If you’re new to sausage-making you may be wondering about a few terms such as pork trim, pork fat and meat block. Sausage-making is an art, perfected over time with trial and error. But there is definitely a science to it, and you need to know the basics to ensure your masterpiece not only tastes great, but is healthy and safe to eat!
Unfortunately, there are some terms used in industry that have different meanings to different people. At High Caliber, when it comes to meat, our motto is “Safety First!”, so we work with the professionals – certified butchers, meat cutters and meat scientists – to ensure that the information we share is the same quality as the products we provide.
So first off, what is a meat block?
At High Caliber, when we reference a “meat block” we are simply referring to the total meat (protein) being used in the making of your sausage. This can be a combination of types of meat, typically you will see a type of meat like Beef or Venison with Pork added for fat content.
What is Pork Trim?
Pork trim is harder to define as an exact product. Every butcher shop will have a different idea of what constitutes pork trim, and it’s exact make up can vary from day to day. Essentially, it’s the bits and pieces left over when “trimming” pork. It’s a combination of lean meat and fat, but typically has all bones and large portions of fat removed.
What is Pork Fat?
Pork fat is a little easier to define, and is mostly straight fat. Pork fat can be ground with a lean meat, like Venison, to add flavour and moisture to your sausage product. Be careful though! Too much fat can make your meat block difficult to work with and your resulting sausage on the unhealthy side. Typically, our instructors suggest an 80/20 ratio, with 80% lean meat and 20% fat.
Why add fat at all?
To form a stable meat batter, proteins must surround the finely chopped fat particles before cooking. Meat proteins vary, and may be hydrophilic (like water) or hydrophobic (like fat) in nature. Myosin is the major structural protein of meat. It is the most important of the proteins for fat emulsification and water holding capacity of processed meats.
And, as mentioned above, fat helps to distribute flavour and prevent your sausage from being too dry.