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May 16, 2012 05:38 AM

Question from a novice sausage maker

My husband and I have recently begun to experiment with making homemade sausage. My question relates to the cuts of pork used in the process. In our last attempt, we used pork shoulder. The problem was that by the time I removed the sinew and connective tissue (to get a clean grind and avoid the dreaded "smear"), I had lost half of the roast.

Given the time involved and the yield, I thought that using a piece from the loin and adding fat back would be a suitable substitute.

Any thoughts from those more experienced in charcuterie?


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  1. Pork butt (not the picnic) is the cut of choice.....IMO you are way over trimming.


    3 Replies
    1. re: Uncle Bob

      I agree with Uncle Bob. I trim the pork butt but not crazily.

      1. re: mels

        Fat is flavor.

        Fat is our friend.

        Brian Polcyn..Co-Author of "Charcuterie".

        Sure wish I'd had his advice before I made MY first bratwursts and served them to my future in-laws.

        THOSE experiments were basically "sawdust in a tube".

      2. The grinder will remove anything ungrindable - it gets wrapped around the piece that holds the blade in place (at least it does on my grinder). I don't trim shoulder at all - just cut it into appropriately sized chunks and let the grinder take care of the rest.

        IMO loin plus fat is not a good solution - because the fat isn't marbled into the meat, you'll get a sausage that is both greasy and dry/crumbly, no matter how hard you try to emulsify the meat with the fat.

        1. Start with pork with provenance. I cant tell you how big a difference I find in the quality of fat in pasture raised berkshire pork. The butt not picnic is important, and keep it chilled...

          1. Hi,
            Do you freeze your meat for 30-40 minutes before grinding really helps keep the grinder from getting clogged up. I always use pork shoulder and never trim anything. We love homemade sausage.

            1. Thank you all for the suggestions. We do indeed put the cubed meat in the freezer, but maybe not as long as recommended. I will make sure to get a pork butt and give it another go!