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pork belly for sausage making?

j8715 Apr 4, 2011 01:16 PM

anyone tried fat from the belly vs back fat in making fresh sausage?

  1. chefj Apr 4, 2011 03:33 PM

    Pork belly has varying amounts of lean so you would need to adjust for that. When using fat back it is almost pure fat so you have more control and less guess work.
    Why would you want to use belly instead of back? It is more expensive and is best used for other applications.

    15 Replies
    1. re: chefj
      j8715 Apr 4, 2011 03:54 PM


      I separated the meat and fat from it so there is no guess work, I am interested in taste texture differences.

      Yes it is more expensive but the shoulder I used is so cheap it evens out.

      1. re: j8715
        chefj Apr 4, 2011 04:59 PM

        Just curios, in the restaurant we often used belly scraps and the like when we used whole animals.
        I do not expect that you would have much of a taste difference but it does tend to be more fibrous. I always freeze till the fat is very firm and cold a little less for the lean and grind with a very sharp blade. The die will catch most of the longer fibers.

        1. re: chefj
          j8715 Apr 4, 2011 05:02 PM

          I did notice what seemed like alot of sinew collecting on the die but i thought i just did a lazy job trimming the shoulder.

          I do like grilling sausage that have more "crunch" to them.

          1. re: j8715
            chefj Apr 5, 2011 12:22 PM

            Crunch in the sausage or from the casing?

            1. re: j8715
              chefj Apr 5, 2011 12:25 PM

              Oh the shoulder definitely has plenty of silver skin and the like. So it could be from either,but since the die caught it you won't have "stringy" sausage.

              1. re: chefj
                j8715 Apr 5, 2011 05:26 PM

                I tried it finally. no crunchy bits or anything weird.

                tastes fine. could have used more cinnamon, but otherwise fine.

                for anyone who can't find fresh fatback, i declare it fine.

                1. re: j8715
                  porker Apr 5, 2011 05:53 PM

                  Didja use the skin in the sausage as well? I usually make sausage from a hind leg after skinning and removing as much silverskin/sinew/gristle as possible. I save the skin and grind with about 10% meat (my Italian friend calls this cotechino or skin sausage). Not great for grilling, but in a sauce....decadent!

                  1. re: porker
                    j8715 Apr 6, 2011 05:22 AM

                    no I saved the skin to cook with beans. I don't think my grinder could manage skin, not big and tough enough.

                    I used the butt roast taken from the shoulder, the hind leg is something I would have to special order to get a fresh one. Usually only have cured and smoked in the market.

                    1. re: j8715
                      porker Apr 7, 2011 03:45 AM

                      electric or hand-crank?

                      1. re: porker
                        j8715 Apr 7, 2011 04:05 AM

                        hand. It manages meat provided everything is half frozen, but i have my doubts on skin.

                        1. re: j8715
                          porker Apr 7, 2011 10:55 AM

                          I first bought a manual hand-crank like this
                          and it works great. A little more muscle required for skin, but I cut it into thin strips.
                          I bought a cheap $100 grinder and it broke on my first use (bit of bone got away from me). I was given a similar machine 2 Christmas ago. It broke on boxing day with a bit of gristle....
                          The manual is built like a tank.

                          1. re: porker
                            j8715 Apr 7, 2011 11:58 AM

                            yeah i don't want an electric one. I personally hate all electric appliances for the kitchen. they take up too much space, they are loud and they ALWAYS ALWAYS BREAK.

                            mine is quite small is the issue really and its kind of a weird design, once the blade gets dull i guess i will have to throw it out because it has no way to sharpen it. very odd design the blade is fixed and the die spins. for 8 dollars i shouldn't complain too much though.

                            1. re: j8715
                              porker Apr 8, 2011 03:51 AM

                              Ha, for $8 it sounds like you got your money's worth first time around - I thought I got off cheap at $29.
                              Fixed blade does sound strange though.

                              1. re: porker
                                j8715 Apr 8, 2011 08:00 AM

                                I was trying to get one that looked about the size of the one you posted, but the blade was missing (it was $18 I think).

                                antique stores are PACKED with grinders. apparently everyone used to make their own sausage and hamburger. I must have looked at a dozen in one store. Many have weird dies and odd ball designs though.

                                also, if you don't mind some serious TLC you can really stock up on cast iron skillets at these places.

                                1. re: j8715
                                  porker Apr 8, 2011 02:30 PM

                                  Bought mine new at an Italian hardware store (well...owned by an Italian). I'm always telling the wife we gotta buy some prime rib just to grind for burgers - haven't got around to it yet.
                                  Speaking of antiques and the wife (hehe), she picked up this old time mechanical ice cream scoop for $2 last year. We use it all the time and treasure it as well.

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