Last night, after I came home from work, I decided to tackle this month’s charcutepalooza challenge: stuffing. I will tell you more about what I made and how it went on my June 15 post, but I wanted to share some things I learned with you, and wanted to give a heads up to my charcutepalooza peeps that may not have done the challenge yet.
If you don’t want to read bad sausage stuffing jokes, please close your browser now.
My (Dirty) Rules of Sausage-making
- Know your parts: before using, take apart and then put together the grinder. It will be easier to solve problems if you are familiar with the parts.
- Chop your fat: I chose a pork butt that was very fatty because I did not have any pork fat back. Make sure to chop the fatty pieces from the shoulder into a fine dice. If you have large pieces of that soft fat they will wrap around the worm and stop the mixture from flowing through the grinder.
- Lubricate the stuffer well, and lubricate it often: otherwise the casing will not cooperate.
- Acknowledge the fact that you are not an expert: cut casings into a length of about 3 feet, working with longer lengths is frustrating. My first coil was about 6 feet long, that was a lot of casing to push onto the stuffer, and then you have to handle and manage to fill it completely.
- Keep your meat cold: it really is much easier to handle cold meat than to handle warm sticky meat.
- Get a partner, or two: I stuffed the sausages by myself. I needed more than two hands to perform all the tasks:
- one hand on the pusher to force the meat down the tube
- one hand on the Kitchen Aid to make sure I did not topple it over
- one hand to hold the casing as I filled it
- one hand to distribute the meat in the casing
- one hand to help the stuffed sausage coil as it filled
- Decide whether to twist or not to twist your sausage: when filling, I decided to not twist the sausage. It was easy to form one long coil and then re-shape and twist into links.
- Do not panic if the meat is not being stuffed in the direction you want to: you will be able to re-distribute the meat once inside the casing.
- Stuffing sausage is frustrating: you are supposed to use the food pusher that comes with the grinder to push the meat down the tube, but you basically end up pumping a lot of air into the tube and consequently into the sausage.
- Keep a toothpick handy: it is the perfect utensil to pop any air bubbles that form in the sausage.
- Do not over stuff your sausage: I did and the filling started oozing out when I cooked the links.
- Bigger is not always better: I find that 6 inch sausages are a little too big. Next time I will make them into 4 inch links.
- Allow yourself to shout whenever you feel the urge: “Fudge you Kitchen Aid attachments, I hate you!”
- Allow for plenty of time to enjoy your sausage making experience: Sausage-making took me 5 hours from measuring ingredients to eating. I will no longer make sausages on a weeknight, especially if I have to go to work the next day.
- You and everything around you will get dirty: I think there is sausage meat on my kitchen ceiling.
- Food porn photos: No matter what angle you photograph sausages from, they will not make for good food porn.
- And finally, it is ok to fantasize about someone else while sausage making: the whole time I was wondering what it would be like to be using this instead of using the Kitchen Aid attachments.
THANK YOU! We are about to embark on our sausages this weekend and I plan to make the meat the day before because I do NOT want to spend 5 hours from start to finish. Your tips are invaluable – practical and realistic. I admit I do find it frustrating in some of these challenges where you admit you’ve screwed things up and others are like “but it is so easy” Err… yes….So thanks for being up front! I will channel my inner Cecilia when I am making these 🙂
Thanks for the tips — especially the warning about how long it took you! I am planning to grind & stuff tonight with the help of my husband (I do not have to go to work tomorrow!). I’m going to print your post for him to read as well.
Mardi–Thank you so much for your comment! I do hope there is some helpful information somewhere in there. I think this is the first time that I felt that this really and truly was a challenge. I did not expect that the Kitchen Aid attachments would be so difficult to work with and so very slow. I don’t want to discourage anyone, the delicious sausages were worth it, but it certainly was not an easy process for me. We stuffed sausages at the charcuterie workshop with Kate, but we used a commercial grinder and stuffer, so it was a breeze compared to this.
Lynn–Thank you for stopping by! And glad to hear you will have help, that will make things a lot easier.