This is my first time making Smoked Andouille, let alone first time stuffing a sausage and cooking it.
I am trying to remember what got me interested in buying my LEM #5 grinder last week and then getting into Charcuterie, making sausages and bacon etc..
Oh yeah I remember, I recently bought a case of IBP pork butt at Sam's club for $1.39 / lb (split the case with my brother). It was such a good deal, I wanted to make the most of it! I like to have ground pork on hand so that's why I wanted a good meat grinder. (Poor ground pork around here goes for over $2 per pound, and it's watered down!)
(Then I decided to make pork butt bacon with the butts as well, and that's another story in another recent thread of mine--they turned out extremely well [so much so I'll never buy storebought bacon again].)
Then I made delicious fresh sausages with that freshly ground $1.39/lb pork butt: Chorizo, Hot Italian Sausage and Breakfast Sausage. (I'll share my recipes if you want.)
Then I saved the more difficult challenge for today: stuffing sausage into natural hog casings; (I had never done this before). I bought some hog casings yesterday from my local Asain market at $20 for 2 pounds (pretty good deal).
So I decided to make Smoked Andouille from page 156 of Charcuterie (2005 edition). [I was going to make Hunter's Sausage but didn't have the powdered milk.]
I gathered the dry ingredients and ground them up.
Then I diced up some onion and garlic.
I coarsely ground up the pork butt then incorporated all the above ingredients. I kneaded the meat for a while getting everything mixed in well. I then let it sit in the fridge for a while to meld. Took it back out and ground it finely as the book instructed. Then I mixed it up with a spoon in a bowl to make it all sticky.
Then with the help of my boyfriend, we stuffed the sausages into the hog casings -- about 5 feet of casings for 2.5 lb of meat. We stuffed it using the LEM #5 and it was quite easy with the both of us. I pushed the meat into the mouth and down, and operated the power switch. My boyfriend handled the hog casings very well. So it looks like we don't need to buy the LEM 5 lb sausage stuffer--we'll just stuff the sausages together each time (it's quite fun really!)
Then I twisted them making them into individual links after I watched how to do so on a youtube video--pretty easy.
(Next time I'll trim off the lymph nodes--stringy white stuff--from the casings after I stuff them; these casings are from a Vietnamese Asian market, so I don't know if other brands of casing come clean of lymph nodes or not--but it is easy to trim regardless.)
I let them air dry in the fridge for a while, then blew some air on them with a fan, then put them back in the fridge to get cold again.
Here is how they looked after drying and forming a pellicle :
I started up the Mini WSM and got it regulated at 200F after about an hour--then added a few apple wood chunks.
Then I threw the sausages on and started smoking them. After about an hour this is how they looked in the Mini :
After they reached an internal temp of 150F, I pulled them and put them on a plate, and thew them in the freezer to rapidly cool them down.
After chilling in the fridge for a little while I pulled them out and here is the end result (the smelled and tasted heavenly by the way) :
A close up :
Comment: the book said to finely grind up the meat then mix it with a paddle, so it made for the very smooth texture you see in the photo above. I want to try a more grainy Andouille next time, but this is still really delicious.