I am experimenting with home made sausages. Grinding chuck to make the sausage. Typically I pass it through the grinder 2-3 times (kitchenaid grinder, small die).

I've gotten the flavor nice, but when cooked the sausages are mealy and soft. When I reduce the number of grinds I get a sausage that is grainy and feels like hamburger in the mouth.

No matter what cooking technique I use (steaming, simmering, sloooow grilling, fast grilling) I get a sausage that is so flimsy it falls apart on the way to the plate.

What am I missing?

  • 1
    Could you include the ratio of ingredients that you are using (meats:fats, other dry ingredients), and perhaps a description of the coarseness of the grind that you are stuffing (2-3 passes sounds like it might be really fine depending on the meat)?
    – mfg
    Jun 6 '12 at 13:27
  • 1 kilo Beef Chuck. Good amount of connective tissue, and fat. (i'm guessing 15%, that's the normal number for chuck) 1 cup of bread crumbs 1/2 a cup of canola oil 2 tbsp table salt 1 tbsp each garlic, sweet paprika, cumin Jun 6 '12 at 14:30
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    At the restaurant I used to manage we always made our own sausage. The grinder we used had holes that were about 3/16 of inch. If I remember correctly the KA grinder attachment comes with two discs, a coarse and a fine. Have you tried the larger plate? One pass would probably be more "hamburger" like but perhaps two passes would be less like hamburger but not as fine as what your getting now. Jun 6 '12 at 17:28

Chuck? As in beef chuck? Not that it won't work, but it'll be slightly different taste and texture wise than the more common pork sausage.

I don't think the # of grinds is the issue. I'd be looking more at:

  • temperature. Do you put the meat in the freezer for an hour or so before grinding, and are your bowls/grinder/etc cold? If your meat gets too warm, it'll separate from the fat, resulting in a mealy sausage.

  • are you beating the ground meat & spices with the paddle blade and a bit of liquid at the end? You want to do that to produce a bind and end up with a tight (not crumbly) sausage.

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    Amazing. You named everything I'm doing wrong. Thankyou so much!!! Jun 24 '12 at 11:02

Pinhead rusk in the right quantities makes a huge difference as does keeping the meat virtually frozen while preparing it. It took a long time for me to get it right but I would say 10% of the weight needs to be proper sausage rusk. Also, when I grind my meat up I throw in some ice cubes, but I make my ice cubes fresh with filtered water and chopped fresh sage.


Are you using enough salt? Salt has a massive effect on meat proteins, and when you grind meat and get salt involved it makes the meat cohere much more than it would without. This then leads to a sausage which stays together rather than crumbling apart when it's cooked.

From my (admittedly limited experience) you either have to go for the hamburger route (handle the ground meat as little as possible so it stays fairly distinct) or the sausage route (use salt and mix it thoroughly to get it to stick to itself). In between has never worked well for me at all.

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