Sausage making

This winter I found myself hands deep in a big bowl of raw meat. It all started last year, with a passing comment from my friend Maztech. She casually mentioned that her mother makes sausages every winter. And while it was just a passing remark, it got me all excited.

“I want in! Can she show me? I want to make sausages!”

And that’s how I ended up with 10 kgs of sausages. It’s also why I have sausages currently hanging in the spare room.


A couple of weekends ago I borrowed Maztech’s mother, and we got together for sausage making. Maz’s mum did all the initial hard work for me – she ordered me a pork leg from her butcher, along with a batch of intestines. Fortunately, the butcher prepared the leg – removing the bones and skin and mincing all the meat. On our designated weekend, Maz and her mum rocked up at my place with a big bag of mince, plus all the bones and the skin from the pork leg.

It was a two day process. Day one was just to salt and season the meat. It didn’t take very long because it was already preminced, though there were a lot of questions to which I had very unhelpful, clueless answers.

“How much salt do you like?”

“I don’t know…”

“What kind of flavourings do you want?”

“I don’t know…”

“Where are you going to hang them?”

“I don’t know…”

“Have you got a stick?”

“????”

(The stick was to drape the sausages over!)

Eventually we muddled through all the details – well, I said, “I don’t know” a lot while Maz and Maz’s mum tried to guide me into making decisions.

First up: the salting. To about 10 kgs of pork mince, we added approximately 6 handfuls of coarse sea salt. I was told that it had to be sea salt, and that coarse was better. The mixture also needed to be relatively salty for the sausages that I was intending to dry, because the salt content helps to preserve them.

We also added wine – a mixture of white and red, about 3 cups. Or until the meat felt “soft”.

Next up – the seasoning. Half of the sausages received chilli and fennel – aout 8 teaspoons of chilli flakes and 4 teaspoons of fennel seeds. If I were to do it again, I would do more chilli. Double it!

For the other half of the meat, I got a bit fancier, making three different flavours.

One was onion and sage – about 1.5 teaspoons of onion powder and 2 teaspoons of dried sage.

The second was cumin and cayenne pepper – about 3 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons cumin seeds and 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper.

The last was smoked paprika – about 2 teaspoons of Spanish smoked paprika. It would’ve been good to double this amount.

We cooked some of the meat to check for seasoning and adjusted it a little. Then all the meat was covered and it was left to sit overnight.

The next day, Maz and her mum returned. It was time to make sausages!

First, we had to prepare the intestines.

Maz’s mum washed them really well in lukewarm water.

And then gave them a wash with some wine.

She also poured wine into the intestines to wash the insides, and also check for any holes.

And it was time to stuff! The intestines were rolled on to the stuffing attachment (with bonus Maztech photobomb). We briefly kneaded the pork mince to loosen it up and started adding it to the machine. It was interesting to feel how the meat had compacted overnight with the salting.

Into the stuffer and.. boom! Saaaaausages.

Okay, no matter which way you look at it, it looks a bit wrong.

Maz’s mum then showed me how to tie up the sausages. She had a special way of tying them up for drying where the string helps to support the weight of them.

And lest you think I didn’t do any work and just took photos… I did participate in the sausage making. Here’s me successfully tying up the sausages.

Once we got the hang of it (and it took us a while to get a hang of it) we blitzed through the remaining sausages in no time. Check. It. Out. I made sausages!

YAY.

Some have been stashed in the freezer, about a quarter are hanging up to dry in the spare room, and we’ve also eaten a rather hefty amount. I’ll definitely have to try it again on my own – particularly because I have METRES of intestines in the fridge – though I might go smaller scale next time and not make quite as many. It was a touch time consuming, though mostly that was due to us trying to get to grips with the KA stuffing attachment. But the process itself was fairly straight forward and it was quite nice to know exactly what was in my sausages.

Oh and remember I mentioned I also received the pork skin from the butcher? Naturally, it was turned into crackling. Fresh sausages and crackling = a rather good weekend.

So… does anyone have any mothers/fathers/grandparents who’d like to show me how to make something else? :)