Monday, February 13, 2012

sausage party!

Last night I got out my sausage making gear, placed some natural pig casings in warm water to set, and started mixing meat and spices for Sweet Italian Sausage. I didn't have the pork on hand, but I did have a 50/50 mixture of grassfed beef and lamb. Since both meats came ground, I didn't need to grind them so I just used the steer-horned cast iron sausage stuffer to fill the shockingly strong casings.

It is meditative work, even if it is a little messy. You take the soaked intestines and slide them over the metal tubing, then the spiced meat is pushed through. I tie off one end and use kitchen shears to make the knot clean. As the meat is stuffed and the casing is filled I either twist it into links, or more elegant half-circle curves. It doesn't look like what you see in the store, but it doesn't look unappealing either. I'd dare call it beautiful if cased meats could be called such a thing. Now they are sitting in the fridge to take some time to cure up the combination of spices and ground. You can fry them up soon as you case them, but most sausage resources I came across said waiting is better. I'll do as I'm told!

I am lucky to live near a little independent grocer in Shushan who not only sells good meats and sausage-making supplies like spices and casing, but also teaches class in it. His clients are most interested in making products out of their wild game, but the same classes would apply to homesteaders and homemakers who want to turn their backyard turkeys and pigs and chickens into a value (and flavor) added product. I think its a great skill for anyone to learn though. You can source really healthy meats and herbs from your own garden, local farms, or green markets and with a minimal amount of gear make your own artisan meats in a very short amount of time. My 3-pounds of Italian steer and lamb links took 15 minutes, plus 15 minutes of clean up and an hour pre-soak for the casings.

This coming weekend is the Sausage Party* here at Cold Antler Farm. Should be a nice crowd, too. A lot of folks are coming to learn the basics of homebrewing and sausage making. We'll spend the morning working with casing, spices, grinders, meat and the non-electric tools of the trade and then after lunch we'll brew 7 gallons of beer. Two of those five will be made with a super-easy Mr. Beer beginner kit, and then the other five will be a traditional grain and hops combination over the stove. WE'll auction them both off at the end of the night with a beginner sausage making kit too, so some folks will head home with two cases of beer or pig intestines in salt, FUN!

*not that kind, sorry ladies.

15 Comments:

Blogger Kate said...

As a recovering vegetarian who was never truly satisfied with link sausage analogs, I would venture to say that cased meat can definitely be beautiful.

February 13, 2012 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Tealah said...

I will admit that seeing this title on my blogger feed made me break down in a fit of giggles. I blame the early morning. :)

I second the notion that they can indeed be beautiful. I always found that store bought sausages were always a little... wrong-looking. These lovely meats of yours look fresh, clean, and right!

February 13, 2012 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger David said...

Nice Links! Homemade sausage rocks!

February 13, 2012 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Flartus said...

Are the air pockets in there not a sterilization concern? They do look nice, though; actually very much like something you'd find in the grocery store. Well, at the farmers' market, at least! Not sure you can find something that pretty at the Piggly Wiggly.

February 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I think the air could be an issue, but these are made to eat the next day and sit in the fridge till then! So I am not worried.

February 13, 2012 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

I have been looking for a manual meat grinder. Can you tell me where you purchased yours? and the brand it is?

February 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

It's from weston, and comes with a sausage stuffer attachment, I think I paid 34 bucks for it and it is all over the net, baby!

February 13, 2012 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

48, sorry.

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=weston+meat+grinder&hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1238&bih=924&wrapid=tlif132915179598410&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=7711111500499134196&sa=X&ei=Nj85T8XKDqjz0gGemZjMAg&ved=0CI0BEPMCMAI#

February 13, 2012 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Are all the parts on the Weston grinder stainless steel? If not, how do you keep the parts from rusting?

February 13, 2012 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger KiwiGirl said...

Handy hint - hang the linked sausages up overnight to dry out - makes for a better sausage (and a bonus of a sausage-based cooked brekky - yum!).

February 13, 2012 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger becky3086 said...

I just made my first sausage this weekend (see my blog). I made a bunch of breakfast sausage. It is a lot of work but it's worth it.

February 13, 2012 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger farmgirlwanabe said...

Hey hey they look pretty - don't worry about bubbles - one thing I do to help prevent bacteria etc is I place them in the freezer on cookie sheets to chill the outside, and then I always wash everything done with a very very dilute bleach solution. Once I get my blog going I will be posting different recipes, techniques with accompanying videos - I have 15 lbs of ground waiting for me for this weekend as I will be making breakfast sausages and patties with home made maple syrup that evaporated over an open fire - a bit of a wonderful smoky taste.

The other thing I will experiment with is smoking.

Does the local store carry any lamb casings - they are great for making those small breakfast sausages.


I have a request of you regarding your workshop next week - if anyone knows of a pine beer recipe I would love to get my hands on that - so do love Scottish Pine beer and hope to be able to replicate up here in NE Ontario

February 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

They are beautiful indeed! I miss the meat markets back in NY. I don't know if it's sold down your way, but Croghan bologna from the Croghan meat market(along with cheese curd) was always a big treat.

February 13, 2012 at 5:03 PM  
Blogger City Girl said...

I love the silent shout-out to the Tightwad Gazette book in your photo. I looove that book and read it cover to cover when it came out.

February 15, 2012 at 12:32 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

My grandfather has a cattle ranch in South Texas and every year we would gather the whole family to make spicy sausage with one of those old, cast iron sausage makers. We'd slip the casings over the "spout" and crank away, filling looooooong casings that we arranged into spirals on the table before cutting and tying them off. Then we'd smoke them. Thank you for this post reminding me of such a special childhood event.

February 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM  

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