This recipe is basically taken from the book Charcuterie. If you have any interest in making sausage, curing hams or bacon or smoking meats I HIGHLY suggest you purchase it. You’ll see weights listed here along side volume measurements. I tend to weigh my ingredients because you get a more consistent measurement, but it’s not an exact science so don’t worry too much.
- 4 1/2 lbs. / 2 kg boneless boston butt, diced - I picked mine up from Ted’s who imports a highly marbled not overly lean pork product. If you can find pork that’s not the mass produced Smithfield type pork, use it. The commercial big farm hogs are bred to be too lean and don’t have the great marbling and fat content that small breeders and heritage pork producers allow. It makes a difference trust me.
- 8 oz / 225 g pork unsalted back fat diced. If you can’t fine the pork fat you can still make a good sausage bu the fat adds an extra level of juicyness. Make sure you don’t get the salted fatback.
- 1 1/2 oz / 40 g of kosher salt about 3tbs.
- 2 tbs. / 32 g granulated sugar
- 2 tbs / 16 g toasted fennel seeds
- 1 tbs / 8 grams toasted coriander seeds
- 3 tbs. / 24 g hungarian paprika (spicy or sweet for which ever result you are looking for)
- 1/4 tsp / 1 g cayenne pepper
- 4 tbs. / 24 g fresh oregano leaves slightly chopped
- 4 tbs. / 24 g fresh basil leaves slightly chopped
- 2 tbs. / 12 g dried red chile flakes
- 2 tsp. / 6 g coarse ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup / 185 ml cold water
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml chilled red wine vinegar
- about 10 feet of hog casings. Any good butcher should have these and be willing to sell them to you. If not you may want to find another butcher.
- You can add a couple of cloves of minced garlic to this but don’t go crazy. The garlic can be overpowering in sausage.
Dice the pork shoulder into 1 cm cubes. Add all ingredients through the pepper to the meat and toss to combine evenly. refrigerate until you grind. I typically let the meat stand overnight in the fridge to marinate somewhat. This is a good time to go ahead and put the grinder, all of its attachments and the bowl you will grind into the freezer to chill. Cold equipment will make the grinding and stuffing process measurably easier as well as adding a safety factor by keeping the meat cold as long as possible. You can see in the first photo how marbled the pork is. Good stuff.
When you are ready to grind place the catch bowl into another larger bowl and will the second bowl with ice. I’m using my kitchen aid mixer with the grinding attachment. I tend to grind on one of the higher speeds. Add the diced and spiced pork slowly while using the wooden “plunger” to push it down into the grinder.
Once the pork is ground, cover with plastic wrap and move it back into the fridge to chill. Clean the grinding attachment thoroughly and put in back in the freezer again. This is also a good time to rinse and soak the hog casing. Take the casing and run cold water through the entire length then soak them in ice water for at least 30 mins. This will give them time to release the salt they are packed in as well as allow the grinder attachments to chill. When you are ready to stuff attach the grinder, use a light coating of cooking spray on the stuffing tube and slip the entire length of the casing on the tube bunching it up towards the back. Tie a knot in the end hanging off the tube. Grab a couple toothpicks to have handy as well. The recipe in Charcuterie calls for adding the wine and water at this point and using the mixer with the paddle attachment to incorporate the liquids and you form a uniform sticky mixture. In the past I have done this. This go around I skipped this to see if I could tell a difference. You can tell a difference in texture and the structure of the sausage. I would not skip this step in the future.
It is helpful to have a sausage minion at your disposal in case of a need for a new beer or if something else comes up as you hands are going to be covered in porky goodness for the next 15 – 20 mins, but you can do it solo. Make sure you have enough space on your counter top for the sausage to slide around as you are stuffing and forming links. I have a granite counter top and it works great if you add a small amount of water to it to lend to the sliding. A sheet-pan or two will work as well. Turn the mixer on to mid speed and slowly start feeding the hopper with the ground sausage. Keep steady pressure on the meat with one hand feeding it into the tube with the other. I find that if you allow the sausage to feed into the casing in short 1-2 cm bursts, then slightly push the casing back towards the grinder you get a consistent fill and avoid the nasty air bubbles. “Air bubbles?” you ask. Yes, air bubbles. They are not your friend. If you get air bubbles in the casing it makes it difficult to catch back up with a consistent fill and if makes a loose sausage once you are complete. Not cool. If you do get an air bubble take a toothpick and poke a small hole in the casing to release the air. Do not make a large hole because this increases the chance of a “sausage blowout” when forming links. Fill the entire casing with the sausage and then remove the casing from the stuffing tube. Do not tie off the end yet. You may need to remove a small amount of the sausage when you are forming the links.
To form the links use the width of your hand as a measurement and pinch the tube. Twist the sausage toward you twice. Measure again and then pinch and twist the sausage away from you. Alternate which direction you twist the sausage every time to keep the other links twisted. If you have a sausage blowout, don’t stress over it, just move to the next link. When you are done forming the links, just cook and eat the broken one. When you get to the end tie the casing off tight against the last sausage.
You’ll want to eat any sausage you make within 2-3 days or freeze it right away. I received a “Seal-a-meal” as a present from my mother in law and at first poo-pooed the thing because of the Ronco like infomercials on the television. I have since completely reversed my position. The vacuum sealer is the absolute best way to freeze any meat product. It removes all of the air which helps reduce (almost completely remove) any chance of freezer burn. I now use it anytime I freeze any type of meat. I typically freeze the links in fours. It’s also a good idea to eat any frozen sausage within 3 months.
To cook the sausage follow the Beastie Boys recommendation, slow and low is the tempo. If you are grilling use a low fire cook them until they start to turn black then move them to indirect heat. Never poke them with a fork or smash them down with a spatula. All that will do is dry them out. In a pan use a small amount of oil and cook over a low flame until done.
You’ve learn how to make sausage, you’ve heard about sausage blowout and about the coolness of the Seal-a meal. Wasn’t that fun? Enjoy