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I have also heard of dry bread crumbs, soda cracker crumbs, soy meal, corn meal and oatmeal used as binders. Can't tell you which are better or what the differences are. The recipe book I use suggests the powdered milk most often, like Geiyser suggests. Some of the others above seem like they might dry things out rather than retain the moisture. But part of the intent is to retain moisture.
shrtdave what is it? soy protein concntrate,non-fat dry milk, they help to bind the meat and fat and retain the natural juices. they are used in smoked sausages.USDA says no more then 3 1/2 % per 100 lbs. of meat. corn syrup solids,excellent binding qualities, add flavor, help with the fermentation( simi dry or dry cured) and help hold color.if you are just starting the sausage makeing i would suggest buying some pre mixed doses. do 5 to 10 lbs. at a time to see if you like that particular brand, a summer sausage will vary between makers. hope this is of some use. let us know. paul
Well i just started messing around with sausage and stuff. I have had some great results, my problem seems to be with casing seperation, i am using collegen casings. I have made some really good tasting beef sticks but the appearance is lacking due to the casing not being a part of the product. It can be peeled right off.

i am not doing this commecially, just for my own enjoyment. i stopped at a local meat place that makes these kinds of products and had tried their sticks and was talking with the guy behind the counter and ask him about this problem, he wasn't going to give up any secrets just told me i may want to look into adding more binder.

Moisture is not something I have had much of a problem with, i have had a batch of summer sausage turn out on the dry side. but akined it to the cut of meat that was used and the fact that I aded no pork to it for fat content.

I have tried some premade mixes as well as some of my own concoctions, some good some not so, but all was edible.
shtrdave, make sure your casings are firm, twist the end tight befor tieing. i make my own deer summer sausage and use about 6 tbsp. of corn syrup solids to 10 lbs. of meat, 80 % deer 20% whole hog sausage(saves a step). take sausage to around 155 to 160 degs. pull and then ice water bath till internal is about 110 degs. hope i am helping here. paul
I say stay away from binders. I don't use any and I don't have any issue with shrinkage. I also add about 10 - 12 oz of water to 30lbs of meat. I partly do this since the i clean up the pork Butts nicely before I grind. The low fat content needs a little moisture to ensure a moist product.

I always tell anyone that I give the sausage to, make sure you don't over cook, there will be no flame up or splitting.

I like to pull them a little pink..mmmmmmm....

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