Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Making Sausage from Frozen Ground Meat, Then Freezing Again

Nicholas from East Dover wrote: 

I harvested a moose Oct 2013. I ground a lot of burger and vac packed it and froze it. Can I thaw it out make it into sausage and refreeze it?


We had a couple questions very similar to this over the last couple weeks. I will cover some additional topics in this blog and then encourage you to look at the other questions regarding this subject. 

A large part of making quality products is processing them the way you typically expect them to be. In other words, if you are making hamburger, you expect it to be ground twice so it has the texture of hamburger. If you are making sausage, you expect it to be once ground so it has the course texture you expect for sausage. With that being said, if you have hamburger in the freezer, it's already twice-ground, so trying to make it into sausage, which is only once ground, is going to be very difficult. Don't get me wrong: You can do it, but the texture you have come to expect from sausage won't be correct. 

If you are asking about freezing and then refreezing you have no issues there, as I have stated in several other blog questions: Freezing and refreezing is not an issue. Your issue here is a texture issue. As the liquid inside of the moose's muscle fiber freezes, it expands, which creates a mushy texture. 

Seasoning can also be an issue. I prefer to grind my seasonings into the meat. Since your meat is already ground, you don't want to grind it a second or third time to get seasonings into it. Instead, you'll have to use a Meat Mixer or work very hard with your hands to get the seasonings mixed into the meat as well as they need to be. 

Another topic of discussion covered in my Advanced Sausage DVD is protein extraction. When you put salts and sugars into meat and then mix like crazy to get the seasoning blended, you extract proteins from the meat that act as binders. These binders will make your product tough and chewy with a rubber-like texture, which is very undesirable in a sausage product. 

You should also check out this other post I've written on the topic:

Here is some advice on specific products you can make from your pre-ground moose meat:

  • Summer sausage is a large diameter product placed into a larger casing. For that reason, it takes additional binding to keep it from getting soft during smoking so mixing your seasonings in, grinding it a third time and then stuffing and smoking can make a good product. 
  • Moose Hot Dogs are another great sausage-type product you can make. Here's a video on how to make them: How to Make Wild Game Hot Dogs
  • Another great product you can make, which is one of my favorites, is ground jerky. 
I would also recommend that you watch my Advanced Sausage DVD, check out the other blog questions on this topic, and watch our videos, listed to the right.

Congrats on the Moose! My favorite!

Brad Lockwood

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