Sausage Processing Industry Introduction
A sausage is (not always) a cylindrical meat product usually made from ground meat, often pork, beef, or veal, along with salt, spices and other flavourings, and breadcrumbs, encased by a skin. Typically, a sausage is formed in a casing traditionally made from intestine, but sometimes from synthetic materials. Sausages that are sold raw are cooked in many ways, including pan-frying, broiling and barbecuing. Some sausages are cooked during processing and the casing may then be removed.
Sausage making is a traditional food preservation technique. Sausages may be preserved by curing, drying (often in association with fermentation or culturing, which can contribute to preservation), smoking, or freezing. Some cured or smoked sausages can be stored without refrigeration. Most fresh sausages must be refrigerated or frozen until they are cooked.
Sausages come in a huge range of national and regional varieties, which differ by their flavouring or spicing ingredients (garlic, peppers, wine, etc.), the meat(s) used in them and their manner of preparation. The word “sausage” is derived from the Latin word “salsus”, which means salted, or preserved by salting. Sausages and sausage products have since evolved into a wide variety of flavors, textures, and shapes resulting from variations in ingredients and manufacturing processes.
Sausage grew in popularity and brought fame and fortune to many sausage makers and to various cities. Today more than 250 varieties are sold, and many of these can be traced back to the town and country of origin. The contemporary role of sausage fits conveniently into our modern lifestyles as an elegant appetizer for entertaining as well as the main course in quick-and-easy meals. Furthermore, sausages are a relatively safe product to consume because of the added effects of salt, pH, cure, drying and cooking to preserve the product and eliminate harmful bacteria. Sausage is a convenient food available in a great number of varieties and flavors. Sausages are an excellent source of high-quality protein, containing all the essential amino acids in appropriate amounts necessary for growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissue. Sausage also provides significant amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Types of Sausage
Sausages are made from beef, veal, pork, lamb, poultry and wild game, or from any combination of these meats. Sausage making has become a unique blend of old procedures and new scientific, highly-mechanized processes. Traditionally, sausage was formed into a symmetrical shape, but it now can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes to meet consumers’ needs. Sausages can be classified in a variety of ways, but probably the most useful is by how they are processed. Processing methods give sausages easily recognizable characteristics, and the types of sausage are classified as following chart.
Sausage Production Processing
In this part, you will go over the main steps which are used to produce standard sausage products, and the main processes used to produce sausages are as followings:
- Selecting ingredients
- Grinding meat ingredients
- Blending the meat and non-meat ingredients
- Stuffing and filling
- Packaging and storage
1. Selecting ingredients
The finished product is only as good as the ingredients it contains. Meat should be fresh, high quality, have the proper lean-to-fat ratio and have good binding qualities. The meat should be clean and not contaminated with bacteria or other microorganisms. In other words, meat used in sausage production should be safe. Selecting spices and seasonings and combining them in proper amounts is important. They must complement each other to create a satisfying product. At the same time, there are many non-meat ingredients that are essential to the sausage-making process. These non-meat ingredients stabilize the mixture and add specific characteristics and flavors to the final product. Ingredients used in fresh sausage include water, salt, and antioxidants, along with traditional spices, seasonings, and flavorings. And The amount of non-meat ingredients, such as spices, is determined by the overall weight of the product mixture.
2. Grinding meat ingredients
The second step in sausage production is grinding the ingredients by meat grinding machine efficiently. The grinding stage reduces the meat ingredients into small, uniformly sized particles. Ground meat is the primary ingredient in a sausage formulation. The characteristics of the meat ingredients used to create the sausage define the type of sausage such as the overall taste, texture, aroma, along with the protein and fat content. Generally, grinding processes will vary according to the manufacturer and the nature of the product. Some sausage products use coarsely ground meats, others use more finely ground meat ingredients. Some manufacturers grind the lean and fat trimmings separately, grinding the lean trimmings to a finer consistency than the fat meats.
3. Blending the meat and non-meat ingredients
Manufacturers carefully control the blending of the meat and non-meat ingredients to create the desired characteristics for a specific sausage formulation. The meat and non-meat ingredients are placed in a meat mixer and thoroughly blended. The blending process must also obtain a uniform distribution of any non-meat ingredients within the product formulation. For example, flavorings, salts, and other ingredients must be consistently mixed throughout a sausage formulation.
4. Stuffing and filling
After the blending is complete, the blended ingredients may be bulk packaged, or they may be extruded into a casing. This process is called stuffing. And the sausage filler machine is the necessary equipment for stuffing kinds of sausages.
Smoking is used to dry and cure the meat for making smoked sausage, and impart flavors and aroma to the final product. Smoking was traditionally important because it inhibited bacterial growth on the finished product. A smoke generator creates natural smoke via a carefully controlled burning of hardwood sawdust, wood chips, or logs. However, automatic meat smoking machine has replaced the traditional smoking machine by employing an improved smoking method to process meat in a more health and sanitary way than the traditional smoking method now.
6. Packaging and storage
The fresh sausage product is sometimes packaged for sale to the customer. The product may be wrapped in a gas impermeable plastic, and placed into refrigerated storage or display. The specific packaging will vary according to the needs of the end user, the processor must follow hygienic standards when packaging any sausage product to avoid contaminating the product. Often retail fresh sausage is tray packed. However, many sausage products are vacuum packed, freshness dated and 100% edible. Handle carefully and store properly to preserve freshness. Use right away or freeze. Vacuum-packaged sausage can be frozen as is. Try to eliminate air from the package whether wrapping in zipper bags, freezer paper, or plastic wrap. You can freeze items for 1-2 months without affecting the flavor and quality of the sausage.
Sausage Variations in Daily Life
Sausages may be served as an appetizer, in a sandwich, in a bread roll as a hot dog, wrapped in a tortilla, or as an ingredient in dishes such as stews and casseroles. It can be served on a stick or on a bone as well. Sausage without casing is called sausage meat and can be fried or used as stuffing for poultry, or for wrapping foods like Scotch eggs. Similarly, sausage meat encased in puff pastry is called a sausage roll.
Sausages are almost always fried in oil, served for any meal, particularly breakfast or lunch and often sweet sausages have been created which are made with any of the above: dried fruit, nuts, caramel and chocolate, bound with butter and sugar. These sweet sausages are refrigerated rather than fried and usually, however, served for dessert rather than as part of a savory course. Sausages can also be modified to use indigenous ingredients. Mexican styles add oregano and the guajillo red pepper to the Spanish chorizo to give it an even hotter spicy touch. Certain sausages also contain ingredients such as cheese and apple, or types of vegetable.
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