Not so much being as picky as we are about quality control we buy the meat and butcher it ourselves, we then grind it to the particular grind that works best to bind the meat during the curing process. We purchased 3 New York shoulders and 2 fresh hams netting us 75 lbs of ground meat, we seasoned the meat for both salami and sausages to freeze. That was done on Friday.
Saturday was stuffing day, it takes a lot of time to stuff the casings even with the luxury of a machine, there can't be any air in the links so they need to be poked with a needle. The links have to be tied as they are stuffed so it's 3 person job stopping and starting at every link, the procedure is this: one person runs the machine and feeds the meat mixture into the grinder/stuffer, one person holds the casing in place on the stuffing funnel with one hand and regulates the pressure with the other (the most important job; if there is too much pressure the casing will burst, not enough pressure and the salami might have air inside spoiling the salami), the third person is the poker and tier; they tie the links off with twine and poke the links to get the air out of the meat.
The sausages to freeze are easy to stuff there is no tying or poking or pressure regulation involved, the links are merely separated by twisting the sausage into links the desired length. But they have to be glazed before vacuum sealing for added protection against freezer burn, what I mean by that is the links are frozen individually on cookie sheets covered with parchment paper for about 2 hours, remove from the freezer and quickly immerse them in water, return to the freezer for another hour and repeat the process one or two more times. Because there is salt in the meat it tends to get freezer burned more quickly the water glaze helps to protect the sausages. After all of this we vacuum seal the links and freeze them.
Whew! We finished at 9 pm from 8 in the morning that we started. So that was my weekend how was yours?
I'm looking forward to the students coming this afternoon :)