Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fat Ratios When Using Pure Fat

Scott Marsden from Hartsel, CO asked:

I'm planning on making some elk summer sausage and breakfast sausage links, but have a question about fat ratios. In your DVD, you use an 80/20 mix with 50/50 pork for the breakfast sausage and an 80/20 mix of 50/50 beef and bacon ends for the summer sausage. I'm having trouble finding any 50/50 mix at any meat markets so far. Everyone is offering straight beef or pork fat. My question is: if I use straight fat instead of 50/50, would I use a different ration than the 80/20? Thanks in advance.

Hello Scott, Great question!

Yes your blend will be different. If you're going to use 100% fat, I always like to cut the amount back.

Let's start with the first step. Be sure you request back fat and specifically tell your butcher that you don't want "tallow". Back fat comes from steak trimmings on beef and pork chop trimmings on hogs. Tallow comes from the kidney fat inside the animal and under heat will render away to nothing but grease, and you don't want that inside the casing of your sausage product.

When adding pure fat, I will mix 9lbs of good lean game meat with 1lb of pure fat. Always be sure to cut the fat into very small pieces before grinding, this way you can get the fat blended well with the lean meat during grinding. If you grind the fat in large pieces, it takes a lot of mixing to get the fat blended into the lean game meat.

Always use pork if you're making a product that is primarily made of pork and beef if the product is primarily a beef product. For example, if you are making sausage, which is usually made from pork - add pork fat. If you are making hamburgers, which are a beef based product, use beef fat.

I never have trouble finding 50/50 trim. If you ask at a custom butcher shop, you should have no trouble. At a grocery store, they may not do enough actual processing and grinding to have 50/50 available. If you visit a local custom butcher shop they should be able to help you with some trim that has fat and good lean meat mixed together. These trimmings will usually come off the ribs or brisket on beef and from the shoulder and fresh side on hogs.

 Good luck with your products and let us know how it turns out!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How Long to Cook Stuffed Back Strap?

Fred Heydorn from Burlington, NJ asked: 

On your show this week, you cooked a stuffed back strap. You said 280 degrees, but never how long. So my question is: how long did you cook it?

Thanks for the question Fred,

The length of cooking time really depends on how thick the meat is that you have wrapped around your stuffing. If you're working with a thin back strap you may only need 60-90 minutes. Also remember that preparing your wild game on the medium to medium rare side never hurts either. If you want to get technical, you can always use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature. 156°F is going to be well done, and around 140°F will give you that medium texture with a little pink in the middle.

Good luck Fred and thanks for the question.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Aging Meats in a Vacuum Sealer Bag

Dale from Dresden, TN asked:

Brad I have a question on aging meats in a vacuum seal bag versus aging in a cooler. Will they both work? 

Thanks for the question Dale! Aging meats is one of my favorites! Yes you can age meats both ways. When you age in the vacuum bag, that's called wet aging. When you hang your meats in the cooler, this is called dry aging. The major difference is flavor. When you dry age the body moisture from the carcass evaporates, thus changing the flavor. When you wet age the meat proteins still break down, making a tender product. However, the evaporation process can not occur so there's a flavor difference.

I prefer the dry aged flavor that comes from hanging in the cooler, but either process will work for tenderness. Standard aging times for most game animals will range from 5-7 days.

 Thanks again for the great question!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to Use a Bradley Smoker Indoors

Dion from Manitoba, CA asked:

I noticed on a recent show you had a Bradley smoker going indoors - how did you pipe it outside? I do a lot of home processing but working around the Canadian north's weather is a challenge. I have plenty of room in my shop/garage, just need some advice or ideas for venting!



Thanks for the question Dion,

I simply put a triple wall pipe up though the ceiling, just like pluming in a wood burner. The only downfall is: on damp days it has a little trouble drafting. So I warm the pipe up by turning the smoker on to 160F for 30 minutes before I turn on the smoke generator. 

If you don't, you'll have a building full of smoke. On of top my Bradley Smoker, I have a piece of flex pipe screwed directly to the top of the smoker over top of the dampener.

Good luck and happy all year smoking!!!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wild Game Butchering Classes?

Terrance of Seattle, WA wrote in:

I would very much like to hang out/learn from some "pros" how to properly butcher deer (maybe other game). Are you aware of any schools/courses (hands-on) that are available?

Hello Terrance!

I can honestly tell you that there's so much useless knowledge about meat processing stuffed up inside my head, you would go crazy listening to it all. I'm just kidding ya! 

With that being said, the next best thing would be the instructional DVD series that I produce. The Game Processing library has 4 discs in it, plus a 2 hour bonus hunting DVD! 9 hours of knowledge that is step by step, in detail with extreme close up video to match it all up. Each DVD has chapter menus, so you can watch each section as many times as you would like. I have a saying that goes like this: After you watch these DVDs, if you can't process game like a pro - take up knitting!

All joking aside, the closest thing to the DVDs are the 2-hour short courses I do at various events like the NRA National Show and other local events. The DVDs are a great resource that you can watch over and over again. More knowledge than I can share in any email or blog post.

Good luck this season!

- Brad Lockwood, Love of the Hunt TV

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Proper Hanging Time for Wild Game Quarters

Warren from Alberta, CA asked:

Hi Brad,

I purchased the complete set of your DVDs. I understand what you are saying about the 3 day per 100 pounds.

My question then is: If you harvest a 400 lb moose. You quarter it. Then you are hanging roughly 100 pound quarters.

Is the proper hanging time 12 days or 3 days for each quarter?

Warren that's a very good question and I thank you!

Yes, you will age 12 days for a 400lb moose. The only issue you're going to run into with the quarters is going to be waste. When you quarter the animal, which I realize is the only way to get one out of the field, you create a lot of exposed surface area. That surface area is going to dry out and get dark. But after you trim it off, the meat under will be tender as velvet!

Thanks for the great question and enjoy the moose meat, it's my favorite!