Quick & Easy|
By Beverly Barbour
Everything has an end except sausage, which has two--Danish proverb
When you make your own sausage, fresh or cured, you are in good company. The Cree Indians (Chippewa) and other tribes dried strips of meat to create a product we call jerky. This dried meat was nourishing and easy to carry, but it became moldy in wet weather.
Some clever Indian solved the problem. She put the product in rawhide bags about the size of a pillowcase, filled the bags with pulverized bits of dried meat, dried berries, herbs, and nuts and poured in hot melted bone marrow and fat. The bags were sewn shut and then walked on to compress the mixture and drive out air. The bone marrow and fat cooled and congealed around the meat, effectively sealing it. The Indians actually produced a very large sausage.
All sausages are a mixture of ground meat and (usually) fat, poultry, seafood or vegetarian ingredients well laced with salt, herbs and spices. If you want your sausage in a casing you will need to buy a sausage funnel for your grinder, to push the meat into the casing.
Basic Breakfast Sausage
This can either be stuffed into a casing or left as "bulk" sausage. In either case, within a day or two of making the sausage, freeze whatever you don't cook. This is also good mixed with ground beef for meatloaf.
4 feet small hog or sheep casing
Cut the meat and fat into 1-inch cubes. Freeze the cubes for about 30 minutes to firm them up before grinding. Grind meat and fat together through the fine disk of a meat grinder. In a large bowl, combine meat with all of the remaining ingredients. Mix well, using your clean hands. Freeze the mixture for 30 minutes. Grind the seasoned mixture through the fine disk of the meat grinder. Stuff the mixture into the prepared casing, prick air pockets, and twist off into 3-inch lengths. Cut the links apart with a sharp knife. Place links on a flat pan, cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight to meld the flavors. Makes 3 pounds.
This liverwurst is stuffed into a large collagen or plastic casing, or a homemade muslin casing and then cooked in hot water. It is chilled and eaten cold. This German wurst is wonderful as a sandwich with a round of mild onion keeping it company between two slices of bread.
1 pound fresh pork liver
Cut meats and fat into 1-inch cubes. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm them up before grinding. Separately grind the cubes of liver, pork, and fat through the fine disk of a meat grinder. Them mix together and grind again. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the ground meat. Mix well, using your clean hands. Grind the mixture through the fine disk twice more, freezing the mixture for 30 minutes between grindings. (Or, process in a food processor.)
Stuff the mixture into the casing. It helps to fold the open end of the casing down over itself to get things started. This makes it easier for the meat mixture to reach the bottom. Pack the meat in as firmly as possible. Stitch or tie the open end so it is firmly closed. In a large kettle bring enough water to a boil to cover the liverwurst by 2 to 3 inches. Put the sausage in the boiling water and place a heavy plate on top of it to keep it submerged. When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat so that the water maintains a temperature of 175 F. Cook, covered, for 3 hours. Plunge the cooked liverwurst into a bowl of ice water to cool quickly. Drain well, pat dry, and refrigerate, covered, overnight before removing the casing. Store in the refrigerator and eat within 10 days. Makes a 2 pound sausage.
*Note: For a 2 pound liverwurst you will need a piece of unbleached muslin about 12 inches long and 8 inches wide. Fold the muslin lengthwise. Using a small stitch, sew across one of the short ends in a half-circle pattern and then down the open side.
Shortcut All-Beef Summer Sausage
You can take a shortcut by buying ground beef and using liquid smoke, then oven baking rather than hot-smoking the sausage. Purists can do it the traditional way: grind your own meat and hot-smoke the sausages omitting the liquid smoke, until sausage reaches an internal temperature of 160 F.
3 feet large beef casing
Combine the ground meat and garlic. Mix well, using clean hands. Combine remaining ingredients; stirring until well blended. Add to the meat mixture, using your clean hands. Stuff mixture into prepared casing; prick air pockets, and twist off into 6-inch lengths. Cut the links apart with a sharp knife. Place the links on flat pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight to meld flavors. Preheat oven to 200 F. Arrange links on broiler pan and bake 4 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 160 F. on an instant-read thermometer. The meat will remain bright red even when fully cooked. (Or, smoke in a smoker.) Cool sausages. Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Makes 3 pounds.
You can substitute beef or pork for part of the venison, if needed. You can also shape the meat mixture into patties or meatballs instead of stuffing it into a casing.
4 feet medium hog casing
Cut meat and fat into 1-inch cubes. Freeze the cubes for about 30 minutes to firm them up before grinding. Grind venison and fat separately through the coarse disk of a meat grinder. Combine the meat with remaining ingredients, using your clean hands. Freeze mixture for 30 minutes. Grind seasoned mixture through fine disk. Stuff mixture into casing, prick air pockets, and twist off into 4-inch lengths. Cut links apart with a sharp knife. Or, shape meat mixture into patties or meatballs. Arrange meat on a pan and refrigerate for several hours or overnight to meld flavors. Use sausage within 2 to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Grilling or panfrying is recommended. Makes 3 pounds.
Whetting your taste for making tasty sausages!