I may be an Eco-housewife, but I am no vegetarian. My husband once packed a lunch made up of chicken breast and farmer’s sausage. And some almonds. So suffice it to say he is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy.
Last winter Colin made a small batch of sausage on his own, and loved the result. So this year I wanted to get my hands dirty and help with the process. Ok, Colin got his hands dirty and I cranked the sausage press. But he was the expert, so that only makes sense, right?!
In all honesty, making your own homemade sausage isn’t very complicated, it just takes some patience and the right tools. As in any “making it from scratch” venture, I love being able to control what goes in the food we eat, as well as the flavour.
I apologize in advance for some of the in-progress photos – raw meat just isn’t pretty!
We got started by cleaning up the kitchen so everything was sanitary and ready to go. Set yourself up with as much counter space as you can, it will just make life easier.
We got our spice and bread crumb mix from a local meat processing shop that carries great product and is very helpful, CTR Refrigeration. Their spice packets are also nice and clear on the ratios of meat and water so that you aren’t guesstimating. Who wants soggy sausage? They also carry natural and synthetic sausage casings. We got our casings soaking while we prepped everything else for the sausage. Keep in mind a little goes a long way with casing and you don’t want to be wasting it because you soaked the whole bag.
This time around we used 60/40 mixture of beef and pork, to help increase the fat content and provide a nice texture. As gross as it may seem, the best way is to just get your hands (or your husband’s hands) in there and mix it all up. Colin mixed while I added the spice mix and water a little at a time.
Then we packed the sausage stuffer with the mix. Our sausage stuffer holds five pounds of sausage; you can buy various different sizes depending on the volume of sausage you want to make. Then Colin threaded the casing onto the stuffing tube. I cranked the stuffer handle to remove any excess air, and then Colin tied a knot on the end of the casing.
From here it is all pretty simple. I cranked the stuffer, Colin made sure the sausage didn’t fall off the counter, and told me when to slow down. And I kept expecting the casing to explode. Which it never did.
At this point you can do a large batch, or just crank out enough for a small batch of 4-6 sausage links.
Once you have the length you need, cut off the casing a few inches past the end of the meat. Then decide the length you want each sausage link to be, and gently twist the casing about twice around. Start at one end, and always twist in the same direction. Try and twist twice to keep it from untwisting as you go along.
This part can be tricky, but just keep at it. If you really hate twisting, the farmer sausage coil is an easy way out, and we chose it for one of our longer sections. These coils are great for throwing on the BBQ and slicing however you want once it is cooked.
Just to shake things up and keep life interesting, we decided to smoke some of the sausage to give it a different flavour. We threw a few coils and links into the smoker with applewood chips (they aren’t as strong as some wood chips) and kept an eye on it for the next couple of hours. We wanted the smoky flavour but didn’t want to cook it through.
You can see the colour change the sausage goes through even with a short length of time in the smoker.
From here, seal it up, throw it in the freezer, and enjoy! Who needs Oscar Meyer when you can make your own?
-This post was written by Aubrey