Makin' sausage: tongue, heart, and hocks
So I have a few frozen packages of pork tongue, heart, and hocks from a half a butchered pig we got. My idea was to use these muscley bits to make sausage. I have some fat that I trimmed from a picnic ham I used to make a squash-pork stew. I after thawing, cleaning, and analyzing the tongue and other bits, I can probably guesstimate the meat-to-fat ratio to get in a sausage making range.
The question is, can I use the tongue, heart, and and hocks for sausage? I'm planning on making half batches of each of Ruhlman and Polcyn's Charcuterie two Italian sausage recipes, and those call for shoulder. Can I substitute these other hunks of muscle?
Is there a specific reason you want to make sausage with these parts? Technically, you can probably make sausage with just about anything (ground goodyear tire comes to mind), just how good it comes out is another matter.
I agree with most on the thread, you CAN do it, but I I think the tongue/heart/hocks would be better suited elsewhere. Besides, with a half pig, you have 1 tongue, 1 heart, and 2 hocks? Add to that your fat and it still seems like much effort (cleanup of the equipment, prepping the casing, removing the bits of meat from the hock, etc) for so little weight.
Now if you had the lungs....
Thanks for all the replies.
I got a half pig, and when on the phone with the processor, she asked if I wanted the tongue. And the heart. Sure, I said. Why not. She asked if I wanted the hocks, and if I wanted them ground out for sausage. So I said "Sure, throw the hocks, tongue, and heart in a couple packages, so I can make my own sausage". She said sure, sounds good. That's where I am now.
I've made sausage before, but with pork shoulder. I wasn't sure how other cuts would hold up, and from these comments, I'm gathering that it would be OK to throw these in if you also had 20 pounds of other good meat, like shoulder, but that these cuts, on their own, can't make a good sausage.
Thanks, and I'll let you know what I come up with.
Let us know!
Next time, ask the girl for the skin (get her on the phone now, maybe she just throws the next guys' out). Grind, mix with ground meat about 50/50, season with your favorite sausage blend (I like fennel seed, salt, pepper, cayenne, crushed chili), stuff.
that's a pretty succinct summary. Tossing these cuts in with 20 pounds of other meat? Good plan. basinc a batch on hearts, et al? challenging to say the least.
Seriously consider eating the hocks as schweinshaxe. I think you will enjoy it if you even halfway enjoy eating pork.
You'll find that tongue benefits from being skinned which is somewhat difficult to do when raw. I don't think that it is the most practical cut for sausage unless the thought of eating the surface of the tongue appeals to you (it doesn't appeal to me).
The heart might be better but it is quite lean and it has a very fine grain. I have a suspicion that it could become a casing full of nubbly little nuggets. Nothing says you can't give it a shot but I would guess that the texture will be different than you would get with shoulder. I suggest putting it through a fine die after grinding it coarse. If it works, you should get an intense flavor which would be great. Season accordingly.
I don't think that hock would lend itself well to sausage. Too much connective tissue, skin, etc. I suggest that you cure it in a brine. After about a week, the cured joint can be simmered gently until cooked through and then roasted briefly in the oven to crisp it. This is a fairly common preparation in Germany, et al known as schweinshaxe. It is outstanding.
It's a bit more trouble on paper than sausage making but that isn't exactly a spur of the moment thing, either. For all the stories of sausage being made with all the scraps, you'll find that the best sausage is made with carefully selected and very desireable cuts, not simply the leftovers.
re: Ernie Diamond
I thought tongue HAD to be skinned first. I don't think I've ever had it with the skin on. I would just boil it first, removing the skin is easy after that. It's still a fattier cut and I think it would lend itself well.
The heart is very lean, but he could just add some additional fat.
Those cuts may lend themselves better to Haggis. I've seen both tongue and heart in a few haggis recipes, including Alton Brown's.
It does need to be skinned first. Cooking a tongue in order to skin it would sort of remove its utility as a sausage meat, though since the cooked meat couldn't be ground and blended effectively with the fat. Bear in mind that pork tongue is not thick. Even the act of parboiling would cook it through enough to take it out of the running. There's a reason sausage making begins with raw meat.
Of the three cuts, heart is the only one that should even be considered and I'm not even certain that it would be successful since the muscle structure is so fine.
My most direct suggestion Foreverhungry, use cuts other than these three if you want your foray to be successful. None of them are well suited as the base meat for sausage.