Thursday, March 26, 2009

Smoked Italian Sausage

I made one goof/oops when making this, thus it turned out just 'ok'. I will explain later. However, it was a lot of fun to make and I learned a lot. This can be used simply as bulk sausage, but I wanted to play with my new toys, and stuff it in casings.


5 lbs ground pork shoulder or butt

2 T salt

3 tsp fennel seed

2 T sugar

1 T crushed hot peppers (made from my garden peppers, of course!) Skip this or cut it down if you don't like hot Italian Sausage.

1 tsp caraway seed

3 tsp coriander

about 5 cloves of crushed garlic

1/2 cup of cold water

Grind the meat with coarse grinding plate (or buy it pre-ground.) Grind the salt, fennel, sugar, pepper, caraway and coriander together. Mix spice mixture into meat, along with garlic and water. 'Git yer hands in there and git'r done well.'

At this point you have Italian Sausage and you could bag it, or vacuum pack and freeze. However, this is where I got my sausage stuffer out. My stuffer is actually a meat grinder with a sausage-stuffing funnel/tube on the end.

From Blogger Pictures

First, I soaked the casings ('casings' is the nice way of saying pig intestines) in cold water for a half hour. Then I ran water through the casings to rinse out the excess salt, which they are packed in. Then you coat the stuffing tube with vegetable shortening, and slide the casing over the tube. Then tie a knot in the exposed end.

I stuffed the casings snugly but not excessively, for I need to pinch links off after stuffing the casing. First I stuffed the entire 5 lbs into one long roll, with no individual links.
From Cooking, Canning, Gardening

I make links by pinching the roll every 6-8 inches and rolling every other link in the same direction.
From Cooking, Canning, Gardening

Then I placed the sausage on the smoker, with low heat and a good amount of smoke.

From Cooking, Canning, Gardening

I was hoping to do this for about 4 hours, but this is where I goofed. I evidently put too much, and too dry, wood on at one point, and the wood caught fire. This caused much more heat than I wanted, but I didnt find out until it was too late. No, they weren't burned but they had dried way too much. I didn't add extra fat, so they were going to be much leaner than store-bough sausage anyway, but this overheating dried it more than I would have liked.

It still tastes good, it's just not the juicy (fatty) sausage that you would buy in a store.

From Cooking, Canning, Gardening

I cooked up several links in a spaghetti sauce, served over penne pasta, and it was really good regardless.

Next time, MAYBE I will add some extra fat, but definitely will mind the smoker a bit more closely!

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