Why You Should Use Weighing Scales for Sausage Making
With summer fast approaching, meat connoisseurs need to ensure they are fully stocked and to take advantage of the impending barbecue season. Whilst butchers and supermarkets are well poised to reap the benefit of a surge in sales of sausage and meat products over the coming months, it is up to manufacturers to meet the demand of consumers by crafting culinary creations that delight and excite.
Designed for butchers, meat aficionados and home catering businesses alike, this article will lay out the essential ingredients for using a weighing scale during sausage making. Learn how some simple food weighing scales can help you craft the best banger this summer!
Why do I need a weighing scale to make sausages?
Weighing scales are crucially important to the meat industry, through the sausage making process scales can be used for weighing out ingredients, selling meat products by weight, measuring chemicals, preservatives and flavourings as well as analysing samples for quality taste testing in laboratories.
No matter your proficiency level, if you decide to make your own meat products, a scale or balance is a must-have piece of equipment to ensure you get that same great taste, consistency and blend each time.
What are the best scales for sausage making?
Whilst almost all digital scales can be used for weighing food, when looking to buy a scale for your business you need to ensure that this is long-lasting, reliable and fit for use. Buying a cheap scale will often lead to problems in the long run such as lack of approvals and product quality issues, therefore we recommend choosing scale that meets your future business goals.
Compact scales are often what we think of when we think of a traditional set of kitchen scales. These instruments are cheap and simple to use that are fine for weighing sausage meat and ingredients at home barbecues, however they should not be relied upon for professional catering as explained below.
Why you should not use standard kitchen scales if you are a professional catering business
Firstly, typical kitchen scales sold online by Ebay, Amazon or Tesco around the £15-25 price range do not hold the necessary trade approvals for selling by weight, and therefore should only be used for self-testing a formula!
Secondly, most budget kitchen scales do not have the same level of capacity or precision found on professional catering scales, and are therefore unsuitable for users looking to blend fine ingredients and flavours into their sausage meat or create multiple batches in quick succession.
Lastly, professional catering scales come equipped with a host of weighing modes including mixing, parts counting, checkweighing and percentage calculation that streamline the manufacturing and portioning process. Therefore if you are a business hard pressed for time, it is definitely worth investing in a more expensive catering scale that can perform these features rather than having to weigh and check each batch individually.
Bench scales feature larger weighing capacities, better resolutions and an enhanced variety of weighing modes compared with typical kitchen scales. They are highly versatile weighing machines that commonly include any commercial or industrial- grade scale that can fit on a bench-top or kitchen counter. These scales are often found in butcher's shops and include checkweighing scales, price computing scales and general retail scales.
The benefits of using bench scales for sausage making
Bench scales are perfect for weighing in batches and include accurate parts counting and checkweighing features that allow operators to set a predefined weight limit, allowing the scale to detect whether a product batch is over or underweight when placed onto the scale weighing pan. More specialist weighing features can be found on bench scales such as the percentage mode, which allows users to set a weight limit equal to 100%. Operators can then continue to add ingredients as part of a formula to the scale in percentage ratios, for example, 70% sausage meat, 10% onion, 5% sage, and so on until reaching the 100% total.
Aside from specialist weighing modes, you can buy bench scales that feature the correct trade approvals for selling products by weight as well as bench scales with IP-ratings for advanced dust and waterproof protection, perfect when handling wet ingredients in food preparation.
Precision scales and balances are used in sausage making for measuring chemicals and spices that require particularly high levels of precision, between 0.1g and 0.01g. Spices can have a dramatic effect on the taste and consistency of your sausage and can be particularly difficult to measure, especially when you are looking to create multiple batches according to a standardised recipe. Therefore, it is important to measure out fine ingredients such as paprika, chilli powder and sage using a decent scale to eliminate product taste and quality inconsistencies.
Using precision scales for curing meat
Precision scales are often used to weigh brine, preservatives and fine ingredients in small amounts which are then placed into sausage meat to be made into sausages through a fairly simple process. However, if you are a butcher or meat aficionado looking to cure full joints of meat or sausage into chorizo, a precision scale is indispensable.
Precision scales are required for weighing tiny amounts of ingredients, water and chemicals in proportion to the meat when wet-curing. Salt and nitrates (usually in the form of marinades and brine) need to penetrate deep into the meat to ensure that this remain safe to eat after the curing process, too little solution may expose areas of the meat which could result in bacteria or mould growth. Similarly, too much solution will affect the consistency and taste of the meat, with an imbalance of moisture also accelerating bacteria growth. Whilst humidity and temperature (controlled through refrigeration) need to be regulated throughout the process, it is also important to ensure that your solution has been weighed out in relation to the size of the meat you wish to cure; to do this effectively you will need weighing scales with a high level of precision.
Similar to other curing methods, curing meat through injection requires a well-balanced saline solution or brine to penetrate meat in order to preserve consistency and taste, as well as prevent bacteria growth. Curing through this process can be tricky as injecting can create pockets of solution and non-solution throughout the meat if not distributed carefully. Therefore it is essential to weigh out enough solution for equal distribution throughout the meat and hang your meat whilst injecting to ensure the solution runs through naturally.
We recommend viewing Amazingribs.com's article on meat curing to learn more about the many ways in which to cure meat effectively.
Selling sausages in supermarkets or butcher shops
If you intend to make sausage to sell, then you are required by law to use a trade approved scale when selling your product by weight regardless of whether this is sold loose, such as in delicatessens and butcher’s shops, or pre-packaged in markets to be sold commercially with a weight specified on the product label.
Price computing scales (also known as retail scales) come with the necessary trade certifications for buying and selling products by weight and can be found in most retail stores from sweet shops (used for weighing pick’n’mix) and butcher’s shops to farmer’s market stalls for weighing fruit and vegetables. We recommend checking the rules regarding what qualifies as legal for trade in your region, however here is a list of some of the most common recognised approval authorities:
UK and Europe: EC type approvals / OIML (for calibration weights). Scales that are UK trade approved are often shown with black M mark to verify they are trade approved.
USA: NTEP approval (National Type Evaluation Program).
Canada: Measurement Canada.
Australia: NMI approval (National Measurement Institute).
South Africa: NRCS approval (National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications).
Inscale’s meat and butcher scales
Swift SWZ Price Computing Retail Scales - Adam Equipment
Adam Equipment's Swift SWZ price computing scales are fully UK trade approved for selling meat by weight in butcher's shops and delis. The Swift's RS-232 interface outputs the time, date, price to pay, weight and price per unit, all of which can be sent to a computer or for label printing.
IWS waterproof bench scales - Inscale
Our IWS waterproof bench scale is constructed from IP68-rated stainless steel for full protection against liquids. The scale has built in checkweighing and is perfect for meat packing, batching and processing applications.
Highland approved precision balance - Adam Equipment
A highly versatile weighing balance with up to 0.01g readability. The highland precision balance includes a wide range of weighing modes including percentage weighing, parts counting and checkweighing as well as being fully portable for moving between locations. These balances are precise enough for measuring chemicals, brine and marinades, and are fully UK trade certified for selling products by weight.
We hope this article has convinced you of the importance of using a weighing scale in sausage making, however if you have any further questions or would like us to recommend a scale for your particular needs, please Get In Touch or use our chat feature.