Sausage making is a big part of our weekly routine. Trevor and I can hustle through the fresh cuts and get an animal trimmed out fairly quickly. That’s when the work begins.
Sausage isn’t just ground meat and seasonings. There are both chemical and physical reactions that must occur to properly break down the meat proteins to create a sausage. An important step in sausage making is to create an emulsion of fat and water to keep the product moist. This occurs through mixing, grinding, and the addition of salt.
We start by weighing out our lean meat and fat. Each recipe is different in the proportions, but you can assume that every sausage has at least 20% fat. It is important when cutting the animals to separate lean pieces, marbled pieces, and pure fat so that you can make consistent sausage.
In the simplest explanation, the meat is ground two or more times to incorporate the meat and fat together. We add the seasonings and begin to mix, adding our liquids gradually. To the experienced sausage maker, he’ll know what speed to mix, for how long, etc.
Every sausage then needs cased. Some sausages case easier. Others, particularly the smaller breakfast links, take a lot longer.
We then allow the cased sausage to air dry before we package it up. This allows the meat to setup in the casing and the casing to dry out, which will allow for better browning and a better snap when you bite into it.
Sausage making begins on Monday and usually ends on Wednesday or Thursday, depending on what needs smoked. Stop in any week to watch us make that week’s sausages. – Adam