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Home Based Sausage and Charcuterie Making


Scott Johnston
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I want to try to make some sausage and at home this fall. I have access to a hand held meat grinder, a Kitchen-aid grinder and sausage stuffer and have even thought about getting one one these Waring Pro MG-800.

My question is has anyone done this before that can "mentor" me a bit? Anyone want to get together and try their hand? I am willing to host (Tyson's Corner), share my equipment, and see if we can put together some product. I would also like to purchase some casings and other items in bulk, and have some others to share the costs with.

Does anyone have access to a better grinder or stuffer than a kitchen-aid? How about a refrigerator to cure sausage?

I am also looking at good books and websites to help me in the journey.

Here are a couple of things I have found:

DR Threads:

Charcuterie: http://www.donrockwell.com/index.php?s=&am...ost&p=17527

Sausage Recipes: http://www.donrockwell.com/index.php?s=&am...ost&p=15182

eGullet Threads:

Charcuterie (very long) http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...t&p=1074242

Sausage Making: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...t&p=1082814

Bible:Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing (Hardcover)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/039305829...2840901-1212950

Supplies: http://www.sausagemaker.com and http://www.cabelas.com

Weblinks: http://home.pacbell.net/lpoli/page0003.htm

http://schmidling.com/saus.htm

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I'm in Tysons too and I just put my order in for the seasonings for a batch of kielbasa. I got the sausage maker attachment last year for my KitchenAid and have been saving pork scraps and odd cuts for a few months in the freezer. I'll give it a whirl when I get my spices.

The biggest problem I see is that the hopper for the KA grinder is small, so it will require constant feeding to avoid voids in the casings.

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I stumbled across some sheep casings, which are hard to find around here, last week in the Bronx. They are not salted so I expect that I'll have to use them soon; drop a PM if you're up for anything this weekend or next (my schedule is very erratic these days).

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Sorry Scott - I somehow missed this thread.

I've been making my own fresh sausage for the past ten months or so. I ordered the hog and sheep casings online and still have several miles worth in my fridge (stored in salt, of course). I use the Kitchen-Aid grinder and sausage stuffing attachments. They both work well, if not slowly. I also stocked up on several pounds of fat back as I find that's essential for making juicy sausages.

I started by making basic kielbasa and italian sausages, then moved on to lamb merguez and then started to experiment with recipes (the tandoori lamb sausage was surprisingly good!).

Next step is to start curing them. I (and a few others) had talked to Jamie and Carolyn at RK about doing a charcuterie class but alas, I doubt that will happen for quite awhile.

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1 rusty fullsize fridge - free on craigslist

2 cans of black spraypaint - $8

3 hours ziptruck reservation - $23

having a dedicated fridge for meat curing/drying - priceless

What are you doing to monitor and control humidity? And why the black spray paint?
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What are you doing to monitor and control humidity? And why the black spray paint?

I've got a couple hygrometers that I plan on installing for monitoring...as far as actually controlling humidity, we'll see. My problems with the half-size fridge were that the humidity was too high (80-90%+) at the temps I wanted to run it at (50-55F). I'm hoping the humidity will be lower in this one, and if it's too low, I might try the "pan of water in the bottom" trick and see how much that bumps it up.

I'll post pictures later, but the black spraypaint was to make it not a complete eyesore in my (living) room. It was really rusty when I got it.

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This place is a excellent source for supplies. My wife got me a gift certificate to the place sometime ago. I purchsaed a new grinder and put the kitchn aid to the side. The batches were getting to big for the little guy. I have the ert 12 and love it. I am in the camp of buy a better one that will last for a long time.

How many pounds do you make at a time that you need a faster grinder? I find the kitchenaid adequate for even my big (10lb) batches.

Now, a dedicated stuffer would be an interesting investment (stuffing is a pita, either with my old cast iron beast or the kitchenaid attachment), but anyone that has seen my kitchen can agree that I don't need to add any more big gadgets to it.

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Depends what I am making, but I make fairly large batches. When I do simple italina it could be in batches of 15-20 lbs, liver based maybe 20lbs. I do a lot of bulk buying and freezing.

Nice. Do you just eat lots of sausage, have frequent parties, 12 kids, or what? 20lbs of sausage is a pretty solid amount.

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Actaully give it away to friends and neighbors a lot. The receipies I have are old and I have never been able to scale them down. I have stopped giving to co-workers.

I'm sure a few of us here would be happy to help you get rid of your extra sausages.

Urp.

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1) I read a post yesterday that referenced an italian sausage made with pork skin. Can't remember the name for the life of me...I think it started with a 'c'?

2) I came across this recipe here..the first time I've heard of pre-boiling all the individual ingredients and then boiling the resulting sausage. This sound strange to anybody else?

Liver Sausage

-------------

Boil five pounds pork liver for one hour. Discard broth. Cover five pounds

lean pork and five pounds pork skin with water. Add 3 bay leaves, 6 whole

cloves, and 1 onion. Boil for 2 hours. Skim the fat from the broth. Remove

the meat and cool the broth. Grind the liver and the meat. Add salt,

pepper, and garlic, salt to taste. Add enough of the broth to moisten the

mixture well. Stuff into casings and boil one hour. Keep in refrigerator or

freezer. This recipe only makes enough to stuff about six casings. Don't

smoke liver sausage.

From: Old Fashioned Recipe Book by Carla Emery.

3) Put some stuff in the fridge to cure today! Pig liver was done curing in the main fridge, so wrapped in cheese cloth and put on the top rack. It's a bit floppy (the multiple lobes) so I didn't try to hang it. Threw a couple of the less-hardened pieces of guanciale in there too.

p014.jpg

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Lucanica

Weird. "Loukaniko" is basically the generic Greek word for sausage, "loukanika" being the plural. Could be one of those words that bled into Italian or vice versa given the proximity of the countries. Is "lucanica" really any different from your average sausage aside from the casing?

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Weird. "Loukaniko" is basically the generic Greek word for sausage, "loukanika" being the plural. Could be one of those words that bled into Italian or vice versa given the proximity of the countries. Is "lucanica" really any different from your average sausage aside from the casing?

In the linked recipe, the casing is just normal hog casings. The only thing that really sets it apart is the inclusion of pork skin in the meat mix, but this could just be a regional thing. Anybody familiar with Italy have any idea?

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2) I came across this recipe here..the first time I've heard of pre-boiling all the individual ingredients and then boiling the resulting sausage. This sound strange to anybody else?

Boiling, not poaching mind you, but boiling liver for an hour has got to give you your basic shoe leather. This recipe sounds absolutely horrible. And her admonition not to smoke this liver sausage is the final irony. Giving it some smoke flavorwould be it's only possible redemption.

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I've now completed two-10 pound batches of sausage - a beautiful and excellent version of smoked kielbasa and a very good mild-hot italian. The first was made using the Rytek Kutas recipe as a base and doubling the garlic. I skinned pork picnic and used that, stuffed it into the italian sausage size casing instead of the larger traditional kielbasa size. We smoked it over cherry chips and the result was an excellent first attempt. My family is Polish and my dad swears this is better than the guy in Baltimore makes and rivaled the stuff from Linden, NJ (where we used to get all our kielbasa). I need to get my pictures uploaded.

The second version was made solo this past weekend. I made a mild-hot italian using pork loin. Now I realize that pork loin can be very lean, but I left all the fat on and used parts of either end of the loin to get a mix of lighter and darker meat. The result was somewhere in the neighborhood of 85/15 meat to fat. I could have bumped it up using some fat I had stored in the freezer, but left it where it was since I was planning to not stuff into casings and use it as loose sausage for Thangsgiving stuffing, lasagna, etc.

The result was a moist product when shaped into patties or fried plain. My 3 and 6 year olds devoured the patties for lunch and the rest was shrink wrapped for later use.

My smoker just crapped out on me as I was trying to smoke ribs this weekend, so I'm now upgrading to a gas smoker.

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It recommends usng a new aluminum garbage can as a smoker. But wouldn't you need to cut a hole in the garbage can and run ducting from this gizmo's chimney to the can?

I think you'd need to cut a hole, yes. But ducting shouldn't be necessary since the smoke comes out of the contraption already cold.

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How would you get the smoke from the contraption, which sits on top of a grill or other heat source, into the garbage/smoking can?
post-1464-1195154924_thumb.jpg

I believe this is the proposed setup. You light the bottom of the sucker (noted in red), and it pumps the cooled smoke out it's little exhaust pipe, and you attach that to whatever you like.

I decided not to wait to see if anybody's used one. Just pulled the trigger. Impulse buys are awesome. Will report back when it shows up.

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post-1464-1195154924_thumb.jpg

I believe this is the proposed setup. You light the bottom of the sucker (noted in red), and it pumps the cooled smoke out it's little exhaust pipe, and you attach that to whatever you like.

I decided not to wait to see if anybody's used one. Just pulled the trigger. Impulse buys are awesome. Will report back when it shows up.

Ahahahaha, "you can has baconz"

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Yes, you do. :blink:

1) what temp was your smoker running at? and how long?

2) what spices did you use in the mild-hot italian?

Also, holy crap. Portable cold-smoking abilities?!? Anybody seen/used one of these things?

For the kielbasa, I was shooting for an internal temp of 155 degrees. They smoked for about 4 hours. The smoker was a feeble electric one from Home Depot. It only lasted about 6 uses.

On the italian sausage, the spices were fennel seed, coriander, paprika, hot pepper flake, salt, sugar, black pepper, and caraway.

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On the italian sausage, the spices were fennel seed, coriander, paprika, hot pepper flake, salt, sugar, black pepper, and caraway.

Sounds excellent. I've done a couple batches of spicy italian sausage, and in the second one I augmented the hot pepper flake with some cayenne. Probably not appropriate for a mild-hot, but I was very happy with the result in the hot ones I made. Will have to experiment with caraway.

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Sounds excellent. I've done a couple batches of spicy italian sausage, and in the second one I augmented the hot pepper flake with some cayenne. Probably not appropriate for a mild-hot, but I was very happy with the result in the hot ones I made. Will have to experiment with caraway.

I have some family members who aren't so hip on uber spicy, so I went with a mild sausage with just enough hot pepper to tell you it's there. I think I used only about 1 tsp ground caraway for 10 pounds. Caraway can be pretty assertive, so I used just a little. I'll have to see what it tastes like without.

Also I found that Costco sells boneless pork shoulder for $1.39 a pound, so that is where I'm going to be getting my pork when i want a product with about 20% fat.

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I also found this LA Times article about Lucanica, another sausage made with pork skin.

Was thinking of making cotechino, but lacking large diameter casings, I ended up making a batch of Lucanica yesterday (thanks for the skin, Heather!) while also making some liverwurst (in the ongoing efforts to use up all the pork liver I got from Cedarbrook). Ran out of time for stuffing, so I finished up this morning, stopped by Dupont FM, then started a batch of lard (the fat from the batch of skin) with garlic (like a garlic confit but with pig fat instead of olive oil :blink:), and tossed a new jowl into a cure (time to start experimenting with different cures...this time, apples and some calvados in addition to the normal sage/rosemary/garlic/juniperberries).

It has been a good weekend. Pics are here.

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Bacon is curing in the fridge nicely, if not a bit messy (had a few leaks this week) and should be ready to hit the smoker on Saturday. It's my inaugural batch in the new smoker, so I need to season it first.

Funny story about buying the pork belly. I went to Great Wall in Merrifield last week to check out their prices and they had not so fresh looking belly for $3.99 a pound. I then went to H-Mart (which seems to now be taking cleanliness seriously) and found the price to be less than $2.00 a pound, but not in slabs. After much gesturing about how I wanted 2 small slabs (around 2 pounds each), I ended up with two whole bellies at about 30 pounds total. So, I'll be looking for recipies that utilize pork belly.

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a batch of lard (the fat from the batch of skin) with garlic (like a garlic confit but with pig fat instead of olive oil :()

The garlic in this was decidedly burnt and not-good. The lard (once the garlic was removed) was still serviceable, though.

Biotech, are you hot-smoking it, or is the new smoker a multi-chamber capable of cold-smoking? Also, I'm quite fond of the Molly Stevens braised pork belly recipe from All About Braising. I sometimes feel like I'm a broken record in recommending this book, but it's just so damn good.

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The garlic in this was decidedly burnt and not-good. The lard (once the garlic was removed) was still serviceable, though.

Biotech, are you hot-smoking it, or is the new smoker a multi-chamber capable of cold-smoking? Also, I'm quite fond of the Molly Stevens braised pork belly recipe from All About Braising. I sometimes feel like I'm a broken record in recommending this book, but it's just so damn good.

My new smoker is a gas smoker that I can control down to about 100 degrees. The recipe I am following calls for smoking around the 130 range.

I think i'm going to do the corduroy recipe with some of the rest.

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Very cool. What smoker did you get? I need equipment jealousy, please.

I bought a Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain off of Bass Pro Shops. I tested it out and can get a very low flame with the dampers wide open. I plan on using apple wood on this batch.

It's a pretty nice smoker/barbecue that can hold a great deal of meat. This will complement my 5 burner grill nicely. Now I can cook entire carcasses (something my wife and vegetarian nanny don't seem thrilled about).

First run is Saturday.

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Scott-

Just saw this post. I have an osterizer sausage maker and meat grinder which I am happy to have you borrow along with several sausage making books. I would also be up for making some sausage with you in the new year. I used to help my dad make sausage all the time. We tried to make "real" English sausages. The main thing I remember is to be sure to use enough fat along with the shoulder meat. If you skimp, the sausages turn out too dry when you cook them. I have made some great Italian ones with lots of fennel in the past.

Also, does anyone know where I can get fresh pig blood? I would love to try and make boudin noir.

Catherine

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Also, does anyone know where I can get fresh pig blood? I would love to try and make boudin noir.

I believe that it is not legal to sell fresh pig blood. My guess is that you would have to have a trusting relationship with a pig processor in order to get some. You might try talking to Bev Eggleston at Eco-Friendly, either at the Saturday Courthouse market in Arlington or Dupont Circle on Sunday.

I have seen frozen beef blood in some of the Korean markets in Fairfax County. And I know that Full Kee serves duck blood. But I'm not sure that either would make good boudin noir. For what it's worth, Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn in *Charcuterie* talk about trying to make boudin noir and finding it extraordinarily difficult.

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So I cured some pastrami and then cold smoked it earlier this week. The recipes I've seen call for cold-smoking followed by hot smoking to an internal temp of 165. I don't have a good hot-smoking setup and I'd rather not deal with the hot smoker in this cold weather...can I just cook it to the internal temp in the oven or something? I also saw that somebody suggested warming pastrami in a steamer: is that an option for getting the pastrami up to temp?

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So I cured some pastrami and then cold smoked it earlier this week. The recipes I've seen call for cold-smoking followed by hot smoking to an internal temp of 165. I don't have a good hot-smoking setup and I'd rather not deal with the hot smoker in this cold weather...can I just cook it to the internal temp in the oven or something? I also saw that somebody suggested warming pastrami in a steamer: is that an option for getting the pastrami up to temp?
I'm not expert here, but I've definitely seen recipes that use cold-smoking followed by using the oven to cook to the desired temp. Obviously you won't get as much smoke flavor, but it will definitely work.
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I'm not expert here, but I've definitely seen recipes that use cold-smoking followed by using the oven to cook to the desired temp. Obviously you won't get as much smoke flavor, but it will definitely work.

Excellent. The cold-smoker definitely imparts pretty significant smoke flavor, so I'm not too worried about more smoke flavor development. Will try a low/slow oven and report back.

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Having heard of my spleen adventures, my sister bought me Calvin Schwabe's "Unmentionable Cuisine" and Jerry Hopkins's

"Extreme Cuisine" for xmas. I'm only about 50 pages into the Schwabe, but there's already a recipe for Stuffed Calf's Eyes that has this gem of a sentence: "Remove the corneas, lenses, and irises with a sharp knife or small curved scissors".

"Watch this space" hahaha

You are officially my hero and role model. :(

While I'm here, have you purchased a hydrogometer? The only ones I've found are combo thermometer/hydrogometer contraptions and look more applicable to general weather forecasting than monitoring humidity when curing meats.

ETA: This is the one I'm thinking of getting.

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While I'm here, have you purchased a hydrogometer? The only ones I've found are combo thermometer/hydrogometer contraptions and look more applicable to general weather forecasting than monitoring humidity when curing meats.

ETA: This is the one I'm thinking of getting.

I picked up two of these a few months ago. They are as accurate as I need, and they were $6 apiece. Seriously. $6. Amazon says they're out of stock, but the shop itself says otherwise. Save yourself the cash to spend on some nice pork :(

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I picked up two of these a few months ago. They are as accurate as I need, and they were $6 apiece. Seriously. $6. Amazon says they're out of stock, but the shop itself says otherwise. Save yourself the cash to spend on some nice pork :(
JGREAT recommendation!! I just ordered a couple. Picking up a 3.3 cu ft fridge from Best Buy tomorrow (yes, I could get much cheaper on craigslist, etc....I'm lazy). The book I'm following is a strong proponent of using premixed cures as opposed to trying to use saltpeter, etc. so once that and my hydrogometer arrive, I'm ready to start curing! I'm going to start simple with an Italian style dry sausage before getting any more adventurous.

One other question for you - did you do anything to disable or adjust the fan in your fridge? I've read that constant air movement causes uneven drying of the sausages.

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One other question for you - did you do anything to disable or adjust the fan in your fridge? I've read that constant air movement causes uneven drying of the sausages.

I've got the fan hooked up to the same temperature regulator as the fridge itself. When the temp goes above a certain range, the fridge and fan both turn on. It seems to be helping keep things at a slightly lower humidity (60-70), but right now there are only two half-jowls hanging in there: things might get moister once it fills up, and that might prompt me to try the CaCl option.

Yea I finally bit the bullet and ordered some #1 (nitrite) and #2 (nitrite+nitrate) salts...I had been making guanciale without either, but I think for the bigger things (salami...and i'm debating doing proscuitto) it makes sense to at least have it around. Botulism is bad news.

Mods, maybe move these to the home charcuterie thread.

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Anybody seen pediococcus cultures at a store in the area? I'm making salami in a couple days and I'd like to avoid having to quick-ship something from the internets.

ETA: Penzey's was my first thought, but they don't even carry any nitrite/nitrate salts, much less bacteria cultures.

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Anybody seen pediococcus cultures at a store in the area? I'm making salami in a couple days and I'd like to avoid having to quick-ship something from the internets.

ETA: Penzey's was my first thought, but they don't even carry any nitrite/nitrate salts, much less bacteria cultures.

I'm guessing that you're using the pediococcus culture for making a fermented sausage? I can't help you there, but I do have DQ Curing Salt #1 (aka pink salt), DQ Curing Salt #2, and Morton TenderQuick all on order. They should arrive in the next few days. Won't help for fermented sausage but may be of assistance for other types. You might try inquiring under the commercial names of Bactoferm or Fermento. I've seen online sources for these but nothing in stores.

I borrowed the Ruhlman charcuterie book from Heather (my order on Amazon is delayed) and I've got a serious craving now for some home cured/smoked bacon and pastrami, in addition to the cured sausage. Can't wait to get started on this!!

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1) One of my buddies brought me a meat slicer back from his grandparent's "didn't get sold in the garage sale" stash. Thin-sliced homemade pastrami: heaven.

2) I ended up just ordering the fermento 2-day air. It got here today, so I boned out a couple pork shoulders and cubed that with some pork belly. Not enough time to grind and mix tonight, so I left the meat in the freezer, and it'll go into the fridge in the morning to partially thaw out while I'm at work. Tomorrow evening I'll grind, mix, and stuff. Huzzah!

3) Another batch of jowls went into the cure today also. 4 jowls total, and in keeping with the "hey let's see what weird flavors we can get" theme, half of them have crushed red pepper in the cure, and the other half has some coca tea leaves :( Between this batch of guanciale and the salami, this will be the first real test of the humidity capacity of the fridge. Might have to go pick up some CaCl if it starts creeping too high.

4) I had a bunch of skin after trimming the jowls and belly, so I put the pieces on a sheet pan and threw em in a 425 oven. Result: uneven crispy skin, and some nice rendered fat. When I realized I wasn't going to eat even a small portion of the result, I started thinking about what to do with it. Almost killed my meat grinder attachment on the KitchenAid trying to grind the fried skin :( Decided that coarse chopping would be sufficient. I guess I'll use it for augmenting braises and the like. Any other ideas?

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Anyone know where I can pick up some pink salt in the DC area? I have a hankering to cure something this weekend, and obviously anything I order online won't arrive until after the weekend. :lol:

Isn't it a bit ironic that I'm so impatient to start an activity that by its very nature requires long waits?

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