Back when I used to cook professionally, I cranked out 80 pounds of pork sausage every week. Yet, despite the many satisfactions of preparing sausage, there always seemed to be too many obstacles to making it at home—specifically, not owning a meat grinder or sausage stuffer, two pieces of equipment that feel like a big investment. But talking to Hank Shaw, author of the blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (honest-food.net), reminded me it's possible to get started without committing to all the gear.
Shaw, whose forthcoming book will instruct readers on how to become self-sufficient eaters, spent years forming sausage meat into patties before purchasing a stuffing device. In fact, his recipes here are great with or without the casing. And while he highly recommends grinding the meat at home—the KitchenAid stand-mixer attachment is a relatively inexpensive option—a trusted butcher who understands sausage-making can do it, too. Perhaps acquiring all that gear isn't much of an obstacle after all.
Homemade Sausage Tips:
- Before stuffing sausages, test the filling's flavor and consistency by frying a small patty in a pan. Imperfect batches can be used for pasta sauce or chili.
- "Working the sausage mixture heats it up, and heat is your enemy," Shaw says. "Keep the meat's temperature below 45 degrees."
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