It's Sausage Time!
As I was searching my pantry for a snack,I happened to stumble upon my meat grinder. Now this grinder has served me well in the past, but has been neglected for some time, and was buried under napkins and foil pans.
Coincidently, later that day I was at my local grocer and noticed they had pork butt (the upper part of the shoulder) on sale.
While I may not be the sharpest pencil in the drawer, it did not take too long for me to put these somewhat random thoughts into one focused and lucid thought: I must make sausage!
Pork Butt is a wonderful candidate for sausage making, as it is cheap ( with coupon I ended paying ~$1.00/lb), laced with fat and connective tissues, and easy to find.
You may have read about brines, in fact you may have read about the poultry brine I use on chicken and turkeys. There a few reasons to use brine on poultry, but I rarely brine pork. This is due in part to the fact that pork much more internal fat than poultry and properly cooked does not need much of a brine.
However I am making sausage, and I want this sausage to retain moisture as it cooks, so I will put the pork butt in for a light brine.
For this brine I used:
1 Gallon water
1/2 Cup salt
2 Tbs Chopped Onion
1 Tbs Fennel seed
The pork butt sat in this mixture overnight in the refrigerator, until i was ready to begin the sausage making.
When I pull it out of the brine, it gets a good rinse to get rid of excess brine and dried to get rid of excess water.
This is a bone-in pork butt (what was on sale), so I need to debone the butt, if you decide to use a boneless butt or pork roast, you can skip this step.
Split it in half along the bone
You can see the bone on the right half above.
Here is a shot with the bone removed (laying to the left on the cutting board), the bone was tossed into a pan with liquid to cook and became my dogs treat for the day.
Now that I have two boneless halves, it is time to dice the pork into 1 1-1/2 cubes (so it will fit easily into grinder).
First I cut into strips (notice I left fat on, as it is needed in sausage making)
In addition to the pork butt, I also picked up back fat to make sure there was a proper ratio of meat to fat (70% meat/30% fat minimum)
Ground up some rainbow (mixed) peppercorns
Added the fresh ground peppercorns, spices and garlic to the meat for the first batch: Garlic Sausage
I have a home model grinder that works well for small batches of sausage with a little help from phone books.
As you can see, I am grinding into a small metal bowl that is sitting on a bed of ice in a larger metal bowl. I also had the meat, and all the grinder parts in the freezer while I was doing the prep. All of this is to keep the meat, the grinder and the bowls as cold as possible to keep bacteria at bay during the sausage making process.
For the Garlic Sausage I used the die for a coarse grind.
I started with 9.97lbs of bone-in pork butt, and ended up with a total of 8 lbs of sausage.
I could have easily put on the sausage stuffing attachment, put on some hog casings and ran this through a second time to stuff into the casings. However my family prefers having bulk sausage at hand for sauces,. pizza, etc., so I skipped the casings this time around.
For the first time I made sausage about 6 weeks ago and I'm hooked. I used a friend's stuffer and grinder. I'm now on the hunt for my own.
That looks great!
Considering most commercial sausage uses the discards, making 100% pork shoulder sausage raises the bar considerably, and at a very reasonable price ( I paid ~$1.00/lb for pork butt).
Those homemade sausages look great. And I didn't know anybody still kept phone books this day and age :rofl:
Wow, those look great. Are they for appetizers this Thursday? :hungry:
Thursday you say? :twitch:
Nice write up John! There's going to be a meat grinder on my Christmas list this year for sure. :thumb:
Just got a Kitchen Aid and am going to ask for the grinder attachment soon. Nice inspiration.
Great timing John!
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