I made sausages with my parents today. It was the first time for both of us. What a super-rewarding thing to make!
My parents had an old-fashioned meat grinder that worked great. We took a cheap large funnel that I bought at a restaurant supply house and cut it down – it fit right under the ring for the grinder, and worked PERFECTLY.
We used the recipes out of my mum’s “homemade sausage” book. I would talk more about it but I found it less helpful than the internet to be honest, a bit more cavalier about meat-practices and the recipes pretty boring. That was OK for today because we wanted to try something really straightforward for our first try anyway. We made english bangers and sweet Italian sausage links.
We bought non-medicated/free-range/natural pork butts at Famous Foods (my vote for best local butcher in Vancouver). We spent $8-9 each on that. We added the (uncooked) fat from our bacon, fennel seeds, salt and pepper for the sweet Italian sausages. We also used fresh sage, mace, ginger, pepper, salt and breadcrumbs in the bangers. We used lamb casings for the links, but my mother wanted her banger meat as patties. I think the casings grossed her out. They grossed me out a LOT less than I was expecting.
Anyway, we mixed in all the spices etc and then – the brilliant moment (thanks “Pig in a Day”) – we fried some up to taste-test it. Thank goodness, because we forgot the salt in the sweet Italian sausages. HA!
So then we ran the meat through the grinder again, but with the funnel end attached. First I ran all the casings onto the funnel end, then my dad ran the grinder while I managed the sausage into the casings. It wasn’t as complicated as I was expecting to get it consistent, although there were definitely some wobbles. You just need to be able to concentrate.
Once we had run all the meat into casings I laid it on some wax paper and did the twisting to make the links.
I folded it in half, pinched at the halfway mark and twisted it, then laid one side “over” the other to finish the twist.
Then I pinched and twisted the same distance down on both sides, and then twisted the two sides together (to make a circle). I laid one side over the other, and then pulled one end all the way through the circle made, to finish that twist. I repeated it until all the links were pinched, twisted, laid over, pulled-through and twisted one last time. I watched it on youtube to figure it out, but really it was just trying it and common sense that made it understandable. I didn’t use string.
So, there it is! My first homemade sausages! We’re having bangers and mash for dinner. YUM!
My only complaint about making sausages is that my hands are totally wrecked from washing them SO many times. I am paranoid about raw meat. Luckily I have Nao’s beautiful bee’s wax and olive oil gardener’s salve to save them (thanks Nao!).
I can’t wait to try a few other types: apple & pork, buffalo & blueberries to start. Maybe some elk if I can source any.