Making sausage yourself truly has become a lost art.
The whole process from meat selection, mincing, mixing, filling, and ultimately enjoying the end product is highly satisfying, rewarding and not to mention, tasty.
DIY sausage is one of those “must-haves” if you frequently dine on pork.
The process is really very simple. Many people believe that making sausage at home is too time-consuming or that they would rather leave that to the processor, but each of us are individuals with a variety of tastes and with just a little knowledge, you can make your own sausage to your liking with little effort and a super tasty reward.
Through years of speaking on the subject of eating wild, I’ve gotten to meet many resourceful farmers, hunters, gardeners, and wildlife enthusiasts. Fortunately, you can order almost all of the necessary tools right off the internet.
I personally process quite a lot of meat and pork for salami and sausages. My investment in an electric meat grinder has certainly brought a tremendous return. I suggest that you buy at least a 1/3 horsepower grinder. They are faster and much quieter.
Casings. If you are going to make sausages, you will need casings. There are all kinds of casings out there, but I find that natural hog or sheep casing is the best for the money. Nothing is quite like using a natural casing. The natural casings “snap” when you bite into them and help to create a beautiful colour to the sausage.
Stuffer. You don’t have to have a sausage stufferand I didn’t for a long time, but I do think it is easier and more convenient to have one. Sometimes, using only the grinder attachment causes the sausage to get too hot, resulting in a sub-par texture. They can be expensive, but if you are planning on making sausage often, the investment is worth it.
How to Make Good Sausage
A good sausage is a result of fresh ingredients and proper balance. For pork sausages, the best parts are the “shoulder” mixed to “pancetta” (pork belly). Once you have the right balance of ingredients, the sky’s the limit. Here are a few basic sausage-making steps that will give you a leg-up on making your own.
Soak your casings in lukewarm water to remove the salt and to soften them.
Feed the Grinder
Attach the 3/8-inch plate (a course or largest die) to the grinder and begin feeding the mixture. By using this plate, you have less chance of your sausage becoming mushy. If your mixture feels warm, place it into the freezer for a few minutes while you attach the stuffer to the grinder and clean up a bit.
Case Your Sausage
Place a casing onto the stuffing tube leaving about 5 to 6 inches off the end of the tube to tie off; air will fill some of that casing. Feed the mixture into the stuffer. Allow the sausage to come out in one long coil, trying to keep the sausage casing consistent in size as it continues to come out of the tube. Remember to leave about 8-inches extra casing after the last of the sausage is stuffed. Tie off the casing in a knot.
The basic Sicilian style sausages are made with ground pork meat, salt, fennel seeds, then to add more flavour and taste, cheese and wine are added. In Palermo, perhaps, the “Salsiccia condita”, seasoned sausage can be found in most specialty pork stores in a variety of styles.
Today we make the Classic Salsiccia Siciliana (Sicilian Sausage)
3 pounds of pork shoulder
1 pound ground pork belly
30 grams of salt
1 Tablespoons fennel seeds
½ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
3/4 cup wine
Chill attachments. Cut meat into 1-inch strips.
Meanwhile, if you are going to make sausage, soak the casings in lukewarm water to remove the salt and soften the casings. You can run water through the casings to make sure there are no holes in them.
Set up for grinding the meat. Place the 3/8-inch plate on the grinder and begin feeding the meat through.
Place the meat in a large bin and add wine to the meat, salt, fennel seeds, pecorino cheese and mix with your hands.
To make the sausage, place a casing onto the stuffer leaving few inches of casing for tying off. Begin stuffing the sausage into the casing, leaving few inches to tie off the end of the casing. If you have remaining sausage, use it as patties or ground sausage. Tie off the casing in a knot.
If desired, every 5-inches or so, pinch off what will become the sausages. Roll the link a few times and repeat until you get to the end of the sausage. Tie off the other end. Arrange the sausages on cooling sheets where air can move around them. Allow the sausage to dry for about an hour.
Freeze or cook the sausage and enjoy it!
For your reading and recipes library, check this book out: Cooking with Nonna: A Year of Italian Holidays: 130 Classic Holiday Recipes from Italian Grandmothers I loved it!