Stuffing

Meat product is usually stuffed into natural casings, cellulose casings, collagen casings, cook-in-bags, or molds to form the final geometric shape. Several types of pumps are used in stuffers, such as piston, gear, vane, or worm gear types. For small link products, a continuous stuffing, linking, and looping machine is most commonly employed. The machine can produce 3,000-4,000 lb/h. For a large-diameter product, such as bologna, the meat dough is stuffed into the casing with a casing sizer to ensure a uniform diameter from one end to the other. A metal mold is often used in producing large-diameter products to replace expensive casing.

Sausage manufacturers spend about 5 percent of the cost on casing to form product and then peel it off and throw it away. To save the cost, a highly automatic coex-trusion system has been developed. The system consists of two meat ingredients; one is sausage meat and the other a collagen paste that is derived from hide. Two meat ingredients are fed through a co-extrusion nozzle simultaneously. The nozzle consists of a central tube surrounded by two cone-shaped elements between which there is a narrow gap ending in an orifice circling the tube. The cones spin in opposite directions. The collagen is forced through the gap and spun onto an endless rope of sausage meat. This rope is then passed through a brine bath to coagulate the collagen and then through a crimper that separates and forms the individual links. The diameter of sausage is determined by the size of the nozzle. The co-extruded products are then transferred onto a conveyor to the drying tower. The co-extruded product has bite characteristics similar to those of the natural-casing product.

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