So, I’m finally making sausage, I thought to myself as my ground pork mixture was (now properly) easing its way into the natural hog casing I had soaked and slipped onto the nozzle of the stuffer, trying to stifle the obvious twelve-year old jokes that were coming to mind. After making sure I could grind my own pork and season it correct with some breakfast sausage and Mexican chorizo, I went ahead and ordered my stuffer from The Sausage Maker, Inc. Again, the Grub Blogger went to Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing as his guide, and started with their basic garlic sausage recipe as a base. I wanted to try the simplest sausage they had for the first time, but added a little nutmeg, all spice and white pepper to their fresh garlic, kosher salt and black pepper. Starting to make sausage got me thinking about the first really good sausage I can remember having, while I was spending a couple of days in London before heading down to France. I also used cold water in the place of red wine, because I wanted to taste a sausage without wine first, and I thought the flavor would be closer to the Cumberland sausage I had came across it when I was on my way to the Imperial War Museum and wanted to grab some lunch in a place that I didn’t realize was Joe Allen’s until I noticed the painting of Tom Seaver in the dining room. The sausage came with oat cakes and watercress and was tender, flavo(u)rful and well-browned.
I started off with the same pieces of pork from Mexican chorizo and seasoned it as noted above. I also took my hog casing that I ordered from The Sausage Maker and soaked some of them in cold water in the fridge for about an hour. This helps to leech out the salt they are packed in. These are made from the intenstines of the pig, so fit nicely into the Porcine Revolution. After their soak, rinse them in the sink by running cold through them, moving the water through the casings to clean the insides. You’ll see how much they expand.
The grinding and mixing of the meat and spices is the same process as I used for the breakfast sausage.
After I put the meat mixture in the fridge to keep it cold, I got to use my stuffer for the first time. I picked up the five-pound version, which would make me enough sausage to keep me going for a while, and also matches up nicely with the recipes in Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing. Basically, you have a long bowl and a plastic press that cranks down the bowl. This forces the meat mixture into the nozzle and into your casing. Nothing fancy here, just a simple mechanical device and some made-made torque from the hand crank. Pack your meat mixture into the stuffer, being sure to squeeze the meat down to avoid air pockets. Press the mixture down so that just a little bit comes out of the nozzle (this is prevent pushing air into the casing when we start cranking. Then, working quickly to keep the meat as cold as possible, wet down the nozzle and slip the casing onto the nozzle, covering only the first couple of inches of the nozzle. When you get towards the end, tie off the casing. You can also take a sterile pin and poke a hole in the end, to avoid air bubbles.