What is "Backslopping"?

"Backslopping" is a process in sausage-making that incorporates a portion of mince from a previous batch into the mince you are making. This is similar to a sourdough starter, or 'Amish Friendship Bread'.

This can be used to add in beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, as well as adding additional flavor elements. One flavor element of particular note is "umami", a rich, savory taste.

To use this aged meat, a portion would be used in the production of a new batch of sausage. Before stuffing, a portion (ideally matching the amount removed) would be returned to the aged meat, and reincorpoated well.

For the mince that is held back, replacing the portion previously removed introduces new "food" for the existing bacteria to consume. As with a sourdough starter, this new material being incorporated helps to continue the cycle.

In theory, a well-fed and well-cycled mince would last indefinitely, as the bacteria, and other preservation measures, would keep the meat preserved and safe.

The Experiment

To explore the concept of backslopping, I've set up a simple straightforward method, outlined below.

  1. Prepare 1 pound of ground pork with Prague Powder #2 (a nitrate/nitrite salt for used to prevent Botulism, as noted here) and 2~4 oz. of the leftover liquid from making sauerkraut. (The sauerkraut liquid is where the beneficial Lactobacillus culture will be coming from.)
  2. Allow the prepared mince to rest in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, mixing every few days.
  3. Prepare a sauage recipe using 1/2 pound of the inoculated mince.
  4. Before stuffing, but after any resting period such as the one called for with chorizo, remove 1/2 pound of the new mince.
  5. Thoroughly mix the removed mince portion with the remainder of the inoculated pork.
  6. Repeat Steps 2-5 until either I get tired of keeping a pound of aged mince in the refrigerator, or it shows signs of spoilage.

As each sausage is ready, it will be sampled, with tasting notes taken. As I am familiar with the currently planned sausages that will be made, a comparison will be straightforward. Should I ever grow tired of this experiment, the aged mince will be used to make a small batch, representing the culmination of flavors.

The Schedule of Sausages

As it stands right now, the tentative schedule for sausages being made with this method are as follows:

Sausage 1 - Sabina Welserin's "good sausage for a salad"

Sausage 2 - A beef sausage from "The Good Housewife's Jewel"

Sausage 3 - Spanish Chorizo

Sausage 4 -A pork (or beef) sausage, made using a fennel-seasoned recipe from Martino

The recipes for sausages 3 and 4 can be found in the documentation that I prepared as part of a commission for Magistra Lucretia Marcella.

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