Homemade sausages not only provide an opportunity to prove culinary skills but cost less and give you the option to experiment on variety of favorite flavors. Besides enjoying the liberty to experiment on a multitude of preferred sausage ingredients including natural spices and seasonings, you can control calorie intake and stay away from using chemicals and flavors most used to increase shelf life at stores.
Since time immemorial, different types of sausages have continued to appease sausage lovers with their marked taste, smell and appearance. Use our guide to making delectable pork sausage, smoked sausage, chorizo sausage, venison sausage and Italian sausage, all from the comfort of home.
The sausage type
Before you embark on making sausages at home, it helps to know various sausage types. The classification of sausages may be based on the type of meat, other ingredients used or the sausage consistency. Identify sausage types based on the type of sausage preparation - the key to making delicious homemade sausages.
Cooked sausage:Delicious hot dogs, Braunschweiger, liver sausage, wieners, and knockwurst and veal sausage are cooked sausages. In all these, fresh meats, chopped or grounded are used. The sausages are then thoroughly cooked par-boiled or slow cooked to an internal temperature of 160-degree Fahrenheit. Cooked sausages can be consumed immediately or refrigerated soon after cooking. However, the sausages ought to be re-heated just before eating.
Cooked smoked sausage: Wieners, Kielbasa and Bologna are examples of cooked smoked sausage. The ingredients are usually one or more different kinds of chopped or grounded meats that have been seasoned, cooked and or smoked. You may also consider using meat byproducts. Subsequent to cooking sausages, these are smoked just to bring that additional flavor. The final output is exceptionally tender and tastier. Also, smoking the sausage kills or stops the formation of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast etc which can lead to decay of sausages. You can eat cooked smoked sausage hot or cold. If refrigerated, it is best to consume within a week's time.
Fresh sausage: Polish sausage or fresh kielbasa, fresh bratwurst, fresh chorizo, fresh Thuringer, Italian breakfast sausage and English sausages fall under this type. These are made from meats that have not been previously cured. As the name suggests, these are sausages that ought to be cooked and consumed immediately. If required for future use, say up to two months, fresh sausages ought to be frozen. Depending on one's preference, more than a variety of meat or meat product can also be used as ingredients.
Fresh smoked sausage: Mettwurst and Romanian sausage are typical examples of fresh smoked sausages. The preparation is similar to fresh sausages, which are subsequently smoked. The smoked sausages should be refrigerated and cooked thoroughly before eating.
Dry and semi-dry sausages: Salami, sucuk, landjager and summer sausage fall under this category. These are considered complicated because the preparation and cooking time is long. Also, fermentation followed by the drying process has to be meticulous. Subsequent to mixing the ingredients with spices and curing materials, which are then stuffed into casings, the sausages are put thorough a controlled, long, continuous air-drying process. These are ready-to-eat sausages and can be refrigerated to a maximum of three weeks for future use.
Homemade sausage equipment
Usual kitchen tools and certain specialist sausage making equipment simplify the process of making sausages at home. You would need a good quality stainless steel meat grinder and a metal meat thermometer. Sausages are eaten for their flavor amongst other things. So your equipment must not add anything else - hence the need for a stainless steel meat grinder.
Sausages are in a way related to Wine - in terms of time to cure (maturing in the case of wine) and the unique flavor you care to impart. The choice of meat, the cut, the spices laced with, the temperature at which you cure, the choice of smoke, the duration of smoke and the casing - all are important links in the chain of making the right sausage. You won't be reading this unless you are serious about your sausages.
Basic kitchen equipment: One or two food grade plastic trays and plastic containers, a range of sharp kitchen knives, measuring cups and spoons, stainless steel tongs, utensils used for mixing ingredients, food processor, kitchen weight scale, mixer, electric or hand grinder and gloves for mixing.
Special equipment: Sausage stuffer or a meat grinder with sausage tube attachment, instant read meat thermometer or digital probe thermometer and specialized items for the smokehouse in case you plan to smoke the sausages. You can use a large metal cupboard too for smoking. You need weighing scales - to weigh each ingredient - including your curing agent - sodium nitrite (NaNO2). Salts like Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Chloride are used to enhance the flavor as well as warding off microbes like Clostridium botulinum. But Sodium Nitrite is implicated in the formation of Carcinogenic nitrosamines and hence should be used only in the quantity desired. The addition of ascorbic acid would inhibit nitrosamines production. Enough of the peek at the Kitchen lab for now and we will turn our attention to making sausages again.
How to make homemade sausage
If you are serious about making real homemade sausages, think of no shortcuts. Here are three important points to bear in mind before commencing the process of making sausages at home. These are expert advice from professional sausage makers.
- Never cook sausages in a hurry. Always cook them slowly with full involvement and pay attention to every step of sausage making.
- Never prick a sausage before cooking. The flavors can leak out and the sausage may turn dry and less tasty.
- In case of disconnecting links, use only a sharp knife. The result is a clean cut and can avoid wastage.
Making sausages at home will not turn out a complicated and cumbersome chore, provided the procedures are understood well and followed vigilantly. There are various steps and each step ought to be carried out well.
Select Ingredients: They say that a final product is the sum of all the ingredients. Sausages are no different. Sausages are made from all sorts of meat but taste best with fatty meats. The fat content provides the taste and tenderness. Less fat means less succulent and dry sausages. Selecting ingredients is the foremost step in ensuring high quality and tastier homemade sausages. Go only for fatty meat that is fresh. Indeed sausages are usually made from pork and beef. However you can always experiment with lamb, veal, goat, chicken, turkey, rabbit or venison. Sausages can also be made by mixing different meats and sometimes even different cuts of meat to create a balanced flavor.
Mincing ingredients: Instead of using ready-to-use meat, select meat with good fat covering and you can mince in the food processor at home. Just ensure that the meat or any other ingredients are chilled for few hours to help it go through smoothly. You will have to grind them in quantities you can manage with your grinder. Be prepared to do the grinding in stages. You may have to cut the parts of meat in thin strips before you feed them into the meat grinder. After you add the other ingredients, mix them thoroughly and re grind them for the final phase.
Mixing ingredients: Depending on the homemade sausage recipe, measure and mix all the ingredients together. This includes the meat, seasonings, fillers such as breadcrumbs or rusk and water. Add only the right measure of water. This helps mixing easier and also allows the mix flow through the stuffing tube smoothly. Excess water spoils the mixture and the desired consistency may not be obtained. Now, put the ingredients in the fridge for a day to allow the flavors to develop.
Sausage Casings: Casings give sausages its traditional shape. The mixed ingredients have to be stuffed into sausage casings, natural animal parts or artificial sausage casings. Select sausage casings appropriate to the kind of meat used. Though you have the option of using artificial casings in which the filling of a sausage is stuffed, in order to get the ultimate homemade sausage taste, consider natural casings. These are usually sold in large quantities and are quite affordable. Otherwise consider procuring required quantity from the supermarket butcher. Sometimes the casings are already cleaned and you may need to just rinse away the preserving salts. Nevertheless, it is best to check while buying from the market.
Sausage stuffers: The process of stuffing sausage can turn out to be a delightful and easy chore or a cumbersome and complicated chore. It all depends on the type of meat stuffer. Ensure the meat mixture is chilled as cold as possible. Manual or electric, plastic or stainless steel, you should practice to stuff well without air gaps. The gaps will fill with water and will spoil the entire home sausage making process. The stuffed casings should be twisted at intervals to make links.
Storing sausages: After filling into sausage casings, hang the sausages to dry. During the process of drying, the flavors too develop well. Preferably allow for drying in an air-conditioned room otherwise bacteria will develop. Subsequently, depending on the type of sausage and the recipe, it can be cooked or frozen. Use airtight plastic storage bags to store the sausages in the freezer.
Cooking, smoking or a combination: Ultimately the last step in making homemade sausages - cook, smoke or both depending on the type of sausage.
Homemade sausage recipes
Fresh sausage, cooked smoked sausage, cooked sausage, fresh smoked sausage or dry sausage type, there are innumerable recipes across the world and local cuisine, taste and flavors will cast its influence. Here are easy homemade sausage recipes for you to try.
Homemade Italian sausage recipe: Italian sausage can be made in sweet or hot styles. These are grilled and not cured generally.
Pork shoulder 5 pounds
Minced garlic 2 tablespoons
Salt as required
Black pepper 1 tablespoon
Fennel seeds 2 tablespoon
Cheese ½ cup (grated)
Italian flat leafed parley ½ cup (chopped)
Hot pepper flakes 2 teaspoons.
Trim of all gristle. Look for an approximate combination of 80% lean to 20% fat. Cut the meat into large chunks. Pass through a meat grinder. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Ready the casings. Wash well under cold running water. Notice any holes. Fit the grinder with sausage stuffing attachment Stuff and grill sausages. On a medium setting, it takes 10-15 minutes to grill sausages.
For sweet homemade Italian sausage, omit hot pepper flakes and ensure casings are not salted.
Homemade chorizo sausage: In USA, chorizo sausage is generally breakfast food. Homemade chorizo sausages are fresh sausage types and must be thoroughly cooked before eating.
Red wine ½ liter
Garlic bulb 1
Whole cloves 20
Pork 10 lbs
Beef 5 lbs.
Salt pork or bacon 6 ounce
Crushed garlic 3 teaspoons
Salt 1/3 cup
Paprika 4 tablespoons
Nutmeg 1 tablespoon
White pepper 1 tablespoon
Boil wine, head of garlic, whole cloves together for 20 minutes. Allow the boiled mixture to cool. Pass through a soft cloth and filter. The sediments should be removed. Cut the pork, beef and bacon into thin strips. Use a meat grinder and grind to a coarse texture. Mix the spices and spread over the meat mixture. Add the crushed garlic cloves to the meat. Pour the wine over the meat. Mix thoroughly. Take a sausage stuffer. Feed the mixture into a casing. Refrigerate for 3 days. Bake, fry, grill or broil till fully cooked. Serve hot.
Homemade Kielbasa sausage recipe: Authentic kielbasa sausage is a smoked sausage type.
Pork coarsely ground 3 lbs
Veal coarsely ground 1 lb
Dried marjoram crumbled 1 tablespoon
Garlic cloves 3 minced
Salt 3 teaspoon
All spice ¼ teaspoon.
Take a large bowl. Transfer all ingredients. Mix all ingredients slowly but thoroughly. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Stuff into large hog casings. Cool smoke for 1-2 hours. Check if casings turn dry. Smoke at a temperature of 160F. Chill the sausage in cold water. Hang at room temperature for 2-3 hours. Kielbasa homemade sausage is ready.