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Beef Mortadella

We are making beef mortadella. This gourmet charcuterie is a show stopper and incredibly fun to make.

This emulsified sausage will challenge even the most experienced sausage maker but when made correctly this sausage really stands alone. I’ll share with you my tips and secrets in todays recipe so that you can have the best chance of success. The first thing we need to know about this sausage is the relationship that myosin has with fat and water.

Myosin is a salt soluble protein that acts as an emulsifier between fat and water. It’s the glue that holds it all together, so in order to make a proper emulsified sausage we need to extract as much myosin as we possibly can. For this reason we don’t want our fat content to be too high. For this recipe we’ll be adding 20% fat, you can go down to 15% if you want to. By keeping the fat content on the lower side we ensure that we will have enough extracted myosin to bind everything together.

How do we extract the myosin?

Salt plays a large role in protein extraction. 2% – 3% added salt will allow for maximum myosin extraction. With this in mind we also need to consider the saltiness of our end product. I have personally found that 3% salt is a little on the salty side for my tastes so for this recipe we will be going with a 2% salt content.

Temperature is another key factor in protein extraction. The optimal temperature for maximum protein extraction is between 35F – 38F. For this reason we will be salting our ground meat and placing it in the refrigerator overnight. This will naturally start to pull the myosin out of the meat. The rest of the process will happen in the food processor as we chop our chilled meat.

What’s the best way to make an emulsified sausage

There are a few techniques that you can use make an emulsified sausage. The first (which happens to be the easiest) is to use a kitchen aid stand mixer. This is the preferred method for home producers of charcuterie because it’s a little more forgiving and although it’s technically not an emulsified sausage it’s about the closest thing to it (without all the fuss). If you plan on using this method then you will grind your meat and fat together 4 times. Start with a 10mm plate, next 4.5mm, then twice on a 3mm plate. Add the salt and the cure to your ground beef and refrigerate overnight. The next day, place your very cold (32F – 34F) ground meat along with your seasonings and ice cold water into your kitchen aid. Turn it on a medium speed and begin to mix. You’ll want to check the temperature along the way. We use a Thermapen by Thermaworks as it’s fast and accurate. As you mix you’ll want to keep the mince between 35F – 44F. After a few minutes of mixing your meat batter should look smooth. Turn off your stand mixer off and proceed with your recipe.

The other way you can make this happen at home is by using a food processor. This is the method I prefer because it actually produces a finer texture with a better emulsion. The problem is that this method carries with it several challenges. The first challenge is the condition of your blades. They need to be sharp!! If they are dull you will “whip” your batter creating a fluffy mousse type product with a very pillowy texture. The other challenge is temperature. If you use this method you’ll have to really keep an eye on the temperature. The friction of the blades will raise the temperature of your batter very fast and the final challenge is the food processor itself. If you don’t have a commercial grade unit I would most likely advise against this method. Chopping cold meat and fat in a food processor is very hard on the motor and can easily and quickly burn it out. With that in mind let me explain how to do this technique.

Start by grinding your meat and fat. I grind mine twice. Once on a 10mm and then on a 3mm plate. Add the salt and the cure to your ground meat and refrigerate overnight. The next morning rechill your meat so that the temperature is between 32f and 34f. Add the chilled ground meat and half the crushed ice to your food processor and begin to chop. Be sure to keep the temperature below 44F during this step. You will be chopping for a few minutes. Once you have a smooth batter add your seasonings and the rest of the crushed ice. Chop for a minute more. Finally add your binder and finish chopping. The final temperature should not exceed 55F.

Should you use a binder in your recipe?

The use of a binder is completely optional but highly recommended (especially in emulsified sausages). Binders serve several purpose when making emulsified sausages. Primarily they can help stabilize the emulsion. They have great water holding capacity allowing you to add more water to your sausage meat. This really helps to keep your sausage juicy. Finally they improve the overall texture of your sausage. I personally like to use potato starch but if you can’t get potato starch you can also use Non flavored gelatin, Non Fat Dry Powder Milk, Soy Protein Concentrate, or even Carrot fiber. I generally add between 2% and 5% to my recipe.

Here are a few things you might find useful when making sausage

Enjoy the video and the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. If you make this at home I’d love to hear about how it came out!!

If you want to see the different things that we use in operation our be sure to check out our new Amazon Store.

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ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4
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4.57 from 23 votes

Beef Mortadella

Elegant, well balanced, and super delicious
Prep Time1 day 30 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
How much do you want to make? 1000 grams

Ingredients

Optional Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cut your beef and fat into small cubes and chill
  • Grind the chilled beef and fat twice. First time through a 10mm plate, partially refreeze then grind again through a 3 mm plate.
  • Mix the salt and the cure in with the ground beef. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • The following day place the beef in your food processor. Chop for 3 minutes adding half the crushed ice. Try to keep the temperature between 35-39F
  • After meat has been chopped and the rest of the crushed ice and the seasonings. Continue to chop in your food processor. Once your farce is well chopped add, the binder and continue chopping for a minute more. Be sure that your temperature does not exceed 55F. Your farce should look homogenous or at least mostly homogenous
  • Mix your meat batter with whatever whole ingredients you plan on adding (pistachios, peppercorns, etc.)
  • Stuff into a 150mm casings. If you are not using a cure accelerator you will need to place the mortadella in the refrigerator overnight for the cure to do it's job. The next day you can cook sous vide at 140F for 3 hours. OR you can skip the cure all together and cook right away. (The cure is added for color preservation, flavor enhancement, and to extend the shelf life.)
  • After it's cooks cool it down in an ice water bath and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy

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32 thoughts on “Beef Mortadella”

  1. I was looking for a recipe that can mimic Boar’s Head Garlic Bologna.
    As a child we always had the best garlic bologna from either the German or Polish butcher, I want to try and make it. I do not have a sous vide.
    Thank you for all of your help. I am new to sausage making.

  2. 5 stars
    Easy and tasty recipe! I used all pork (about an 80% lean to 20% fat) rather than adding beef. The taste was fantastic … I must confess I added about 2gm ground nutmeg which gave it an aroma and taste reminiscent of the mortadella my Mom would buy when we were kids in NYC. I added the pistachios and peppercorns but in retrospect, should have added diced fat for an authentic mortadella look.

    Only problem I had was cooking the finished product. I don’t own a sous vide so I had to submerge the sausages in a large pot that I unfortunately brought up to a boil…one of the sausages opened up during this process but was able to be salvaged. I used 2 1/2″ collagen casings (what I had on hand) and made them approx. 10″ in length…worked well!
    Thanks for another great, easy-to-understand recipe! Will make this again!

  3. Marthese Micallef

    5 stars
    Hi Eric,

    Thank you for the wonderful recipes!
    In Malta we get Donkey meat, and I tasted some Donkey Mortadella in Buscemi Sicily and it taste heaven, so I will venture with that. If I don’t use Sodium Erythorbate, how long do I have to wait to boil the sausage, and at what temperature should I keep it during this time?
    Thank you so much and look forward to more recipes 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    If I mix the salt and cure in the meat overnight, do I still need to let it cure after I case it? Making without Sodium Erythorbate. Thanks. Love your YouTube channel – great info.

      1. hi there, tnx for the recipe. I know it’s been a long time since you’ve posted this but i really wanna make this and we live somewhere that i don’t have any access to insta cure or sodium erythorbate, is there any other way i can make this without them?

  5. 4 stars
    Hi there,
    what kind of 150mm casing are you using in your mortadella-making tutorial? are these food grade plastic or Collagen?
    where might I find a link for purchase?

    thanks so much for your help with this.
    and kudos for your great tutorial !!!

  6. 5 stars
    Hi
    Thanks for another great and informative video. I’ve strayed slightly from the recipe as my goal is to make doner (or donair, gyros, donner) kebab meat. I’ve realised that there are so many similarities in the method so I’m using 2kg beef shoulder and 500g of hard beef fat. Approx 330ml of iced water and 60g of potato starch. Flavourings are from a commercialy available spice mix in the uk. Fingers crossed!

  7. 5 stars
    What do you think about Freezing the final product? A 5 or 10-pound chub of Mortadella or Bologna is perhaps a lot to eat within a few days for 1 or 2 people. Does freezing affect the texture or quality of homemade emulsified products like Bologna? What about if it is Beef vs pork vs turkey, etc?

    I realize freezing hotdogs is fine, but generally, they are cooked before consumption, whereas Mortadella/Bologna may be sliced and served as is, or fried etc….

  8. 5 stars
    Tried it using a kitchenaid mixer. Flavor was delicious but I think I needed to mix longer. Question: you start off with the 39F temperature limit but later you state 55F temperature limit. That’s confusing to me. I was so worried about the temperature going up that I probably added too much ice.

    1. There are several steps to making an emulsified sausage. Step 1 is to emulsify the meat only. That temp happens at 39f, after the meat turns into a paste you add the fat and continue to chop. That step happens at 55f. If you followed the recipe to the letter you can’t add too much ice. The recipe calls for a specific amount.

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