If you are lucky enough to own a meat grinder then you have the perfect sausage making machine. The main ingredients, of course, are meat which should to be ground together in a meat grinder. When you add a little spice or seasoning into the mix, you are on your way to making incredible sausage. You need to observe the correct ratio of meat to fat, however the seasoning is a matter of personal preference and taste, and likewise whether or not you opt to use casings for the sausages. Most modern meat grinders come with a sausage stuffer attachment, so using casings is not likely to be a problem.
You need to prepare your ingredients as well as the equipment and your work area. Ensure your meat grinder is in good working order with coarse and fine blades at hand, as well as the sausage stuffer attachment and either synthetic or intestinal casings. You will also need a rack, over which you can hang your sausages for drying. If you do not have a meat drying rack, a clothes drying rack works equally as well for hanging sausage links.
You will need meat and fat in the ratio of 20% fat to 80% meat, as well as selected seasonings and liquid which will act as a binding agent. While water is most often used, you can also try fruit juice, wine or even cream. It is necessary to all but freeze the meat and fat order to optimize the grinding process, the bowls and grinder parts should be chilled as well. Make sure to keep the unused meat and fat on ice while you are grinding to keep it cool which will result in a better grind.
Suggested spices can include salt, pepper, garlic salt, sage, fennel, caraway seeds, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, paprika, oregano and coriander. There are plenty of recipes available with regard to the many and varied flavored sausages you can make depending on the type of meat you are going to use, such as beef, pork or venison. When you have everything ready, go ahead and grind the fat and meat together.
When you are done grinding, place the bowl of ground meat and fat aside while you mix together the binding liquid and prepared spices. This helps to better dissolve the spices for an even combination when you mix it into the meat. Then mix everything together until you have a reasonably well distributed bowl of ingredients ready for the casings.
You will need to soak these in cold water for approximately 30 minutes before stuffing them, as well as thoroughly rinsing the casings inside and out before you start stuffing. When you are ready, slide and position the casing onto the sausage stuffer, ensuring you tie a knot at the lower end of the casing. Proceed with filling the casing and when it is completely filled, tie off the top end, then lay the whole filled casing flat on a table or bench.
Creating Sausage Links
Decide on the length of the links you want to create, then gently twist to create each sausage link. Proceed with measuring and twisting along the entire length of the casing, ensuring that you twist in the opposite direction for each link. Try and make each link the same length, or as near as you can manage. It is a matter of improving with practice when it comes to making sausage links. Hang the linked casing over the rack to dry for half an hour or so before refrigerating or freezing. Make a note of the seasonings and meat you used so that you have a record of each batch of sausages you have created, for future reference.
Making sausages is a great use of your meat grinder. There are many varieties and recipes of sausages you can create with different meat, spices, casings, binders, fruits… the possibilities are almost endless. Experiment and see what great tasting links you can create.