Fresh Sausage 106 - Basic Bratwurst Processing
Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!
What Is Bratwurst?
Fresh sausage can be made from pork, beef, wild game, poultry, or really any type of meat. One of the best things about making fresh sausage is how easy it is to make, of all the sausage you can make at home fresh sausage is the easiest and requires the least amount of equipment. Another great thing about Bratwurst is the wide variety of flavors of seasoning that are available. This article will focus on how to make Bratwurst, but this same process will also cover Italian Sausage and Mexican Chorizo.
10 lb of Untrimmed Pork Butts
1 Bag of Apple Bratwurst Seasoning
1 lb of Hi-Temp Cheddar Cheese
Walton’s #12 Grinder
Walton’s 11 lb Sausage Stuffer
The first thing we need to do is break this down into pieces that our grinder can handle, we are using the Walton’s #12 Processing Grinder so we need to make the pieces small enough to fit down the throat, the larger your grinder is, the larger pieces it can handle. Grind the meat through a 3/16" plate twice, the second grind will be slower than the first one. If you want to grind once, then mix in your seasoning and grind again that is fine as well. We prefer to do the mixing and the grinding separately though. If you are making this out of venison and you want to add some pork or even beef fat grinding it in at this point is a good idea.
Since this is a fresh product we are not concerned with protein extraction which means you can mix this with your hands if you choose, a meat mixer might still make it easier for you. To make stuffing easier you can add 1 pint of cold water per 25 lb batch (or if you are making chorizo add 1/2 pint of cold water and 1/2 pint of 50 grain white distilled vinegar), your seasoning, and hi-temp cheese (if you are using any) We are using 6 oz of Excalibur’s Apple bratwurst seasoning and 1 lb of cheddar cheese since we are making a 10 lb batch. Mix until all the seasoning and additives have been evenly dispersed into the meat.
We are using a 30mm collagen casing for this as it works well for both Italian Sausage and Bratwursts and the 22mm stuffing tube that comes with Walton’s stuffers. If you want to use a 32mm collagen or hog casing that is perfectly fine, just make sure that if you are using hog casings that they have been rinsed and soaked. For beginners, I recommend using collagen as it is one less thing to worry about. Next, slide your casings onto the stuffing tube.
Now, load your stuffing canister making sure to pack it down between loads to eliminate air pockets. Once your stuffer is loaded begin cranking it down using the bottom gear. Try to keep an even and steady pressure throughout. While one person cranks, another person should be down at the tube end holding the casing lightly enough that the casing flows off of the tube with the meat but with enough force that the casing is filled. Or it can be done by yourself, it might help you to clamp your stuffer down to the table if you are doing it without anyone else. Collagen casings will do better if they are just slightly under-stuffed.
To twist these we are going to pinch down about 5" and twist in one direction, then pinch down 5" from that and twist in the same direction, or you can skip a link and twist in the opposite direction.
Thermal Processing & Smoking
Grill at medium heat until the internal temperature is 160°. If you try to cook them at too high of a heat you run the risk of your casing splitting.
If you want to vacuum pack your bratwurst make sure you put it in the freezer for a while first. If you try to vacuum pack fresh sausage without it being frozen the pressure from the chamber will crush your sausage and it will lose the classic shape.
Making Homemade Bratwurst is a great way to get into making your own sausage. It requires very few pieces of equipment, has a wide variety of flavors available and you don’t need a complicated cooking schedule if you can grill a Hot Dog you can grill a Bratwurst!
You could make this with either just a grinder or just a stuffer. If you buy already ground meat you can mix in seasoning by hand and then stuff it into casings, if you are starting with whole muscle you can break it down with a grinder and then stuff it with the grinder as well.
Always make sure the grinder plates and knives are well oiled and in good condition.
This same will also cover Italian Sausage and Mexican Chorizo, just add some 50-grain white vinegar (if desired) with Mexican Chorizo.
Watch WaltonsTV: Basic Bratwurst Processing
Shop waltonsinc.com for Bratwurst Seasoning
Shop waltonsinc.com for Meat Grinders
Shop waltonsinc.com for High-Temp Cheese
Shop waltonsinc.com for Boning Knives