It's that time of the year again - sausage making time! This is my second year for making my own sausage, and this year, I have a stuffer! I found the attachment for the KitchenAid at a reasonable price in the US - $10 vs. an insane $24 here in Canada. $24 for three small pieces of plastic - I don't think so! Eventually I'd like a metal meat grinder and sausage stuffer, but for now, the KitchenAid attachments work fine.

Pork was on sale, so I bought two shoulders, for a total of around 18 pounds. After skinning and deboning, I ended up with around 14 pounds of meat.
Pork shoulder

with skin removed...

cut off the bone...

and cut up for the grinder.
Of course, I tossed the bones into a stock pot for soup!  :)
Making stock from the bones - nothing goes to waste!
I decided on four different recipes this year - sage, Italian, chorizo and garlic-pepper. To make things easier, I made sure to prepare all of the seasoning ahead of time. As with anything to do with meat, it's important to work quickly and keep the meat from warming up, so making sure everything is ready to go means you don't have to stop in the middle of making your sausage to chop an onion or measure out a spice!
Pre-measured seasonings.
After grinding, I weighed out the portions I wanted (5 pounds each for the Italian and sage, 2 pounds each for the others), and mixed each well with the seasoning. After mixing, each bowl went into the fridge until I was ready to use it.
Final product, ground and mixed with the seasonings.

And of course, you have to do a taste test!

Taste test!
Last year, I saw casings for sale at a local grocery store, along with the large cuts of pork. This year, however, I couldn't find them. I know that store makes it's own sausage, so I decided to ask at the butcher counter.

I was told they didn't sell the casings anymore, due to health and safety concerns.

I was told this, standing directly in front of the case of store-made sausages for sale.

Made with the same casings they refused to sell me, due to health and safety concerns.

The clerk couldn't understand why I then asked if the sausages they were selling were safe to eat.

The logic, it hurts.

So, I drove around the corner to an actual butcher shop, that had no problem selling me a bundle of casings, for the low, low price of $4!
Intestines Casings

Soaking in water
The casing have to be soaked and rinsed well, as they are preserved with salt. I cut the casing into four lengths, to make it easier to work with. I greased the stuffer attachment with lard, then slipped the casing onto it, tied a knot, and started stuffing!

Length of casing on the stuffer.
Knot at the beginning

One length done!
Coil of Italian sausage

Italian sausage, all linked up!

Chorizo sausage

Finished coil of Sage sausage

Sage sausage in links
Garlic pepper sausage
I ran out of casing right at the very end, with about a half a pound of meat left. No problem - I simply left it as loose sausage. I probably could have stuffed the casings a bit more, but it's not bad for a first attempt. I did have one break, when I was making links. I need to work on my link-making skills, that's for sure! And this is definitely a job where two people would make it a LOT easier.

But, it's not a hard, long or expensive job, at all. From start to finish, it took me around 5 hours, which includes all the chopping, measuring and clean-ups along the way. I disassembled and washed the grinder/stuffer a few times during the process, both just to clear it (the grinder especially needs to be cleared after a bit) and to make sure everything was clean enough.

So, now that I've made "real" sausage, would I do it again? In a heartbeat. With the proper equipment, it's an easy, inexpensive way to get great sausages. And I need to practise my technique. And perfect my recipes. And really, one can't ever have too much sausage...



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