Pork Butt Profits

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The meat processing techniques in this post are relatively non-labor intensive and the cost of retail starting raw meat (from a wholesale club store) is toward the current low price end.  Further, each of the 3 end-products suggested here has a good market in at least 1 moderately large U.S. city.  If you don’t benefit from the following ideas it is likely due to a lack of will to practice them.  On the other hand: there is always room for improvement; constructive input is encouraged.

I believe that most pork shoulder butts labeled as Natural are allowed to be pork plant injected with small amounts of water dissolved salt and microbial inhibitors.  I light of that perception, I use about 1/2 the salt that recipes otherwise call for.

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In order to obtain a higher fat percentage, that will facilitate good palatability in fresh Polish sausage, I remove at least 10 pounds of lean from a case of Ultra Trim, Neck Off butts.  Separated lean is trimmed to no more than 1/8 inch of fat thickness at any one point.  The actual pounds of lean meat removed depends on the case weight and on how fatty the butts appear.  Modern markets hogs are fairly uniform, but there’s still some plant trimming or seam fat variations.  Marbling degrees in mainstream market hog are not usually great enough to take into consideration.  I prefer fresh pork sausage to be in about the 80% lean range.  Saved-back lean is used either in smoke-cooked pulled-pork or in Goetta production.  If making pulled-pork, take lean from the “money-muscle” end of butts.  To see how I smoke-cook lean butt chunks click here.  There are also several other how to cook in large fibrous casing posts riding on the Pork and Beef Express; look for them if interested.  Conversely, if the “robbed” lean is for making Goetta it can workably consist of supraspinatus muscles and a little of the surrounding meat.  The Supraspinatus is known as the mock tender in beef and sits on the top side of the ridge of the scapula (blade bone).  To learn more about Goetta production click here.  The Goetta & sausage scenario puts the best butt meat into sausage production.

I don’t wear a protective glove when removing blade bones from pork butts so can I feel closely for bone-fragments.  Bone-chips can be produced by the rapid sawing of blade bones, be on the lean side of a roast as heavy bone-skin from where neck bones were removed or small pieces of bone can be embedded in cover fat from where butts were rolled about on the pork plant moving cut fabrication line.

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The 80.9 pound box of butts used was broken out as follows: .9 pounds of purge/weep loss, 4 pounds of blade bones, 1 pound of objectionable trim materials thrown out, 10 pounds of lean blade meat for making Goetta and 65 pounds of separated lean & fat for fresh Polish sausage production.  For how to easily adjusted non-meat formulation ingredients to 65 pounds of raw pork click here.  This batch adjusted from my master formulation to  18 3/4 Tbsp. whole marjoram, 9 3/4  Tbsp. coarse ground black pepper, 39 cloves crushed garlic, 5 3/4 cups of liquid, 8 Tbsp. sausage phosphate, 20 1/2 Tbsp. salt and approximately 1/2 hank of 32-35 mm natural sausage casings.  Remember, salt amount was reduced because “Natural” pork was used.

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This is an optional step: I oven cooked the blade bones in shallow water then strained the hot broth.

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3 3/4 cups of hot broth (optional, water can be used) was added to a stovetop pan containing the marjoram, pepper and garlic then all was brought to a boil to pasteurize spices and to help take the bite off garlic.  Spice blend was then chilled overnight.  Purified salt was mixed in the next day.  1/2 hank of casings was flushed and soaked in water, before grinding meat

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Lean was ground once through a 3/4 inch hole size plate and partially frozen fat trimmings (in the freezer for about 1/2 hour) were ground twice through a 3/16 inch plate.  2 slices of frozen bread were ran behind the second fat grind to help push pork from the grinder’s bell-head.  Sausage phosphate was then well dissolved in the remaining 2 cups of water and lightly mixed in with all pork.  Seasoning blend was then added and batch was mixed until it became somewhat sticky.  The sodium phosphate and the seasoning containers were wiped clean with ground meat.

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Sausage was stuffed and linked to the length of the width of a one gallon zip-lock freezer bag.  Each bag contained 6 long links and a knot was tied on the open end of the 1st and 6th link.  Before being sealed, bags were rolled to help occlude air.

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Freezer full of fresh Polish sausage and 2 varieties of pierogi for the Holidays.  Approximately 23 pounds of well chilled Goetta was packed and frozen the next day.

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I like to steam-cook fresh Polish sausage on a rack and in a covered roasting pan that has a bottom full of water, for 1 3/4 hour at 225F.  Well distributed fat baste the large chunks of lean.  Casing are tender and the sausage texture is moist, somewhat sticky shreds of moderately seasoned meat.  This is a premium dinner sausage.  MSG or hydrolyzed vegetable protein can be used to make it even more irresistible, but I do not use either of them.

A good home option for adding variety of sausage types and enhancing freezer storage is to freeze ground pork in 1 to 5 pound bags; then add sausage seasoning upon thawing.  This is a good practice because salt increases the rate of fat oxidation.

 

 

 

 

Written by George Wolfer

George Wolfer

Been associated with the meat industry pretty much since starting at a Vocational High school Meat Processing program in 1974. Like to learn and teach interesting and worthwhile livestock production, meat processing and marketing practices.

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