No one loves a dry and crumbly sausage. It not only messes up the taste but also your mood. Seeing the sausages falling apart is a big demotivation, especially for beginners.
I know this because I was there once. When I asked around for a fix, I got a typical answer from most people, “Go for a sausage binder.” But what can I use as a sausage binder?
Soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, milk powder, sodium caseinate, breadcrumbs, rusk, carrot fiber, meat mixer, flour, egg, Maltodextrin, etc., act as effective sausage binders. Also, these additions boost the sausage flavor, texture, and structure,
How do these sausage binders work? Which one should you use? Here are your answers.
Role Of A Sausage Binder: What & Why
What makes sausage so delicious and appealing? The perfect ratio of meat and fat or a balanced combination of spice and herb?
I know both are to credit for fusing this palatable taste of sausage, which is not too salty or savory.
It is what happens when you do not use a sausage binder.
A binder does what the name suggests. It keeps the minced beef together in a sausage, improving its strength, elasticity, and quality. In addition, mixing a binder in processing will prevent meat splitting during cooking and ease cutting.
Not only that. Binders enhance the liquid storing quality in sausages, making the dish more juicy and luscious.
In addition, the binding agents eliminate undesired flavors and protect the original taste of the meat. Thus, you get to enjoy sausages rich in protein and flavor.
What Can I Use As A Sausage Binder?
Mixing the binder into the sausage blend does absolutely no harm. Instead, the binder enhances the richness and flavors of the sausages by many degrees. While many sausage binders are available, soy protein concentrate, dairy base powders, and flour are popular options.
1. Soy Protein
I am sure you have heard of soy protein. The same ingredient helps you lose weight and reduce lean muscle breakdown by promoting muscle growth. It benefits you if it is on your shelf.
Soy protein is an excellent sausage binder, preserving moisture without increasing volume. Furthermore, this element can bind fat and offers a protein-rich sausage mixture. As a result, these sausages have the best texture and consistency when cooked or smoked.
Soy protein is available in both concentrate and isolates forms. The isolates are generally stronger and rich with 90% protein. On the other hand, the concentrates are 70% protein enriched.
Of course, you can not pour as much soy protein as you want in the blender and hope for a quality sausage binding. It does not work that way.
The ideal rule is to mix 3% soy protein for the whole meat. In other words, 2 tablespoons of protein for every pound of meat or one cup for 5 pounds.
You can use a higher percentage of soy, but it does not assure you of the taste. An optimized amount of soy protein is wiser for better flavor and texture.
Yes, the soy proteins are a bit pricey. But considering its quality, using it as a binder is worth trying.
2. Dairy Binders
Well, if you do not want to spend much on soy protein, go for a cheaper option. A dairy-based binder, for example, milk powder, can be a budget choice for you.
But do not worry. The milk powder will provide almost the same quality as the soy protein. In addition, it can retain both moisture and protein, ensuring the perfect juicy, soft, and first texture.
Dairy-based binders are more compatible with wild game sausages. But in any case, you have to choose a non-fat dry milk powder to enjoy the rich sausagey flavor. Apart from milk powder, Whey proteins also provide quality binding in sausages.
Remember, milk powder binders are not so safe for lactose-intolerant people. Hence, always recheck with your guests before going on with this binder.
3. Flour Binder
Flour is a traditional binder that does a great job binding sausages, bologna, or wiener. This ingredient offers the meat a firmer structure and smoother texture.
The flour can also preserve the moisture and protein content in the sausage, ensuring the taste and delicacy.
What Can You Use As A Binder In Sausage?
The flour, milk powder, soy protein, and whey protein all act as excellent sausage binders. However, you can use alternative tricks to bind your sausage meat together. For example, mincing the meats in different grinders or mixing breadcrumbs or carrot fiber in the blend.
1. Mincing Meats In Different Grinders
You do not always have to use a binder to hold the meat essentials together. Sometimes choosing the right meat blend will do the job.
Many home chefs have talked about how they make fancy, restaurant-quality sausages at home without using binding agents.
Apparently, they follow a rule of one-thrid. The method goes like this,
- Take your meat and grind it in a 10 – 12 mm coarse grinding plate.
- Now divide the portion into two halves. Keep one half aside and pass another half through a medium plate grinder of 6 – 8 mm.
- Again divide the portion into two halves. Grind one half in a finer plate of 3 – 5 mm.
- Mixing this minced meat will get a perfectly bound sausage blend.
2. Carrot Fiber
Let me clear the air first. Carrot fiber and carrot grinds are not the same.
Carrot fibers are as effective as another sausage binder. These agents will take care of the sausage’s protein and moisture content.
Also, do not be concerned about the taste. The carrot fibers do not have any added flavor. Thus, this binder gives you the same savory, spicey, and salty deliciousness.
However, carrot fibers like soy protein or milk powders are not widely available.
In the past, breadcrumbs were widely used to make sausages. To this date, breadcrumbs are more than available and can be prepared from the leftover bread pieces.
Hence, using breadcrumbs as a sausage binder serves two purposes. First, it reduces waste. And second, it presents to you crispy textured and seasoned sausages.
What Type Of Binding Agent Is Generally Used In A Sausage Mixture?
Several binding agents can be used in a sausage mixture. Soy protein concentrate or isolate, whey protein, milk powder, breadcrumbs, flours, carrot fibers, etc., are some of the most popular options available as sausage binders.
Wait. There are more.
Carrageenan gum works better with skinless sausages, adding a seasoned texture. In addition, this ingredient can trap a large amount of water inside and increase the meat blend volume when cooked.
The best part of carrageenan gum is it offers you the desired result with less use. As per the rules, mixing 1% gum with the sausage meat will fulfill your purpose.
Maltodextrin, a white powder mixture, includes processed corn, potato, rice, and wheat. Though refined, this gluten-free sausage binder is safe for your health.
Maltodextrin is quite popular among sausage makers due to its benefits. Such as,
- Maltodextrin is cheap and yet safe.
- It is high in carbohydrates and offers a firm sausage structure
- A fractional amount of Maltodextrin can bind a chunk of meat mixture
Rusk is very much similar to breadcrumbs and offers the same advantages. The only difference between these two is that rusks are baked while the breadcrumbs are dried. Generally, this binding agent is more convenient when cooking a larger sausage batch.
Rusk is a popular sausage binder in different regions, especially in the U.K. It can retain water in the sausage and does not let the flavors drain. Rusk can absorb water twice or thrice of its size.
Rusks come in different qualities and types. Using the finer grain rusks offers the quality texture of sausages with the perfect softness.
Meat mixers can also help you bind the sausage blend, especially when cooking a large batch. This mixture does the binding by breaking down the meat protein and creating natural glue.
What Does Powdered Milk Do in Sausage?
Powder milk is a popular binder for sausage and other meat recipes. The non-fat skimmed dry milk powder like Sodium caseinate helps enhance the sausage taste by retaining protein and water content in the meat blend. In addition, this ingredient does the binding by forming an irreversible gel content to absorb the fat and moisture.
Not only that. Using milk powder as a binder adds a creamier texture to the sausages. Also, you get to eliminate the over-saltiness with this binding agent.
However, while some claim dry milk binders are ineffective, others are satisfied with the result. They believe this dairy product offers a richer and fuller texture with no harmful effects. The general adding ratio of milk binder and meat is 2:100.
How Do You Keep Homemade Sausages From Falling Apart?
The improper ratio of fat and meat or insufficient moisture content is why your homemade sausages are dry and crumbly. But do not lose heart. You can always fix your sausages from falling apart.
Here is how,
1. Use The Ideal Fat-Meat Ratio
The measuring capability differentiates the beginner sausage maker from an experienced one. For example, newbies often do not understand how much fat to mix in the blend.
Fats are crucial not only for boosting flavor but also for binding. Unfortunately, you are left with a dry and flaky sausage when you scrape off the fats. On top of that, the sausage does not even taste as delicious as the regular one.
So, what can you do? Should you fill the blend with more fats? No!
The ideal fat-meat ratio is 30 – 70. Hence, it is better to use a fattier cut to prepare sausages. Add commercial fat powder to the processing step if you cook leaner meat.
2. Get A Sausage Binder
Losing the moisture content is another reason why sausages fall apart. Many sausage makers solve this issue by mixing wine and stock in the blend. However, you can add binders to fix this flaw too.
Sausage binders can absorb moisture and hold the fat in the meat mixture. As a result, you no longer have to compromise the taste and texture. Soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, milk powder, rusk, breadcrumbs, carrot fibers, etc., are popular and effective sausage binders.
Can You Make Sausages Without A Sausage Binder?
You definitely can make sausages without a binder. But for that, you have to be exceptionally skilled at your job. Otherwise, you will be left with dry and flavorless sausages.
Using a binder while processing sausage raw materials can be a savior for beginners. The binder does help the sausage maintain its shape, elasticity, and quality.
Besides, it also influences the consistency of the minced meat by retaining moisture. Additionally, the binder ensures that the fatty elements do not swamp the flavor by clamping together. As a result, meat protein stays in intake and offers you the juicy taste burst in your mouth.
So, what happens if you do not use binders?
Nothing much. You will get the same flavor and tenderness of the meat. However, there sure will be differences in the juiciness and texture quality of the sausages.
“What can I use as a sausage binder?” I have had this question enough. I hope my article has cleared some confusion and will help improve your sausage quality.
See, binders are not mandatory. But if you are a newbie, this is a great way to start.
Binders will hide your flaws without messing up the taste. Instead, those additions lead to a bursting of flavor and firmer sausages.