Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday - Sausage Making With Eric

Traditionally my friend Eric makes beer brats every Super Bowl Sunday. When he said that he was going to be making his own sausage this year, I was excited to try it out with him, so offered to help!  I told him I would get the groceries, and he was researching the right recipes to try, and looking in to techniques, as well as the casings. I have to admit, I am totally grossed out by the idea of buying hog casings.  Eww.

So Sunday morning we started with about 14 lbs of pork shoulder and 6 lbs of bacon. Yeah, I bought too much meat.  Ooops!  But we were charging forward. As I made the Guacamole Football Field, Eric started cutting the meat into cubes. 


I mixed the spices together, making a few measurement mistakes along the way (1 Tablespoon, NOT 1 teaspoon! ack!)  I am not the best at following recipes.  Our seasoning mix consisted of the following:


  • Brown Sugar
  • Garlic Powder
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Sage
  • Ground Rosemary
  • Ground Coriander
  • Ground Marjoram
  • Ground Caraway 
  • Dry Mustard
  • Black Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper

Eric read that grinding partially frozen meat is often easier, so we decided to mix 1/2 of the seasoning in to the meat and bacon chunks before freezing it.   


We slipped the tray into the freezer and waited about an hour.  Unfortunately because there was such a large pile of meat, we knew it wouldn't freeze well.  So, we pulled it from the freezer and got ready to start grinding the meat.   I forgot to add the parsley to the seasoning mix, so we decided to just send it through the grinder with the pork. 


The meat grinding started off slow, but then eventually picked up speed.  We figure it the meat had been partially frozen, it would have went through the grinder faster.

  
We decided to make half of the batch normal, and the other half spicy. I added the left over chopped jalapenos (from the guacamole) to the ground pork, as well as jalapeno powder.  We put the ground meat back in the freezer to keep it cold until we got the sausage stuffer ready. 


Next was the sausage casing.  I'll spare the explanation of what it is, but I have to admit, I was intimidated by this part.  Thankfully Eric is not as much of a wimp.  You have to put the casing on the sausage attachment like, well, a really long condom.  Yes, I went there. 


Actually, our friends started arriving around this time, so there were A LOT of jokes going on during the sausage stuffing process.  Which was a good thing, because this was turning into a very tedious process and we needed the laughs!  We fried some of the ground meat and adjusted the seasoning until we were happy with the results. The crowd was stuffing themselves with guacamole, and other yummy foods that people brought along.  I was glad they weren't starving, because the sausage stuffing went slower than we imagined, again, maybe because the meat wasn't cold enough.


Eric said that he saw that it was easier to "twist" the sausage into links after we were done stuffing the casings.  There were a few issues with air getting trapped inside, but nothing too bad.  We had issues with some of the casings breaking open, but overall, I think they turned out ok! Some of the ends were coming undone, so we tied them off with kitchen twine. 


So, 4 hours later, it was finally time to start cooking.  We were surprised it took so long.  The game had already started and fortunately our kitchen, dining room and living room are pretty much one big area, so Eric was able to watch the game from the kitchen and everyone else was able to pop by and make a joke about me holding Eric's meat.  Nice.  Gotta love our friends!

Eric filled a giant pot with beer, Coors Light, well, because he's classy like that.  We added yellow onions and dropped 1/2 of the sausages in. 


He let them boil for about 15 minutes then took them out and put the next batch in. 

Some of the twists had come undone, so we just used more twine to tie them off. Eric took them over to the grill to work his magic.


The sausages turned out really good - Everyone enjoyed them! By the time we were done with everything, the game was nearly over - ack.  Like I said, it was tedious!   I think it was well worth the experience, but I will leave the sausage making to Eric from now on. I am sure it will be no time before he has refined the recipe and made one of his own!  Of course, if he ever needs help, I'm game!   Thanks for the experience Eric!

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