Sitka Mountain Gear
Jerky gun and sausage
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
DonVathome 09-Apr-18
Tody 09-Apr-18
DonVathome 09-Apr-18
Pyrannah 09-Apr-18
Franklin 09-Apr-18
cnelk 09-Apr-18
cnelk 09-Apr-18
Castle Oak 10-Apr-18
Pyrannah 10-Apr-18
Grubby 10-Apr-18
Cheetah8799 10-Apr-18
Mint 10-Apr-18
DonVathome 10-Apr-18
Vids 10-Apr-18
LKH 10-Apr-18
grizzly 10-Apr-18
Horniac 11-Apr-18
drycreek 11-Apr-18
MT in MO 11-Apr-18
From: DonVathome
09-Apr-18
I tried making my own sausage once. I got a mid priced grinder from cabelas ($250 ish). It took a loooong time - had to grind pork fat first then grind other stuff twice. Sausage came out ok. not worth the time by a long shot and I love to cook.

I am once again considering doing this again - jerky gun got me thinking. My kids LOVE jerky and I have had some really good stuff.

Lets say 2 guys got together and got a 1 HP cabelas grinder that claims around 11# a minute. Assume you have frozen bulk deer meat - boned but not trimmed at all.

How long to set up, grind into burger for jerk, make jerky with jerky gun, and make 2/3 into sausage. Total time set up, make, wrap, label freeze, clean up, drink a beer?

Lets say you have 2 while average whitetails - about 100 pounds of meat. Again boned - but in big chunks frozen.

Again total time from start to finish cleaning everything.

From: Tody
09-Apr-18
Can't comment on the jerky since I've never made any. Are you smoking the sausage or just Italian? Are you using a sausage stuffer (how big) what size casings? How many people are helping? This can add significant time to the project. I have the 1HP Cabelas grinder and it's a great machine. I would probably break it down in stages: 1)defrost and trim meat (probably want to add some pork), 66# deer + 30% pork 2-3hr 2) grind/mix/season/stuff, 2-3hr 3) smoke/package 10hr (I would have to smoke in batches, 5x2hr/20# batch)

I'm usually working alone when making sausage, and none of it's hard but don't think that since you can grind 12#/min that you can do everything in 2 hrs. If you split your tasks up into segments it's a lot easier to deal with. I will say that a good grinder and stuffer is worth investing in.

From: DonVathome
09-Apr-18
No smoking, just Italian. Me and one other guy both good butchers but new at grinding. I knew a good grinder was helpful I just did not realize how helpful - I thought the one I got was good enough - but the sinew get clogging it. I will get one that can pretty much go through anything with minimal breaks to clear it out.

From: Pyrannah
09-Apr-18
I bought a cheaper one this yr like 125 or so it was a LEM.. thinking it would be good enough...

It wasn’t even close... huge waste of money IMO

Buy once cry once...

From: Franklin
09-Apr-18
If you don`t trim the silverskin you are going to have issues. Grinding meat is not time consuming or difficult if you take the time to prep the meat properly. This will also improve your end product.

I prefer sliced jerky....it takes a little more time to chew so it last longer. 2 bits of the jerky gun jerky and its gone.

From: cnelk
09-Apr-18
Last winter, a few of us got together w/ 2 grinders and did about 70lbs of sausage in 3hrs or so. We did elk, mule deer and antelope

From: cnelk
09-Apr-18

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: Castle Oak
10-Apr-18
I'll second the suggestion to remove the silver skin. Remove as much as you can and your final product will grind better and taste better. I've been using a cheap Cabela's grinder for years and if I prep the meat properly, it will grind as fast as I can feed the chunks.

From: Pyrannah
10-Apr-18
I trimmed the hell out of mine removing all silver skin..

The one that I had was horrid... first ground was actually fairly easy second grind wasn’t happening at all

From: Grubby
10-Apr-18
Clean cold meat goes through a quality grinder as fast as you can put it in there, 2 people definitely helps. It definitely shouldn’t be a long tedious process.

From: Cheetah8799
10-Apr-18
I grind my own venison. I use the Kitchenaid mixer with grinder attachment, and from what I have seen it works better than some of the lower priced dedicated meat grinders that are noisy, heavy, slow and bind up a lot. It does warm up if trying to grind through all the scraps from a whole deer, so I probably would not risk ruining the unit by trying to work through two deer's worth at one go.

My process usually takes a few days as I am working solo and not killing myself to get it all done at once. I first work on cleaning up the scraps so they are ready to grind and will either keep them in big bowls in the spare fridge, or pack into 1gal ziploc bags to freeze and grind later. Scraps are cut in to strips/pieces that fit through the grinder tray easily. Grinding goes fast if the scraps are pre-cleaned and trimmed of excess fat and silver skin.

Most of my ground venison is turned into italian sausage that I pack in 1lb patties to be used in various recipes. I keep some as just plain ground venison or with 10% pork mixed in for hamburgers and such. I mix with up to 1/2 pork depending on how much fat is on the pork cut I find. I use Bruce Aidell's sweet italian sausage recipe, from the "Complete Sausage Book". I but all my herbs/spices fresh from a local coop, they are far better tasting than from big grocery stores where you don't know how long the spices have been on the shelf. I then portion out the mixed sausage into 1lb packs in 6x10 vacuum bags. Seal and squeeze flat for packing into the freezer.

Another thing you can try is to stuff your own sausages using the jerky shooter, I found that it works but your forearm will get super sore if you don't have help. We used the shooter tubes from two guns, and one person kept filling the empty tube while the other filled the hog casing. Casings thread onto the round shaped end of the gun just fine. I don't think they fill as nice and professional looking as a big expensive sausage stuffer, but it gets the job done on the cheap and is sufficient if only doing small batches at a time.

From: Mint
10-Apr-18
I use a Cabela's grinder and grind it coarse for both jerky and sausage. I don't like the fine grind at all. Cube your meat and fat and make sure it is real cold/partially frozen and you won't have any problems at all. The hardest part is trimming the meat, for sausage I'm not as when I'm making jerky. I love using the jerky shooters since it makes the jerky nice and tender and it makes sure the flavor is well disbursed. I don't like chewing sliced jerky, way to tough.

From: DonVathome
10-Apr-18
I really want no part of trimming all the silver off. I have butchered so many deer and I tired of it. I am hoping to get a good grinder or do it frozen so silver gets ground in.

Years ago when I learned about trimming silver off for better taste I did a test. I left it on my backstrap and butterflied it. Grilled and cut off the folded silver edge - I left a little meat but it was about 50/50 silver membrane and meat. It was almost exactly the same as the rest of the clean meat. No noticeable taste difference or toughness.

I keep meaning to try it again because everyone swears by it.

From: Vids
10-Apr-18
I have a LEM #12 0.75 HP grinder and I don't spend extra time cutting off silver skin. It grinds it as fast as I can put it in. I don't grind the shanks though, I save those for the dutch oven. Shanks seem to hold the most tendon material.

There are a lot of variables at play in order to answer your question of how long it should take. More batches with different seasonings, more stuffing, more smoking adds time. One huge batch of italian sausage takes very little time, but 8 different batches takes awhile.

For your reference, here is the amount of time it took me this year to process a large WT buck. Each weekend took from Friday after work to Sunday dinner time.

1st weekend - de-bone, cut steaks, wrap steaks, grind all trim meat. 2nd weekend - mix ground meat w/ fat, make separate batches of burger/sausage that I want. I made three different batches of fresh bulk sausage, one batch of hot dogs that got stuffed and smoked, one batch of breakfast sausage that got made into patties and cooked, then the rest put into burger.

From: LKH
10-Apr-18
I get a kick out of people removing the "silver skin". It is almost without taste and not worth the effort. Do you think the butcher cuts it out of the beef grind?

The almost frozen grind is the only way to go and don't grind the fat separately.

I take a frozen box of about 15# trim meat with lots and lots of silverskin (shanks included) and get it partially thawed, but still a square block. I use one of the scimitar shaped Chicago cutlery knives and cut it in about 3/4" slabs, the cut the slabs in 1" strips. They tend to fall apart. I then spread on cookie sheets with the pork/fat mixed in and spice. Then I grind with the large hole and immediately regrind with the smaller holes. Make 25# batches.

For those who think silverskin is bad, do Don's taste test on some burger.

From: grizzly
10-Apr-18
Sorry, if you are worried about how long its going to take, its probably not for you. It has to be a labor of love. Pay someone else to do it for you.

From: Horniac
11-Apr-18
I just processed some bulk elk meat I had in the freezer; brisket, neck meat, and misc trim.

It was frozen solid so I put it in an ice chest in the kitchen. It took forever to thaw out so I could trim it up - like 3 or 4 days. Trimmed and cubed the meat into approximately 2”x2” pieces for bottling and placed into gallon ziplock bags and back into the fridge. This took one afternoon. Each ziplock had approximately 5# of trimmed meat.

The next day I bottled 14 quart jars of approx 1# of meat per jar. I have a large pressure cooker but it still took two batches at 90 minutes per batch plus bottling time.. While the pressure cooking was in process I took the remaining meat and ran it through my grinder with approx 20% pork shoulder using the 3/8” plate and had just under 25# of ground meat. I used a LEM Jalopeno Summer Sausage 25# kit and mixed the spices per instructions. Mixed the spices in the tub of meat and ran it back through the 3/16” plate and then loaded into my vertical sausage stuffer and into the casings. I put the finished casings in the fridge overnight and cleaned up everything. This all took about 8 hours.

The next day I smoked the casings (9 total 2 1/2” diameter approx 14” long/ea). I was able to get them all in the smoker by hanging vertical and luckily only had to smoke one batch. Then into an ice water bath when they reached 165 degrees. I was able to do other things while smoking but this was still an 8 hour or so process.

The next morning I pulled from the fridge and cut and vacuum packed into 4” long sections for the freezer. This took over an hour.

I didn’t have time to process my elk when I got home from my hunt so I just threw it in the chest freezer for processing at a later date. That proved to be a big mistake. Next time I will at least debone and break everything down into more manageable portions before freezing.

In summary, It was a lot of work for only 40# or so of finished product and the 1st grind is probably the easiest part of the whole process. With that being said, I just paid $830 to my butcher to have my Oryx processed into jerky, breakfast sausage, summer sausage, hamburger, and chops. I think he earned every penny!

Horniac

From: drycreek
11-Apr-18
I'm with grizzly. I butchered and wrapped my own deer for years, but I got really tired of it after a while, and it even cut down on the enjoyment of the eating of it. Now, I have a good, clean butcher and just let him do his thing. The little extra cost involved pales in comparison to the money I spend on the actual hunting.

From: MT in MO
11-Apr-18
It's gonna take more than one beer...8^)

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