Well here goes for starters I have to be honest I am no expert at this but that’s true of much that Fiona (My favourite person in all the world, Oh and wife) have done in the last 10 years. However we have both made some wonderful sausages, first you will need some meat tradition says it should be pork and possibly mix it with some other meat of your choice or availability. Remember sausages used to be peasant food and are used to hide some of the less palatable parts of animals still today.
Most butchers and commercial producers use Rusk or breadcrumbs in their sausage mix, but this is only necessary if you use a high fat content for your mix, or if you add an ingredient which is liquid or runny like honey alcohol or juices.
I am aiming this at self-supporters who should be keeping their own pigs and raising superior quality pork. If however you are not keeping your own pigs then buy one from a self-supporter who is, and pay the price for superior quality pork you’re worth it.
How do you tell good quality from poor quality pork? Well its quite simple, check for colour, poor quality pork is pale and slightly translucent anything from white to light pink. Good quality pork is richly coloured not at all translucent and dark pink to red; we raise our pigs in open terrain with shelter from poor weather giving pigs access to soil in which they can root for extra food and nutrients. When they root they build muscle and this in turn builds flavour in to their meat, because they are outside they also put on a little extra fat. You don’t have to eat the fat but it will keep the pork moist during cooking and add yet more flavour, but I would recommend you do eat the fat its actually good for you and as part of a sensible diet will nourish your body incredibly well.
So now having chosen the pork you wish to use for your sausages, shoulder, belly, and any off cuts which do not fit in to your other pork products, you already have a better meat mix than your butcher or commercial producer would use. If you add extra back fat to this mix then you may wish to use breadcrumbs to keep the fat in the sausage or they will shrink disproportionately or explode, hence the nick name bangers.
You will need some sort of skin for your sausage; I have only ever used natural casings derived from pigs. But I know you can buy them from sausage making suppliers, but its not very self-sufficient. You can and should use the casings from the pig you are using the meat from, if nothing else it pays homage to and shows respect for the beast that has lost his life to feed you. I will do an article on this at a later stage.
Now to equipment, there are a plethora of different devices to choose from to make your sausages. You will need some sort of mincer/grinder and some type of filler. Below are the top and bottom of the range for domestic use.
Grinders as the Americans call them come in basic hand cranked for electric powered. Buy or borrow one, which will meet your needs 10 kg of meat is an awful lot to mince/grind by hand, and will also take up more of your valuable time. Give this serious thought if you are going to buy one buy the best you can afford that is appropriate for your needs, if you’re only going to make them for your family a domestic one is great even a hand cranked one but if your going to make them to sell or feed to dozens of students through the summer as we do then think professional.
Fillers also take many shapes and sizes; I have used an attachment for a domestic mincer and it worked OK, but have now taken delivery of my pride and joy an old-fashioned sausage-stuffer, made in America bought on Ebay for less than 100€ including postage. You can just use a funnel but I suspect you wont do sausage making too often if you do. One note of caution if you use your mincer/grinder as the filler for your sausage you will make your sausages much less coarse than you may have intended as it re grinds the meat as you stuff the sausages. Below is our sausage stuffer.
So back to the how part having selected your meat dice in to cubes appropriate for your grinder, trial and error will always prevail here don’t cut it any smaller than you have too. Put it though your mincer/grinder on the setting you prefer personally I like my sausages on the course side, but you should make them so you can enjoy them the way you want.
Add any other ingredients you want, i.e. salt, pepper, etc dependent on the recipe you are following or have made up for your self. Go on; give it a go be daring if you fancy it stick it in, we have done little else in our sausage making efforts and even the ones we wont make again where edible even if not repeatable. You may even fall over the best sausage recipe you have ever tasted, we have, see recipes page.
Mix all the ingredients together well, now take a small amount of your mix a tablespoon should do, make a small burger with it and cook it. Taste this and make any adjustments you need for your personal taste. Then repeat this step again until their perfects for you, and of course your family. Now fill your sausage stuffer of choice.
Now you are ready to fill your casings, first soak your casings and wash them thoroughly in tepid water, flush them through as well. Put as much casing on to the nozzle of your filler as will fit, but only one whole sections don’t put on two pieces as it just gets in a mess.
Now at a pace that suits your own level of skill feed your filling through the nozzle leaving a little casing over the end of the nozzle. Don’t tie the casing at its end it could just trap air and it is not necessary, as enough casing is filled squeeze the point at which you want to end the first sausage and twist it continue like this until all the casing is full stop the feed and pull of the remaining casing off. Repeat this step until you have exhausted your mixes or your casings.
Now you can make the butcher strings if you know how but it is not neccesary.
Your sausages need to be hung to dry for a day in a fly proof area before packing, have fun and enjoy yourself and the sausages.