In keeping with the "from scratch trend" I've been on, I got the crazy idea that I wanted to try to make some of my own sausage last year. Now in the list of ideas that I get on an almost daily basis this one didn't seem like something very viable until we were making Christmas lists for family. I've had an attachment for my KitchenAid mixer to grind meat for some time(unused and still in the box, of course) and I found out there is another to stuff sausage, so that was on my list. I also looked around on Amazon for a highly rated sausage cookbook and found Bruce Aidells's Complete Sausage Book, which I also added to my list. Through the miracle of Christmas I found myself the owner of both these items. Next was to open some adult beverage and try them out.
A couple weeks ago a my friend Nick came over to test run some recipes from the book along with some fun toys including this crazy huge grinder/stuffer that he bought a while back. The grinder made quick work of the chicken and pork meat we had for grinding. (It kinda reminded me of play dough to be honest.)
I had chosen 3 recipes that I wanted to try which included fresh kielbasa, breakfast sausage, and chicken apple sausage and Nick brought a pre-made spice mixture for bratwurst. The grinding and mixing was definitely the easy part of the process. Stuffing the casing was more of a challenge. Nick brought a collagen casing for us to try and I had bought some natural casing from a local butcher, which we didn't even get to. Katy crashed the party to help out and fired up the George Foreman so we could taste our handmade meaty goodness. Honestly I would need a ton of practice to stuff on my own cuz it took two to three of us to do it smoothly. I was stuffing meat down the shoot and Nick was holding the casing onto the end of the stuffer with Katy at times helping us coil it up into a neat spiral.
Trying to understand how full to stuff the casing is the hardest part cuz too full and they split the casing, not full enough and they didn't look like sausage. We also had some air bubbles appear along the sides which we promptly eliminated with a sharp pin. Remember that none of us had experience with this process and reading of directions/instructions was minimal so I'm sure we weren't doing it properly. It was a learning process.
After our planned four recipes Nick made an improvised sausage from the supplies we had left to finish up the meat which turned out quite tasty. We all agreed that the pre-made spice mixture we used for the bratwurst wasn't a strong enough flavor when following the directions on the package but all the recipes from my cookbook were amazing! There was a lot of tasting, by humans and dogs alike. Gidget told me afterward that she thinks that's what doggie heaven is like.
I froze them in six packs wrapped in foil and we've eaten about half our share of the day's work already. That can only mean I'll have to plan another sausage event for spring. Anyone interested?