I have always wanted to make sausage. My dad makes hundreds of pounds every year with the neighbors and my brother as he has all the equipment from the old grocery stores, a commercial grinder, a stuffer, even the antique butcher block. Well I have one of those blocks too (although it is purely decorative and no help making sausage), and darn it, I decided I wanted to try my hand at Italian sausage! So my parents came for a quick visit, and although we had plans for museums and guilty shopping, we headed to my favorite cooking store where I buy everything without any promise of endorsement, and make a small hourly wage as a part time employee.
I have been a Kitchen Aid stand mixer owner since I was married 24 years ago and have never owned an attachment although I have used plenty at the aforementioned store. It was time. I bought the food grinder attachment which is a necessary attachment for making sausage and needed for many of the other attachments, and the sausage stuffer attachment.
We decided to start small, so I bought 5 pounds of pork shoulder and my dad carefully trimmed it up for me. I surfed all over the internet looking at various sausage recipes and decided I was going to have to wing it. Alton Brown had a good basic recipe that looked like it needed a little doctoring and I was sure I could make a spicy version as well.
My Morphed Alton Recipe
2½ pounds pork butt
1½ t fennel
2 t salt
1½ t black pepper
1 T parsley, fresh
1 t garlic powder
¼c. ice water
Alton doesn't put garlic in his, and I think it needs it. The next batch was made spicy with the addition of cayenne, red pepper flakes and white pepper instead of black. I also omitted the fennel in the hot sausage. And hot it is! But delicious. We started first grinding the meat. What a disaster. We put the cubed meat in the freezer for about an hour until it was firm but not solid. It grinds much cleaner this way. We chose the large hole grinder. Then I mixed all the spices and water in the meat and let it rest for about an hour. While the meat rested, we cleaned out the hog casings. They need to be rinsed inside and out. Gross. Really. But they are the only way to go if you are going to all this work. We lubed the stuffer attachment with a little Crisco and slid a length of casing on the stuffer. It takes a little practice to get it going, but we got cranking pretty well. I don't know how I could ever do this alone. I am trying to figure out which family member has the potential to step up as assistant sausage maker when Gramps isn't around! I chose to make little sausages, because they are kind of cute and a little better portion control. If you don't want to deal with hog casings, then make patties. I think the hot Italian will be fabulous on home made pizza and the regular will be delicious with eggs and toast.
Next up is a lower fat chicken sausage. I pay a fortune for those artisan sausages at the grocer and am so excited to make my own flavors! And this grinder is going to get a workout. Hummus, pimiento cheese, nuts for nut bread. I can think of so many uses for this new attachment, I am sorry I didn't buy this years ago! So, what are ya waiting for? Get in there and cook!