I have been wanting to try my hand at sausage making for a while. I actually asked for a sausage making attachment for Christmas and received one from my lovely wife so the timing of this challenge was perfect. My wife also got me another gift that I used for this challenge, but more about that later. There were a few things I wanted to try for this challenge so I was glad to hear we were allowed two months instead of our normal one month.
I started out making a simple polish sausage. I made this using a little bit different technique. I brined a pork shoulder along with a little extra pork fat in a salt, sugar, and garlic brine overnight. When it came time to make the sausage I just added a little marjoram and a little more garlic. I fried up a little patty to test it out and it was great. My wife is not a sausage lover but she even liked it. I think it had lots of flavor but a pretty simple sausage.
I was a little worried about the sausage stuffing but it wasn't too bad. I used natural casings and used the instructions provided by Carol and Jenni for stuffing. The casings were actually kind of fun to work with - like a big long balloon. I only had them burst once and that was near the end anyway so no big deal. I was using the KitchenAid attachment and I did have a little but of trouble with it getting big air pockets forced through. I just went slow and kept a pin handy to poke some holes. It was not a fast process but I was very happy with the final result.
Here is where that other Christmas gift came into play. My wife also got me a very nice Masterbuilt Electric smoker. I normally prefer fresh sausages but I thought I should take the opportunity to try smoking a portion of the sausages. I used apple wood and smoked them at 160 degrees F for about 4.5 hours.
Next I decided to create my own sausage. I decided to make a buffalo chicken sausage ( named for Buffalo Wings - not Buffalo :) ). Here is my recipe:
Grind 1.5 lb fatty pork (I used pork sholder mixed with some extra fat) and 1.5 lb chicken thigh meat.
Add 1/2 c Frank's Hot sauce and allow to marinate for a few hours.
Mix in :
3 stalks celery finely chopped
1/2 lb blue cheese crumbled
1/2 c beer
I then stuffed them into the hog casings. I did have a little more trouble with stuffing the chicken sausage. The celery would clog up the KitchenAid attachment so I kind of did it by hand. Took a little longer but it worked.
I ended up cooking these right in the middle of Winter Storm Nemo and decided to grill them. Nemo did not hit Minnesota too bad, but not a day I would normally be grilling on. I was very happy with the results. Can't say they were the best sausages ever, but pretty good for a first attempt. My favorite would have to be the Buffalo Chicken - less spicy than I thought they would be but nice flavor with the hot sauce and blue cheese mixed in. The smoked sausages came out a little dry - must have smoked them a little too long.
Very fun challenge - can't wait for the next one!
P.S. I mentioned last month I was going to be doing the polar plunge. Well my five year old son decided to join me. We raised a total of $462 for Special Olympics MN. That's us in the back and you can probably tell from the look on our faces it was very cold.