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Apr 5, 2012 08:10 AM

Sausage making

Anyone make sausages out there with one of those inexpensive crank grinders ? Wondering if I can make flavorful sausages with meats and herbs, spices without nitrates.

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  1. I'm making sausage with a Kitchen Aid grinder attachment and stuffer attachment. I'm using Ruhlman and Polcyn sausage recipes, with very good results. None of the ones I've done so far have called for nitrates in the sausages. I can give you more details if you want.

    1 Reply
    1. re: foreverhungry

      i would love more details! a paraphrased recipe, perhaps? i have the grinder, but only ever used it for grinding meat into hash and for ravioli filling.

    2. Most definitely. Avoiding pink salt just means you can't age sausages. But you can still make delicious fresh sausages. For example, I make chorizo fairly often without even using a crank grinder - I use ground pork and finely diced pork fat.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cowboyardee

        Agreed. Without nitrates/nitrites you need to follow the general rule of no longer than 4 hrs at between 40-140*. No low temp smoking either. Hot smoking is not a problem

      2. I agree with the previous responses. You can absolutely do it. That's how I made my first batch 40 years ago using the Kolbasz recipe learned from the old men in the church of which I was once a member. I learned using their electric grinder/stuffer, but at home I used my grandmother's hand-cranked grinder. I eventually graduated to a KitchenAid with grinder and stuffer attachment...and for some sausages I still prefer chopping the meat by hand or in a food processor rather than grinding it.

        As for the nitrite/nitrate, the only time you really need that is to safely make smoked sausage. Fresh sausage not only doesn't require it, but using it would ruin the taste and texture.

        Sausage making is easy. The main mistake made by novice sausage makers is to try making the sausages with meat that's too lean. Lean sausage is a _major_ fail, both texture and flavor wise.

        1. you can absolutely make fresh sausages, with or without casings, and cooked or hot-smoked sausages.

          the more low-tech your equipment, the more important it is to keep everything super cold. keep all your grinder parts in the freezer or chill them in a tub of ice water before you start, it will make everything much easier! the other tip i have for you is that when you are done grinding your sausage, when it is time to clean that sucker, run some dried-out plain white bread through the grinder-- it will clean out all the meaty chunks for you so that you can easily finish cleaning the grinder.

          i just wanted to mention that salt (regular salt, not curing salt w nitrates) DOES have an important role in sausage making, if your sausages are 4% by weight salt it will result in a safe food product. salt dehydrates bacteria and makes a sausage an inhospitable growing environment, yes? i am just sayin because your op does not specifically mention salt along w herbs and spices, and i have seen some novice sausage makers overlook the salt or try to get a little cute w doing a "low-sodium" batch and they wind up w a failed product, one that immediately spoils, or a food that is not safe and could make someone sick if they ate it. so i hope i am not being a jerk when i give you this friendly reminder about the salt.

          do you have a library card? ruhlman's book on charcuterie is a good reference, though i like john kowalski's "the art of charcuterie" better.

          1. Wow thanks everyone for all the input !
            foreverhungry..... I am in agreement with eLizard. I'd love more details !
            Also I'll be sure to use the danger zone guideline of no more than 4 hours @ 40-140.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Phef

              Check out Ruhlman and Polcyn "Charcuterie: The craft of salting, smoking, and curing". If you even want to dabble in sausage making, it's a great book. As the title suggests, there's more than just sausage making in the book. From there, I've made pastrami, duck prosciutto, I'm making a regular prosciutto (hanging in the basement as we speak), smoked salmon, smoked almonds, and a few other things. I've done a few sausage recipes from there as well, and they've all turned out excellent.

              I can't give the recipes here, and there's too much detail in the process to spell out. The book does a good job of pointing out important steps - attention to the amount of fat, attention to keeping everything well chilled, and how to best cook different types of sausages. The nice thing is that once you have the basics down - meat, fat, salt, and liquid ratios - you can vary the spices to give you what you want in terms of flavor profile. It's tons of fun.

              1. re: Phef

                Plenty of good recipes for fresh and other sausages here:


                and below. Try the Moroccan chicken sausage. And don't worry if you don't have the more arcane additives or binders in a few recipes. In my experience the sausages come out fine without them.


                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    YES>>> Len Poli's site especially is a real treasure trove. The amount of work that's gone onto that site has me wondering why he's giving his work away for free. But I'm not complaining! (Thanks, Len)

                    1. re: The Professor

                      both are bookmarked for future use. Thanks again