Mr. Charlton Goes Hog Wild for Sausage

Let’s make some sausage people. LET’S MAKE SOME GODDAMN SAUSAGE!!!!!!

There’s a lot of bullshit when it comes to cooking. There’s this myth that a kitchen is a sacred place, where chefs shouldn’t be questioned, and time-honored practices shouldn’t be questioned. Sushi is incredibly hard to make and should be left to a professional. Steaks should be done on a grill. Mushrooms soak up water, so brush ’em off one by one. These aren’t facts, it’s bullshit, perpetrated by an industry with its head up its ass.

Sushi, steaks, and sausage all have something in common, and that’s skipping rope. You’ve got a rope? Good. Go try and skip rope. Seriously, get off your fat ass, grab some rope or an old Playnendo controller and try skipping rope. I’ll wait…

Now, you’ve probably not done the above instructions, and I commend you for not doing as I say. The world has enough sheep. I do have a skipping rope, though, and I’ll put it bluntly; Skipping rope is hard. It takes practice. It took me a week of doing it every day before I could even put five consecutive jumps in a row. Now, sushi, steaks and sausage are similar because you’re not going to be any good when you start. It takes practice. You’re going to fuck up occasionally. The beautiful thing about sausage? If you make a mistake, you have a bunch of flavored ground meat. With that being said, let’s stuff some meat into tubes, people.

Mr. Charlton’s Curry Chicken Sausage

We’re going to whip up up some tasty sausage, with a twist; We’re using chicken this time. Why? Because this sausage is a request, and Indian spices are awesome. Here’s what you’ll need.

Tools:

  • A cutting board
  • A paring knife
  • A bowl, or two
  • Spice grinder (coffee grinder or pestle and mortar work)
  • Something to grind the meat
  • Something to stuff the sausage

I’ve got a stand mixer with a meat grinder / sausage stuffer combo. Works A-OK.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 pounds of chicken, with the skin (I just grabbed a whole chicken)
  • Hog casings
  • A bunch of salt (2-3 tablespoons worth)
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Cardamom seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Fennel seeds
  • 1 – 3 dried chiles (depending how much you like heat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tumeric powder
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves
  • Hunk of grated Ginger (about a tablespoons worth)

Note 1: Nobody is going to really notice if you use powdered garlic or powdered ginger. Except me. I’ll notice.

Note 2: If you’re lazy, you could get away with replacing the spices with curry powder, but it will absolutely make a huge difference.

Making the damn sausage:

  1. Grab that chicken. Grab it! You need to get all tho bones out of that sucker. Explaining it in words would be almost goddamned impossible, so I’m going to let a pro show you how it’s done.

I’m not going to lie, this gets me excited.

  1. You got the bones out of the chicken, right? Cut up the chicken into 1 inch pieces. Keep the skin. KEEP IT! It’s fatty, and you need fat in sausages. Chicken is all kinds of lean, anyways.
  2. Save the bones for delicious chicken stock, or throw them away. I don’t care.
  3. Put the chicken onto a cookie tray, then stick it in the freezer for twenty minutes. Put the meat grinder stuff in the freezer, too. You’ll want it cold.
  4. All those seeds, cloves, and chiles? Put ’em in a pan and toast them for a bit. When    your house smells like a tasty Indian restaurant, grind them up.
  5. Mince the garlic and ginger, set aside.
  6. Chicken should be ready to go, so take it and the grinder out of the freezer. You want it almost frozen, like a meat popscicle. You don’t want it solid, though.
  7. Assemble the grinder, get a bowl and get ready to grind!
  8. Grind the meat. Throw the chicken into the hopper and push it down.
  9. Once the meat is ground, throw all the spices, garlic, ginger and salt in the mix and toss it with your hands. Put it in the fridge.
  10. Clean up the grinder.
  11. Get the casing ready by cleaning it. Smells funky? That’s because it came from the end of an animal’s asshole.
  12. Now that it’s been rinsed out, put in on the sausage stuffer, tie off the end, then get the meat.
  13. Stuff the ground meat into the hopper. This is the tricky part, and it’s a whole pile easier if you have someone to help you. It’s not something that’s easy to explain, but after the first batch you’ll get the hang of it, I promise.

Here are some pictures of the chicken sausage I made. With time, practice, and some equipment, you too can bask in sausage glory.

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Chicken: Deboned

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The spice must flow.

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Chicken: Organized

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Grinder, looking for meat!

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Chicken: Ground and Spicy

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Separating a pig’s asshole

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Getting ready to stuff

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Almost done!

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Finished product

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Breakfast the next day

The big question; Is it worth it?

Eh……..

I love making sausage because I love being in the kitchen. The truth, you’re not going to be saving any money by making these. Even if I’m using super cheap cuts of meat, I’m still breaking even. On the other hand, my sausages are far, far better than anything you’d be buying at the supermarket, mostly because even the cheapest cuts are better than the leftovers most sausages are made out of.

In the end, if you love to cook and you appreciate good food, give it a go. If cooking’s a chore, then all I’ve done is give you a job you aren’t going to enjoy.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I did two sausages recently. Chicken might be my new big thing.

p.s.s.  There’s both a Dune reference and a Judas Priest reference in the pictures. Because I’m topical.

Mr. Charlton Goes for Tacos

I was in Calgary for a wedding this weekend, and although it was a whirlwind trip, I had a great time. The wedding was fun and it was great to see a lot of faces I haven’t seen in a while. I didn’t get to see everyone I would have liked to, but a couple of days in my old stomping grounds is never enough time to get in and see all the sites.

Now, I love two things. Going out for food and Mexican cuisine , so one of the joints I was told to check out was a taco bar called ‘Native Tongues’. I had a couple of friends hype this restaurant up to no end, saying it was the one place I needed to hit up while in Calgary. So, me and my partner in crime Kat decided that after a long car ride, we would crush our hunger pains with some delicious tacos. I was really excited to make this taco thing a reality, so parked the car and sat down for some tasty Mexican food.

It was okay.

Here’s the deal. They were pretty good tacos. I wasn’t completely blown away, but they were tasty authentic tacos. The problem I had with them is that they were small. Adorably small, actually. Which would have been okay, except they were four bucks a pop. We both had four tacos apiece,  which is what the server recommended. We could have easily eaten ten. It’s not like me and the girlfriend are huge eaters, either. We don’t get excited for all you can eat buffets. We don’t get giddy over the prospect of massive portions. On the flip side, it kind of sucks to go out for lunch, drop $40 and walk away hungry, getting what amounts to basically a snack.

I mention this to my buddy, one of the guys who recommended the place to me. When I mentioned the price and how it wasn’t really worth it, he put up his hand, stopped me right there, and said, “Don’t talk to me about price point”.

Hell yes, we are going to talk about price point.

It reminded me of the time I went to a Tapas place in Edmonton called Three Boars. Now, I’m going to start off be saying Tapas are bullshit. Not my thing. But Three Boars is a good place, has a nice tap selection and I was usually pretty impressed with the restaurant. The guys running it are creative and I usually walked away happy with the food. Except for once.

Me and my lady friend at the time, the good doctor, went to Three Boars and got a new item. The kimchi salad topped with foie gras. I thought, sounds good! I like some spicy kimchi, I love me some foie gras, how could you go wrong?

We get this dinky little bowl of kimchi, and there was foie gras shaving on top, layered so thin it might as well have been canola oil. To top it off, this little bowl of salad (I mean it was tiny) was set at $16. It wasn’t very good. I earned the title of honorary French man that night, as for the next forty-five minutes I raged about the salad being overpriced hipster garbage.

Before I went to Native Tongues, I was told it was a little hipster-ish. Now, I listen to eclectic music you probably haven’t heard of, shop at thrift stores, and think that punk rock was at its peak in the 1980’s. If I’m not a hipster, then I’m pretty damn close. One thing I don’t get pretentious over anymore is food. I don’t have a problem with paying four simoleons for a little taco, but that taco better be worth four goddamn dollars. The tacos at Native Tongues were good, absolutely, but they weren’t four dollar tacos. It was the kind of taco platter I’d expect at Hudson’s, not at a place of this hype.

The pork and chicken tacos were a little dry, the flavor on the pork was a little weird. To be honest, the best part of the taco was the tortilla, and it wasn’t the best tortilla I’ve had (that would be Jalapenos, which unfortunately shut down recently). They were dinky, slightly boring little tacos. The first bite at a restaurant should be “Wow, that is amazing” not “Man, I can do this at home with minimal effort”.

If some clown tells you that price doesn’t matter, tell ’em to stuff it. Price matters when you’re going out for food, and if the money your spending outweighs your enjoyment of the meal, then take your money elsewhere. Life is too short to be eating over-price hipster bullshit.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Native Tongues did give me a bunch of great ideas for making my own tacos, though. The meal wasn’t a complete wash.

p.s.s. I’ll try anything twice, so maybe I need to hit up Native Tongues again at a different time. Maybe the cooks at night bring their A game.

p.s.s.s. The secret to becoming an honorary French man is to use the word ‘abomination’ to describe a salad.