During my last mash rest, I was putting my feet up and having a homebrew, and my thoughts began to wander. I felt content – having gone from brewing kits to good, all-grain beer, to working as a brewer in just a few years. And yet a sneaky little bastard of a thought crept across my mind – What else can I make from scratch?”
Sausage – the next logical step.
There is a shared trait in all people who enjoy craft beer, or who brew their own. It is a inherent curiosity – a commitment to the idea that there are always new flavours to be discovered, and new ways to experience old favourites. The idea of combining a fantastical assortment of ingredients and cramming them into a vessel like a mad scientist describes both past times perfectly. Sausage makers, like brewers, are typically generous hosts and very good at sharing with their fellow brahs.
5 lbs of Glorious Pork Shoulder
Without getting in too deep (there are better places to learn this than here)- sausage making requires very affordable cuts of meat, a meat grinder/ food processor (or ground meat if you’re a poser) and a sausage stuffer. I rock and roll with the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer units, and they do the job beautifully. You take good meat, grind it, mix with spices and herbs, and stuff it into natural casings. If you meet someone who uses artificial casings, go back in time and never meet them because that is gross. Here’s the whole process in a nutshell:
1 – Cut meat and wash casings 2 – Chill meat 3 – Grind 4 – Season 5 – Stuff
6 – Enjoy
Grinding it out
Sausage not only pairs well with beer (Oktoberfest right?!?) , and is amazing cooked in beer, but in it’s creation it also shares many of the principles of making great beer. Preparation, attention to detail, and sanitation are the keys to success. Prep your meat and clean your gear the night before, and you’ve already started on the right foot. Pick a good recipe (Anything from Bruce Aidells‘ Complete Sausage Book or the warlocks at ManBque is amazing) that isn’t unnecessarily complicated. As in making beer, each ingredient you choose must serve a purpose, and not just be for showing off. Bourbon sausages, I’m looking at you.
Coming from a brah with a belly full of beautiful sage and thyme pork country sausage, I encourage you to take the low-risk, high-reward step into making your own sausage. Your friends, family, and future attendees of barbeques will thank you. Grind on brahs.