I make my own beer and I make my own bread (occasionally), so why not make something that goes great with both of those things….. sausage!
Last weekend I completed a project and something I’ve been interested in for more than a year by making my own delicious and tasty sausage at home. At first glance making sausage sounds easy: season meat, grind meat, stuff meat. But much like making beer, there are a lot of steps involved in what sounds like a simple process.
Shameless product plugs:
- Sausage by A.D. Livingston – I used this book as my guide through introductory sausage making. In addition to great recipes for a variety of sausage styles, the book offers a lot of great insight on grinding and stuffing. It was never far away through the whole process.
- Kitchen Aid mixer – using the food grinder attachment, the mixer helped me grind and regrind 10 pounds of meat without breaking a sweat.
- Grizzly 5 lb. sausage stuffer – you may remember the sausage stuffer from the Champagne of Blogs holiday gift guide. This stuffer works great, little to no air is extruded into the casing and the hand crank delivers a smooth and controllable flow. My previous experience with the Kitchen Aid sausage stuffer attachment was a disaster and should be avoided at all costs if you value your sanity.
- Louie’s Finer Meats – Located in Cumberland, Wisconsin, these guys know their sausage. I used Louie’s bratwurst seasoning, which can season 25 pounds of meat for about $6. If you’re ever driving through the middle of the state, I highly recommend stopping in, the store is a meat-lover’s dream.
Making the sausage:
I’m making 10 pounds of bratwurst using 7 pounds of pork shoulder and 3 pounds of top round beef. First up, cubing 10 pounds of meat for the grinder. Note: throughout this whole process I worked in batches keeping half the meat in the freezer to prevent any contamination issues and keep the meat firm for grinding.
By the way, helping me through this project was a Marin Brewing Co. IPA, which I thought was a little too sweet and needed a little more hops.
OK, so after cubing all the meat I laid it out on sheets of wax paper and worked in the sausage seasoning. For the rest of the way the kitchen smelled like brats.
After a little clean up and cooling the meat, it was grinding time.
Here’s another view. I actually ran all the meat through the grinder twice in order to get the seasoning and the two meats well mixed together. Mmmmmm, grinding…
After grinding, it’s time to extrude the sausage. Here’s a somewhat disturbing picture of my first attempt. Too much air in the casing and I wasn’t really filling the casing to capacity.
Eryn graciously jumped in and withstood the somewhat bad smell of the hog casings and as you can see, the subsequent sausages are much better.
And here we are, 10 pounds of sausage! I cooked some up that night and they are delicious! I’ll definitely be bringing some to BS Brewing’s Fourth of July Boom-Fest 2007.