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I tried making sausages for the first time today, and when I cooked them, the inside was more like a paste than a solid meat. Does anyone know why/how this can happen? How can I get a better texture for my sausages?


Update: I was hoping there was an obvious "oh if that happens it's always because of x", but for more details, here's the recipe I followed:

http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/33512/homemade-pork-and-bramley-apple-sausages.aspx

I did the ingredients exactly, but the timing was different. After I made the stuffing, I left that overnight. After putting the stuffing into the casings, They only rested ~20 mins before cooking. Could that be it?

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    What - exactly - did you put in them? How did you process the meat? E.g. I've made them with pork mince, onion etc., and whether or not you use a food processor on the filling makes a big difference to the texture – Chris H Oct 11 '19 at 20:43
  • I updated the question with the process @ChrisH. I did not use a food processor, I just ground the meat, and then hand mixed in the seasoning – Mirror318 Oct 12 '19 at 6:38
  • That should help the experts help you. I don't have a mincer and stuff them by hand with a piping bag (hard work, which is why I don't do it very often). In that recipe I'd grate the apples rather than mincing them. It's possible that your mincer did a smoother job than theirs, but it looks like a fairly wet recipe. – Chris H Oct 12 '19 at 6:52
  • Did you also use a mincer exactly as specified, or did you use a smaller plate or maybe a different tool, like a food processor? – rumtscho Oct 12 '19 at 8:57
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In sausage, meat is "stuck together" by a network of cross-linked myosin, a rather "sticky" protein present in meat.1 This network of proteins can be developed by kneading, much like the gluten in bread. However, myosin only develops properly given enough salt. Thus I see two mistakes you could have made:

  1. Insufficient salt. You need about 2% of the weight of the sausage in salt. Your recipe measured salt by volume. This can be problematic as different salt products are more or less dense. If you have a scale, try using weight the next time around.

  2. Insufficient kneading. You say in your comment that you mixed the meat by hand. However, you need a lot more than mixing. Give it a good knead, either in a mixer or food processor, or by hand, until it becomes tacky, sticky, and slightly more homogeneous.

In addition to these factors, I am a bit concerned by your recipe. Breadcrumbs, apples, and cider won't really help make sausage: these fillers will only disrupt your myosin network. Try a more basic recipe of meat, salt, and any herbs and spices you like. After you master that, you can try to introduce larger mix-ins like apple pieces. But whatever recipe you follow, remember salt and kneading. Without them, your "sausage" will be nothing more than seasoned mince.

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    It's certainly possible to get a proper sausage texture without salt, because I never add salt. But I'm using bought mince and it certainly gets a lot of kneading – Chris H Oct 12 '19 at 18:05
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    I once saw a TV chef make sausages: he added quite a lot of ice cold water to a fine mince, in fact so much water it looked like a soup. After squishing and mixing that for at least 10 minutes non stop, it became a soft and homogeneous sausage stuffing. He then joked that sausage making is the art of making water solid and tasty. – Elmy Oct 13 '19 at 19:11

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