When you compare the taste of this fresh sausage with much of what is available at the grocery store, you'll understand why it's worth making. When cooking the sausage, make sure that the internal temperature registers--0 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Don't let the length of these recipe directions fool you: making the sausage meat is a relatively simple process. The meat can be made into patties as well as used to fill casings.
The sausage can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Servings: 10 pounds of sausage
- 2 pounds pork belly
- 8 pounds boneless pork shoulder (boston butt), trimmed of blood spots or hard nodules of fat and gristle (there will be at least 5 pounds of trimmed meat)
- 20 feet of natural hog casings (see TIP, below)
- 2 cups ice-cold water
- 1/4 cup minced garlic (6 to 8 large cloves)
- 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup minced marjoram leaves (about 1 ounce)
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup kosher salt, or more to taste
Place an old-fashioned manual metal meat grinder in the freezer to chill the parts that will come in contact with the pork; or attach the grinding equipment to a stand mixer, using a small-holed die plate. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice water and place a slightly smaller mixing bowl inside it (to keep the sausage meat cold as it is processed). Have ready a small pin or similar pin-prick device to deflate any air pockets in the sausage casings.
Cut the pork belly and boneless pork shoulder into 1-inch strips. Lay it out on baking sheet and place it in the freezer for 20 minutes or so, until firm but not frozen (if a baking sheet will not fit in your freezer, the pork may be placed in a heavy-duty resealable plastic food storage bag).
Meanwhile, wash the natural casings by filling a sink with a few inches of cool water. Carefully thread the casings onto the faucet and run a gentle stream of cool water through the casings until they are filled and floating in the water. This will clean the casings and allow you to check for breaks or punctures; if there are any, cut them out and discard those sections. The casings can stay in the water while the pork is being ground.
When the pork has been chilled, grind it in the hand-cranked grinder or drop the pieces into the stand-mixer grinder apparatus, using a plunger tool to keep it feeding through evenly with the mixer's motor on the lowest speed. Place a bowl under the grinder to catch the ground meat. Watch carefully so that the fat and pork seem discrete and do not get too mushy. (Stop the motor occasionally and allow it to cool off, if using a stand mixer with attachment.) As you work, transfer the ground meat to the bowl in the ice-water bath. Ideally, the sausage should look distinctly pink and white instead of a more-uniform light-pink or white color.
When all the pork belly and pork shoulder pieces have been ground, add the water, garlic, black pepper, marjoram, corn syrup and kosher salt to taste, mixing thoroughly to combine. Keep the sausage mixture cool. (To taste for seasoning, fry a small portion in a skillet.)
Carefully thread a wet casing onto the tube of a manual sausage press (see related sidebar, "Stuffer vs. Stuffer") or the stuffer attachment for a stand mixer, bunching it up carefully, with a few inches empty at the end (to tie off the sausage). Slowly press the sausage into the casing (or set the mixer motor on the lowest speed), guiding the filled sausage with one hand and stopping to prick/deflate any air pockets that may occur as you work. It's best to keep the casings moist; sprinkle them with water as you work so they slide off the nozzle more easily. (If the casing breaks, stop the mixer motor, squeeze out any forcemeat from the end of the casing and tie off that section of the rope of sausage; begin with a new length of casing.) Curl a 3- to 4-foot section of sausage into a large coil; cut and tie it off using a length of the unfilled casing. Set aside while you fill the remaining casings. Form patties with any leftover sausage.
Refrigerate the sausage, which at this point is ready for roasting, poaching, braising, smoking, drying or freezing.
From chef Jamie Stachowski.
Tested by Joe Yonan.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.