Sausage making and equipment
- James Q.
For the last two years, I have been living in Switzerland, and have become completely fascinated by the sausages here (and indeed in other parts of Europe). Since I know I won't be able to buy most of them in the US, I guess I'll just have to make them myself.
Are there any 'hounds around here who can give me some tips?
I'm going to need to buy a meat grinder: any recommendations on brand? Electric or hand? What about stuffers?
Many thanks in advance...
I have a sausage grinder and stuffer as attachments to my Kitchenaid mixer. Mine is really old, but you may want to contact Kitchenaid (Hobart) to see if they're still available. Obviously, you'd have to have a Kitchenaid mixer, but that's a good thing! I get skins to stuff from a butchershop.
My husband, daughter and I just recently took a sausage making class from Bruce Aidells -- by the way, it was really excellent -- the class was at Ramekins in Sonoma, CA. We used Kitchenaid machines with the meat grinder attachment. We didn't, however, use the sausage stuffing attachment in the class because Bruce said that this attachment was slow and only good for small batches of sausage. Therefore, we all shared his (very expensive) sausage stuffer. At home, though, we use the Kitchenaid stuffing attachment and it works fine for us -- we don't make a huge amount of sausage at one time. The link below is Bruce's favorite source for sausage making equipment and ingredients:
I took a sausage making class at the Culinary Institute a year or so ago. The chef there recommended The Sausage Maker as the best source for equipment.
Which equipment you choose is largely determined by how much sausage you want to make. If you're making 2 pound batches, a hand grinder/stuff is probably fine. If you want to make 25 pounds at a time, get a machine.
If you haven't made sausage before, either take a class or read a good book first: There are some things worth learning, ranging from how to get the air out of a stuff sausage to how to avoid food poisoning.
I concure with the two previous posts as to posibles places to buy equipment. I got mine at a local restaurant supply store here in the SF Bay Area. The Kitchen Aid grinder attachment will work for most recipes made in small, 3 pounds or less, quantities. Be aware that it only has two grinder blades and so there isn't the range of grinds that would be available with other grinders.
The stuffer attachment on the Kitchen Aid is only adequate for sausages made from coarsely ground meat. It is not a positive displacement type of stuffer so it doesn't work with emulsified mixtures.
The link below is to an article I wrote last year about how to make four types of French sausages, some of which may be similar to the Swiss ones you like.