It seems that people are intrigued by the process of making sausage. They often ask “how is sausage made?” or “what is sausage really made of?” There are a lot of misconceptions from over the years about the sausage-making process, what goes into the product, and the conditions of plants that make sausage. Well, as a business who has made sausage for over 65 years, we thought we would walk you through the step-by-step process of how sausage is made here at Stoltzfus Meats.
Mixing & Grinding
The first step in the process is combining the perfect ratio of meat. We use a mixture of lean pork and fatty pork to make sure the sausage is as flavorful as possible. The fatty pork portion is a great way for us to use up some of the trimmings from our bacon! The amount of meat is weighed out to make sure it’s the perfect ratio.
The meat mixture is taken over to our grinder to be ground down into a finer mixture. Once it’s ground finer, we add it to our mixing machine. This is where Willie adds the seasoning mixture based on the flavor of sausage that is being made and mixes it into the ground meat.
Next step is the stuffing step! The ground meat is dumped into our stuffing machine, which looks like an upside down funnel that feeds the meat into a thin tube. From that thin tube, the meat is transferred into a casing. The casing used determines whether the product is a breakfast link, griller, or rope sausage product.
All of our sausage products are “hand-stuffed,” meaning that the operator of the machine determines the amount of meat that goes into the casing. Because of this, this step of the process is somewhat of an art and takes a lot of practice to master.
Once the product is finished in production and ready to go, it heads down the line to the packing crew. If customers order it in bulk for sale at a market stand or out of a deli counter for example, the fresh sausage goes directly into a box.
However, some of our customers prefer their product in vacuum-sealed retail packs for sale at a grocery store or other similar retail location. These items go to a different packing line where they will be separated out into 1-pound increments and vacuum-sealed. These packs are then put into the box for the customer.
Once the sausage is packaged, the box is labeled, and it goes to our warehouse cooler where it is used to fill wholesale customer orders.
There you have it! Because sausage is one of our fresh products (as opposed to smoked), it is processed very quickly to ensure that our customers are receiving the freshest, highest quality product.
We hope you enjoyed following along with the sausage-making process and maybe this dispelled a few myths you had about how sausage is made. If you have any questions, please be sure to let us know by leaving a comment!