Once you learn how to make your own sausage, you’ll never buy it from the store again!
Learning how to make your own sausage is like the equivalent of learning how to write letters by hand. It’s an art form that is slowly falling by the wayside, yet, when done right, can bring tears to the eyes.
I’m here to tell you that learning the basics on how to make your own sausage is actually much easier than you may think and can offer you way more in terms of quality and customization than from what you can buy at your local grocery. Let’s walk through the basics on what you need and how the process works:
Equipment You Need
Meat Grinder or Stand Mixer
One of the biggest obstacles that keeps home cooks from making sausage from scratch is a meat grinder. A commercial-type grinder is actually not necessary and any smaller home grinder is adequate. A stand mixer can also do the job if you purchase the proper attachment. See, this isn’t so hard now, is it?
If you plan on stuffing your sausage into casings, you can invest in either an attachment for your grinder/stand mixer or get crafty with this DIY project over the weekend. Or you can simply form tube shapes using saran wrap. Your call, really.
Learning how to make your own sausages is all about precision. A scale will help you to hit the perfect ratio of salt to meat.
4 lbs of pork shoulder
1 lb of pork fat
40 grams of salt (or other chosen preservative)
Solid flavorings (fruits, veggies, herbs, spices)
Liquid flavorings (water, vinegar, sherry)
A lot of meats work here, but pork is the easiest starting off point when learning how to make your own sausage and has the most perfect melted fat. If you are looking for inspiration on what to put in your sausage, this is a great place to start.
Chop your meat and fat into roughly one-inch cubes and spread onto a baking tray. Mix together all dry ingredients you plan on using and sprinkle them onto your meat. You will put this meat along with any other bowls and utensils you plan to use in the freezer for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes is up, drizzle your liquid ingredients onto the meat and put them back into the freezer for an additional 45 minutes. The underlying principle is that the colder the meat is when it’s grinding, the easier it will grind.
It’s Grind Time, Baby!
We’re one step closer to figuring out how to make your own sausage! Once the meat is cold throughout, you are ready to prep the grinder / mixer by greasing it up. To do this, you can simply run a few chunks of the pork fat through it first. Set up the grinder with the coarse grinding plate or the standing mixer at 50% power and turn it on. Begin inserting your prepared meat and fat through the grinder, working quickly before the meat warms up. Once you have put all the meat through, go ahead and drizzle whatever remaining liquid is left on the baking sheet. Put the ground meat in the freezer for 15 minutes and then run through the grinder one more time, if you desire a more even texture.
Stuff It, Shape It
Mix your meat one more time by hand or with the paddle attachment of your mixer. And voilà! You have learned how to make your own sausage! Now all that is left is creating the final masterpiece in a preferred form that can range from patties to links.
Wash off your casing and begin by slipping it onto the stuffing tube, leaving about 6 inches remaining as a tail that you can tie off later. Slowly feed the chilled mixture of meat through the stuffer until you fill the casing, leaving just enough casing to tie off the other end after forming links. Form links by simply pinching the meat off with two hands and twisting a few times. As you make your way towards the end that is not tied off, you may notice some air bubbles forcing their way towards the end. That is why we left this end of the casing open to let remaining air out. When you are finished forming links, simply tie off the other loose end.
If you are aiming for sausage links / patties or a tube of meat for ground sausage, then all you really need is some saran wrap. This can be done by laying two lengths of saran wrap horizontally, slightly overlapping, on the counter. You can place your sausage in the middle of the wrap and begin forming a tube shape with the meat using your hands. Fold one side of the saran wrap over the sausage and, using a flat surface, press out the air bubbles. Then roll up the sausage in the remaining saran wrap and twist up the ends.
Cook It Up Or Store It
If you’re anything like me, you will want to go straight into cooking up a bit of your fresh sausage just to reward yourself for all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into this valiant effort. However, it is advised to let the flavors of the sausage mingle for at least an hour in the refrigerator before cooking. I know, I know. The wait is excruciating.
If you plan on storing this sausage, go ahead and freeze it immediately so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for another day.
Have you ever tried making your own sausage? Let us know your experience by commenting below!