Alright, so who on earth doesn’t like sausage!? I can’t imagine not liking sausage! You can make sausage with anything – pork, beef, lamb, elk, venison, bison, alligator, freak.. even vegetables if you’re not into the meat thing. My point is, I’m pretty sure sausage can be for anybody. To each their own! Backing up… For my husbands birthday in November, I surprised him with taking a hunters education course. We both love hunting and the great outdoors and so I thought it would be a fun thing to do together. But, I didn’t think it would turn out as awesome as it actually did! Our instructor was amazing! We learned so much from him and he kept us entertained. So naturally, when he said that he offered a sausage making class, we were gonna be there!
Note: This is not an affiliated marketing article! It is honestly a recommendation of a great place with good people.
Anyways. Back to my story. We went to this class last Saturday and learned all about sausage making, food safety, and obviously ate delicious sausage. I thought to myself – the world needs to know about this! So here I am, telling you how amazing this was. It was held at P2K Shooting Range here in El Cajon, California and our instructor was the great, Steve Shaw. There are so many great classes, seminars, and camps that you can take at this shooting range! If you are a Southern Californian please check them out! I myself have taken a handgun course, hunters safety, and this sausage making class and have been pleased with all of them.
Now, to be fair to Steve and his family, I’m not going to share any of his family recipes because they are golden (yes, you are missing out), but they are not mine to share. Although there are a list of websites that I’ve been playing around with that I will share with you.
Okay first of all, there were some delicious looking recipes that I found on the Sausage Mania website. So if you are looking for somewhere to start, there are some recipes there, but you could also start on pinterest or just google recipes. Find a recipe that looks delicious to you and take the leap of faith! Now, take everything that I say with a grain of salt, as I am learning as well! There will be many follow up posts about my journey in sausage making because… well… I have a lot to learn! And I am excited to play!
Everything that I say on here is what I learned from Steve Shaw in my amazing sausage class. I am giving you a summary of what you can learn in classes like these! Believe me – I do not know enough to teach you about this and it cannot replace a class, but I do want to motivate you to learn how to do it yourself! Find a class! Do your research! It’s amazing!
I learned several things in preparation. First of all, if you just want to find a good butcher and skip all of this – good on ya! I was told (by my mighty instructor) that if you are looking for a good butcher, you will know how good they are by the sausage that he/she makes. Boom! Go find that yummy sausage and all you need to do is deliver the meat. I won’t lie.. I will probably do that more often than not. BUT I am so into this and am excited to keep learning.
First, don’t cheap out on tools. Use tools that were built for the intended purposes of what you will use them for! Kitchenaids are all well and good… but they weren’t made specifically for that purpose and won’t be as good as a meat grinder that was intended to do just that – grind meat. A kitchenaid would be good if you were only working with 1-2 lbs. You might need a food scale, it would be helpful to be able to weigh your meat. If you are working with mass amounts of meat, you will definitely need a large amount of spices. Costco those babies! Or Amazon Prime.. I love Amazon Prime. Proper tools can be bought on the Sausage Maker website or I know my dad has Cabela’s brand and it works great. Moral of the story – don’t cheap out. You get what you pay for.
I learned that you grind the fat first (frozen), followed by grinding the meat. You don’t want the meat to be frozen, but you want it to be firm and ice crusty. Grind, then add the spices, then grind again. Be careful because if you grind too much, or emulsify when you mix in the spices… then you got yourself a hot dog. You really need to go to professionals for help on the grinder, how it works, the pounds of meat per pounds of fat, spice ratio, and more helpful tidbits that I learned. Again – I am not qualified to tell you how to do it, but I am trying to convince you that it’s worth the time to learn!
Now, I am going to start out by saying that my journey in the sausage making world will not make it past the fresh sausage. My husband may be brave and venture into the curing process because he loves salami (I do too, but I don’t want to accidentally kill my family). Learning and knowing about curing is suuuuuuper important! I ain’t about that life. I want to make my meat and eat it in the same day sooo that’s all the help I’m going to be. But if you are about that life, be safe and learn the differences in curing. I do know that the different types of curing are not interchangeable. Confused? Me too. Sorry, I won’t be help with curing but I know that classes will help you and prepare you to get out there and make the best salami out there. You dew you, my friend.
Other safety topics! Cooking temperatures. That’s another tool you will need – meat thermometer. Make sure that the temp of the inside of the meat is at least at 165 degrees. My wise instructor liked the meat to be at least at 170 degrees and I full heartedly agreed with that. Be safe, my friends.
There is so much that goes into this and so I apologize already that this is going to be slim pickins. So again… find that class and do your research! (Again, Southern California, you have great resources under your noses).
Anywho. You will need sausage casing, which again can be bought on the Sausage Maker website. It is common for our society to freak out about fat. Understandable… but pish posh! Good sausage needs good fat content in my opinion. You need that flavor and that moisture filled sausage. My instructor advised us to use pork fat with whatever meat we are using to make the sausage. If you are into wild game, the fat might be too much of a gamy taste for you. *Mmm gamy* (quote that movie! If you didn’t get it.. it’s the wiener dog from Open Season, you uncultured swine).
Casings come at 2-2.5 ft per 1 lb of meat. Make sure to soak the casings overnight before you use it in fresh water.
If you want “chunkies” (i.e. onions, cheese) then you add it to the meat after grinding and before stuffing. If you grind it with the meat… that defeats the purpose of “chunkies”.
Oh! Also important! Before you commit to stuffing your sausage, make yourself a patty, fry it up, and test it out. If it is delicious – get stuffin! If it needs work – go back to the drawing boards and improve the spicing. I’m not going to go into actually stuffing the sausage because there is a lot that you need to know about it and let’s just say this is the cliff hanger that you need to go investigate. 😉
I hope that this has motivated you to learn more about sausage making. I think it is so fun!! If it’s not your thing – that’s ok! You dew you, right. This is me doing me and I wanted to share it with you! Also, a shout out to Steve Shaw and the other great instructors at the P2K Shooting Range. My husband and I are active supporters of this shooting range. We haven’t been to the range in quite awhile since I am pregnant and the noise is a little too loud for Squirt’s little ears, but we will definitely be going back. Eat your heart out my friends! Life is too short to waste on nasty food.
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