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Mar 29, 2011 03:52 PM

Need advice with cooking fresh homemade sausages. Please help!

So i made and cooked my homemade sausages for the first time today but after many tries at cooking it the meat always leaks out of both ends of the sausage, making it look like mushroom heads. I am wondering what i need to do to cook the sausage without the meat coming out of the casing??

Also, after cooking the sausage, the meat inside looks white and has a pasty texture to i doing something wrong? I cannot afford a meat grinder right now nor can i find a good i had to use ground pork bought from whole foods instead. Could this be the reason why the texture of the sausage is so?

Thanks for your coming soon

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  1. Yes for the grinding, as far as I understand.

    How are yo binding off the sausage ends? Using a tie or just a twist?
    Sounds like the ends are coming loose and so the stuff comes out. Did you fry or poach then fry?

    Check in Chow videos I know there is one on how to keep sausages from bursting (which so far is not your issue). But it is a good lesson for method.

    Keep trying!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      Hey Quine thanks for your fast response.

      I am just twisting the sausages 2-3 times as instructed in the "Home Sausage Making" book. Should I tie it with a string instead? Can I fry the sausage with the ties still on?

      I prepared it based on wally's method in another topic "Best method to cook fresh sausage"

      "Try cooking them with about a quarter inch of water in the bottom of a covered pan. After about 15 minutes, remove the lid and let the water evaporate and the sausages brown, turning occasionally, in the fat that has oozed out. I don't think it would ever take 45 minutes. I would imagine you would lose most flavor in that length of time."

      Would you recommend a different method?

      Also, any recommendations on a cheap meat grinder? Most of the ones I see on amazon that are below 50 bucks have crappy reviews.

      1. re: potbeagle

        Well the twist tie is not enough in this case (and you may have stuffed them too tight) but hey, you're learning! Sure butcher's twine or any white cotton should work.
        When the sausages start to swell, while doing that water bath, give a slight pin prick of the casing so some pressure and fat is released.
        I agree 45 mnutes of cooking is way too long, I agree with 10-15 minutes of water tmie, then pour off the remaining water and crisp up. As I do recall Chow Video did a number of sausage videos for last summer, I watch a few and thought they were good.

        My meat grinder was passed down, it's the old crank style. If you have the chance to shop thrift stores they tend to show up there, cheap!

        1. re: Quine

          Yes you can fry with the strings on, just clip the ends short, but still leave a tail so it does not come undone.

        2. re: potbeagle

          freecycle often has things like crank grinders if the thrift stores are out of them.

      2. Can I ask, how are you stuffing the casing? What’s in the sausage recipe?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Woodfireguy

          I am using a 5 lb stuffer and hog casings I bought as part of the stuffing kit from LEM.

          The recipe comes from the book Home Sausage Making that also came with the kit:

          Garlic Sausage (measurements altered for 2 lbs of pork)

          1/2 tblspn kosher salt

          1 teaspn sugar

          1/2 teaspn black pepper

          1/8 teaspn all spice

          1/8 teaspn ground cinammon

          1/8 teaspn fresh thyme

          1 tablespn minced garlic

          1/2 teaspn minced gingerroot

          1/4 cup dry white wine

          1. re: potbeagle

            I think you are picking up water from the cooking process and that’s making them swell. Wouldn’t you rather eat a nice grilled or pan fried sausage anyway? No need to tie them.

        2. Maybe you are overfilling the casings? Also, I've heard that if you use collagen casings you should rest the saussies in the fridge overnight.
          My favourite way to cook them (because I am so lazy) is to roast them in the oven. Put them in a lightly oiled roasting tray or dish, put into a cold oven then turn the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. I find that it takes about 40-45 minutes from cold to cook 6 sausages, but just check them after 30 minutes and see how long your oven takes. This way is good because you can cook your side dishes in the oven at the same time.
          As for mincer/grinders, I got my second-hand hand-crank one for NZ$9 on TradeMe (New Zealand's version of eBay). I found that the ones listed in the Fishing section (fisherman use them to grind burley on their boats) sold for cheaper than the ones in the Cooking section!

          1. You should be able to find a very good hand crank for less than what you paid for the stuffer. Remove the knife and die, add a tube and it doubles as a stuffer to boot.

            I see professional makers do magic when twisting their links - not me. I stuff casings about a yard long (tying the "front" with butcher string first then the end after being stuffed) then twist in about 5 or 6 inch legths. I use natural casings and twist every link maybe 8 or 10 times. After stuffing awhile, you can tell when its too full and the twist will break (tie off on both sides of the break) but it will still hapen occasionally...
            Its important to twist your links in the same direction, otherwise you will untwist some that you've already done

            I agree with Billy33, rest the length of links in the fridge overnight (for both natural or collagen). This will allow the sausages to develop flavor (and cure if using salt or nitrites) and help retain its shape. Just keep them in a covered bowl. Next day cut the links and you should be fine.

            I almost always grind (not for the price, but for controlling what goes into the sausage), but I do make sausage from store-ground pork occasionally. Too fine a grind and longer stuffing time (meat warming slightly) might make for a pasty texture. Ask for a coarser grind and stuff in smaller batches, keeping your meat reserve in the fridge.

            The color.
            Seems whenever I mention nitrites or nitrates, I get a hailstorm of controversy. Mostly from health alarmists, or others who don't know much about the subject (I'm by far no expert, but I know enough that improperly handled, they can lead to trouble. So I been trying to learn myself a bit - hehe).
            Anyways...when making fresh sausage, you don't require curing as the meat is going from your fridge to the fryer and up to temp (or from the freezer...). When the sausage is not cured, you will get a whitish/grayish color. Nothing wrong about this, per se, but if you want to get a nice pinkish color (as well as a tangy "cured" flavor), you gotta use a cure (and let sit at least overnight).
            I'm not sure what is in the LEM Backwoods Seasoning, but the most basic cure is salt plain and simple. My basic cure is 15g of salt per kilo of meat. This works out to about 3 tablespoons per kilo, or 3 level tablespoons salt per 2.2lbs meat.
            Besides the cure, theres seasoning of course (for Italian, I use fennel seed, black pepper, cayenne, and crushed chile pepper). Again resting overnight develops the cure and flavors plus allows the casing to accept its new shape.

            Nitrites. Sometimes I'll use Instacure#1 when making fresh sausage (I always use it when making dried sausage). You can use the recommended amount of 1 level teaspoon per 5lbs of meat, or less. It doesn't seem like much, but you don't want more of this than needed. Instacure#1 is a stronger curing agent than salt alone, and you will not have a whitish color.

            2 Replies
            1. re: porker

              Hey Porker,

              Would 3 tablespoons of salt per 2.2 lbs of meat make the sausage really salty? Also if I let the salt sit in the meat overnight, will I get a pink color after I cook it?

              1. re: potbeagle

                It doesn't make it really salty, just a seasoning and slight cure. You won't get a real pink color, it might be a lighter shade than the gray of regular cooked ground pork. To get a pinkish hue, you'd have to go the nitrate route.

            2. We made sausage yesterday. From left to right. Pheasant, with jalapeno, shallots and bacon. Spicy, low fat, chicken breakfast sausage made from thigh meat only. Those are in the smoker now. Italian, made from pork shoulder only. Tomorrow we are making soft Italian rolls for sausage and peppers. It’s got be the most off beat Easter Diner to date for us.

              11 Replies
              1. re: Woodfireguy

                man those look delicious. may i ask what kind of casing u use and what brand?

                The brand I have been using is LEM Hog casings 32 mm, and I think it makes the sausage taste weird. Do casings have a particular taste/smell in general that you cannot get rid of?

                I taste it in my sausages but when I try another kind of store brand natural casing sausage such as Johnsonville it does not have the weird taste.

                1. re: Woodfireguy

                  Sweet thanks for the link. Yeah exactly...i can't describe it but i always end up tasting that odor when i eat the sausages.

                  What part of california are you from? If you are from L.A. can you recommend a place to pick up some casings?

                  1. re: potbeagle

                    So, you are using dry cured? I’m up by Lake Tahoe but this should be easy. Do you have a place that you buy sausages at now? They will be happy to sell you fresh casing. If not, find a butcher that makes good sausages and he will fix you up. I would also keep an eye out for a grinder at the thrift stores. I see them there for pennies on the dollar all the time. Next time you make them feel free to drop me a line if you need help.

                    1. re: Woodfireguy

                      Wow you wake up really early. Yeah I am using dry cured casings. Usually I just buy sausages from Ralph's or Vons but I'll check up some local butchers and see if they'll sell me some fresh ones.

                      Yeah I will check out some thrift stores too. Thanks for your tips!

                    2. re: potbeagle


                      If you can't find a local source for casings, try They have everything you need for sausage making and lots of things you don't.

                      Back to your original problem, as Porker suggested, just letting them sit overnight in the fridge will help, but one guaranteed way to avoid having the stuffing gush out the ends of the sausage is to par boil the entire string before cutting into links. You don't want to cook them, just heat the outside enough to firm up the casing. Plunge the string into a large pot of boiling water on high heat and remove after 1 minute (don't worry if the water doesn't come back to a boil). Rinse in very cold water, and cut into links. Now you can cook what you need for dinner and refrigerate or freeze the rest.

                      1. re: Zeldog

                        Terrific suggestion. Sounds like just the thing. Thanks.

                        1. re: Zeldog

                          That's a great idea I'll be sure to try that

                    3. re: Woodfireguy

                      You certainly sound/look experienced enough to answer OP's question. It would be helpful for others too.

                        1. re: Woodfireguy

                          Sorry. For MY sake then, how would one tie them?

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Just a twist or two and you're there. Give it a's fun.