How to Make Beef Sausages at Home

Beef sausages are a big favourite of Australian, United Kingdom and American cultures. Ideally, learning how to make your own beef sausages ranks among the most interesting cooking projects.

The history of sausage making dates back some 4,000 years. Ancient cuneiform tablets recorded a dish of intestines filled with meat stuffing.

According to an article posted at Wikipedia, the popularity of sausages has spread across civilisations and cultures from ancient to modern times. [1]

Casings originally consisted of cleaned animal intestines, and some cultures stuffed stomachs like ancient Scots who made haggis. Today, intestines are still used, but the demand for sausages of all types has increased. That has forced advances in making synthetic casings using cellulose, collagen and even plastic.

But, how to make beef sausages at home? I have prepared a full guide with everything you need to know, starting from selecting the best meat, the fat-to-meat ratio, preparing, stuffing, and all the recommended cooking methods.

Why Make Your Own Beef Sausages

Raw-Beef-Sausage

If you are wondering, why you should make your own beef sausages at home instead of simply buying them from your local store, then there are a couple of reasons.

First, and probably the most important one, is that you have total control of the sausage ingredients. A lot of people joke about sausages made of offal, tongue or other non-preferable parts of cow. By making sausages at home, you choose to mix only high-quality beef and not include anything you don’t like.

Also, another benefit of making sausage at home is that you choose the meat to fat ratio. A lot of people cannot find the perfect meat-to-fat ratio since a few like high mixture of fat and some others like lean sausages with very low levels of fat.

Making them at home, you can find the perfect spot and mix meat-to-fat ratio at the desired levels.

What is the Best Meat for Beef Sausages?

Beef-Sausage-BBQ

The best meat for sausages is your favorite cut of beef. Advocates argue interminably on behalf of their favorite beef producers, such as Australian Beef, Wagyu Beef and Angus Beef. More to the point, people argue about the relative flavors of sausages made with certain cuts of beef.

Most sausage lovers choose beef chuck for its high fat content and reasonable price. Chuck comes from the lower neck and front shoulder. If you choose leaner cuts of beef, you’ll probably need to add more fat.

If beef purity isn’t a factor, adding pork fat is an excellent choice for flavor and cost savings. If you must produce all-beef sausages, you can supplement the fat with beef fat or suet.

Eye of round and sirloin tips are often chosen by some sausage makers. These cuts come from the upper areas of the cow’s rear legs. The cuts are among the more expensive, and you’ll need extra fat because these cuts are leaner than chuck.

What is the Best Meat-to-Fat Ratio for Beef Sausages

Fine-Grined-Beef-Sausages

When selecting the meat and the cut for making sausage, one of the main things to take into consideration is the meat to fat ratio present in the meat.

This also depends a lot on the personal preference, since some people would like juicer and more fat and some people prefer more lean sausage.

Typically, when making sausage, you want to aim for a ratio of 70-80% meat and 20-30% fat.

You should be careful when choosing the meat cut since selecting a cut which is too lean, can lead to sausage that is dry, lacks flavor and is tough to chew.

You can adjust the ratio by about 10% either way but anything below 15% fat ratio would result in dry and bland after cooking.

How to Calculate Fat to Meat Ratio in Sausage

Ultimately, the amount of fat you add to the sausage depends a lot on how lean the meat cut is. Only by knowing the real fat percentage of the cut will allow you to proper calculate the correct ratios.

In most cases, when you buy meat at the store, the label specifies how much fat is in the meat.

Cuts of beef are usually labeled with their lean-to-fat percentage, like ground beef for example labeled “85% lean”. 

If the cut is not labeled, you can do a simply calculation to know the percentage. For example, if the label says that a 100g serving has 10g of fat, you know that the fat ratio to the meat is 10% fat.

If the meat cut doesn’t have the desired fat ratio, you can add additional fat to match the recipe.

For Example:

  • If you have 100 grams of ground beef, with 20% fat ratio, you would need to add an additional 10 grams of fat or 10% to reach a 30% ratio.
  • If you have 100 grams of lean beef meat, with less than 7-8 grams of fat or 7-8%, then you would need to add an extra 25-30% fat to reach the desired ratio.

If you find it confusing to do it by yourself, there are several online tools and apps to help you calculate the fat ratio based on the meat and the recipe you are preparing.


How to Make Beef Sausages at Home

Making beef sausages at home gives you bragging rights and incontrovertible proof of the sausage’s ingredients. Many people joke about sausages containing offal, tongue and other by-products.

You know exactly what’s in your own sausages. It’s easy to make them right in your own kitchen and control every aspect of production.

The recipe we’ve chosen to share with you is a British-based sausage style with light seasonings. It’s 100 percent beef and makes a perfect snag for outdoor barbecuing, smoking and grilling. The recipe deliberately includes some filler to prevent the sausages from becoming too dry and chewy after cooking.

Required Ingredients and Tools

The list of ingredients includes cooked rice as a filler instead of breadcrumbs. That makes the recipe suitable for Paleo diets because your sausages will be gluten-free.

If gluten isn't an issue, you can substitute bread crumbs or leave out any filler by substituting 3 tablespoons of water, wine or cognac. You’ll need the following tools:

  • Meat Grinder
  • Sausage Mixer
  • Sausage Stuffer or Stuffing Attachment
  • Sausage Casings
  • Mixing Bowls, Stainless Steel Preferred
  • Saucepan with Tight-Fitting Lid

It’s important to keep everything cold for food safety and better texture. That means returning the meat to the refrigerator when not in use, using chilled stainless steel bowls and working quickly.

The ingredients include:

  • 2 Kg or 4.5 lbs Chuck with an 80% to 20% Meat to Fat Ratio
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Salt
  • 3 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons White Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Dried Sage
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Ground Ginger
  • 3/4 Cup Long Grain Rice
  • 1 1/4 Cups Water to Cook Rice
  • 0.4 kg or 1 lbs Beef Fat or Suet

Preparing and Seasoning the Meat

Beef-Sausages-Seasoning-Rub
Grinding-Beef-Sausages

The key to making beef sausages correctly is preparing everything so that the operation goes quickly. Cut the beef into 5 Cm / 2-inch Cubes. Cut the additional fat into cubes, and add them to the mixture.

Mix the seasonings together, and sprinkle over the beef and turn the meat to coat the cubes. Place the bowl in the freezer while you cook the rice.

Rinse the rice three times in cold water to remove as much of the starch as possible, and drain the rice. Bring the water to a boil, and add the rice. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the saucepan and simmer for five minutes.

Immediately remove the rice from the heat, and rest it covered while it absorbs the rest of the water. It’s preferable to undercook the rice than overcook it, which makes the rice soggy.

Remove the rice to a plate, and spread it out to cool in the refrigerator. Set up your food grinder, mixer and sausage stuffer or stuffing attachment. Now you’re ready to process your sausages quickly and efficiently.

Grinding the Meat

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Grinded-Beef-Sausages

Remove the bowl of prepared meat from the freezer, and push the seasoned beef and fat cubes through the grinder. Place the minced meat in another clean bowl, and return it to the freezer.

When the rice is cold, add it to the meat mixture. Stir the rice evenly throughout the mixture, or process it in your mixer with a rubber stirring attachment.

Grind the meat mixture a second time into another large dish. Return it to the freezer until you’re ready to begin stuffing the sausages.

Stuffing the Sausages

Making-Beef-Sausages

Soak the casings in cold water to remove any excess packing salt. If you haven’t already done so, set up your sausage stuffer or meat grinder attachment. Remove the cutting plate, and fit the medium sausage nozzle to the grinder. Follow these steps to stuff your sausage casings:

  • Use care to slide the entire sausage casing over the tip of the nozzle.
  • Take the meat mixture out of the freezer.
  • Place one hand over the nozzle to secure the casing.
  • Use the other hand to feed the mixture into the stuffer or grinder.
  • Pull the casing from the nozzle as it fills with meat.
  • Leave space between the length of each sausage, but don’t tie off the sausages yet.
  • Twist the area between sausages in alternating directions.
  • Continue feeding meat until you reach the end or run out of meat.
  • Tie off the end, and trim away any excess casing.
  • Refrigerate the stuffed sausages immediately.
  • You can cook the sausage after 3 hours and up to 3 days.
  • Freezing the sausages extends their useful life.

Cooking Beef Sausages

Best-BBQ-Beef-Sausages

There are many techniques for cooking beef sausages, including: pan frying, baking, poaching, smoking and grilling.

What we recommend is to go for a method which will caramelize the skin. Creating a crispy, caramelization skin makes the flavor of the meat burst against the taste buds.

The cooking methods which can make this happen is pan frying, grilling or smoking.

Pan-Frying Sausages

Pan-frying your freshly made beef sausages is the most popular way to cook them. Set your cooker element to medium-high heat, and heat the pan.

You can add up to 1 tablespoon of oil to prevent sticking and promote even browning. The sausages will provide additional drippings, so don’t overdo the oil.

Separate the sausage links, and place them in the pan. Turn them every 2-3 minutes to brown them evenly on all surfaces.

Once the sausages are evenly browned, you can cut them to detect any pink. You can also check the temperature with an instant-read meat thermometer.

We recommend cooking beef sausages to an internal temperature of 160°F. Cooking longer tends to make the sausages give up their fat and dry out the meat. [2]

Even if cooking sausages with pork fat, the temperature will rise slightly after frying. They’ll easily reach 165°F, which is the safe temperature for all cooked foods.

Smoking and Grilling Beef Sausage

Grilled-BBQ-Beef-Sausages

Grilling and smoking your sausages adds something to the flavor. Call it umami, the recently added sixth taste. The smoke and caramelization add a balanced flavor that transcends poached or boiled sausages.

For grilling, you should bring your grill up medium-high heat. Set the burners on a gas grill, or gather the glowing coals in one grill section.

Sear the sausages on the hot side of the grill on both sides. Move them to a cooler part of the grill to continue cooking to a safe temperature. That’s 160-degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer.

Smoking Beef Sausages Like an Outdoor Cooking Pro

Grilling-Beef-Sausages
Cooking-Sausages-on-Grill

Preheat your smoker to 225-degrees Fahrenheit. Place the sausages on the indirect heat side, and add wood to the direct heat side. [3]

You don’t need to turn the meat, and the cooking takes about an hour. Cook to 160-degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer.

Smoking Temperatures

Smoking beef sausages requires precise control of temperature. You can set the smoker between 200° and 225° Fahrenheit. However, you should recognize that 100-percent beef sausages can be cooked to 145 degrees. [4]

That gives you a cushion to caramelize the sausages. Pay fry, grill or broil them in the over to generate a crunchy casing and extra flavor.

Concluding Thoughts About Beef Sausages

Once you have experience, you can tinker with ingredients. You can even add Cayenne pepper for spicy sausages right away. Adding your own touches should always maintain the meat-to-fat ratio.

You should also take care to maintain the ratio of moisture. Excess moisture can cause steam that splits the casings. You can lose all the moisturizing fat.

The main concept that we hope you retain is that you don’t have to settle for commercially made sausages. You can add your own touches and choose your ingredients. That’s reassuring and rewarding because you can design the perfect beef sausage to your taste.

About Kendrick

Kendrick is an outdoor cooking enthusiast, currently living in Kansas. He loves to share his knowledge and passion about cooking with everyone online (Read More)

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