 1/2 ounce per pound but weigh and count the water.



5 pounds water + 2 pounds meat = 7 pounds.

7 pounds x 1/2 ounce = 3.5 ounces cure.


Make sure all the slabs are covered and place in a 38-40 deg cooler. 3 days in the brine will do it.


Take the slabs out, rinse them lightly and hang in the cooler to surface dry for a day or more. I’ve had these cured slabs hang for a week in cold weather or in a cooler with no problem.


The slabs are now ready for the smokehouse. Process through the smokehouse with your favorite hardwood, smoking for from 2-4 hours or whatever your taste prefers. Keep the house temperature low. I prefer not to exceed 120 deg. when doing bacons of any kind. When finished smoking I like to let the bacon hang in the cooler for another 4-5 days before slicing. This period allows the flavor to develop and lets the slab dry further giving a stiffer, easier to slice slab. Slice and enjoy as you would any bacon!

Cut the slab:

Square it up:

Rub with cure:


Allow to cure.
Process through the smokehouse.

The finished product:

The finished product


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