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All about grinding your sausage meat

 

Grinding your meat is a key sausage making step and although its pretty hard to completely stuff it up, your grind will impact the visual appearance and texture of your final sausage so it’s good to understand how they work.

Grinding plates/dies are the little plates that look like mini cheese graters. You put them into your sausage grinder and the hole size in the plate will dictate how coarse or fine your sausage mince will be, and therefore how coarse or smooth your final sausage will be.

Essentially, bigger grinder plates = bigger holes = coarser sausage with more visible 'bits' and a more 'crumbly' texture. Smaller grinder plates = smaller holes = smoother sausage with finer texture (no visible 'bits') and firmer texture eg a hot dog.

So what size should I use?

Grinding plates are available in a variety of sizes. The ‘size’ refers to the size of the holes on the grinding plate, and therefore the size of the bits in your sausage mince. Here are the most common ones:

Size mm

Size inch

What to use it for

3mm

1/8”

Very fine grind. Perfect for franks, hot dogs and jerky

4.5mm

3/16”

A fine-medium grind. Good for the 2nd grind. Ideal for breakfast sausage, Polish Sausage, Italian Sausage and most regular sausages.

6mm

¼”

A regular grind. For Coarse Sausages Such as summer sausage, salami, pepperoni and snack sticks.

10mm

3/8”

A Coarse Grind. Good for the 1st grind. Ideal for Bratwurst, Chorizo & Salami.

 

Should I grind once or twice?

There’s no magic answer for how many times you should grind meat for sausages. It’s really up to personal preference. If you like a coarse, chunky sausage then once should be enough. If you prefer a smoother sausage, then you probably want to grind it twice.

If you want to grind twice, you can firstly grind with a coarse, ⅜” plate, then a smaller ¼” plate or finer 3/16” plate second. Or you could grind with a coarse ⅜” plate both times. Or if you want a very smooth sausage, grind twice with a fine plate.

Like many things in the world of sausage making, it’s easy to overcomplicate things so don’t get too hung up on all these options. Just get stuck in, have some fun and learn as you go.

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