Secrets to Successful Sausage Making
While we are pretty serious about working on client projects at CuliNex, we also take "educational eating" pretty seriously too. Anne-marie Ramo, our resident meat guru and champion of all things fun, decided to put on a sausage-making 101 course for us at the test kitchen to help everyone understand the basic fundamentals of making meat sausages . Prior to CuliNex, she was part of several meat-centric companies, including serving as Executive Chef of Aidell’s Sausage Company and Fork in the Road Foods, where she developed all natural meat products.
She was assisted by Webb Girard, one of our food scientists who has also made thousands of pounds of sausage on the bench and in the plant during his time at Oberto Sausage Company. Both are avid home sausage-makers as well, and with the Memorial Day weekend approaching, it was the perfect time to beef up our stocks of freshly ground and seasoned sausages. The class included:
- Wisconsin-style Beer Brats seasoned with ginger, white pepper, and nutmeg
- Tequila-spiked Fresh Chorizo seasoned with smoked paprika, chipotle, oregano, and red wine vinegar
- Double-Smoked Andouille seasoned with garlic, paprika, black pepper, thyme, and mace
While the resulting sausages were vastly different in flavor, all sausage is essentially seasoned ground meat wrapped in a casing (most of the time), and preserved through smoking, drying, or curing. We went over the basics, including:
- Meat cuts and varieties for sausage (fatty cuts like pork shoulder offer a naturally perfect ratio or meat to fat for sausage)
- How to grind meat (look for all metal parts which are sturdier and easier to sanitize than plastic)
- All things casings (salted casings are shelf stable, but need to be thoroughly soaked and rinsed before using. Check with your butcher to see if they'll give you some)
- How to get proper protein extraction for binding (mix with salt and seasonings until the meat is sticky and bound together)
- The importance of keeping sausage ice cold during mixing (freeze and shave any liquid ingredients like beer or wine, or used shaved dry ice for forumlas that don't require liquid)
- Proper stuffing technique (how to avoid air pockets and overfilling)
- Smoking, curing and storage (select your wood carefully, alder works great for delicate fish, but would be lost in a flavorful andouille. Choose hickory or mesquite for full-flavored meats)
- How to use the finished products in application (don't poke your sausage casings or all the juice will drain out! Proper stuffing technique will prevent burst sausages)
While we’re always looking for opportunities to eat delicious things in the test kitchen, we’re even more excited about keeping our culinary chops sharpened, nerding out over food science, and spending time in the test kitchen together. Send us a message in the contact form and we'll send you our secret recipes for all three sausages!