So I'm Thinking of Making Sausages...
Who's got hints? Tips? Recipes?
I don't even own a grinder yet, but I have a Kitchenaid and am thinking of getting the grinder attachment - but is that the way to go, or is there a better grinder out there for a similar price? The goal of this is to control the ingredients for the most part (I'm highly sensitive to nitrites/nitrates and other chemicals for example), but also, in the long run, to cut costs, so I don't want to go crazy with *acoutrements*. Where do I even find sausage casings?
I can't handle spiciness (cayenne and the like are out) but can handle "root spices" like garlic and horseradish, and would like both regular recipes like sweet italian sausage and odd recipes like apple chicken or the like...
Whattaya got, 'hounds?
I've only seen the KA grinder in action once. It does the job, but rather slowly compared to the basic stand alone grinder I got at about the same price from Northerntool.com. Of course, that means another small appliance you'll need to find storage space for. You can start out using the stuffer attachment, but your next investment should be a stand alone stuffer. Many recipes call for stirring in some water or wine between grinding and stuffing, and you can't do that if you grind and stuff in one step. If you use the stuffer attachment and find the sausage is a bit loose or grainy, that might be the reason.
You might find a local butcher who'll sell you some natural casings, but you can get natural and collagen (the kind used for most mass produced sausage) from butcherpacker.com . They also sell equipment, but northerntool prices are better. I recommend starting out with collagen. There's a lot to learn, and dealing with natural casings is a lot of hassle with not so much payback at this stage, and collagen casings keep pretty much forever in a kitchen cabinet or drawer.
As for recipes, there are lots online, but here is a good place to start;
Welcome to the club. Good cooking!
Agreed with the others that the KA attachment is good for small quantities. I find myself using it fairly often to grind hamburger and make sausages. Once you get above 10 or 15 pounds at a time, though, consider getting more serious tools.
Sausage casing is available in many supermarkets. You're not going to see a big display of the stuff, so it's easy to miss. If you don't see it, ask the folks in customer service. If you need a lot, though, the internet is the way to go.
As far as recipes go, I like to start with an untrimmed pork shoulder. You want plenty of fat or the texture is going to be all wrong. My basic spice mix is taken straight from Julia Child's "The Way to Cook": 5 parts ground white pepper, 2 parts each ground bay leaf, clove, mace nutmeg, paprika, and thyme, and 1 part each ground allspice, cinnamon, and savory. Use about a tablespoon (or to taste) for 5-pounds of sausage.
For Italian sausage, mix in whole fennel seeds, minced garlic, chopped parsley, and maybe some hard cheese, and push into casings. For breakfast sausage, add some sage and a little maple syrup and keep in bulk. Or create your own "signature" sausage - just grab what sounds good and go.
My meats are 4# pork shoulder and 2# pancetta or bacon (I use bacon). I use the recipe from Batali's Molto Italiano. I'm not at home for a while and can't find the list of ingredients online but I'm with you - go for the flavors you want -but I wouldn't get too into wet ingredients.
Although I keep meaning to seek out a source for casings, I've just been packaging in 8 and 16 oz. bulk and freezing.
Making your own sausages is a fun craft, and it is more of a joy with the right hardwear. After many years of use in sausage making, the KA grinder attachment is overpriced but works well. I grind 10 pounds of meat,-- with the meat cut into long trips -- in little more than 5 minutes. I do have the KA suasage stuffer attachment and I can't recommend it. I use a relatively cheap, non-commercial stuffer of the vertical - crank type. It's a pleasure to work with.
Just wondering what you don't like the KA stuffer attachment? Can you elaborate?
I've been using my KA with the grinder/stuffer attachments for close to 20 years and for making 5-10 lbs of sausage at a time it is ideal...gets the job done fast and is easy to disassenble and clean...much easier than my grandma's old vertical crank stuffer.
I would unhesitatingly recommend the KA to anyone getting into sausage making.
re: The Professor
I checked out the user reviews of the KA attachment on Amazon. From what I can tell, the newer attachments have a plastic plunger that is slightly smaller that the diameter of the tube. When you press down the meat comes up around the end of the plunger and when you pull back to add more meat it creates a vacuum that sucks the filling backwards.
re: JohnE O
My old one has a wooden plunger that is slightly smaller that the diameter of the tube. When you press down **too hard** the meat comes up around the end of the plunger and when you pull back **too hard** it creates a vacuum that sucks the filling backwards.
There's a simple solution - instead of trying to force things, slow down and let the machine do the work.
If you aren't making huge amounts of sausage, the Kitchenaid grinder attachment will be fine. If you are processing game, for example, then you would be better off getting a stronger, dedicated grinder.
has casings and much more. Their e-mails have good informational articles too.
I second the suggestion of "Charcuterie"
I would also buy the book "Charcuterie" by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. I've been using it for a while now and it will give you excellent instruction on making and drying sausages.
As far as making sausages that you're not drying, you could also make patties which you don't need to fool around with casings.
the kitchen aid with attachment will get the job done but there are better tools for making sausages. it really depends on the quantity you intend to make and how often as a dedicated sausage making set is a substantial investment.
a good butcher can supply sausage casings. you can also try the nearest abattoir and they'll be able to help you with finding supplies.
Well actually, there's a chow article on the main site about making sausages. It says to call your butcher and they usually have them. It also mentions asking them for some cuts of pork fat.
A TV show I watched of a master German sausage maker told me that you need a few fatty cuts to moisten and cook the sausage from the inside. To that end, the guy would use some lean pork, and some lardons mixed together, although I'm not sure of the cuts.
The other thing he did, was to pause to ensure the end of the filling was packed.
Another ingredient I've seen in a lot of sausages is mace. You could also use some fresh herbs; I'd imagine thyme would go well.
Let us know how you get on, I've been wanting to do this for years!