Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Eat Alberta 2012: Session 3, Sausage Making

After a wonderful lunch (once again by NAIT) we were off to our third session of the day!

Sausage Making with Allan Suddaby, of Button Soup fame.

I've chatted with him on twitter a couple of times, as well as read and comment on his blog.
This was the first time we met it person.

It's always a nice feeling to meet tweeps in real life lol

Back to sausage making...

Now, I'm made sausages at home before, with great success!
I signed up for this course mostly to meet Allan and to work out a couple of issues I have with my grinder/stuffer. Unfortunately the equipment we used that day was a different style than what I have... but I did pick up a couple of tricks to make my next sausage making experience go more smoothly :)

First, you start with chilled (almost frozen. you want the edges "crunchy").
Pork shoulder is the way to go.  It's a cut that has lots of connective tissue making it perfect for grinding up (to "tenderize") and the fat to meat ratio is spot-on.
Allan recommends a 2pts meat to 1pt fat.

If you're using beef or chicken, or your pork isn't fatty enough, you need back-fat/fat-back (same thing).

On the left side of the pic is a gland out of the pork shoulder.
If you're butchering your own side of pork, make sure you do your homework and get out all the glands.

They don't taste good.

Left: Grinding meat

Right: Mixing ground pork with salt and spices

Here is one of the batches "we" made. Spicy Italian!
The other was Garlic and Black Pepper.

Both are fresh sausages.  That means that there was no smoking (hot or cold) or dry-curing.
Thus, no need for insta-cure #1 or #2.

Here's Allan putting the hog casing onto the stuffer.
They were soaked at least an hour in cool water to soften up.  Then, a ball of water was "threaded" through the casing to loosen up the casing.
You could use collagen casings, but it's so easy to get hog/sheep/beef casings and they're not that expensive that there's no need to get collagen.

Also, if you're new to sausage making and don't want to invest in a stuffer or casings, it's perfectly alright to make your sausage stuffing into patties.
That's actually an excellent idea! Especially for breakfast sausage :)

Here's one type of stuffer.

You can pick one up for about $100 and it works much better than trying to use the attachments on your KitchenAid grinder or hand crank grinder.

Allan is demonstrating how to stuff a sausage without busting the casing or having it too loose.

In the vertical stuffer is the Garlic and Black Pepper.

And here's the Spicy Italian in the huge NAIT stuffer.

And here's a busted casing  lol

It's not as easy as it looks.  Really!

Here's our perfect looking sausage coils! :D

Next up, is linking the sausages.
The trick is to measure out how long you want them, using an estimate with a palm width or something like that is handy.  Hands are your best tools in the kitchen!
Make that first twist.
Now, mark your next spot but don't twist yet!
Mark your third spot.

See where Allan's hands are?  You twist the one link and that takes care of the 2 spots you marked. 
Then you mark your next two sections, but twist the opposite way you twisted last time. 
That way, you get a beautiful link of sausages that won't curl in on itself.

And here they are for dinner :)

I had them with the mozzarella I made that day. 
And baguette slices and deli slices from Italian Centre.
And pickles and red pepper spread I preserved in the fall. 

It was a delicious!

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