Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fermento & Dextrose Substitutes in Summer Sausage Recipe

Topher from Benton, TN asked:

I have a summer sausage recipe that calls for fermento and dextrose. Do I need to buy these to make summer sausage? What are their purpose? Can I substitute something else?


Thanks for the question and yes there are substitutions for dextrose (pure sugar) and fermento (non-fat dried milk).

My only suggestion on the dextrose is to add a little bit less sugar than dextrose - 80% of what the recipe calls for. Sugar is sweeter to the taste than dextrose.

On the fermento, you can add an equal amount of non-fat dried milk, which you can purchase at any supermarket.

One additional tip when processing summer sausage: Only add 1/4 of the non-fat dried milk into the mix before grinding. This product is a binder and will really make the meat sticky, so it can bind up your grinder when trying to complete your second grind. Add the rest of the non-fat dried milk after the second grind, and then mix very vigorously until the meat batch becomes very sticky. This will help bind the meat in the large casing together tightly, which is very important when processing large diameter products such as summer sausage.

Good luck and thanks for the question!

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Friday, October 25, 2013

Do I need to trim all the silver skin before grinding?

Jon S from St. Cloud, MN wrote:

My wife and I have just started to process our own deer. We have invested in grinders, stuffers, lugs and all the accessories. Where we struggle is the initial cleaning of deer. I was told that if I used silicone spray, I could run (and catch) much of the silver skin at the grinder head. This is in place of taking the time to cut it all out with our knives. When we cut it out to trim, it seems we are wasting a great deal of meat. If I could cut it off the carcass and put it straight into the grinder, that would be a huge time saver.


Thanks for the question!

On field dressing and processing, I would strongly recommend our Deer & Big Game Processing DVD. There is way too much information to explain by text. This DVD covers all the field dressing, skinning, caping, aging, quartering, deboning, defining all the primary muscles and the cuts available from each and every muscle. This DVD is a must have for every game processor amature to advanced.

On the trimming of connective tissue you are correct! No need to trim it all; we have a saying, "Trim the heavy." If you have a large section of connective tissue that is visible and easy to get, then yes, remove it. Don't trim each muscle just to get all of it. This is not necessary, the grinder blade and plate will catch it.

As you are grinding, if you notice the grinder beginning to slow down and the meat is not coming out as fast as usual, take the head apart and clean the plate and blade. This will speed up the process and insure that the connective tissues will not make it into your finished product. This is also well explained in the Deer Processing DVD mentioned above. The silicone spray is mainly used to lubricate your equipment and make clean up easier. It will not assist in the gristle and connective tissue department.

Good luck this season and be sure and look into the DVD series it will help a lot!

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Harvesting a Mountain Lion

Joshua from Peoria, AZ wrote:

Hi, Brad!

So, I went out bear hunting this past weekend and ended up tagging my first mountain lion! I wanted to know if you knew of any good lion recipes!


Congratulations on the great accomplishment! Harvesting a mountain lion is no easy task!

However: in my limited experience working with lion meat, you would have been better off with the bear! At least for eating purposes anyway!

Lion is a very stringy meat and tends to be very lean and rather tough & chewy. My recommendation would be slow cooked roasts and ground products.

I would also recommend marination to add some moisture and various flavors to the meat. As you can tell from this reply, my experience with lion has been very limited and not a pleasing experience.

They are a great trophy, but much like a male wild boar, not the best table fair!

Spicy snack sticks, kielbasa, pepperoni, and marinated roasts and steaks would be my suggestions.
The mount on your wall, however, will be very nice!

Congratulations on a great hunt!

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Can I get my meat to continue to age in the freezer?

David from Elk Ridge, MD wrote in:

Hi Brad,

We just took 4 deer (does) and are going back out on a 4 day hunt. We skinned & quartered them and hung them in a fridge (temp is about 36/38 degrees). Can they hang in there for at least 5 - 6 days? No meat is touching. I also heard that if you hang a deer (weather permitting) for a day or two, then freeze the meat, it will age in the freezer. How true is that?

Thanks for the question David!

Aging is one of my favorite topics! For proper aging you should allow your meats to hang and age 3 days for every 100lbs of carcass weight. If you have beef that weighs 700lbs, you would age the animal 21 days to ensure proper aging.

Some choose less and some choose a little more. Finer steakhouses choose 21 days. If you follow the same formula on wild game meats (the average deer carcass is going to weigh between 100 - 125lbs), 3 days per 100lbs of carcass weight would mean 3-5 days of aging at a temperature between 34F and 41F. If you go much below 34F, you will begin to freeze the animal carcass and the aging process cannot take place.

In order for proper aging to occur, the good bacteria that is contained in all muscle tissue must be allowed to break down the muscle fibers and tenderize the muscle tissues. If the carcass is frozen, so is the bacteria that is supposed to be breaking down the muscle fibers, so the aging process cannot take place.

During the aging process, the evaporation of body or carcass moisture also takes place. This cannot happen if the animal carcass is frozen, so once again, proper aging cannot take place.

You are on the correct path by aging in the cooler that you have, with no meat touching - plus your temperature is correct!

Congratulations on stacking up all the deer! Good hunting!
"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

What type of fat do I use?

David from Elk Ridge, MD asked:

When grinding deer for making burgers, which do you prefer: pork trimmings or beef trimming? I heard that beef fat does not melt down like pork would. 

Hello David,

This is a very good question! Thank you!

First: Do you prefer pork or beef? If you prefer pork products - pork chops, sausage, ribs - over products like steak, hamburger and beef roasts, then add pork. If you prefer beef products over pork products, then add beef!

Whichever way you choose, be sure to specify that you want BACK FAT! Not tallow! There is a big difference here. Back fat typically comes off the outside of a pork chop or the fat trimmings off of a steak.

Tallow, on the other hand, comes from the inside of the animal near the kidneys and is oftentimes referred to as kidney fat. This type of fat will simply melt away in the skillet and is used mostly for pie crusts and rendering because it melts away to nothing just like Crisco or Butter. This is not the type of fat you want to grind into your game meats.

Always specify that you want BACK FAT not TALLOW! This is very important.

The rest is up to you and your personal taste or preference. I usually add 1 1/2lbs of fat for every 8 1/2lbs of good, lean wild game meat. This will give you a good 85/15 or 80/20 fat to lean ratio on your grind.

Good luck this hunting season!  

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Monday, October 14, 2013

Love of the Hunt TV: Fresh Elk Steaks on the Grill

In this Butcher Block, Brad Lockwood's in Kansas making marinated steaks from wife Sheri's Nevada bull in anticipation of Dave & Mike's arrival to camp. In this clip, Brad uses:

    Friday, October 4, 2013

    Storing Sausage Casings

    Eugene from Lynco, WVA asked:

    I have some leftover casings – how I do I store them now that I’ve opened the bag?

    I hope the sausage came out well!

    When I have extra casing I will store them 3 ways. First have you rinsed all the casings?

    If you have and you will be making sausage again in the next few weeks, simply repackage them in salt, vacuum seal them and place them in the refrigerator until you're ready to make the next batch.

    You can also place them in a freezer container, mix up a salt water solution and freeze them in the salt water.

    If you haven't rinsed all the casings and they are still dried and packed in salt, you can simply reseal the package and store them in the refrigerator until your next use.

    If you will be storing them for over a year you may want to freeze them.

    Hope your sausage turned out great!

    "The Meat Man"
    Brad Lockwood