Despite the snowfall, don’t be remiss — grilling season is just around the corner. From Memorial Day to Fourth of July, and every summer evening in between, there will be innumerable days to grill this summer season. Until then, how about we refine your sausage-making skills. When the snow is (finally?) gone, you’ll be able to impress friends and family with your sausage skills.
On any given summer day, Aspens Market sells as many as 40 pounds of homemade sausage. The gourmet store offers five options daily, rotating in at least eight different sausage varieties. Customers can’t get enough of their links.
- Use a high meat-to-fat ratio (the preferred is at least 75 percent meat to 25 percent fat). The fat is essential to develop the flavor.
- Keep the meat cold at all stages of making the sausage (it may be necessary to refrigerate between grinding, mixing and stuffing). If the meat becomes too warm, the fat will soften, and the meat could separate and become mealy.
- Select premium ingredients. Start with quality meat and add fresh ingredients, like freshly squeezed lime juice or just-chopped garlic and ginger. Only mix in whine you would drink.
- Cook a small amount of the mixture and taste it before you put the sausage in its casing. You can still adjust seasonings at this point, and sometimes you may want to add more salt for flavor.
- Relax if the links aren’t perfect. It’s only food.
The meat of the matter
For pork: choose pork shoulder because that cut is naturally 25 percent fat. Grind the pork twice (using a 3/8-inch sausage grinder plate or a larger grind hole) before you add the seasoning.
For chicken: opt for chicken thighs, which are higher in fat. Grind the chicken once (using a 3/16-inch sausage grinder plate or smaller grind hole if you have an option) before you add the seasoning. Chicken is softer, so it only needs one grind.
The final word
If you don’t have the special equipment (see below) or are short on time, ask your favorite butcher to grind the meat for you in advance. While Aspens Market wills ell you casings if you want them, you can also make bulk sausage or sausage patties without stuffing the meat into casings for links.
If you leave the sausage in bulk, you can use it in a Bolognese, throw it onto a homemade pizza or add it to lasasgna. If stuffed in a casing, grill the links over a 400 F flame for about four to five minutes per side (or until they start leaking a little bit of juice).
Special tools needed:
- Kitchen scale for measuring ingredients
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer (or similar product) for mixing ingredients
- Food grinder attachment for KitchenAid for grinding meat and stuffing sausage
- Sausage pick for releasing air bubbles from the sausage