I made sausage over the weekend

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Nice write-up! I also make sausage from time to time, and I have to agree: dealing with those casings is a pain. They DO smell bad, they ARE creepy to handle, and it can be quite difficult to get them onto the stuffing tube in one piece. You're not done then, at that point you have to manage to get them filled without any blow-outs or tears. It's definitely a two-person job, one to feed the grinder and the other to mind the casings.

Now I usually skip the casings, and just make patties or wrap the bulk sausage up in 1lb packages to freeze.
 
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Laurel

Laurel

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Nice write-up! I also make sausage from time to time, and I have to agree: dealing with those casings is a pain. They DO smell bad, they ARE creepy to handle, and it can be quite difficult to get them onto the stuffing tube in one piece. You're not done then, at that point you have to manage to get them filled without any blow-outs or tears. It's definitely a two-person job, one to feed the grinder and the other to mind the casings.

Now I usually skip the casings, and just make patties or wrap the bulk sausage up in 1lb packages to freeze.
That's a good method. I just don't think I can get past it the smell. Although my casings were very strong, and fairly thick. Maybe that was part of the problem with the chewiness, I don't remember commercial sausages that I've had having casings that were quite so thick.
 

r2eng

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If your casing smell, you do not have ones that have either been cleaned right, or kept right. Our family has made sausage for decades, and I have for the better part of 30 years, and I have worked at packing plants that clean and salt casings. Take my word for it: They shouldn't smell!

If you need recipes, let me know... got a ton of 'em! Oh, and try making Bratwurst and making the patties as mentioned above... serve as burgers with onion and mustard... wow!

edit: http://www.sausagemaker.com/ his book is good, but salt-heavy.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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+1 that the casings shouldn't smell that bad. They don't sell great, but htey shoul not be offensive smelling. Thy should b in a nice brine solution and you should keep them refrigraed.
 

mmb

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I've always found it easier to get the natural casings on and filling them with "THAT" hand motion.

I suppose all that practice in grade school payed off.


:eek:
 
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Laurel

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These casings were packed in salt. After my troubles getting the kitchenaid to stuff them though, I'd be perfectly happy just making patties and meatballs out of them.
 

jgln

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If your casing smell, you do not have ones that have either been cleaned right, or kept right. Our family has made sausage for decades, and I have for the better part of 30 years, and I have worked at packing plants that clean and salt casings. Take my word for it: They shouldn't smell!

If you need recipes, let me know... got a ton of 'em! Oh, and try making Bratwurst and making the patties as mentioned above... serve as burgers with onion and mustard... wow!

edit: The Sausage Maker, Inc. - Sausage Making Equipment & Supplies his book is good, but salt-heavy.
We tried it once and it all came out dry. I am guessing it was our choice of meat. What cuts do you recommend?
 

pjj2ba

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I used my kitchenaid just once to stuff, then I bought a dedicated stuffer. With all that plastic and all that fat, even cold, I ended up basically using the plunger to push the meat through. Not fun.
 

Brewing Clamper

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We tried it once and it all came out dry. I am guessing it was our choice of meat. What cuts do you recommend?
Can't be shy with this stuff, you need fat. Add some back fat to the meat and you'll bet nice tender links... yumm... I used to make sausage more often before the ankle bitters started roaming this place... Gotta get into it again...
 
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Laurel

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I used my kitchenaid just once to stuff, then I bought a dedicated stuffer. With all that plastic and all that fat, even cold, I ended up basically using the plunger to push the meat through. Not fun.
Me too, then it would seal with the meat and create a vacuum when you tried to pull it up, and meat would creep up the sides. Ugh. what a mess.
 

RayInUT

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Get your casings from a meat market or butcher shop that makes their own sausage. Don't use the salted ones. They suck. I buy mine from the meat dept. at a local grocery store and they are already pre-rinsed and come on a plastic ring. All you have to do is pull them off the ring and put them on the stuffer. I still rinse them just to get them nice and wet. They don't smell at all. They are also very tender. They are manufactured by a company in Salt Lake City called Hy-Grade Meats. I made ten pounds of kielbasa last night and it took two hours start to finish including clean up(not including smoking the sausage). I probably could have done twenty pounds in the same amount of time. You do need the right equipment though. Also, a sausage stuffer is key. Using the grinder to stuff the sausage doesn't work well and just makes bad sausage. I recommend the book Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing by Rytek Kutas. It is the definitive manual on sausage making. I made mediocre sausage until I read that book. He was a friend of my father (Rytek is now deceased) and was truly the Sausage King! Also, The Sausage Maker, Inc. - Sausage Making Equipment & Supplies has all the supplies you need. Sausage making doesn't have to be a pain in the ass. It's like making beer...just make enough in one session so that you don't have to make it every other day. Get yourself a good grinder, a decent stuffer, and the book I recommended and you will make sausage better than anything you can buy commercially.
 

llazy_llama

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Honestly, after the cheese-cast last week, I'm a bit disappointed that there wasn't a sausage-cast as promised this week. :(

I want to watch the pretty girl teach me to make sausage too.
 

RayInUT

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Here is the equipment you need:



The grinder is from Cabela's and I can't remember where I bought the stuffer. I think I might have bought the stuffer at a place called Sportsman's Warehouse. I probably spent $200 between the two items. I've had both for several years. The grinder wasn't cheap but I got sick of buying $80 grinders that would break after using them a couple times. Buy a good grinder and it will last a lifetime. Same with the stuffer.
 

david_42

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One of the members posted a thread on making vegan 'brots'. He rolled the mix in foil to form the tubes.

I'm just fine with sausage patties, myself.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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a sausage stuffer is key. Using the grinder to stuff the sausage doesn't work well and just makes bad sausage.

I recommend the book Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing by Rytek Kutas. It is the definitive manual on sausage making. I made mediocre sausage until I read that book. He was a friend of my father (Rytek is now deceased) and was truly the Sausage King!
This will make sausage making simple and enjoyable. His recipes are all great. Finding a meat cutter who knows what he/she is talking about is important. Getting good sausage cuts with a good amount of fat is important. Pork belly and shoulder are two good cuts for most.

EDIT:

Here is my wife handling some sausage:


and the girls getting excited about what would become.....


my huge sausage!


We always make a couple huge ones for Oktoberfest.
 

Bernie Brewer

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I was a meat cutter for over 17 years, and made bratwurst, Italian sausages, Polish, etc several times a week. A hank of hog casings always comes packed in salt. You need to let them soak in water for several hours, or maybe even a day, to get them to the point where you can handle them. But if you let them sit for too long in just plain water, they will get stinky. (BTW, if you think that stinks, try handling tripe!)

+1 on the stuffer. those Kitchen-ade things suck. One thing that might help with the kitchenade, though, is to take the knife and plate out of the grinder when you put your sausage horn on. That's the way we did it in the grocery stores if we didn't have a hydraulic stuffer. Also the casings will go onto the horn much easier if you get a little water INSIDE the casing before you put it on the horn. It'll come off easier, too.
 

RayInUT

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I was a meat cutter for over 17 years, and made bratwurst, Italian sausages, Polish, etc several times a week. A hank of hog casings always comes packed in salt. You need to let them soak in water for several hours, or maybe even a day, to get them to the point where you can handle them. But if you let them sit for too long in just plain water, they will get stinky. (BTW, if you think that stinks, try handling tripe).
I disagree. I buy pre-rinsed casings that are not packed in salt and the quality is MUCH better than the salt packed casings. They don't stink (they don't smell like roses either...think about what goes through a hog casing before you buy it) but they are very easy to work with and last 30-40 days refrigerated. They buy them in a twenty pound box and the local grocer sells them to me for about $5.00 a pound. A pound of casings goes a long way. It's a much better deal than buying a four or six ounce pack of salted casings for seven or eight bucks at the local Cabela's or wherever else you buy them.
 

Chad

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If you are going to get into sausage making, bookmark the link to Butcher & Packer. Much better prices and selection than The Sausage Maker.

I use salted casings bought in bulk. I remove what I'll need & soak overnight. As Bernie says, a good soak makes a world of difference. I also run water through the casing and change the soaking water a couple of times during the soaking process. When I'm stuffing I put the nozzle over a wet sheet pan so the sausage can slide around a little as it comes off the stuffer. It makes things a lot easier.

I've used the stuffer on my Kitchenaid. It's not ideal, but if you only make sausage a couple of times a year it is not too bad. Using the Kitchenaid is really a two person job, though. If you make sausage more often than that, a dedicated stuffer is a must. The 5lb Vertical Sausage Stuffer sold by Grizzly for $69 is the same model sold by Sausage Maker for double that. Well worth it.

And to echo the other posters, there is no law that says you have to stuff the sausages. I make 8lbs of breakfast sausage at a time, roll it into 1lb logs in plastic wrap and vacuum seal it before freezing. When it thaws you can slice it into patties. The chicken tomato basil sausage is from Charcuterie, I assume. That's one of my favorites. I usually stuff half and leave half in bulk. The bulk sausage goes on pizza, in pasta sauces and as a ravioli stuffing, where it is spectacular. Laurel, my wife shares your feelings about hog casings, so I try to be sensitive to that. There are artificial casings out there, too, that are easier to deal with and don't smell. Take a look through Butcher & Packer.

Chad
 

Chad

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Oh yeah, two other critical factors to sausage making -- fat and cold. You need fat. Ideally, sausage is about 30% fat. A good pork shoulder (with the fat cap intact) is pretty close to that naturally, but you need to add back fat (not cured fatback, which is what you usually find in grocery stores).

And cold is critical. I dice my meat, season it, and then stick it in the freezer for half an hour to an hour before grinding. The grinder, blade and die go into the freezer as well, as does the bowl I'll be grinding into. When I grind the meat, the receiving bowl sits in a larger bowl of ice water to keep everything cool. Sausage that is ground too warm will break when cooked, i.e. the fat will separate, leaving a grainy, pasty mess.

Chad
 
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