What’s gonna work? Teamwork!

It’s good to have help!

I was going to say something snarky like, “Look, making sausage is so easy, my two-and-a-half year old can do it!” But that wouldn’t be entirely true, since he didn’t do any of the cutting, seasoning, or grinding, and his math isn’t quite good enough to scale sausage recipes down for smaller batches (even in metric). But those pictures above aren’t staged. He did turn the crank — it’s much more fun than the Play-Doh Fun Factory; and when he realized that when he turned the crank that sausage! came out the other end, well, that was just great. He was also excited to twist the sausage into links. But really, who isn’t? The real time-saver in those pictures is the sausage stuffer (which was a present from Santa, a very nice meat-making present, I might add; something that would make a terrific Father’s Day gift for that Charcuterie-loving father in your life who is still slogging his way through stuffing with the Kitchen- Aid grinder attachment — fine for grinding, frustrating for stuffing). But then again, if you’re reading this blog, you might already be making sausage, and regardless of your parental status, this is something that should go on your wish list. There’s a huge range of sausage stuffers available at Butcher-Packer, and I’m pretty happy with mine, but you know, it’s shiny and red and built like a cannon. Why wouldn’t I like it? As I said, it was a really nice gift (and I was thinking that the basic bargain model would have been great). But I will say that if you’re giving a gift (or asking for one, and you’ve been really good) you can’t go wrong with the Tre Spade (I have the Minnie). It’s a really well made and attractive piece of kitchen equipment, and it totally takes the hassle out of the stuffing process. Jason Molinari of the Cured Meats blog explains the importance of a good stuffer in this useful post on “Key Equipment.”

Shiny, red, stainless, and built like a cannon.

So we made two batches of sausage this week: chicken sausage with tomatoes and basil for Sunday family dinner, and a basic garlic sausage for a pot luck dinner party last night. This was my first try at Ruhlman/Polcyn’s chicken sausage, but it comes highly recommended (when Ruhlman says it’s his favorite sausage in the book, it’s worth taking note). It wasn’t my first poultry sausage. I made a batch with goose and pork back in January, which I was really happy with. And the garlic sausage is a house favorite, even better if you’ve got time to smoke it after casing, when it becomes one of the best pizza toppings ever.

So first, the chicken sausage: I’m having a hard time finding fatback locally to cut into the sausage grind, so I added a 2lb piece of pork belly instead into the mix along with 3 lb of chicken thighs. Other than that, I followed the basic recipe from Charcuterie. Dinner was a food blog special: penne with Heidi Swanson’s Five Minute Tomato Sauce, and a variation on Gluten-Free Girl Shauna James Ahern’s Multigrain Bread (we make it in loaf pans, and with honey and millet added it makes awesome toast). A great and simple meal, not terribly original, but balanced with complementing flavors from the tomato, basil, lemon zest (Heidi’s touch), and chicken. I’m very happy that there’s still a pound of links on hand in the freezer to use over the next month.

Hog casings, packed in salt

Mise en place for chicken (and pork) sausage w/ tomaotes and basil

Ready for the grinder

Chicken sausages, all linked up

The garlic sausages were a little more straightforward. I’ve started to use a bit less salt than the basic ratios in Charcuterie, and now use about 7 g of kosher salt per pound of pork shoulder (instead of 8g). (I know, I know, I’m mixing metric and imperial, but it’s easy in my brain because it comes packaged from the meat counter in pounds, and the math this time was no hassle because it was a 3 lb batch.) 8-10 grams of diced garlic per pound, and I added some grated nutmeg (inspired by Hank Shaw’s Toulouse-style Goose Sausages). And this is where my helper came in handy:

Learning about mechanical advantage

Yep, it IS like magic!

Just like we read in Bertolli's Cooking by Hand: pinch, twist, roll

A table full of links!

So, it was a fairly productive afternoon. And maybe we’re laying the groundwork for a future helper in the kitchen. Who knows?

About Scott

occasionally-bearded teacher/musician/cook
This entry was posted in charcutepalooza, chicken, pork, recipes, sausages, technique and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What’s gonna work? Teamwork!

  1. Rachel Tayse says:

    If only you hadn’t invoked the Wonder Pets, I could love this post. 😉

    Sausage making is great work for kids. My daughter enjoys putting meat chunks in the grinder and always helps with stuffing. During our last batch of sausage she came up with the idea of making the links into letters. Her name, Lil, is relatively easy to spell with a string of links.

  2. Scott says:

    Nice! We have some initials that we could totally spell out with sausage. Why didn’t I think of this?
    Sorry about passing on the Wonder Pets tune. It was in my head, and you know, when it gets in there, it stays there!

  3. Em Komiskey says:

    Uh, yeah, raise your hand if you immediately got the Wonder Pets reference. *raises hand*

    Hi Scott. Paul tells me that you will be doing the Masters in Sci Ed at MSU. Is that Right? My husband, Jason is heading into his second summer out there.

  4. Scott says:

    Hi, Em. Yes, I just started 2 classes online this week, and I’m looking forward to the program. (If he’s got any suggestions on classes to take, have him send me an email.) And I won’t be heading out to MT this summer, but I think next year that’s going to be the plan, probably bringing the family out too. Should be fun.

  5. Paul says:

    Great post! Love the shot of the little man turning the crank! Have to get on the sausage bandwagon…

  6. I agree that sausage making is a great activity to do with kids. I’ve made sausages before with a young family member, and not only did he do most of the stuffing himself, it actually got him to eat chicken, which he previously hadn’t!

    I’m also envious of your sausage stuffer – I”m getting quite frustrated with the kitchen aid attachment – love the grinder, don’t like the stuffer.

  7. janis says:

    You win for the cutest sausage stuffer. Great post.

  8. How fun. I never thought I’d say so back when I was overwhelmed by feeding herds while dodging helpers underfoot, but I miss my little kitchen helpers…
    Also have some stuffer envy….

    I too have started reducing recommended amount of salt in my sausages and I love salty food.

  9. Scott says:

    Thanks! We’re pretty fond of the stuffer and the helper!

  10. Pingback: Charcutepalooza Wrap-up: Back to Basics | Smoke Cure Pickle Brew

  11. Pingback: What To Do With Your New Kitchen Toys | Smoke Cure Pickle Brew

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