You know you’ve got a keeper when your boyfriend buys you a meat grinder with sausage making attachments for your birthday – I mean really, doesn’t every girl want her own sausage maker? But seriously, I was pretty freaking excited to be handed this beast of a Kenwood attachment! The boy knew I had just bought myself Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery by Jane Grigson, knowing all too well that I was eager to flex my meat skills and delve into the wonderful world of Charcuterie. Making our own sausages was probably the best possible introduction, not only it is fun but it is incredibly rewarding.
There’s times when I look at recipes and think to myself “don’t even bother with that one, it looks way too hard” – then I doubt my ability and never make it. Sausages was one of those moments, but having the support of my number one fan, we managed to produce a batch of amazing pork sausages without any arguments, stuff-ups or tears. All together, it was a completely rewarding experience and I am ready to do it all over again.
So my Kenwood Chef has a pretty amazing range of attachments from meat grinders and pasta rollers to blenders and fruit juicers – this thing is my best friend. The only negative is that the attachments can be expensive – I think $200 per accessory would be the average price, so you have to pick and choose a little. Having a powered meat grinder and sausage maker was a real win though – I don’t think I would ever attempt to do this by hand.
And just a warning – if you’re the squeamish type and don’t like touching meat or the thought of playing with intestines, then sausage making might not be for you. My local butcher was so helpful when I went in on a busy Saturday morning, getting me sorted with natural casings, pork fat and the meat (and even gave me a few little tips) – it made the process of getting the fat/meat ratio all that more reassuring!
So the actual grinding of the meat is easy, a little time consuming when you go through the finer grinding process, but overall it was very therapeutic. It’s the filling of the casing and the actual making of the sausage that is a little more tricky – and you 100% need a friend to help you with this bit – don’t risk turning a wonderful experience into a regrettable one. The filling process was made easy by having one person push the ground meat through, and the other ensuring a consistent thickness of meat was filing through into the casing at the other end. Don’t try and be a hero and do both.
So next time you’re considering a BBQ, or even a bangers and mash type of dinner, give these sausages a go, it’s honestly such a fun experience (and your friends will think you’re super amazing and talented).
Makes roughly 25 sausages (process takes roughly 90 minutes)
1.8kg of pork shoulder
500gm of pork fat
36gm of salt
30gm of sugar
10gm of fennel seeds
10gm freshly cracked black pepper
1gm of nutmeg
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup white wine, chilled
- Cut the meat and fat into chunks you can fit into your meat grinder.
- Mix together the salt, sugar, fennel seeds, black pepper, nutmeg and oregano, then mix this with the meat and fat until every piece has a little on it. Put in the freezer until the meat and fat are very cold (almost frozen). Put your grinder parts (blades, etc) in the freezer, too, and put a bowl in the fridge.
- Grind the mixture through the coarse die on your grinder, and then again through the medium die. If your meat mixture has warmed up, you need to chill everything back down.
- Once the meat is cold, put it in a large bowl and add white wine and parsley. Mix well with your (very clean) hands until well combined — a good indicator of temperature is that your hands should ache with cold when you do this. You want to mix until the meat binds to itself.
- Change the settings on your meat grinder to allow for sausage making – use a thicker nozzle to make fat Italian sausages.
- Carefully slide the casing along the nozzle for the sausages, ensure you have a couple metres worth backed up and ready to fill – you can do this in stages if your sausage nozzle doesn’t allow you enough room.
- With one person feeding the meat mixture in and the other person managing the flow of meat into the casings, stuff the links well but not super-tight, as you will not be able to tie them off later if they are too full. Don’t worry about any air pockets yet. Stuff the whole casing, leaving lots of room on either end to tie them off.
- To form the individual links, tie off one end of the coil. Now pinch off two links of about six inches long. Rotate the link between your hands forward a few times. Look for air pockets. To remove them, set a large needle into a stovetop burner until it glows (this sterilizes it), then pierce the casing at the air pockets. Twist the links a little and gently compress them until they are nice and tight. Repeat this process with the rest of the sausage.
- Hang your links on a wooden clothes rack for at least an hour. This lets the links cure a little, filling their casings and developing flavour. Once you’ve taken the links off the hanger, they can be refrigerated for up to 3 or 4 days, or frozen for up to a year.
These sausages can be cooked anyway you like – by BBQ or pan seared and then finished in the oven, the choice is yours.
Enjoy and have fun!
*Recipe adapted from Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery by Jane Grigson and honest-food.net