Saturday, September 29, 2012

How to get rid of fat pockets in sausage?

Bob from Springfield, VA asked:

Ok... My first try... I apparently got air pockets which have now turned into fat pockets. How do I fix it? I'm assuming prick it, then put it in the oven at a fairly high temp for a short period--but am looking for any specific suggestions.


I guess my first question would be what product did you make? If it's a snack stick or ready to eat product that is not going to be cooked or processed any further, then I would say you are in trouble. You will have to try and prick small holes in the sausage casing where the fat pockets are and heat the product very slowly so you don't dry it out at a high temperature. It shouldn't take a lot of heat to melt the fat out.

If it's a sausage that will be cooked again before serving, it may look bad when you place it on the grill but the fat should melt out before serving the product.

Just be sure next time you add a little more water before stuffing, pack the product tight into the stuffer, and grip the casing a little tighter to get the casing completely filled. If you do see any air pockets in the casing, prick holes before you smoke the product.

Those fat pockets can really be a bugger! Work at it and I'm sure you will get it!

Thanks again Bob!

Brad Lockwood
"The Meat Man"

Friday, September 28, 2012

Can I make jerky from meat that has fat mixed in?

Matt from Denver, CO asked:


Just saw your short segment on using ground elk for jerky making. I was under the impression that fat=bad in jerky making, but your video showed otherwise. I have some ground elk with beef fat mixed in. Can I make jerky out of it?? While I LOVE ground elk, every man has his limits. Thanks!


With the beef fat mixed in you will get some fat on the top of the jerky if you lay it flat on the racks of your smoker. My suggestion would be to tilt the racks to the front of your smokehouse so the fat will run off. You can do this right at the end of the drying process when you start getting into the higher temperatures. As long as the fat that melts to the surface is removed by allowing it to run off you will be fine and have some delicious jerky!

Good luck!

"The Meat Man"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Aging meat - Can it be done off the bone?

Kevin from Las Vegas, NV asked:

On one of your videos you talk about aging meat. You aged the entire rib cage and bottom of the neck, before processing. Looking at being able to store it easy for the trip home. Keeping the entire rib cage and neck for travel is difficuit. Is there any reason all that meat can be removed then aged?

Great question Kevin and I'm glad to see you are thinking! Yes you can remove the meat from the carcass and then age it while it's off the bone.

I have used this process many times myself when hanging the entire carcass wasn't an option. We just returned from an elk hunt in NM, and this is exactly what we will have to do with all the elk meat that we removed from the bone right in the field. We had to get it out of the hot sun and directly into a freezer. So by freezing the meat, the aging processes can't take place. With that being said, our only option will be to age the meat off the bone right before we do the finish preparation before eating it.

However, always remember meat will age better on the bone - but if you don't have a choice, you can place the meat in pans in the bottom of your refrigerator and age it off the bone as well. This is the process that occurs with boxed beef. The animals are slaughtered and de-boned, then vacuum sealed and aged in the boxes during transit and while in retail walk-in coolers before the steaks are cut and placed in the meat case.

So to summarize: Yes you can age off the bone or on the bone. Sometimes there is just no possible way to age the carcass whole.

Thanks for the great question!

"The Meat Man"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Love of the Hunt TV: How to Prepare Groundhog

In this Butcher Block segment from Love of the Hunt TV, I show you how to make a delicious Groundhog dish using Hi Mountain Seasonings, Outdoor Edge Knives, and a Bradley Smoker or Cancooker

Turtle Soup Recipe

What you need to make it:
meat from 1 turtle
Hi Mountain Western Sizzler Steak Seasoning
24 oz water
2 bags mixed frozen vegetables
1 8oz can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon parsley
2 teaspoons basil

Outdoor Edge Knives

How to make it:
Soak turtle meat in salt water for four days to fully clean. After four days, use your Outdoor Edge knives to remove any remaining connective tissue.

Season the meat with Hi Mountain Steak Seasoning.

Fill your Cancooker with 24oz of water.

Place the Cancooker over low heat for 3-4 hours, until meat falls off the bone.

Refrigerate overnight.

Remove meat from bones.

Place turtle meat back in Cancooker with the remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat, without the  lid, for 2 hours.

Love of the Hunt TV: How to Make Turtle Soup

 In this clip from Love of the Hunt TV, I show you how to make Turtle Soup using Outdoor Edge Knives, Hi Mountain Seasonings, and a Cancooker.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Properly Butcher a Turtle

I've had people all over the place asking me how to butcher a turtle since our Groundhog & Carp Dinner episode aired, including Bill from Ironwood MI, and Randy from Bainbridge, Ohio.

One of the keys is not only knowing how to properly use a knife, but to have the right knife. So I'd say step one is to get a Game Processing Knife Set from Outdoor Edge.

From there, it could get tricky to explain on a blog. So rather than me trying to explain it to you, watch this video clip that didn't air on Love of the Hunt.

Just a quick warning: I am butchering a turtle here, so the content may be too graphic for some viewers.

Here is how you properly process a snapping turtle:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How do I keep air pockets out of my casings?

Jerry from Kirkwood, MO asked:

Every time I use my Vertical Sausage Stuffer, I get air pockets all in my casings – What am I doing wrong?


Often times air pockets can appear for a couple reasons. The number one reason is not packing the meat into the container tight enough. I usually take my fist and punch it down into the bottom of the stuffer. I only add a few pounds of meat at a time and then I punch it down and pack it in tight, I continue this process until the cylinder is full. 

Another issue can be if your meat gets too dry. If the meat is really dry it can be difficult to pack no matter how hard you punch it down. I would try adding some additional water to wet the meat a little more, this will remove some air pockets. 

Does your stuffer have an air release valve at the top? The Weston model has an air release valve at the top to let air escape as you crank down. If you do get a few air pockets in your sausage casing, be sure and use a sharp pointed object like a marination needle and make a small hole in the casing right at the air pocket and then push the air out of the casing. If you don't, this air pocket will allow unwanted fat pockets to settle into the air pockets.

If you try these solutions, I'm sure it will cure your problem and you will be stuffing sausage like a PRO!

Brad Lockwood