Sausage. People have been stuffing meat into tubes since human beings were scientifically classified as human beings. It’s the artful method of preserving the meat and blood of an animal with salt, encasing it in the intestine of the same animal. Making sausage predates agriculture, which makes it one of the oldest foods people have prepared. Put it this way, sausage is older than bread, the mighty staff of life. Who knew?
If you’re one of my Facebook friends, you’ll notice that I’ve thrown a ton of pictures up featuring the sausages I’ve been making at home. Since roughly the end of August, I’ve made a least six different batches of sausages, ranging from Bratwurst to Chorizo. It’s caught the eye of a couple of people, and they want to know how I go about making it.
Let’s rewind the clock back to Christmas of last year. It was the first year I spent away from my family, and I was up at a ski resort with Kat and her family. Being the wonderful people they are, her family surprised me with gifts. One of the gifts was a meat grinder and sausage stuffer for my stand mixer. This was both awesome and daunting because I’ve always, always wanted to make sausage, but had no clue how to go about assembling cased meat.
The grinder / stuffer sat on the shelf for eight months. It wasn’t until Kat bought me some sausage casings for my birthday that I finally got the nerve to make sausage. I didn’t know anything about the casings themselves, so I did some quick research after sticking them in the freezer. I made some coffee, sat down at the computer, fired the old beast up, waited the ten minutes until I could actually use it, then peppered some hog casing questions into Google. First big note on sausage casings was at the top of the list;
***DO NOT FREEZE THE CASINGS***
So I spat out my coffee, and pulled the casings out of the freezer. A little more research told me they could be stored in the fridge, in a salt brine. They were completely covered in salt themselves, so I submerged them into some water and started to pull them apart. I found out pretty quickly that natural sausage casings are pig intestines. After a good ten minutes of playing with hog entrails, I needed some answers from Kat regarding the casings.
“Hey, Kit-Kat, I know this isn’t exactly a polite question to ask in regards to birthday gifts, but how much did you spend on the casings?”
She seemed a little perturbed by the question. Naturally.
“They were a lot more than I thought they’d be.”
“Yeah, ok, that kind of makes sense. You got me a lot of casings.”
I was still hands deep in digestive guts. “Yeah, there’s only one little label on the package, and it says 30 x 36.”
She finally walked up and came over to the bowl of casings, as I rinsed my hands. She leaned up against the counter. “That’s all the butcher handed to me when I asked for sausage casings. I asked him for casings, he asked me if I wanted natural or synthetic casings. I went with natural. Are those the casings right here?”
“Yep.” I walked back to the bowl. “I think that label, the 30 x 36, is the number of casings times the length of each casing.”
Kat cocked an eyebrow. “What are you saying?”
I looked down at the bowl. “I’m saying we have over a thousand feet of pig intestines in our house.”
Because of this, I’ve been making sausage like mad. I don’t want to waste these casings, and even though they’ll be good for another couple of months, no problem, I still want to hustle and get them used up. Every weekend, I get myself a large cut of meat, grind it up, then stuff it into a sausage casing. This weekend was no exception.
Now, I was going to list a recipe here on how I go about making sausage, but I thought I might tell the story of why Mr. Charlton’s been going hog wild on the frankfurters. I made sausages yesterday and I’ll be making sausages tomorrow. The only question that remains is… What kind of sausages should I tackle tomorrow? Should I do a Caribbean jerk sausage? Maple bacon? If you fine and lovely people have any suggestions, let me know and I’ll try and make it happen.
The Illustrious Mr. Charlton
p.s. I did a chicken sausage yesterday, flavored with a Garam Masala spice I put together. It’s the biggity bomb, people.