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post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Haven't done this for a couple years now. Since moving to Virginia I've been unable to locate casings local. I was talking to a fellow Chef friend from the local Ukrop's and he gave me a local place. Tractor Supply of all places unfortunately I had just placed an order on-line from The Sausage Maker, Inc.
Ordered the fennel and peppers from Penzey's this evening. Should be a couple days before we get the products so until then I have time to line up the proper pork needed to make my Grandmothers home made sausage.

Have relatives from that side of the family (Dad) coming for a visit in September and I know they would definitely appreciate it.

Typically I make this sausage in the fall when it's getting cooler out and in fact my grandmother used to make it at the end of October and then hang it under the back porch when they lived on Chicago's Southside. It was usually ready around Christmas time. But we have a second fridge here at the house and it can easily be adapted to hang things to cure. So I don't have to wait for the seasons to change. Still it takes a bit longer than hers did but still tastes like the original recipe. Sorry I can't share.;)

So....How many of you out there, Pro's or not, do home Charcuterie?

BTW if you didn't know about it before, The Sausage Maker website, The Sausage Maker, Inc. - Sausage Making Equipment & Supplies is actually pretty decent.:cool:
post #2 of 18
I make my own sausage fairly often, but I've never done a cured sausage.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Basically it's just a mixture of coarse ground pork, paprika, finely ground hot pepper and sea salt. The cure takes place from the pepper and salt but mostly the pepper. The sausage definitely doesn't have an overly salty taste. (that is unless you forget to soak and rinse your casings. :rolleyes:) The proportion of peppers (paprika and hot pepper) to salt is at the least or more than 4:1 by volume. It depends how spicy you wish the end product to taste.
post #4 of 18
I've been wanting to try some curing, all the sausage I've done so far has been either just pan fried a day or two after grinding, or cooked in the smoker. Wasn't there a book that recently ( year or two? ) came out about curing meats? I'll have to look into it.

Based on your comment about soaking and rinsing your casings, I assume you use natural casings and not the collagen type?

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
That would be correct. Never have become a fan of the collagen type regardless of whether I purchase or produce. BTW I've also never used any of the actual "curing" mixes that are on the market or the site I provided. Just doesn't seem right.
post #6 of 18
Same here. Never been a fan of plastic casings either. :D A few years ago you could still get salted casings at the grocer. You'll have to ask. Some places still keep "fresh" frozen casings.

I can't remember his name, but there used to be a guy on here who had a charcuterie webpage.
post #7 of 18
Hi Oldschool1982,

I enjoy learning about traditional foods and how they are made. It's a bummer you are not sharing your recipe.

I enjoy your traditional take in your posts but I must comment on one thing here: You are leading us to believe that black pepper is the main ingredient that will <cure> your sausage. That is very misleading!
The word cure in classic charcuterie is synonymous to preserving. Black pepper (or any spices for that matter) have no real preserving properties in meat applications (unless a pure extract is done and applied in doses that are near or over any acceptable taste).

Classic charcuterie is a combination of bacterial manipulation or salt addition or a combination thereof. That combination is what preserves meat sausages for months.

an example of a salt process is prosciutto where water is drawn out of a pork shoulder using salt then hung. A fat layer is intentionally left on the meat to prevent bacterial contamination (the cut portions are coated with animal fat as well). The curing is done by the meat cells enzymes (not bacteria).
In the case of traditional pepperoni, salt, sugar and red wine are added to encourage lactic acid making bacteria that will acidify the meat and help preserve it.

Commercially, bacterial cultures, erythorbate, nitrite and nitrate are used to cure meats which imitates the classic method.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
I eat science everyday, do you?
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
yeah that's where I would get them in every city I lived before here but it would seem most Groceries that are here now have everything done up in a central facility or by a processing plant. Beef and very little of that is actually ground on property any longer. Shame.

Good thing is that these casings, when stored in the proper salt water solution don't ever seem to expire. Although I do tend to freeze them if they are going to be kept for longer than a year. The amount I just ordered will probably have to be handled this way.

Thank you.:confused: and I apologize for any vague perception but I am that way about some things, especially recipes, for a variety of professional but very personal reasons. Hate to sound selfish but they are mine and........Not everyone here is a home cook. ;) It's so funny when ever I hear that "mine" thing I think of the old Bill Cosby "Himself" show when he talks about 2 year olds...... As far as the cure, I did mention that it takes place because of the pepper mix and salt. The salt is probably and more accurately the main proponent for the cure but the pepper mix does contribute to the process. It's been a long time but from what I remember there are properties to the type of peppers used that helps to eliminate any harmful bacteria in the meat during the drying/curing process or at least that was how I was taught. You are correct that spices or more specifically black pepper, usually does not help with the curing process.

First off there is no "black pepper" in the mix. I wasn't intending to be leading or misleading especially since I said Although Black pepper is hot when used in large quantities, I would not characterize it as "Hot Pepper". But since we seem to be a "splitting of the hairs group".......:rolleyes: Let's call it chili pepper from here on out. :roll::smiles:

Secondly It's hard to supply a "recipe" since I really don't use one. But since you have expressed this I can say it's approx 1/4 cup salt and 1 cup pepper (Paprika/Ground Hot Chili Pepper mix) per 5# of ground pork. Then again the pepper depends on how HOT you want the sausage to be. I have added more but never less. Sorry but the exact mix is one of those "mine" things since I've been the one who spent years trying to recreate what I saw made 20 years before that.:look:

Anyhow, the pork itself has to be fresh and minimally processed. Meaning none of the "Always Tender" crap that seems to be out there. I use Boston Butt and trim lean. Too much fat makes for a lousy piece of dried sausage. I also pick out all of the seeds from the peppers that will be ground. Paprika is typically ground already and since I am out of the last batch of ground red pepper from my Great Aunt (circa 1959 and I kid you not the stuff was still very, very potent) I just invested in some Arbol chili peppers which are close to what they used to grow.

There is one technique I remember my grandmother would employ. She would smell the raw pork. I'm not sure if this is exact because it was lost in translation and time but I vaguely remember her saying the pig couldn't have a strong smell. I think it was testosterone she was referring too but I have never been able to confirm this. I have been making this for 16 yrs now but all the "Old-timers" have been gone for decades now.

It's really a smell/feel/appearance thing for the mix. I have tried tossing the cut up pork in half of the spices, grinding and then mixing in the rest and other times I have just ground it un-coated and then mixed in all the spices. Both methods I do allow it to sit over night before filling the casings.

I can tell you it's very important to work out all the air pockets and stuff the casings to the point of almost breaking.This is tedious since you cannot poke holes even using a pin to remove air bubbles. You do have to leave room for the ends of the links to be tied off especially since this is how you hang the links to dry cure. When hanging, the links cannot touch any surface, even itself or another link. If it touches anything it will cause mold to form or the meat will sour in that spot and the link will be lost. I think that's why so many folks use the actual curing mixes. Just not a big fan of having one of the potential ingredients for TNT in my food. :eek::rolleyes:
post #9 of 18
You seem to be following good old fashion charcuterie know-how, correct hygiene practices and common sense. Freshness is key!! like a pig killing in Hungary, they kill the pig and make all their food immediately within hours.

Pig meat cannot be aged like beef. Also pork it is higher in polyunsaturated fat which becomes rancid quickly after slaughter. I am only guessing that your grandmother was smelling the raw meat to make sure it had no signs of rancidity. Rancidity is a chain reaction meaning once it starts it accelerates. Spices like paprika and pepper (and most others) have natural antioxidants which prevents rancidity. My logic here if the meat is extremely fresh, non rancid and the mixture has no air pockets then the meat will dehydrate without becoming rancid.

Having the sausage not touch any surface is obviously to prevent localized wet spots that will breed microbes.

Thanks for the additional info OS'82! I was sharing my logic...
Luc H
I eat science everyday, do you?
I eat science everyday, do you?
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
On that note thank you for sure.:D
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
All the spices and casings arrived the other day and after painstakingly removing all of the seeds from close to 14oz of Arbol peppers and then grinding them and 2-1/2 days of prep work with some help from the DD..........the sausage is finished and hanging. I have a couple of smaller links in the mix that will probably or I should say hopefully cure a bit quicker than the large links. This will give me a taste hopefully in about 6-7 weeks. The larger links will have to sit for 8-12 weeks.

When all is said and done and the links are cured, I'll remove the twine and remaining casing from the ends but the casing will stay intact on the sausage itself. Then they will be placed in food saver bags with a little extra virgin olive oil and sealed up. I typically store them in the refrigerator but have found they do store well on the shelf in a cool, dry area. We have a pantry and may throw a couple in there just for space.

Here are a couple pics of the process.

post #12 of 18
We currently make 6 kinds of sausage (Italian, Chorizo(Spainish and Mexican), Bratwurst, Merguez, Breakfast, Andouille).

We also cure our own Corn Beef, Pancetta, Guanciale, Tasso, Bacon and Pastrami.

We are currently curing our first batch of Cappicola, Genoa style Salami and Mortadella.

We also make Pates, Rillettes and Confits quite often.
post #13 of 18

The book you're referring to is most likely Charcuterie by Michael Rhulman and Brian Polcyn (W.W.Norton, 2005.)

If you haven't read Ruhlman's other books, you should. He is a wonderful writer, best known for his works of cooking and food, but has fine books on completely different subjects, too.

Get The Making of a Chef, about his year as a student/reporter at the CIA; The Soul of a Chef in which he profiles people like Thomas Keller and Greg Achatz; there's one other in that series- I forget the title.

He has also written on his remodelling project in an old house in Cleveland Heights, and one about his year as an apprentice boatbuilder in a shipwright's shop.

You will be well rewarded.

travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #14 of 18
Old School....understood what you were saying about testosterone......pastured and older hogs need to have the
old huevos chopped or the meat will be to gamey.....at least
thats how I understand it.....sausage looks great....was that
a keg in the fridge??
post #15 of 18

I Do!

I purchased a book from the Sausage Maker Inc., and the rest is history.

I no longer buy ANY breakfast sausage. Mine turns out much MUCH better than anything I can buy. Plus I can control the quality of the meat.

The fun part has been learning the process and experimenting with different ratios of seasonings. I started with simple breakfast sausage that I rolled into logs for freezing and would cut them into patties when I was ready for them.

Then I made my first attempt at stuffing with natural casings--Italian sausages. Delicious!

Then I tried stuffing breakfast sausages--first with natural, and then with callogen casings. Both were wonderful.

When I can afford it, my next attempts will be with smoking sausages and also brats!

The whole process is a lot easier than I would have expected, and the results far better too! :chef:

Oh...and Teamfat, the Charcuterie book by Ruhlman is great.

And also take a look at "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing" by Rytek Kutas. You can find it at the Sausage Maker Inc. website.
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

I thought so and Yes it is! Remnant from our Memorial Weekend BBQ. Didn't get the turnout like last year. Trying to chip away at it but.......:rolleyes: still more than half full.:look: So..............:D

post #17 of 18
Hey OS82,

With that keg, I would have sworn you were an amateur brewer!!! (I used to have a similar setup at home but used soda fountain canister instead of a full keg).

Nice sausage setup btw.... Grat stuff!

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
I eat science everyday, do you?
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
:lol::lol: Thanks!!!! Things keep going the way they are in the cost of living category and home brewing is next on the list.:beer:
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