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In case you can't tell from recent posts, I'm in the middle stages of learning how to make a good consistent sausage. I made two "identical" batches recently that cooked up completely differently. While I used the same spices, the same ratio of spice to meat, etc., I do not know that I had exactly the same (or even approximately the same) total fat percentage. I know that I tried to replicate the lean to fat ratio when I mixed the second batch, but when you're chopping up picnics and butts, you get obviously lean chunks, obvious fat chunks and a heck of a lot of "fatty" chunks with some amount of lean. It's very possible that I had less fat in the second (the crumbly) batch of this particular sausage.

It occurs to me that there must be a way to test the fat content in the mix to determine the percentage of total fat present. Do any of you know of such a test and if so, can you furnish the forum with details of how it's run? I appreciate any help that you have to offer..... dchem
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Hi dchem!

Glad you made it over here and glad you decided on the Cookshack!

Whenever I make sausages I always have the butcher grind mine up. He will always ask me how much fat and I tell him between 25-30%. I have him double grind...once through a 3/16" sausage plate and then through a 1/4" hamburger plate. This eliminates any chunks you may have. I do prefer my sausages with a little finer grind than many experts suggest.

He tells me a "typical" pork butt contains about 30% fat. I am sure there is some type of test that can be done, but it is also probably very scientific and therefore costly.

If I were grinding my own, I would use a whole pork butt for each batch, thereby you should get some consistency in your final products.

Hope this helps!
Andi probably knows. She knows about every thing.
My opinion? I think the kids chopped up a 'possum in batch number 2, making the "crumbly" outcome.
As for a fat test, one considers that fat floats. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Equal weights of flesh, with unequal amounts of fat, would behave differently if placed in water. Batch with less fat would sink deeper than batch with more fat.
That having been said............ugh, now what?
I generally go for less fat than you guys...15-20 percent. Plus, since I use lean meat (Moose, Caribou) I have to add suet or other fat. I weigh the meat and then the fat. This last time I threw in a pork butt which was pretty fatty. So, I used a quarter pound less suet. This batch is very juicy.

If I'm doing a pure pork product, I use a lean loin and add the fat myself. Better control than just eyeballing pork butts. Too many variables there. Besides, ain't pork butts for pulled pork? LOL!

Gotta have a good set of scales. I have two large pro scales. Not digital, large dial. One goes to 5 lbs., one to 50. Smiler

One of the "tricks" to making coney sauce is how to get the burger to the correct consistency. This is done by soaking it in water for around 2 hours.

When doing this, I have never seen any fat float to the surface. Everything just stays at the bottom of the bowl.

Not sure if this is relevant, but I thought I would bring it up. PLUS, you just got a secret from one of the great coney dog makers! LOL
I find if you use a fancy trim butt(most of the fat taken off)you will get abut a 80-20 mix of meat. If you buy pork from the big companies eg. IBP they ususally cut away the best portion of the butt for their own use. The picnics would be leaner. I suggest that you stay with one or the other when making sausage. Pic nics are better for some varities of sausage while butt is better for others.
I suspect big companies measure fat with some sort of meter that works by the electrical conductivity of the mixture - fat is an insulator while lean is more of a conductor. You could do something with specific gravity - weigh a given volume or measure volume of a specific weight - but I suspect the difference in for example the weight of a cup of 50% fat mixture is so close to the weight of a cup of 20% fat that you'd need very accurate instrumentation.

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