Using the Best Fat to Lean Ratio In Making Sausage

  • Team Orange Walton's Employee Admin

    WaltonsTV: Correct Fat to Lean Ratios

    Meat Hacks: Using the Best Fat to Lean Ratio In Making Sausage

    How much fat should you use when making sausage? Watch the full video below, read the highlights here, and then post your comments or questions below.

    What Is The Best Fat To Lean Ratio In Making Sausage?

    Using the correct lean to fat ratio when making sausage is going to help in several different aspects towards making a better meat product. The first thing it is going to do is help with flavor. Simply put, fat equals flavor. So, the more fat you use the more flavorful the final meat product is going to be. You don’t want to use too much fat though because too much fat will have a different flavor and consistency in the final product that people are not familiar with or prefer. Too lean of meat can cause the final product to be dry and crumbly with a low amount of flavor. Then, it also helps out with the appearance of your meat products and having a good looking particle definition in the final product. Fat is also cheaper than lean meat, so using more fat will make your products less expensive as well. Sausage is also easier to make, process, and stuff into casings when the fat content is correct. If the meat is too lean, stuffing smaller diameter meat snacks will be a lot more work for you and your sausage stuffer (especially hand crank sausage stuffers).

    What Lean to Fat Ratio Does Walton’s Recommend?

    It does depend on the meat product you are making, but as a general rule of thumb, we recommend using a ratio of 70% lean to 30% fat (or 70/30). You can go up to a 60/40 ratio for many meat products, but that would be the maximum we’d recommend. An 80/20 lean to fat ratio can be used in some instances and can still work out well, but if you get up towards a 90/10 lean to fat ratio, problems with the meat being dry, crumbly, and keeping an outstanding flavor will become difficult to manage.

    So as a general rule of thumb, start out with a 70% lean to 30% fat ratio when making sausage for what would be considered best practice for most types of sausage.

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  • What is the best fat to add for the 30% in the 70/30 ratio? I’m using venison for the 70% and making sticks :-).

    Is the fat part readily available at most grocery stores? Thanks!

  • mtnjim
    I’ve always used pork trimmings. I go to a local meat locker and purchase by the pound then grind with 3/16 plate. Or at grocery store buy ground pork without any spices or seasoning.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    mtnjim what Roadster is recommending is the best solution if you can’t get your hands on plain pork fat. If you have a good local butcher then I would still say get pure fat. but pork trimmings are probably the best replacement but they can be difficult to get too, so pork butts are the next best thing!

    An important tip is to add the fat during the grinding process, otherwise, you run the risk of the fat not really mixing in with the meat. instead what you get is clumps of fat that have been surrounded by the proteins and that can cause issues.

  • Jonathon So to add the fat during the grinding process, how do you do that? Alternate grinding a little lean meat with grinding some of the pork fat?

  • Team Blue Regular Contributors Green Mountain Grill Masterbuilt

    mtnjim That is exactly how you’d add the fat. By doing it that way it gets mixed in with the meat and makes it easier come mixing time to ensure you have good dispersion of the fat. At least that’s what I’ve done and it works great for me.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    mtnjim What @boudreaux says is correct, you either just alternate or put the fat in with the meat after the first grind and then mix it a little with your hands and then grind it again!

  • Would you add fat in making snack sticks or just for making different types of sausages ?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    revid I’d absolutely add pork fat if you are making a snack stick out of any wild game or lean meat. 80/20 is the absolute lowest I would go before starting to use additives like Cold Phosphate and Carrot Fiber to prevent it from drying out.
    Summer Sausage and Snack Sticks are very similar processes aside from size and seasoning and smoke schedule.

  • Thanks Bud, just tried to make some but used only lean meat. Looks ok but the casings didn’t shrivel up like you see other snack sticks. I used 17 mm mahogany casings. Put in my Bradley smoker, smoked low(110-120) for an hour then gradually up to 150. That’s the highest I could get it to go cause smoking out in my shed and it’s cold outside, despite having a fire on in shed. Had it going for about 7 hrs but only smoked( used 5 brickettes) for an hour. Took out then cooled off in cold water food few minutes. Have yet to try but looks ok.

  • Team Blue Regular Contributors Green Mountain Grill Masterbuilt

    revid You really need to get the internal temp up to 160 degrees for food safety. In the future if you have that problem I’d transfer them to the oven to finish them off to make sure you get that internal temp up where it needs to be. That 160 degree temp is where you kill off the harmful

  • mtnjim I’ve made two 10lb batches of venison/pork snack sticks. I used 2:1 ratio of lean venison and port butt. I smoked using a Cook Shack model 55 smoker and started low (120F) without smoke and door ajar. I added smoke the 2nd hour and ramped up the heat every hour x 3 until the batch reached approx 160F in 4 hours. They taste and look great.

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Walton's Inc. sells meat processing equipment and supplies, including all of the Seasoning, Equipment, Supplies, Packaging, and Casings needed to make almost any type of sausage. Walton's sells to the commercial customer with a focus on the small to medium-sized processing plants or butcher shops, and directly to the hunter or processor who makes their own product at home. Whether you are a commercial or retail customer of Walton's you will be receiving the exact same seasoning and supplies, we do not have a different "line" for commercial and retail customers so that everyone can make the best sausage or jerky possible!

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