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Apr 14, 2009 05:51 AM

Using an ice cream maker for pates and sausages

We all know how important it is to keep the meat / fat very cold when making 'salamis', sausages and pates. I had the idea of using my ice-cream maker to mix the ground meats (and water) before a second pass in the blender. I'm no genius so someone else must have had this idea before. Before I waste a chunk of meat, has anyone else tried this?

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  1. I wouldn't recommend it. When using an ice cream base, ice crystals form on the side of the container and get scraped off to form a very smooth paste of ice and fat. I'm guessing that the fat and water in the forcemeat will also solidify and stick to the sides of the drum, once again forming a smooth paste of ice and fat when scraped off. (I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-lard! ;-)

    The reason for constantly chilling the forcemeat is to preserve the structural integrity of the fat, so the sausage has distinct pieces of fat and meat. This gives the sausage a nice springy texture with a juicy filling. When fat warms to room temperature or gets crushed with some sort of mechanical action (over grinding, over mixing, etc.) it tends to get pasty. Pasty fat in a sausage will completely melt while cooking, resulting in a sausage full of grainy lean meat sitting in pools of rendered fat. With dried sausage, though you're not cooking it, pasty fat and mushy meat certainly isn't ideal.

    With pates it really depends on the texture that you're looking for. If it's going to be a super smooth pate that gets passed through a tamis, you're not going to be having distinct pieces of fat and meat, so you don't have to worry about keeping it super cold all of the time like you do with sausages.

    1. i would definitely NOT do that.
      one, to keep meat chilled, work in a stainless bowl that is resting in an ice bath;
      two, the ice cream maker will not physically be capable to "mix" sausage meat (or did you just mean to hold the meat cold and stir by hand?);
      three, i don't think you could get the fat/meat stink out of the bowl.

      1. Thanks for the replies. I should have said that I wasn't going to cool the ice-cream maker much, if at all below, zero. The ice-bath is necessary, but is a PITA.

        I was wondering of it would over-stress the machine. Then again the ice cream as it freezes is a pretty tough 'dough'.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Paulustrious

          Not nearly as tough as the collagen in meat, esp when partially frozen. Ice cream doesn't set 'hard" until the machine stops stirring, so the churning action is pretty low-torque. Seems like a good way to cook the ice cream freezer's motor, or even strip the gears. But let us know how it turns out...

          1. re: Paulustrious

            i agree with hungry celeste. the motor will fry!!!!
            (when you make the ice cream, you're instructed to stop churning when the ice cream gets thick enough to labor.).

          2. I agree mechanically, it would be probably too tough on the machine.

            Plus, nobody is going to be excited about eating ice cream from it EVER AGAIN. Does't matter if you stuck the thing in an autoclave. They may decide to eat ice cream from it, but they'll never be 100% excited to eat it... every first bite will be like that moment when you taste old milk to see if it has soured..

            1. What a nutty but somehow fascinating idea. I'm tempted to try it myself.

              But not quite.

              A better (or at least more complicated) approach, if you have a stand mixer and a large freezer, is to put the mixer in the freezer and use the dough hook attachment to mix the meat while chilling. You might need to duct tape the door shut if the extension cord to the mixer holds it open. Let us know how that works if you try it.

              Seriously, if you're only making a pound or so of pate or sausage using a blender, keep it simple. A wooden spoon or plastic spatula will do a better job of mixing a small batch than any machine. And you won't have an extra bowl to clean.