Someone mentioned in a previous post about keeping your meat cold, almost to the point of freezing if you are using the grinder to stuff. Good advice. Putting the grinder head in the freezer is a great idea too. I stated out using a Kitchen Aid mixer with the grinding attachment, and stuffing casings too. It never worked well, and the product…well it wasn’t very good. Too much friction/ heat. There are some really sharp people on here, and we can all learn from their advice. What started out as an “I’d like to try this” has turned into quite a little more than a hobby, with lots of toys. Of all the places I have purchased from in the past, Waltons is my “go to” now. I rarely buy anywhere else, with the exception of natural casings.
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RE: Snack sticks-learned something today.
RE: Snack Stick Casing Issue
Can’t say for sure, but I wonder if it has to do with freezing them. Expansion of the moisture in the product while freezing, then shrinkage as the product thaws out. I have experienced the same thing when using collagen casings and freezing them. That is one of the reasons I use natural sheep casings when making snack sticks. Natural casings do require a bit more care when stuffing to prevent blowouts, and the casings do have to be soaked/rinsed before using them, as well as keep them refrigerated for longevity. For me, the tradeoff is worth the extra step and care. And the casings don’t slip from the meat either. I have used collagen casings when making a batch for friends, when they have no intention of freezing them. I’ve been to,d they never last that long. They don’t in my house either!
If someone has an answer to why this happens, I’m all ears. There’s a lot of talent here, and we can all learn from the expertise of others.
RE: Snack sticks-learned something today.
Many places sell them, on line and in stores (Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse, etc.). Something to consider, is how much you make at one time? 5 lbs., 10 lbs., or more? I had a 5 lb. stuffer, but usually made 10-20 lbs. of product. It was a pain in the posterior to keep having to load the hopper. My 5 lb. stuffer never held 5 lbs either - more like barely 4. After 4 years, I finally gave in and bought an electric stuffer, a 20 pounder for LEM. They have occasional sales, and I got mine for a greatly reduced price on a 24 hr sale. They are pricey otherwise, but worth it if you are making large batches, especially by yourself. The manual/hand crank stuffers aren’t the easiest to use by yourself, but it can be done. I think a lot of use have done it and still do. But a helper is definitely nice!
The stuffer I started out with came with plastic stuffing tubes. If stainless steel tubes are an option, I’d get those instead, or buy the size you need as an accessory. The casings seem to work better on those than the plastic, in my opinion. Good luck, and I’m sure you’ll be happy with your stuffer! Makes a better product!
RE: Small casings for waltons electric 26lb stuffer.
I bought the LEM 20 lb electric stuffer right after Thanksgiving when they had a One day, 8 hour sale, 40%off. (sorry Walton’s, couldn’t pass up this price and I had free shipping on top of that) It came with a stuffing tube that will easily fit 19mm natural sheep casings. That said, dino21’s recommendation of soaking a day ahead of time with sheep casings makes a big difference. I found this out by mistake when I was still manual stuffing. An emergency came up, and I had to put everything away and respond. I returned 3 days later, and the breakfast links stuffed so much easier. I also use pre-tubed for convenience.
To help the meat get through those smaller tubes, I add just a little more ice water. It flows much better - also found that out during manual stuffing. Now that I have an electric stuffer, I am glad I made the purchase. Hint - start at the slowest speed until you get used to it. Only one blowout, and that was my fault. I usually make 20 lb batches, and it is nice not to have to stop to reload.
Try adding a little more water if you have difficulty stuffing - it has no effect on taste after cooking. Happy sausage making!