Last weekend Country Boy and our neighbor slaughtered some pigs so that we have meat over the coming months. Previously we have slaughtered our own meat and made our own bacon, but we have never tried making our own sausages. Recently Country Boy’s father bought a meat saw and mincer so that we could cut up our carcasses once they have been slaughtered, so we were keen to give sausage making a try.
I spent some time googling the process and reading a book. Yes I now read books about sausage making. The process sounded simple enough. Cut up the meat into chunks. Coarsely mince it, Mix in seasoning (we ordered a pre mix this time round), mince again, then push through a sausage extruder into the skins. But of course I knew that it couldn’t run that smoothly (and it didn’t), but we managed to solve the problems and we now have a big lot of sausages in the freezer.
In the hope of helping out any one else having a go at making their own sausages, Country Boy and I have written a list of what we did, what worked and what didn’t. Incidentally, it is very difficult to take attractive photos of sausage making in a farm shed (look out for our little photo bomber)!
– Because it was our first time making sausagesI decided to buy a premixed seasoning and meal (sage and apple flavoured), and to use synthetic skins because they sounded easier than using natural skins. Next time I’m going to try making our own seasoning mix.
– Country Boy spent an hour the night before boning out the shoulders of the pork and cutting it into chunks about 5-8 cm square. He cut out some of the bigger fat chunks, but left a lot in too (we were aiming for about 25% fat). We used 11.5 kg of meat.
– By keeping our hands and implements wet we managed to keep most of the mince from sticking to everything. Once it had been minced twice it was very sticky.
– The machine was easy to set up and so the first mince was quite quick to do. We just shoved the chunks of meat into the hole and pushed them through. After mixing it with the seasoning pre mix we minced it for a second time using a finer grid. This took longer. Next time we think we might only mince it once, or try using a much coarser grid.
– The actual filling the sausages was pretty easy to keep up with because it was fairly slow – this meant that there were no air bubbles in the sausages. However it was slow for a reason which we only discovered when we pulled it apart to clean at the end – there was a chunk of sinew blocking the extruder and slowing down the mince coming out. This brings me to the next (and biggest) issue.
– I mistakenly bought too small skins. You can buy a variety of sizes and I assumed that the extruder would have a variety of sizes too. This was a big error. We got a spare nozzle from a caulking gun and cut it down to fit the skins but, combined with the blockage, it was soooo slow. We did about a quarter of the mix and then made some of the mix into rissoles before freezing them.
We did keep one large bowl of mince, and Country Boy went to the butcher in town the next morning and bought some natural skins (made from washed sheep intestines). The natural skins were bigger so fitted the machine well. In the afternoon we loaded up the extruder again, and it was pretty quick to make the second time. Also the natural skins were really easy to use. Next time I’m going to go for the natural skins. The take home message is check your extruder size and buy the right skins!!!!
– It is important to tie a knot at the beginning of the skin, and to keep it running steadily off the nozzle as it fills. If you don’t do it properly you can get air bubble or blow outs. Fortunately we managed to avoid either problem. It takes one person to keep the skin running well while the other shoves the meat through the extruder.
– The pre mix seasoning instructions said that it was enough for 11.5 kg of meat, but I think the final product was a little salty for my liking. Next time I think I will try making my own mix, or else use a little more meat compared to seasoning
Over all I was really pleased with the results. Once we sorted out some of the teething problems, I felt really proud of what we made. There really is nothing like the feeling you get from making your own food.
Next up I will have to get my Kel from Kath and Kim on, and come up with my own recipes for commemorative sausages.
Have you made sausages before? Got a suggestion for a good flavour combination?