Alas!  The Charcutepalooza challenge I’ve been waiting for: Sausage-making.

When I first set out to do Charcutepalooza one of the things I was most looking forward to doing was making sausage. Making sausage just seemed so… hardcore. I mean you need a grinder, a sausage stuffer, all kinds of meat and fat back AND sausage casings. Plus the idea of actually making the meat into sausages, casings and all was just so intriguing to me.

One of the things that I love about living in Toronto is how easy it is to acquire certain ingredients. I thought I’d have to trek all over the city in search of sausage casings but all I had to do was walking down the street to The Healthy Butcher and pick some up. Truth be told I sort of “impulse bought” the casings without doing much research since I was in the area. The butcher was helpful and asked me a bunch of questions to ensure that I bought the right casings. I didn’t bother asking whether or not the casings were natural but a quick twitter conversation with @BusterRhinosBBQ revealed that I bought natural hog casings… yay!

For the challenge this month the Apprentice Challenge was to make Italian Sausage and the Charcuterie Challenge was to make Duck Sausage with Prunes. Now, Italian sausage I was game for but I wasn’t really feeling the duck sausage or any other poultry sausage for that matter, so I skipped the Charcuterie Challenge. For the Italian sausage I followed this recipe as detailed on the Charcutepalooza site and also read up on Ruhlman’s Charcuterie to get another perspective on the technique.

Making the sausage was pretty fun. The first part (the grinding and mixing) was pretty old hat at this point. The stuffing is where the party really starts. You need a partner. I got my mom involved and gave her the job of pushing the meat through the machine. My job was to direct the meat into the sausage casings. The process isn’t hard, you just have to get into a groove. The person doing the stuffing has to definitely be cognoscente of making sure the meat is fairly well-packed into the casing. At times I felt a bit like Lucy working at the chocolate factory as I tried to make sure not to tear the casing, compact the meat properly and make sure everything was going well on my mom’s end!

It was really impressive to see the coil of sausage at the end of the process and even more impressive when I twisted the coil into actual sausage links. I kind of didn’t think it would work but it totally did. The sausages turned out great. I made the “hot” version but they weren’t that hot and didn’t have the usual red colour you associate with hot sausage. They were flavourful from all the spices but just not hot. Next time I’d take it up a notch or two with the heat.

I ended up using the sausage on what turned out to be THE BEST PIZZA EVER. Inspired by several pizza menus I decided to buy some Brussels sprouts to go on my pizza. I also used mushrooms and my sausage. What really put the pizza over the edge was the garlic. I thinly sliced some garlic and spread them on top of the tomato sauce. I then sprinkled the cheese over top and the sauteed sausage, shredded Brussels sprouts and mushrooms. I could eat this every week. I know the garlic played a role in the goodness but beyond that I can’t put my finger on why this was so amazing. I’ll attribute it to my sausage.

Excited to see what’s up next for Charcutepalooza…

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10 Responses to Charcutepalooza: Sausage Time

  1. So impressive :) We never got past eating the sausages by themselves but perhaps I might make chorizo again so I can do a pizza :) And yes, Ruhlman tends to be a little light on the heat!

  2. Michelle says:

    OK, I am officially very impressed! Now what are the chances of you coming up with a vegetarian version [batting eyelashes] pretty please??

  3. That looks wonderful, I have just bought a grinder and am looking forward to making some sausages think this one might have to be first on my list :)

  4. Making sausage is a pretty big undertaking, but it is fun if you do not do it all the time. We have all the gear here and looking at the recipes-I have made a note of the spicy one-thanks for sharing. PS-the link looks perfect.

  5. Kita says:

    This is so exciting. I purchased some casing but havent had the nerve to actually try to make sausage yet! I loved reading your post and I hope I can convince my BF to play Ricky to my Lucy as soon as possible.

  6. [...] where Jamie has short and quick recipes to get you through the month. I still had some of my Charcutepalooza Italian sausages in the freezer to use up so I knew this recipe was for me. I don’t know about you, but I [...]

  7. [...] Wrong.  I also made the mistake of assuming that stuffing hot dogs would work just like stuffing Italian sausages which wasn’t too bad and didn’t read through the recipe. My [...]

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