How to Fix Dry Sausage (And Methods for Preventing It)

Is your homemade sausage too dry and crumbly? Are you having trouble figuring out what you’re doing wrong?

Making your own sausage takes time and effort, and there’s nothing more disappointing than ending up with unpleasantly dry sausage.

If you’re wondering how to fix dry sausage, don’t worry, there are few things you can try and also many ways you can repurpose the meat if these options don’t work out. There are also quite a few steps you can take the next time you make sausage to prevent any moisture loss from happening again. Keep reading to learn more.

piles of sausage

How to Moisten Dry Sausage

If you want to rehydrate dry sausage and to try to salvage what you have, there are a few things you can consider.

For sausage meat you haven’t yet stuffed and is looking dry, you can try adding a bit of gelatin powder to the mixture. Gelatin will hold onto the liquid that’s there as the sausage cooks to help retain moisture.

Another thing you can try is adding ground bacon or fat back to the sausage meat. Bacon is super fatty, so could work with reversing the dryness. Fat back is fat taken from the back of pigs and is also very high in fat. Fat back is used often in sausage making to add flavor, juiciness, and moisture.

fatty crispy bacon

For dry sausage that you’ve cooked and want to try and moisten, unfortunately, the options are slim for rehydrating it.

These next few solutions might work better with cured sausage, like salami, instead of fresh sausage, but it can’t hurt to experiment if you’re really trying to save the sausage you spent so much time and effort making.

The first option is trying to soak the dry sausage in a liquid, like wine, beer, meat stock, or just water. Here is some general guidance you can try following:

  1. Bring 1 cup of wine and 1 cup of stock to a boil in a small pot or saucepan
  2. Reduce the heat to medium low, so it’s at a simmer, then add the sausage
  3. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes
  4. Take the sausage out and check the moisture and hardness. If it’s still too hard, you can put it back in the saucepan, and let it simmer for a little longer
  5. Once it’s soft and moist enough, you can chill the sausage in the fridge before eating or serve it warm

You can also try steaming the sausage for about 20-30 minutes. Check the moisture and softness of the sausage regularly until it reaches your liking.

The last option is wrapping the sausage in a moist towel or moist kitchen towel and storing it in the fridge for a few days until it becomes soft and moist enough. You may need to swap out the towel regularly to make sure it’s damp enough.

While there aren’t a ton of options for rehydrating dry sausage, you do have a lot of options for repurposing the sausage meat:

  • Use it in other recipes that include liquid, like chili, gumbo, soups, or stews
  • Try it in a curry
  • Make some sort of rice dish like jambalaya with it
  • Throw it in a bolognese sauce and serve with pasta

You can really get creative here.

To avoid ending up with another batch of dry and crumbly sausage, I have some great tips for you to try that should help you get some super juicy sausage with amazing texture. Read on for more.

Why Is My Homemade Sausage Dry and Crumbly?

Here I’ll talk about what makes homemade sausage dry, and what you can do to prevent it from going dry.

First, you might have the fat to meat ratio wrong. You should be using about 30% fat. This is especially important if you’re using a lean meat like chicken or lamb, where you’d want to add pork fat because of its fat content and flavor. Overall, you should be generous with the amount of fat you use when making sausage.

Another possible reason for dry sausage could be due to the type and amount of liquid you’re using in your meat mixture. Some sausage makers have found that vinegar (often used in chorizo) and wine can make the meat dry out. A possible solution for this would be to substitute vinegar or wine for water.

One of the biggest reasons for dry sausage is in grinding technique. You have to make sure that the meat mixture and grinder are very cold.

meat grinder while pile of cubed meat on top tray pushing out ground meat

This is because the grinding process creates a lot of friction, which adds heat. When fat and meat are exposed to heat, they’ll turn soft. The fat will smear out of the meat, and you’ll end up with a mushy texture. And when you cook the sausage, most of the fat will run off, with the final result being dry sausage.

If the meat and grinder are chilled properly, the fat stays solid. You get fat that is suspended and evenly distributed in the meat.

Here are some tips for keeping your meat and grinder cold:

  • Put the grinder neck and meat in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. You should be working with meat that’s at least fridge temperature, or better yet, partially frozen.
  • If you’re grinding the meat more than once, put the bowl of meat in the freezer to cool it down in between grinds. Or, you can put the receiving bowl in another larger bowl filled with ice to keep it cool.
  • When stuffing, if you’re using a grinder with a detachable stuffer, place the stuffer in the freezer too. See below for my recommended meat grinders with detachable stuffers.
  • You can try starting with a coarse grind, followed by a smaller grind to get good texture and more incorporated fat. (Click here to learn more about how many times you should grind meat for sausage).

Lastly, after grinding, it’s possible that you’re not mixing your sausage meat correctly. Once you’ve ground the meat and added in the spices, it should be properly mixed and worked until it becomes sticky.

If you take a small ball of meat, stick it on your hand, and turn your hand upside down, the meat should stick and not fall off. Don’t knead the meat based on time, knead it until it’s sticky.

Recommended meat grinders with detachable suffers:

In Summary

While you don’t have a ton of options for saving your dried out sausage, you do have a lot of options for repurposing the meat to make some really tasty dishes.

There are also quite a few things you can do to prevent it from happening again, so be sure to follow my tips!