Sausage making for the beginner.
- lestblight Mar 9, 2010 01:05 PM
So i have Kitchen aid Meat grinder and Kitchen Aid sausage stuffer.
Time to try sausages. ( Has anyone had problems with KA stuffer?)
Casings? well not sure what i should use.
Im looking at www,Butcherpacker.com. What do you recommend? what are benefits of one over the other.
And finally.. any tips and recipes you recommend to try (Think- Pork!!!)?
The KA grinder and stuffers work OK, that's all I've used, some folks swear by the dedicated stuffers that look like a big can with a threaded rod and handle to force the meat through. I've mostly made pork sausages using hog casings, they are a little over an inch in diameter. I can get casings at my local supermarket, 8 ounces for about five bucks, that will make quite a bit of sausage. I don't think you're gonna get casings at every supermarket. You want to rinse the casing well inside and out before using. There are lots of recipes out there for fresh sausage, I like to make fresh kielbasa with lots of garlic and mustard seed, or italian with fennel seed. Make sure you have enough fat in the meat, I usually use pork butt and try to get them with plenty of fat. Also, chill the meat before grinding. Have fun!
If you can buy good-quality pork fat from a decent butcher - that's the more solid white kind, not the stringy, flabby stuff - you should get a bunch and keep it on hand in a Ziplock (or several). You'll find quite a few sausage recipes calling for a mixture of lean or semi-lean meat and pork fat, and this is the sort you need. It will last for quite a while well-wrapped in the fridge, almost eternally in the freezer. Just don't let air or moisture get to it, and when you remove some be sure to keep the rest frozen and squoosh as much air out as possible. Pork belly, if you have a source for it, is an excellent source of good fat, and nice to have if you want to experiment with various recipes for it including making your own bacon.
Natural casings are better for fresh (not dried or smoked) sausages, but they are a pain to deal with. A package of natural casings is basically a massive tangle that needs to be unwound bit by bit. I suggest starting with collagen casings, which are much easier to work with, then moving up to natural after a few attempts.
I think collagen casings are as good or better for some small diameter sausages such as hot dogs or slim jims. Natural casings are better for fresh sausages that will be grilled or roasted, but when starting out you have so much new stuff to deal with, the extra hassle of using natural casings could be enough to put you off sausage making for a long time. For dried sausages, either will do, especially larger sausages where you don't usually eat the casing\.
Some pork shoulder is fatty enough to use as is, but I second Will Owen; use pork belly to add fat. It will have skin. You should try with and without to see which you prefer. For some recipes, such as andouille, you should leave it in for a more traditional sausage.
Most of the pork belly I've seen, in my area almost exclusively at Asian markets, has enough clear layers of fat that it would be quite easy to trim some out to save and use, and then use the remainder for other things. Or the meat and fat could be taken off the skin and the skin saved as an adjunct to stock-making; I've read that one of the Chinese secrets for a good chicken broth is a good-sized square of pork skin at the bottom of the pot. This would obviously not be a good way to prepare matzoh ball soup... ;-)
If you have the option, use pork backfat over other types. Belly will work, though, and is easier to find.
Number one thing, as far as I'm concerned, is KEEP EVERYTHING COLD. Especially a concern if you get into emulsified sausage. It's surprising how quickly the friction of grinding warms up the mixture...
Read Charcuterie (Ruhlman & Poleyn) if you haven't already. It's fantastic. Good luck!
so im going to try some italian sausages.. im going for the shap and size you find in the stores..
which from here would fit that?
not sure of the exact mm size.
also.. i dont need alot.. 30 bucks is kind of pricy if i just wanna try my hand at sausages for dinner...maybe the 3.50 option would work?
anyways thanks for the info.
I have the Kitchen Aid grinder and sausage set up. My only problem with it was that the pusher was much smaller than the feeder tube so my husband made me a thicker pusher. Works much better.