Introducing the Sausage Fat Calculator

So you’re interested in making sausages. You’ve got everything you need all laid out, and you’re checking over the recipe. It says that you should use meat that’s 75% meat and 25% fat. Now, you’ve picked up some good beef on sale, and it’s a little bit fatty, but how much extra fat should you add to the mix to bring it up to the proportion that you need so your sausage doesn’t taste like shoe leather?

Well, it just so happens, I’ve got you covered.

I hate math. I’m pretty sure if you’ve spoken to me for more than an hour, I’ve said as much. I can do cash register math pretty well, but when it comes to the quadratic equation (useful for figuring out profits, which explains a lot), I’m hopeless. The one thing I happen to be good at is ratios and proportions.

I also happen to be good at spreadsheets, and at programming. Which, I know, for someone who isn’t particularly good at math, is a real head-scratcher. But there it is. So I decided to put my meager math skills and programming to good use, and I created a sausage fat calculator. At first, I built it in Google Sheets, but then I realized I can convert it rather easily into an online calculator. Like, ten lines of code easy.

Using the sausage fat calculator is pretty simple. You put in the weight of your meat, in grams or ounces, into the box, and the table below it will fill out automatically with the additional weight of fat you need to add in order to achieve your desired ratio of meat to fat.

For example, let’s say you got some pretty nice #2 meat at a good price. Now, #2 is pretty lean, maybe 5% natural fat. And you have a recipe that wants 20% fat. In the Estimated Fat Content column, find your 5%, then look across to the 20% column to find out how much additional fat you need to add to your meat to get the ratio you want.

Now, I that it isn’t going to calculate the total yield. I actually have that in the spreadsheet. And, it doesn’t calculate backwards. Meaning, if you want 2.25kg (5 lbs.) of 20% meat, how much meat vs. how much fat do you need. But that’s because it’s much easier to figure it out that way, so you don’t really need a calculator.

So how does this help when you’re preparing a recipe with specific amounts? Well, since I scale all of my recipes in spreadsheets, I’m not limited to the amounts listed in the recipe. When was the last time you got 2.25kg exactly in a piece of meat? Right, never. So if I have 2.85kg, I add additional salt and seasonings in proportion to the full weight of meat (multiply by 1.27). And, needless to say, it doesn’t work with volumes, only weights.

I hope you find this useful. Drop a note in the comments if you’ve used it successfully!

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