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Archive for February, 2014

Homemade Sausage

First try, so a lot of inconsistency. But still, a ton of fun!

First try, so a lot of inconsistency. But still, a ton of fun!

Kickoff to the Super Bowl XLVII is 5 hours away. That means I have 5 hours until I endure 3 hours of unbearable frustration followed by months of bitter disappointment. On the bright side, I made my own sausage!

(CORRECTION: SEAHAWKS WIN IN A ROUT. ALL GOOD HERE!)

With the help of my soon-to-be-10-year-old, we made two really delicious types of sausage.  And I can share, and enthusiastically vouch for the recipes.

The bad news is that I’m still definitely an amateur when it comes to filling the sausage casings. So let’s just say my sausages ended up looking a bit like a “variety pack” when it comes to size and shape. I’m hoping Russell Wilson will be more consistent in today’s game than my sausage stuffing.

First, a note from one beginner to another:

I admit I was a little freaked out by casings. Even though I grew up in “Porkopolis” in the Midwest, then lived both in Wisconsin and Missouri for a while, and therefore have eaten more sausages than the average person (and by that, I mean, have eaten 3,000 times more sausages than the average person), nothing really prepared me for the slimy, tape-worm like ickiness of holding 100 yards worth of intestine in my hands. I’d say “I should have known,” but instead I’ll say ignorance is bliss.

So, I just closed my eyes, and imagined a big, fat, steaming polish sausage covered in mustard and kraut, and those bad feelings just went right away.  So I recommend that. Denial is a beautiful thing when handled correctly.

I will say this though: Sausage casings are REALLY slimy.  I read that two things that seemed to help. One was letting them soak in water for about 30 minutes, draining occasionally. And second, to employ a paper towel when handling them, not unlike the way you do pulling a membrane from a rack of ribs. The paper towel will give you a good grip.

Finally, I was concerned with how hard it would be to find and open a passageway into the casing.  This wasn’t difficult at all. I had a scissors nearby to make a clean cut, then I simply pulled at the sides of the cut, and the casing stretched out, making the opening quite obvious and easy to slip over the casing stuffer.

Last but not least, loved the casing stuffer I bought per my last post.  Can recommend!

The recipes.

I did my usual research. I spent minutes – MINUTES, I tell you – scouring the Web looking at what goes into polish sausages, brats, smoked sausages, and so on. My conclusion was that there were basically two fundamentals out there: Sausages featuring fennel, and sausages featuring marjoram.   So, what the heck, we decided to make both.

Featuring marjoram: This recipe was most often associated with “Polish Sausages,” as far as I could tell. If this is wrong, please feel free to drop a comment and set us straight:

  • In each recipe, I used about 1 ¼ pound of coarsely ground pork butt.
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 Tbs, plus 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Featuring fennel: This recipe seemed most often associated with “Brats” and “Italian Sausages.”  I added smoked salt though, because I really like smoked salt.

  • In each recipe, I used about 1 ¼ pound of coarsely ground pork butt.
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp smoked salt
  • 1 ½ tsp fennel seed
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

We sampled both recipes, and honestly, both are really, really good.

As for stuffing the sausage, just watch this dude:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTUib22Dtew

Finally, one more tip

I only wanted about 2 to 3 pounds of sausage. So, I bought a 7 pound pork butt, cut 1/3 of it away and slow cooked the rest of the pork butt as usual.  At 4 pounds, that would be the smallest pork butt I’ve ever barbecued, plus, there was the big cut away side of the meat exposed to the heat.

It was, of course, really good. But I noticed that it came out a notably drier than usual.  I think if I did this again, I would buy a 10 to 12 pound pork butt, and make sure there was a good, hefty shoulder to barbecue after I cut away what I needed for the sausage.

Either that, or make 50 sausages.  Hmmm…..

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