Using Fat (For Sausage) - Cured Sausage 201
Using Fat (For Sausage)
Taste & Texture
Fat has a few different functions in sausage making, but two of the most important are its taste and its effect on the texture. Pork Fat is what we generally recommend as it has a creaminess to it that most other types of fat just can’t match. You can use other fats, beef is a popular one if you want, but you might not end up with a product that is as good as it could be. Pork fat also tends to be very white, beef, buffalo, and sheep can tend to be a little yellow, so pork fat will also give you a better appearance.
Fat adds flavor in two ways, it obviously has its own taste, but it also coats the mouth, allowing seasoning and other flavors to linger longer. Pork Fat starts to melt at 82°, so when you are eating a hot cured sausage, that fat is going to be already melted, and it’s self-explanatory on how it coats your mouth. But how about when you are eating a summer sausage or snack stick that is at room temperature or below? The “mechanical” action of chewing plays a large part in it, as does your saliva. If you don’t believe me take a bite of cold summer sausage, start chewing, and pay attention to how the roof of your mouth and the inside of your cheeks feel.
Too High of Fat Content?
When we say 30% fat content, some people tend to balk and think that is too high. Well, if you have bought sausage from the store, I can almost guarantee you that it is at least 30% and probably closer to 40 or 50. Fat is inexpensive and gives a good taste, meaning it allows the company making it to use less seasoning. Do you really think that they are going to use more lean meat, which is more expensive and requires more seasoning to flavor? Now, some people do have legitimate reasons that they want to cut down on the amount of fat they eat. In my opinion, however, the vast majority of the US would be better off worrying less about the amount of fat they eat and more about the amount of processed food and carbs, but I digress.
If you are looking for a lower fat content sausage, it can be done. I have made a lot of sausages made from chicken breast. If you want to do this, we would absolutely recommend you use Cold Phosphate to increase the water holding capacity and Super Bind or Carrot Fiber to help with moisture and binding. You will also want to grind it an extra time to really break the product down, this will end up giving you a texture that is closer to a hotdog, but it is preferable to a dry and crumbly product.
Fluturas_t You can lower the fat amount, but there is a trade off in degraded flavor, texture and juiciness of the sausage as the fat levels decrease.
If those trade offs are acceptable to you then you can try it. Just be aware that they exist.